There isn’t a word in English to express the manufactured conflict this time.
We’re off to a bad start. Kuroha walks into school all bandaged up. Why? Well we’re supposed to get one impression, but from what we see that impression isn’t true. Either way, Ryota is rightly concerned, so he goes to the girls’ home to find Kuroha bleeding from her…everywhere, and curled up on the floor. She asks him to bring her to the kitchen, where she takes a pill. She may be suffering horribly, but she can exposit that these are what I am going to call “death pills”, if they aren’t taken every day, the witch’s body breaks down. And since we saw one melt from losing her implant, it’s a safe bet to say that’s in play here.
Kuroha laments she doesn’t have enough to get her to the ocean. Oh, wow, how touching. Faced with imminent death, the only thing she wants is an innocent trip to the beach…
Cue Ryota, “She’s pushing herself all because I invited her to the ocean”. Yeah, everything’s about you, asshole.
Kuroha lies down, and this is where the intro runs straight into a brick wall, as when she wakes up a couple minutes later she’s completely healed. It took far less time for her wounds to close and wash the blood away than it would have to bandage herself up in such an attention-grabbing manner.
So the beach trip is in about a week. This leaves Kuroha with, what, five pills? So naturally, she has to burn the house down boiling water. Yes, really. So NOW it’s drama! Because five days to live isn’t enough of a ticking clock. And Kana’s already starting to bleed, she has HOURS TO LIVE! We must find replacements!
…Jack Bauer has more time than this.
The Witches may not know where the lab is, but luckily, despite seeing one pill, once, Ryota memorized the ID number on the casing and “because I read a book about drugs once” knows the sequence to find out what manufacturer produces them.
Look, I know you want to justify Ryota’s involvement with this group, but, it would be just as necessary and impressive if he remembered that little tidbit about being able to find the factory from the serial number. It doesn’t hurt believability to HAVE the pill while you’re googling, the REAL challenge is GETTING the drugs, not finding them.
We could cut Brynhildr some slack on the melodrama before, I mean this is kind of a camp show, leeway for kitsch is fine. But at some point you gotta meet us halfway, guys.
We find the lab, but getting in will be hard. But we have a friend! A witch-hacker. Judging from other things we see her do, it’s more likely she has an affinity to electricity, and was trained how to use electrical currents inside machinery and manipulates them that way. But one of those convenient uses is to essentially hack the system.
A nice touch to her characterization, her name’s Kazumi, she finds out about Ryota and yells at Kana and Kuroha for dragging an outsider into this mess. She has genuine concern that they might be getting someone killed, and refuses to help until Ryota himself says he accepts the risks.
Naturally, making the break-in plan work isn’t easy. It’s super-easy! The tough part is that the Lab is sending a powerful witch to stop them. So yeah the Elfen Lied jokes are well called for at this point.
Oh, it’s a witch that slices things. Like Kuroha’s top. And, of course….yes, Kuroneko’s moles have moved to her breast.
…If I did not know from personal experience this was a thing…I’d be way more critical. Buuuut it does give an excuse why a once-identifying feature vanished. Few other places would warp so badly. But those scars that moved to my breast are ONLY getting you so far!
Kuroha gets killed, and Ryota, moving into episode 4, mortally wounds the other witch. We learned one of her powers was moving back through time, but only a short span. But by making sure she needed to avoid the wound, Ryota insured she’d reset to before she killed Kuroha (and by extension, himself). Pretty good plan.
This hangs the bad witch up, incapable of using magic. Just to prove how EEEEVIL they are, the Lab terminates her. We then see this weird parasite thing crawl out of the harnest.
…Related to the alien Kuroneko said she’d show Ryota at the accident?
We get some more fish out of water gags with Kuroha trying to go to school, as the girls have a huge supply of pills. Kazumi even joins their team. Most interesting, she comments that if Kana wanted to, she could move, but chooses not to. I presume this is tied into her magic somehow, much how we’ll learn Kuroha loses memories when she uses magic, perhaps Kana’s is related to her immobility.
Kuroha gives Ryota a “fertilized alien egg”, a small metal device which might be a case. but nothing actually comes of this.
But then! We have an exchange student! She comes in just as super evil guys are commenting that they’ve sent a AA+ witch after the strays. And we see a harnest on her neck. Uh oh.
Yeah yeah, but no spoilers!
So the concept of the death pills…is fucking stupid, especially for a series that is trying to masquerade its magic as science. It’s not a crippling thing in and of itself, but on top of the fanservice gags, on top of the melodrama, on top of everything else whittling away at this show? It’s just that much more painful. Particularly because I don’t see this becoming a major plot issue down the road, it’s just something to be resolved.
Characterization remains rather strong, though Kazumi’s shades are slipping away in favor of a more obnoxious virgin stereotype. But I loved the little bit on the bus where Kuroha was writing her note, just adorable. Ryota’s name change to Gary Stu is well under way, I guess that was inevitable but I’d really have preferred him to play more of a Hiyori role. Let’s keep going, Brynhildr. You aren’t unsalvageable YET. Yet.