This recap contains spoilers for the Magia Record episode “You Don’t Know Anything.”
“You Don’t Know Anything” has a lot of hugging and a lot of violence. Such is the dichotomy of Magia Record. There’s something to be said for not pulling any punches. But when all else is tallied up, “You Don’t Know Anything” is easily the most upsetting episode of the series so far.
Know That To Know This
To greatly condense some 10 minutes of exposition, there’s a cure to Mami and Tsuruno’s brainwashing. Yakumo is coerced back to our heroes’ side and explains that all one actually has to do is attack them while “Connecting.” That’s not hard, in theory. “Connecting,” as we’ve previously established, is a kind of combination attack. It requires the two magical girls to understand each other emotionally. That’s where trouble can come in.
To back up a moment, “You Don’t Know Anything” is not much of an action episode. It’s bookended with action setpieces. But the bulk of the episode puts forward another re-examination of Magia Record‘s core themes. Madoka, in general, has always asked what it truly means to be a magical girl.
That question, in turn, translates into “What does it mean to do good?” It has provided many complementary small answers in lieu of a single large one.
And that approach largely works here, too.
Yakumo’s story is one of hope lost because of her insistence on bearing the burden of others. It’s turned her into a cold cynic. This is immediate in a surprising way. It’s a detestable character made intuitively understandable in only a few minutes of screentime. Her repentance is offering our girls knowledge of how to break the brainwashing. (Which, as we also have learned, is fusion with an Uwasa. It doesn’t sound pleasant.)
This leads us to the final few minutes of “You Don’t Know Anything.” Its action cuts are untouchable. But it’s actually the dialogue that’s most worth paying attention to in this part of the episode. The Mikazuki Villa girls describe Tsuruno as someone who’s impossibly strong and upright.
We know, but they don’t, that this isn’t really Tsuruno’s whole story. The same is true when the original Madoka cast describes Mami as a typical “cool senpai” type. That’s only part of who she is. It’s as much of a front as anything. But none of them know that.
Their understanding of each other is, unfortunately, not deep enough. So, when Yachiyo tries to rescue Tsuruno from her Uwasa possession, she fails. The episode’s final shot is the deeply unsettling sight of Tsuruno’s bloodied body standing up again. Ready to continue the fight, and very much still possessed. It’s an upsetting image, even for this franchise.
It’s hard to know if there’s still a way to rescue Tsuruno and Mami or if they are destined to be this iteration of Madoka‘s sacrificial lambs to establish how truly high the stakes are. The rules in Magia Record are different enough from the original series that neither interpretation is a given. The season finale is next week. We can only wonder what it will bring.
Until then, anime fans.
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- 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