English Dub Review: Radiant “Drops of Friendship -Melie-”

Now that she’s back in the atmosphere, with drops of friendship in her hair…

OVERVIEW (SPOILERS)

Melie greets the morning with her usual cheery smile and odd cardboard cutout friends when Seth crashes in and asks her to teach him magic. Seems Yaga won’t take Seth on as his student until he can show he’s capable of basic magic spells, specifically Meteor Drops (which we saw Alma use on the Nemesis in Episode 3). So, he goes to Melie for help since she showed off how well she could do offensive magic, but that was only possible in her “crazy” state. The only offensive magic she can do normally is by doing the “is this your card” trick but all the cards have racial slurs.

Seth’s next prospective teacher turns out to be Doc, who’s gone to do what many sad, desperate, and middle-aged men do to start the day: flirt with a local barista at a coffee place he frequents, Melba. She’s nice, but she also is kinda forced into the tired cliché of being a nice cute girl who is “experimental” (read: borderline toxic) with her food, in this case, her tea. She also has an overprotective father, so that checks off another box, only he’s a…puppet? Was this a spell that went wrong? Can he return to normal? Is he even her father? Who knows, because everyone basically accepts it.

Anyway, Doc reluctantly helps Seth learn how to conjure Fantasia energy more easily by reading aloud from books, but quits as soon as it starts putting him in physical harm. With no other options, the stress gets to Melie and she turns crazy again, chasing Seth through the streets, leaving destruction in her wake and piling onto Doc’s already titanic debt. But when the debris from one of her attacks almost crushes her, Seth makes use of what he’s learned to finally cast Meteor Drops in order to save her.

So, now Seth can get trained by Yaga and he begins crashing at Melie’s place so he doesn’t sleep in the park anymore.

The moral of the story is: If one of your friends is having a hard time learning basic skills, exploit your mental illness and cause a ton of property damage that puts yourself in danger so your friend will feel compelled to learn!

OUR TAKE

Fun Fact: I read up on some of the comic this is based on and almost none of this episode was in it! Nor any from next week’s episode. Or the next. Or the next. We are six episodes into this twenty-one episode series and we have just hit a filler arc. And considering the padding of the previous episodes, it seems to be a filler arc that is AT LEAST FIVE EPISODES LONG. I remember people giving Black Clover crap for padding the hell out of its first few episodes, but at least they (as far as I know) haven’t had entire episodes full of completely pointless crap. That’s right, I may have found a generic shonen clone in this day and age even worse than Black Clover. Pray for me.

Now, I’m not necessarily against filler in anime adaptations simply on principle. If it’s in a show that’s based on an ongoing manga that the anime is about to catch up with, the filler serves the purpose of providing time for said manga to make room for more content to adapt later on (even if some shows go a bit overboard like Naruto, which do nearly 100 episodes straight of filler or like Bleach, which would stop the story flat with something completely unrelated). Sometimes filler is thrown in to flesh out something underutilized that the manga rushed through. Sometimes it can even be just to give a brief light-hearted interlude before things begin getting serious.

You know when you definitely DON’T need it? When your series is less than two dozen episodes long. Artemis sure seems like a neat place and all, but by this point in the comic, Seth and company are off to some other flying city for a job and getting involved in those shenanigans, so what’s the hold-up?! If the problem is lack of material, why didn’t you just do a 12-13 episode series to start with?

I suppose I should also judge this episode on its own merits, and since it has Melie in the title, you would think that would make her the main focus…and you would be wrong. She certainly has understandable anxiety about her split personality, but that never really factors into the plot until the end, where her being able to switch over to “crazy Melie” is the thing that gets Seth’s lessons to click. Him going to live with her is just kind of thrown in at the last minute, not something that needed resolving or added much of anything to her and Seth’s relationship, which has been going pretty dang well since they met with no real turbulence to speak of. So, even though her name is in the title, it’s not really her episode, so it fails at even trying to be itself.

But hey, next week we get to see Doc get kidnapped by a giant squid! Guess how much of that will develop Doc’s character or factor into any of the plot going forward? If you said “surely at least some”, I hope a meteor drops on you.

Score
3/10

David Kaldor

Green Lynx (David Kaldor): Aimless 20-something given a paid outlet for his thoughts on cartoons. Fears being boring slightly more than being outright disliked.

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