R2 DVD Reviews
Tuesday, 07 July 2009 00:00
This volume of Mahoromatic should really end with an "End of Part One" message - although there is the small detail that the second season hasn't been released in the UK. Grumble - although now that ADV hold at least the US rights to both seasons, who knows what may happen? Thankfully, the first season does pretty much stand on its own, so let's see how it turns out...
9 - Limelight
Mahoro's beginning to think that maybe it's time she left Suguru behind - if Saint are on the move again, it's only fair to keep him out of it. But before she goes, she wants one last date with Suguru. Datings a new experience for him, and nerves soon kick in - along with some wishful thinking about what Mohoro might want from their date - but once Shikijo finds out about their date, how to behave around Mahoro becomes the least of his problems...
10 - The Fate as a Warrior
Flashback time! When Mahoro was first created, it created tensions within Vesper, between those who wanted her pressed into action as soon as possible to face down the Saint threat, and those who wanted her to receive proper training to prepare her for the battles ahead. It was during her training that she first met Suguru's father, and the two formed a strong friendship - but as we already know, that was a friendship that was destined to end in disaster...
11 - My Important Person
Suguru wakes to find himself lying under his desk. Its late at night, and the house is empty - Mahoro has gone to face Ryuga, but Suguru isn't aware yet that she's left. On an orbiting spaceship, one of Saint's combat androids watches the world drift by below her, pondering the meaning of her existence and waiting for the battle between Mahoro and Ryuga to begin. Before they get down to business, though, Ryuga first wants to hear about Mahoro's hopes for what's left of her life - and fails to understand her answer...
12 - At the Scenery I Dreamed One Day
Mahoro fires what should be her sure-kill weapon at Ryuga, and is amazed when he's still standing afterwards - not only standing, but ready to fight, and the speed of his comeback catches her unawares and leavesher dangerously open. As Ryuga lays into her, all she can think about is winning the fight & returning to Suguru's as if nothing had happened - and her mind begins to drift to thoughts of what could be. Just as defeat seems inevitable, though, Suguru and Slash arrive on the scene to put a stop to the fighting...
I have to comment on Mahoro's choice in wheels. She drives a BMW roadster (looks like a Z3 to me), equipped in true James Bond-style with rocket launchers and other goodies - all very handy for dealing with pursuing perverted teachers. I want one.
Anyway. The main focus on this disc is Mahoro feeling that she's coming to the end of her time with Suguru, and seeing her go about trying to get some closure with him before going to settle her issues with Ryuga. That gives the episodes here a certain melancholy feel - the end is nigh, we know it and Mahoro knows it, and despite her having some fun along the way with both Suguru and Shikijou, the lurking shadow of Ryuga and Mahoro's intended departure hangs over the whole thing, warning you not to expect a happy ending.
Seeing Mahoro be completely outclassed by Ryuga when the time comes for their clash doesn't help, either - but as the fight goes on, and the emphasis changes from the action to Ryuga reasons for fighting her and what he's trying to learn about her and humanity, then you get a little glimmer of light, a hope that there's a happy ending in there somewhere - and so it turns out.
That's what saves the show, really. Mahoromatic is a comedy with serious elements, it's not the sort of show where you want or expect an emotionally negative ending. While this volume is focussing on Mahoro's "goodbye trip", there's a constant worry that it's not going to turn out in the way the series feels that it should end that gets in the way of enjoying it.
All's well that ends well, though. The season ends at a natural breakpoint, without placing too many obvious hooks for the second season (it hadn't been confirmed when production on this season ended, so that makes sense). Ryuga's issues are resolved, up to a point, without removing the Saint threat (something to be dealt with next season), while the relationship between Suguru and Mahoro comes on a little. Given the GAINAX involvement in the show, having an ending that isn't a complete mess is actually quite surprising - although it's a surprise that they more than make up for at the end of the second season. I'll save further bitterness about that for the upcoming reviews of Something More Beautiful...
Recommendation time, then. Personally, I love Mahoromatic, especially when it's in proper comedy mode. It's a little too slapstick in places to be of universal appeal, but most people will find themselves coming away from this with a smile on their faces. Go get.