Elaina travels to Mage Country, where she almost immediately becomes crashed into by a novice magician, causing the pair to drop dozens of feet onto a roof below them. After repairing the damage and encouraging the girl to fly more carefully, Elaina floats off to find lodging, only to be turned away from every major hotel and inn until she arrives at a small establishment where the same girl, who gives her name as Saya, works. Only after taking advantage of Saya’s employee discount does Elaina realize that she’s lost the brooch identifying her as a full witch, and resolves to find it. In the meantime, she also agrees to give Saya some lessons in magic to help in her upcoming apprenticeship exams. But not everything in Mage Country is as it seems…
I’m not sure what to make of this show yet. Like, it’s not bad, but, at this point, I have a lot of questions.
For instance: What is this yuri bait? Elaina seems oblivious to it, which I can’t complain about, but we are apparently to believe that Saya saw her for the first time from a significant distance and immediately thought “That’s the young woman I want to trick into being in a relationship with me” (maybe she has a thing for platinum hair). Perhaps that’s not fair, though, since it’s plausible that she was gauging Elaina’s reaction to the initial impact before deciding whether to offer the brooch back immediately, and found her target’s temperament to be amenable to the long con.
As an aside, for someone that comes off as sheltered as Elaina does, she leveraged Saya’s contrition into a cash discount with surprising speed, and was on top of paying a bystander for information. She also managed to offload her share of distasteful mushrooms onto her student with nothing but a smirk after the fact, and even referred to a strategy that she used during her own apprentice exams as “underhanded”. So far it’s still a little endearing on balance, but I do hope her bratty tendencies taper off.
Another question: How does Mage Country actually work? Like, what’s the density of magic users here? It seemed like there were quite a few. What sectors of the economy do they dominate? I feel like, once you reach the point where you have enough witches to take care of the usual amount of problems best tackled by witches, they’d start having to branch out into other fields, where each one could probably do the work of several people (and their buying power is already lopsided due to getting discounts everywhere). Since it seems like only women have the capacity to wield magic, [edit: nevermind]
How does the moon work?
Let me start over. When Saya requests Elaina’s help, and says that her next exam is a week away, the moon is slightly crescent. When Elaina confronts Saya, it’s full, which would mean (on Earth) that about ten days would have passed. More instruction is even implied to happen afterwards, and no mention is ever made again of the exam which Saya spoke of on the first night. I guess step one could have been to forget about taking the immediate exam and focus on the one coming in six months (many Professional Engineer exams are held twice a year), but that wasn’t explicit. Also, battle royale? Really? I guess that’s one way to keep apprentices from flooding the market.
Furthermore, the illuminated portion of the moon in the above shot (and in a shot that appears a couple of minutes prior) is perfectly horizontal. Because of the amount visible, the sun would have to be about forty-five degrees off of the line of sight to put the rest of the moon in shadow, which would mean that it would have to be in the sky. At least they followed the first two of my three moon rules (no stars in the shadow; points opposite each other).
After an intriguing first episode, I feel like the show has ventured a little out of its depth in episode two. I saw the twist coming from a ways away, too, but that might be a symptom of cynicism. Color me interested, but wary.