Annotated Anime: Wizard Barristers, Episode 7


In which Natsuru finally gets a reason for her bitchface

This week the Barristers head to America for training, which means that there's a serial killer around every corner and hitchhikers stand in the middle of the road, because that's just how we roll here. Cecil and Natsuru take a long road trip that Natsuru has every right to be pissed to hell and back about, and the two just happen to run across a hitch-hiker on a Canadian highway who just happens to be a Japanese law student, and also just happen to run into some Shark Law folks at a diner in East Nowheresville, Ontario. It's a small world after all.

Nom Mook Muck Coffee

Why can't I find any of that delicious "Moon Muck" brand coffee that Nana Genie is drinking? I live in 'Murica!

As many ridiculous contrivances as there are in this episode, I should point out that I do think most of them are explicable by the fact that everything that happens on this show is ALL. ABOUT. CECIL. Anywhere Cecil goes, the Macal cult is probably tailing her and arranging all sorts of strange happenings in the attempt to make her develop more of her dormant powers, so none of this is really coincidence. That said, even though I understand the reason for most of it, this episode is still hella contrived-- even by Wizard Barristers standards.

Things start off on a promising note with Quinn investigating Stabler's mass-murder-in-the-guise-of-self-defense from last episode. After talking to a lab tech, she realizes that the thugs' shots somehow missed Stabler, even though they were shooting at point-blank range, yet all of his shots mysteriously connected. Given how much attention this show typically pays to the details of criminal investigations (i.e., none), I'm pleasantly surprised that ballistics even exist in this world. In any event, now that Quinn definitely suspects that something is up with her partner, I am legitimately curious how this is going to play out. I wonder: is Stabler prepared to get rid of Quinn if she starts digging? Or does he have genuine affection for his partner, meaning he could find himself with his loyalties dangerously split?

Also continuing from last episode, Cecil thanks Stabler for filing the appropriate paperwork so she could use magic without getting fined, and gives him a gift: a charm associated with the Archangel Michael, the patron angel of police officers and paramedics. Um, I guess it's a nice gesture, but isn't that...strangely personal? If I didn't know better, I'd say she was hitting on the guy. Can't say I agree with her taste, but when her only alternatives are a geriatric perv, the guy who pitches for the Hachi Mitsu Bun Buns and the creepy Shark Law mouthbreathers who all look at her like she's made out of bacon, I guess Stabler is looking better all the time.

The Barristers, sans Moyo and Ageha, head to Boston for training at an American law firm; Hachiya says the trip is only going to be for "Five days and three nights," which I'm pretty sure doesn't really work unless a TARDIS is involved somehow, but whatever. Cecil has some flashbacks on the plane about her mother, but frankly I have no interest in Cecil's doomed mother and you shouldn't either, so let's move on to this:

Really? Seriously?

Lady, you had ONE JOB.

The group is told that this training exercise is supposed to teach both parties about the differences between the American and Japanese Courts for Magic, and you know, that's actually kind of interesting. Is the American version the same Kangaroo Court variety they have in Japan, or are different Courts for Magic perhaps a little more genuine? Sadly, we'll never know, because this episode isn't actually about the training at all; it's about Cecil and Natsuru being stuck in a Volvo together for two days, but we'll get to that in a second.

Of course, because it's America and America is OMG DANGEROUS, the group is barely even out of the airport before they receive this warning:

Danger Mouse

You know what? Yes, America does have a much higher rate of violent crime than Japan does, and that is certainly a matter of serious concern for all involved, on multiple levels. But in my experience, you have to be off the plane for at least an entire day, maybe two, before a cop stops you to ask if you've seen the latest serial killer. Do your research, Wizard Barristers.

At Helsing Law (ok, that's cute), the Barristers are warmly received-- especially Cecil, as the youngest Wizard Barrister in history. It's a good thing that Natsuru's powers have nothing to do with fire; otherwise the slow-burning resentment that she's had towards Cecil for the whole show would be lighting the entire Eastern Seaboard ablaze by this point. Anyway, the training is covered in a sufficiently vague montage that we have no idea what anyone learned, then the group is left with some spare time for sightseeing. Cecil is given leave to go visit her family home in Canada, even though that's really not convenient in the slightest since Boston is not actually all that close to Canada, but that's okay since everything is ALL. ABOUT. CECIL.

Now, here's where things get really bizarre. The group doesn't want Cecil to go to Canada by plane, because she has a tendency to get involved in "strange incidents." They decide the best way for Cecil to go is to do an 11-hour drive to Lake Superior, by car, with an unwilling Natsuru driving her. First of all, the whole idea that Cecil will be safer taking a road trip to Canada than she would be on a plane is stupid, and second of all, talk about being super-disrespectful to Natsuru. I know she's awful and we all pretty much hate her, but telling her that she should use her sightseeing time to chauffeur Cecil around is like an acknowledgement from the senior partners that they don't give a shit about her compared to Cecil. What if Natsuru wanted to go sightseeing in Boston with Tsunomi and the rest? The New England Aquarium is in Boston! You can have special up-close "encounters" with the penguins there and everything!

Excuse me?

I'm giving Natsuru a retroactive pass for bitchiness, because pre-cognitive Sasori must have told her that this episode was going to happen and she was going to miss out on the penguins.

But wait, it gets worse: we know that Natsuru and Cecil are given a company credit card, because they use it to buy gas. Only, when night falls, they decide to camp out because they "don't have the money" to stay somewhere. Wait, so the Helsing Law people gave them a company car and a corporate card and sent them on a road trip that takes more than one day, but told them they're not allowed to pay for a motel? And furthermore, haven't they just established that America is a veritable hotbed of serial killers and rapists, yet they think two girls sharing a tent by the side of the road is a good idea? FURTHERMORE, if you pay attention during the scene while the girls are shopping at the Kmart-like place, you can see that Natsuru has a camp stove and charcoal in her cart. So the ladies couldn't spring for an inexpensive motel room, but they have enough money to buy all the supplies for camp cooking, which had to have cost at least $60, if not more? I just, I don't...what? Really?

The two also pick up a hitch-hiker, Kaede, who just happens to be Japanese and a Wizard Law student. As I noted above, I think the oh-so-convenient factor can probably be explained by the fact that Macal (or possibly even another party) planted Kaede there. Nana Genie shows signs of being suspicious of her, but being Nana Genie, he's probably just angling to get a better look at her butt. Anyway, after picking up Kaede, Cecil and Natsuru strangely start acting like she's their bosom buddy whom they've known for years...to the point that they let the newcomer sleep in the tent with them. I repeat, really? Sure, Cecil's an idiot, but shouldn't Natsuru at the very least be familiar with the whole "stranger danger" thing?

I should probably mention that while all this is going on, we do learn more about Cecil and Natsuru. Cecil's revelations were all things we had pretty much already surmised if not been told outright, but Natsuru's reveal that she's in love with a college professor was new information. Who wants to take bets that the college professor is a member of Macal, meaning that even Natsuru's love interest cares way more about Cecil than her? What, no takers?

After the entirely unnecessary camping scene, the trio has breakfast in a diner, where they run into the robber/murderer they were warned about earlier in the episode. Wow, what are the odds of them running into a guy they last heard about 500 miles ago, and in an obscure little diner north of the Canadian border no less? Just keep telling yourself: Macal set all this up. Probably. Maybe? Things are about to get messy, but the two main Shark Law guys are on hand to take care of the ruffian. Apparently "Let's put Cecil in a life-threatening situation and see if she uses her powers" is not on the agenda for this particular morning.

Stranger Danger

Want to go to a Denny's in America, Japanese tourists? THINK TWICE, because this guy is here for the Grand Slam Breakfast and possibly your life.

So, uh, yeah...that was an episode of Wizard Barristers with no lawyer stuff, very little action, and even less internal consistency than usual. On the plus side, we learn that Natsuru is a pretty competent auto mechanic, meaning my Dad is probably in love with her, and that her glacier-sized grudge against Cecil was perhaps justified all along. Next episode, we supposedly learn a secret about Cecil and her father; I'm guessing her father isn't her biological father because her "real" father is like Deamondo the ArchMage, the greatest Wizard who ever lived or some such bullshit, but we'll see.

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Karen Mead
Karen MeadContributor   gamer profile

Hi, I'm a former newspaper journalist who got tired of having a front row seat to the death of print. There probably could be some interesting story there about a disenchanted reporter moving on ... more + disclosures



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