Cecil is forced to try her hand at cosplay after she’s caught up in a terrorist attack.
What they Say:
“Episode 6 – Hero Show” – Wizard Barristers takes place in the near future of 2018, where wizards and humans live side-by-side in Tokyo. While police continue to protect the rest of society, wizards are tried according to magical laws in special courts defended by wizard barristers. Cecile Sudo has just become the youngest wizard barrister at age 17, and begins work at the Butterfly Law Offices. However, unbeknownst to her, she has tremendous magical potential…
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers).
Cecil is feeling pretty bummed after costing Butterfly Law a great deal of money in various fines (not registering her new powers in a timely fashion and quickly resorting to magic to solve any and all issues being her major offenses). In order to cheer her up, Tsunomi offers the promise of a fun, “transformative” activity during their weekend off, and Cecil takes her up on it. On her way to meet with Tsunomi, however, Cecil is caught up in a terrorist attack and taken hostage. The terrorists are themselves Wud, leaving Cecil with few magical options to release herself and the other hostages. It looks like she might have to take the advice of her coworkers and attempt to solve her predicament without the use of her magical powers.
Of course, judging by the terrorist leader’s penchant for certain… familiar phrases, it seems as though there might be something a little bit fishy about the terrorist group itself. When the kids discover the costume hidden in Cecil’s bag and realize that it’s a character from a popular sentai series, they beg her to put it on and do “Banbi Pink’s” iconic pose, much to her embarrassment. Having gotten wind of the situation, Tsunomi bursts onto the scene dressed as “Banbi Red” and attempts to turn the situation back into their favor, but cosplay accuracy can be a double-edged sword; her character doesn’t use magic, so neither does she, and she ends up in captivity alongside Cecil.
Things heat up when the police burst into the building, and bullets begin to fly. Cecil is giving permission to use magic and unleashes her diaboloid, which allows her to defeat the enemy and rescue the children being held hostage. Police Inspector Shizumu confronts the terrorist group on his own and some of his own secrets are laid on the table, but a few quick gunshots destroy that evidence. Cecil avoids a heavy fine this time, but the familiars suspect that there might be something odd going on behind the scenes.
There are a lot of otherwise tame anime series that suffer from what I call “that one fanservice episode.” There’s a plot line with a vaguely story-related excuse to get the characters into visually compromising situations when the series itself might otherwise not focus on those kinds of activities. Here, six episodes in, we get “that one fanservice episode” of Wizard Barristers, and while some of the information gleaned during the story portions is actually very relevant to the overall arc of the story, there’s also a copious amount of upskirt shots and costuming choices that really only serve to distract from that fact, and the result is super tedious.
There’s also the added issue of the episode’s tone, which alternates between semi-comical and serious to the point where it becomes unclear just how weighty the new plot “discoveries” are until the episode is almost over. I think that levity can be used to great effect in the right hands and at the right time, but in this case I think a lot of the impact of the drama in later moments was undermined by the silly costumes, the sort of “super villain” dialog that the terrorists had (and which was even lampshaded by the characters in-universe, though it turned out to not really carry much meaning in the end), and the inconsistent blending of sentai tropes into the story itself. Call me peculiar, but I’d sort of rather that silly stuff like this be isolated if it’s not going to contribute anything substantial to the health of the series. I’d love to be able to tell other fans with my same likes and dislikes to “just skip this episode,” since I have generally positive feelings about it overall. Since there are actual relevant bits of information in this episode that keep it from being entirely skippable, though, that’s not really something I could do.
Speaking of major revelations, though, it’s interesting to discover that Inspector Shizumu (who thus far has been a bit of a background character) is leading a double life, hiding his Wud abilities for reasons that could be speculated about but which are thus far unrevealed. How this ties into Cecil and the large number of people who have taken an interest in prompting the expression of her magical abilities is really quite an interesting prospect to me in spite of the other reasons I wasn’t too keen on this episode. And I will say I do appreciate the (probably unintentional) symbolic relationship between the expression of Tsunomi’s more lighthearted “double life” as a cosplayer and Shizumu’s darker hidden side. I just think it could have been approached in a more constructive way.
Cecil remains a popular focus for forces that reside in the dark, lawless reaches of the underworld, though her position as some prophesized wizard hero is so far only unconfirmed speculation. With some familiar characters revealing themselves as helping to pull the strings behind the scenes, the story is starting to become much more compelling, even in spite of this episode’s rampant tonal missteps. Now truly entering the second half, I’m hoping that this qualifies as the show’s last real “silly” outburst and that the rest of the season is spent primarily exploring the fascinating little tidbits we’ve been provided to this point.
Episode Grade: C-
Streamed By: Crunchyroll
Review Equipment: Acer P235H 1080p LCD Monitor connected via DVI input, Logitech S220 2.1 Speakers, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 560