Magical girls shows borrow heavily from both shonen and shojo in their formulas especially after Sailor Moon added in a massive amount of influences from tokusatsu shows. So the rival magical girl who starts of as a an opponent or frenemy and eventually becomes a boon companion has become an inseparable part of the genre’s DNA. And Miyu Edelfelt plays this part to a T.
There is a new sheriff in town. (Not that old sheriff is gone or even had their badge for any extended period of time.) Not only is the new sheriff drinking Illya’s milkshake by getting the Rider card but she has transferred to her school, is amazing at everything, and lives in a mansion. Illya extends her hand in friendship but is mostly ignored more than anything else. Until Miyu gets mad. Then things just get extra awkward. Can this get any worse?
When Miyu appears out of nowhere the scene is drenched with drama fuel bomb from a Boeing B-52 Stratofortress. But then Luviagelita’s ojousama laugh ignites all this explosive material the second it rings out. So Rin and Luvia start to tear into each other as the phantasmal world where cards are capture begins to crumble to pieces. It seems that just as Rin picked up the reluctant Illya that Luvia has recruited the much more subdued Miyu. After a bit of exchanging cross counters everyone goes home but just after Rin tells Illya that she still has four more deadly battles to participate in.
Of course who should appear in class the next day but a mysterious transfer student. Sadly it is not Akira Agarkar Yamada and Tapioca or Ami Kawashima but it is the only person it could be. Miyu is essentially a very cute robot. She is about as personable as an airport but highly efficient like a Swiss watch factory. She spend a good deal of the episode giving everyone in class an inferiority complex about their academic, artistic, domestic, and athletic skills (including poor Taiga although that is no TOO hard.) The class assumes Illya will put her in her place with her athletic skills but that turns out to be some misplaced hope.
One of these days someone is going to do a show were the gag is the rival has to transfer to another school in the area because they can’t get into the main character’s class. Maybe the school is all filled up or the rival is just not smart enough to get in. Or the rival is SO smart they just refuse to go to some lame run of the mill establishment like the hero. It might have already happened and I just don’t remember. But if it has not then the anime industry can feel free to steal that joke from me free of charge.
In the middle of Miyu’s storm of hyper-competence Magical Ruby’s sister and counterpart Magical Sapphire makes her presence known. Much like Miyu we see that Magical Sapphire is far more subdued and polite than her hurricane of a sibling. Magical Sapphire never had an extremely distinct voice in my head when I read the original manga but Matsuki Miyu makes perfect sense given her contrasting personality to her sibling.
Rin is a strong girl but even she can only dole out sexy exposition for so long. Even in Fate/Stay Night sometimes people like Saber or Kotomine are there to do some of the heavy lifting when it comes to explaining how the world works. And so the magical mascot/baton representation of Brainwasher Detective must inform the young Einzbern about how to use the cards she gets after she captures them. She also goes a little more into the mechanics of what is going on and why it is happening. Hisui was always the more useful sister. (Also not setting things up to get everyone in the Tohno killed in gruesome ways also helps her obtain that title.)
Since apparently one of the reasons people come here is to get random Type-Moon trivia and esoterica so I should bring up the fact that they talk about od here (as in the occult term not optical density). I think from a steady diet of RPGs and crazy martial arts shows the average anime fan knows what mana and ki are. But the one piece of the magical energy systems that Type-Moon uses that never show up in their animated series is od. Based on Baron Carl von Reichenbach’s theories on Odic Force it is a theory of about the life force that living thing produce that a lot of occult science decided to run with. Od mainly represents the energy generated by living creatures that they can use to cast spells and use magical powers as opposed to taking it from the energy in the air or places of power.
And lets us once again lay out the cards on the table. Illya’s friends are sometimes here for gags like this:
And sometimes for friendships like this:
But they are mostly here for this:
And anyone who tell you differently is a liar.
As is the unwritten rule of the magical girl rival the protagonist must be hesitant to talk the rival, then finally get over thier fears and try to break bread, and then they get the little girl version of, “I’m not here to make friends.” Don’t worry. All of that happens. Except for the “I’m not here to make friends.” Miyu is a bit too stoic to go for such a drama queen line.
She instead gets really annoyed when she find out Illya’s motivation for being a magical girl. Like it or not Illya finally admits to herself and Miyu that she is beginning to see this whole affair as a fun adventure like she would see in all the anime she watches. Obviously Miyu has some emotional baggage that makes this a sticking point with her. So they part after some heated words.
Although they then meet again in front of the giant mansion that has appeared across the street from Illya that Miyu now lives in.
Well the main point of this episode is to set up Miyu as an emotionally dead girl with Mary Sue level of perfection so that when Illya has an ability that Miyu does not the supposedly perfect warrior learns that she needs friends to get this done. Such is the machine that is magical combat show be they for boys or girls. For as much as Fate/kaleid points at the mechanics of the genre it is also quite comfortably bound by them as well.
PS: This is Tatsuko Gakumazawa if you were curious. Now hopefully the title makes sense.