anime

The Demon Girl Next Door – Episode 8


Hello everyone, and welcome back to Wrong Every Time. Today we’ll be winding our way back to The Demon Girl Next Door, wherein our two leads have been busy balancing out their lopsided relationship. Though Momo appeared all confidence at the start, it’s clear now that she’s maintaining a stiff poise to mask her internal sea of fears and regrets. Momo believed anything short of perfection would be failure – but with Shamiko at her side, she’s at last willing to acknowledge her insecurities, and maybe even share some of her emotional load.

Unfortunately, it appears our heroes have run out of time to sort out their emotional issues. A new magical girl has just arrived in town, and given everything Momo has told us about their usual disposition, I expect some fireworks are shortly in order. To be honest, this new girl’s prominence in all of the season two material people are sharing means I already know our leads will befriend the shit out of this newbie, but I imagine the path there will be as messy as it is hilarious. Let’s return to The Demon Girl Next Door!

Episode 8

I appreciate that pretty much every recap in this show is just Shamiko cowering in fear over something or other. We can always probably guess that she’s cradling her head and about to cry, but it’s still fun to be reminded

The new girl says this plaza “looks different than it used to,” meaning she has a past relationship with this place, and might well have some link to Momo

“From what I hear, the magical girl in this city had a bad encounter with a demon.” It seems like Momo’s accidental victory has set a lot of unfortunate wheels in motion. This is a perfectly convincing excuse to expand the cast – and what’s more, we’re not dealing with the frequent comedy issue of “we’ve run out of ideas for our existing cast members, so let’s throw in some new ones.” Both Shamiko and Momo are fully fledged people, not just gimmicks, and so we could easily have kept exploring their feelings for quite some time

“And now she’s become a slave to that demon.” Interesting to get this glimpse of magical girl ideology from the other side. Magical girl philosophy cannot conceive of friendship or partnership between magical girls and demons, and thus any magical girl collaborating with a demon must have been enslaved by them. Also, the specific phrasing of “demons” rather than “demon girls” further dehumanizes their enemies, encouraging magical girls to think of them as monsters rather than people. It seems like even more effective anti-solidarity propaganda than Madoka’s magical girl/witch paradigm

This new girl has decided to beat the crap out of the local demon, just to gauge her strength and whatnot

“The Cursed Fruit!! Beware the Sour Mikan!!” Mikan just means “orange,” and that’s the new girl all over

“You’ve got sweat leaking out from everywhere.” “This is just Tama Juice!” I’m beginning to understand more and more why we needed a new magical girl: bullying Shamiko is just too funny, and Momo’s now too much her friend to do it as effectively

Typical magical girl activities, dragging passerby into dark alleys and demanding they strip

Love this beat of the magical girl wielding a trash can lid as a shield when Shamiko transforms

And hey, congrats Shamiko, you transformed on command! Now you just have to think of a followup play

Apparently this magical girl also has a good heart, as she refuses to beat up someone as weak and defenseless as Shamiko. I mean, when your enemy starts sobbing the moment you threaten them, it’s kind of hard to get in the whole “noble warrior of justice” spirit

And yep, Momo’s arrival confirms this girl is Mikan, and that Momo already knows her. Apparently Momo actually called her to help out with their situation

It seems like Mikan is actually a far more successful general-purpose human being than Momo. It was Momo’s incredibly unhelpful texts that prompted her misunderstanding

Unfortunately, nice Mikan might be even more insulting than scary Mikan, as she becomes the latest to mistake Shamiko for some kind of grade schooler

Oh my god, Shamiko has gotten so used to being called Shamiko that she’s actually confused when Mikan calls her “Yuko.” What has life done to you, Shamiko

Mikan seems to have a bit of a classic tsundere streak, often responding with a pouty denial when people are nice to her

“I’m sorry, I didn’t intend to confuse your ancestor with the burnable trash.” This show has so many ace one liners, and I love how often they’re just polite yet accidentally searing misunderstandings like this, rather than intentional insults. The world itself cannot help but perpetually roast Shamiko

Mikan further reveals her specific mission is to “safeguard Yuko,” which is such a Momo thing to ask

Apparently Mikan has some signature power that even she can’t control, which has somehow resulted in Momo walking around town covered in random crap

Mikan seems to have some kind of curse on her that causes her power to literally violently erupt, in this case exploding the trash bags Shamiko was carrying. An interesting conceit – you could easily tether that in with the whole “magical girl as coming-of-age metaphor” thread, in that this “curse” embodies some of the more embarrassing and uncontrollable aspects of going through puberty. That also aligns neatly with the impossible performances asked of magical girls, that they be perfect in every aspect, and in no way reflect the messiness of genuine human experience. We’ll have to see if they take it in that direction

“Whenever I become distraught, the curse rains a series of misfortunes upon the people I’m connected with.” So it’s even worse than being strictly embarrassing for her, and actually punishes Mikan for having people close to her. A curse that discourages solidarity between magical girls

“Putting the curse aside, Mikan is a really reliable friend. I just know she’ll be a big help.” Aw, Momo! Mikan’s appearance has been great for Momo’s character as well – we now see the support and trust she offers her few genuine friends, and have an additional example beyond Shamiko herself of someone who she loves for their character in spite of their allegedly cursed nature

Mikan’s curse lines up perfectly with her tsundere rants. The author’s having too much fun with her

Shamiko instantly sees the point of connection between them, but “it’s good for me as a bloodsucking demon to have a weak magical girl around” is a pretty awkward attempt to cheer Mikan up

Apparently Momo is a big mascot-head, and has many notes on Shamiko’s interpretation of Miss Tama Sakura

“I’m just your friendly neighborhood pervert.” This show absolutely refusing to let anime get away with its usual outfit design paradigm. If there’s a reason forcing Shamiko to be half-naked makes her more powerful, Momo is determined to hear it

Mikan and Shamiko geeking out over Momo’s transformation is excellent content. I figured adding Mikan to the cast would just result in more bullying for Shamiko, but Momo’s taking some good hits too

“You don’t have to worry at all about causing problems for me.” Once again, Momo demonstrates great strength of character in her friendship with Mikan, embodying a spirit of solidarity and forgiveness that this whole system seems designed to prevent. Of course, seen another way, this is also a reflection of Momo taking all the burdens onto herself – she needs to learn to accept from others the support she so willingly hands out

Apparently Shamiko’s transformation is only provoked by a sense of genuine fear. And thus, Momo sets to work

Magical girls can dematerialize altogether if they use too much of their power. A threat that makes tangible Momo’s fatal flaw, her unwillingness to truly value herself enough, or rely on others for support

“For Momo’s sake, I want to be more… what, exactly?” And Shamiko wants to grow to be that person, someone strong enough for Momo to share her burdens with

“I want you… to acknowledge me!” They’re so good together

And Done

Well, that episode was charming as all hell. In spite of mainly serving as the introduction of new magical girl Mikan, we also got some of the most endearing material yet from our lead heroines, as each of them demonstrated how fully they’re dedicated to supporting each other. It seems like Momo has up until now been able to rely on her own strength entirely, and thereby has been able to avoid showing weakness to anyone. But with her powers now significantly diminished, her choices are either to acknowledge her own limitations, or risk disappearing entirely. On her own, she’d clearly choose the second route – but with two supportive friends beside her, she might just make it through!

This article was made possible by reader support. Thank you all for all that you do.