This recap contains spoilers for the Magia Record episode “You’re Not Strong.”
Oh, what Magia Record has to go through! “You’re Not Strong”, the second season’s finale, arrives a week late, and with a bundle of technical problems in its wake. Depending on where you live you may or may not still be unable to view the episode as intended. (Funimation’s upload was missing a good half of its subtitles earlier today.) But, it trucks on and we truck on with it. “You’re Not Strong” brings one part of Magia Record to a close, while leaving the door open for its final season to explore some as-yet unexplained mysteries. In concept, that’s basically exactly what a season finale should do. But does “You’re Not Strong” deliver on execution?
The Mightiest Magical Girl
The first half of “You’re Not Strong” is pure surreal head-trip psychological deep-dive. The kind of thing you’re really looking for when someone recommends you a weird anime. Other than her role as a mind-controlled enforcer for the Wings, Tsuruno’s been a bit absent this season. “You’re Not Strong” more than makes up for that. The scenes here take the form of a play, and both Yachiyo and Tsuruno herself deliver soliloquies on their personal failures, real and imagined.
We learn how Tsuruno got to where she presently is through these. But more importantly, we learn why she felt compelled to go to the Wings of Magius in the first place. Believing herself weak, she sought to become strong. The problem of course is that strength in service of blind fanaticism is pretty awful. I’ve occasionally remarked that the Wings of Magius are a little on-the-nose as far as metaphors for authoritarian thinking, but “You’re Not Strong” does a remarkable job of conveying how someone can fall into that kind of toxic ideology, both by internalizing bad ideas about themselves, and through the amplifying effect existing trauma can have on that.
Beyond The Rainbow Castle
Yachiyo, herself indirectly responsible for Tsuruno’s fall down this path in the first place, is also who lifts her out of it. Tsuruno realizes that she doesn’t truly want strength, she wants someone to lean on. And this understanding is what allows the Connect to succeed here in “You’re Not Strong” where it failed in the last episode. Tsuruno, then, is finally liberated of the Wings’ control. A similar situation runs in parallel with Mami. Magia Record devotes less actual screentime to this, presumably under the belief that if you’re this deep into a Madoka spinoff series, you know Mami’s whole deal. Seeing her simply survive a season alive and okay is its own kind of reward for those who’ve been watching since the original Puella Magi Madoka Magica.
Their numbers fully restored, our heroes proceed to fight of the Wings of Magius’ minions with relative ease. The original Puella Magi depart Magia Record as quickly as they arrived. A weather report on Homura’s phone shows Walpurgisnacht is now headed toward Mitakihara, as in the original series. The girls leave, leaving the Magia Record cast on their own once again. It’s a victory, for the moment.
Shadows at The Far End of Tomorrow
Two things occur at “You’re Not Strong”‘s conclusion that prevent it from simply closing the book on things entirely. For one, we catch up with Kuroe, whose plan to join the rest of the girls is interrupted by the mysterious shadow doppelganger that’s now been trailing her for some time. She disappears into a blob of darkness, leaving her fate a mystery for another day.
For another, Iroha confronts Touka, the Wings of Magius’ leader and her former friend, directly. While Touka herself seems determined to fight, Nemu, her companion, is not. We don’t really get a good idea of what’s going on here. Nemu says that she has been “lying” and that it’s time to end these lies, while patting the small Kyuubey that’s been conspicuously by her side instead of by Iroha’s for much of the season. Mention is made of the Eternal Sakura Uwasa, and the scene cuts to a “to be continued” card. Magia Record ending with much left unanswered, like always.
It seems likely that the show’s third season, set to premiere sometime before the end of the year, will answer at least some of these questions. However, anime fans, that is a journey you will have to make on your own. This recap marks my final piece for Geek Girl Authority, as I move on to some other projects.
I have had a wonderful time writing for you all, and I hope you’ve had an equally good time reading.
Until we meet again, anime fans, whenever and wherever that may be.
- MAGIA RECORD Season Finale Recap: (S02E08) You’re Not Strong - September 25, 2021
- MAGIA RECORD Recap: (S02E07) You Don’t Know Anything - September 11, 2021
- MAGIA RECORD Recap: (S02E06) This Is Something Only I Can Do - September 4, 2021