Ojamajo Doremi – Episode 22

Let’s get back to Ojamajo Doremi! Our last episode didn’t really see the story moving all that much, as Ruka’s diabolical magic goods didn’t actually result in any negative consequences, at least for her personally. We’re still at the point where Rika is acting as an annoying freeloader, the girls are trying to figure out some way to beat Ruka, and the moral lessons are temporarily on hold. I’ve enjoyed this change of pace well enough, but Ruka’s story frankly hasn’t been interesting enough to measure up to the show’s usual episodic fare. I’m ready for Ruka to get her just desserts, and hope one of our heroes has a real plan this time. Let’s get right to it!

Episode 22

We open with our three girls in dire straights, complaining about how things seem to be getting worse and worse

That’s a good thing, from my perspective – it seems like the show is admitting this narrative has reached its breaking point

Oh my god, there are infinite looping mouth-Doremis. Has Doremi captured an entire colony of progressively smaller Doremis and forced them all to live in each other’s mouths

This is another creative use of very limited animation, letting the screen just continuously zoom out and spin to create the illusion of movement. Ojamajo Doremi is able to get away with a fair number of visual tricks that would likely be considered too hokey and obvious for a show aimed at an older audience, which is actually pretty intriguing

The gang still hasn’t moved from their location directly across from the original Maho Dou. C’mon guys, if you don’t understand the importance of location, you don’t deserve to get that business back

Majo Rika discussing new marketing strategies. Alright, fair enough, I’ll give her credit for trying

Lala breaks down Ruka’s strengths: constant sales, beautiful employees

And now we once again get a visual trick that’s a bit too obvious for most shows. After showing Majo Ruka’s strengths, those three actual frames are pulled into different thirds of the screen, emphasing Ruka’s dominance in a way that inherently draws attention to the artifice of animation, and also doesn’t necessarily look the most graceful. It’s a trick you might see in a Powerpoint slideshow

“The Road to Being a Level 6 Witch is Long?!” Well that’s somewhat exciting, but it does kinda imply we’re not dealing with Ruka today

Cute effect with Majo Rika’s personal raincloud actually falling on her character

Doremi rightly points out that while Rika’s busy complaining, the girls are doing all the work

Rika states she might actually be out of magic, and that the girls need to pass their Level 6 exams to meaningfully help

Dela stops by to rub some salt in their wounds

Apparently they’re holding a special event tonight to raise witch apprentice levels. I continue to not understand anything about how this society functions

The girls are almost out of magic spheres, at which point they won’t be able to work to earn any more magic spheres. This show is teaching us all sorts of things about how capitalism actually works!

“If you pass level 6 then your Porons will power up.” Well in that case

Ah, their fairies. So the fairies would essentially evolve into their second pokemon stage

An innovation in the “characters overreact by collapsing” school of anime gags, with Doremi and the girls leaving color-coded after-images when they fall over

Ruka doesn’t let them use the Maho Dou’s witch world door, unsurprisingly

This episode is full of strong group reactions from the main trio. They’re essentially acting as one character for this conflict

Determined Doremi!

The art just feels generally loose and lively this episode. The characters are a bit less frequently on-model in a very good way

Also plenty of expressive character acting. Some nice Looney Tunes style choices for them creeping around the Maho Dou

The girls actually look a bit older than usual in this episode – their limbs are longer

The girls and Ruka trade magical attacks. The nice thing about having their opponent be a witch is the show can just lean into magic without worrying about anyone learning it’s actually magic

Some great fisheye shots in this episode too. The material is relatively mundane, but this is a very well-executed episode

The show’s actually making a real point of cataloging the use of their remaining magical spheres. As a concrete limitation on what’s in truth a very vaguely defined system of magic, the use of magical spheres as “ammo” works surprisingly well

They sure are trying to jam a whole lot of narrative into this episode. Everything’s chopped into micro-scenes

And now there’s this extended sight gag of the girls as old ladies, and then we jump directly from that fantasy to Doremi sulking at home, a punchy but very unusual transition. This episode feels very different in so many ways from the usual Doremi standard

And then Doremi’s mom throws out her back. Things are tough all over

Did Majo Ruka… curse all three of the girls’ families? That seems a little extreme

It looks like Baaya is Hadzuki’s… live-in maid? Slash grandmother?

More terrific faces. Ai in particular is getting a very unique range of expressions this week, seemingly due to this episode’s much looser strictures when it comes to matching the character designs

This whole sequence seemingly exists just to force Doremi into using up one more magical sphere. Like last episode, this one episode almost lacks a narrative altogether – there’s the vague concept of “things are getting worse and worse,” but no specific goal, and the girls mainly just do a variety of things as they come up in their daily life. It’s a very odd shift for this show, and something I’m not sure kids would really appreciate

…this sequence also seems to exist to make sure this episode gets in its share of bank footage

Suddenly there’s an old lady hanging from a windowsill

Instead of going to save the old lady, the three girls decide to conduct a complex three-person magical ritual in order to summon something to save the old lady

And now the gang is entirely out of magic spheres. We’ve hit rock bottom

Holy crap, Majo Ruka actually DID almost kill Hadzuki’s family. This show is going places

Let that be a lesson to you, kids. If you leave your enemies alive, there’s always the chance they’ll come back to kill the people you love

You would think the magic world would step in once it became clear Ruka was literally poisoning an entire town to death with magic. But hey, I guess it’s not like the magical government has really expressed any coherent legal system so far

And Done

Well that was unexpected. Neither resolving the Ruka problem nor focusing on something else entirely, this episode was basically just “things get worse and worse for twenty minutes and it’s terrible and nobody wins.” The episode also echoed last one’s general lack of narrative focus, providing a variety of small vignettes but no clear throughline. That said, this episode’s odd pacing and unique visual style actually made me very fond of it. Even if this story is kinda durdling in circles, it feels like Ojamajo Doremi’s overall production is becoming more confident over time. And with the gang well and truly out of spheres, something’s gotta change soon!

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