As the club(s) prepare for the cultural festival, a sudden problem begins to affect Hitomi: she’s becoming unstuck from time. Specifically, she has an increasing chance of getting stuck in a “time gap” and trapped there forever unless she can be returned to her own time. Kohaku reaches out to the club for help, and together they work to gather the star-sand needed, though she has her own fears as to whether she (and the other mages she has asked for help) can handle the magic involved. Hitomi, confronted by the sudden end of her time in the past, isn’t sure what to do, and what will happen to her relationship with Yuito.
I’ve been really enjoying this show so far, but even so I’m not gonna sugar-coat this: I didn’t like this episode. Up until now, magic has played a very minor supporting role in what has been a character-focused drama about human relationships. Sure, we needed it to send Hitomi back in time, but that’s kind of the price of entry to the show. Since then, it’s pretty much been used to make pretty colors, levitate cups, have an adventure inside a drawing. Soft stuff, nothing that has a big impact on the characters, like love potions or curses or what have you.
With the new danger of Hitomi essentially ceasing to exist at literally any moment, magic is suddenly center stage, driving the entire plot of the episode, while the character drama is pushed far, far into the background. It also feels like the show is suddenly throwing around a lot of science-fiction-y sounding words, like divergences in the past, falling into time gaps, even an (admittedly quite detailed) text message from a British time-magic researcher about the History fixing force. I’m not watching this show for the techno-babble, guys!
What’s even weirder is how everyone reacts to this information, at once treating it more seriously than I was expecting and way less seriously than they should. Everyone buys in to the problem of Hitomi vanishing within a day of hearing about it, which, good on them. You guys are good friends.
But then they decide, after school and club activities the next day, that they’ll go search for the star-sand Kohaku needs for a few hours that night. They’re extremely… slow and steady about it, I guess? Once they accepted that Hitomi could wink out of existence any second, I was expecting them to go to Defcon 1, calling in favors from mages, enlisting the help of students and parents, begging or buying the high-grade star sand needed, and generally making a big push to send her back as soon as possible. Especially considering she already vanished twice in the same day! Instead it’s treated like just another club activity.
That aside, there’s also Hitomi and Yuito’s relationship, now in serious chrono-peril. For some reason, though, the show opts to go for a high-drama characters-running-at-full-tilt orchestra-swelling emotional climax as Hitomi runs to find Yuito and throw herself into his arms.
This is treated as if Hitomi is fleeing from the evil empire to be with her one true love, like it’s a huge breakthrough for her to be able to see him one… last… time. Except that, y’know, they can call each other on the phone, walk to each other’s houses, and will be attending school and the cultural festival together the next day. It’s… weird, and doesn’t feel like the scene that we’ve been building to between these two. It felt forced, in a word.
Aside from all that, the show still has its nice visuals; I really like how Yuito’s drawing for the cultural festival is coming along.
Some of the other characters also had a few moments that showed off the personal growth they’ve undergone over the course of the series. There are many little things to like behind the shadow of the looming time crisis. The one question that’s really going to stick with me, though – what on earth kind of play is this class putting on?