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So episode 3 was a dull Yurine episode. Episode 4 was a passable Chloe episode. And now we’re at the Mana episode. Out of the three girls, she was most interesting to me initially, so how’s it pay off? Well, surprisingly well actually.

 

1) Story:Luck and Logic episode 5

Mana and her goddess, Artemis, run away after Mana opens up a locker to find a letter addressed “To Mom,” but Yurine encourages the others not to worry. Artemis eventually intrudes over Mana’s brooding while watching the happy families walk by, and convinces her to return to the base. Apparently Mana is looking for her parents. Yeah, it’s that kind of story. I think I’m obliged by decency to turn down the snark-o-meter this week.

Yoshichika tries to cheer Mana up and get to know her better, because he’s generic protagonist, but she makes it pretty clear that her heart is not easily won over. All she’s interested in from him is some knowledge about Over Trance.  Then we’re reminded that Mana is a super cool looking sniper, as the group rolls out to take down a level 6.5 snake monster.

Luck and Logic Mana transformation

Unfortunately, the fight goes south fast. Chloe and Yurine bail out almost immediately. Mana manages to get a few shots off, but then has to ditch too. Yoshichika, being a tank, can’t really do much without the DPS characters around. Mana gets poisoned by the snake during the… “fight” seems a little too strong a word. Dust-up?

Mana is taken to a hospital… or the hospital wing of the HQ. You would think they have their own hospital, but later Mana seen sneaking out of just a normal civil hospital. Anyway, she’s resting, and the others are putting together a new strategy when she sneaks out for round two. Heading into the fight, she asks for permission to Over Trance.

Permission is granted, but Yoshichika interrupts at the last second. He says Over Trance isn’t worth the risk, and besides, he’s come up with a brilliant new strategy. “Hey guys, I have this shield thing. Maybe I should uh, distract the monster while the DPS character kills it. It’s almost like I’m a tank or something!” Okay, that’s not a direct quote, but seriously, you needed to regroup for someone to think of this? Is Misato Katsuragi in charge of these operations?

Mana and Yoshichika fly in using Mana’s Moonwalk ability, and Mana shoots the snake in the face at point-blank range. Because… sniper?

 

2) Mechanics:

a) We learn a bit more about Over Trance in this episode. Apparently Yoshichika did it once, when he lost his Logic Card two years ago. And that scene is actually the one from episode 1 that got me hyped about the animation in the first place. Unfortunately, his different battle costume here doesn’t really say anything about Over Trance itself, since he was with a completely different goddess back then, so his combat role and style was probably completely different.

Anyway, apparently the risk of Over Trance is that the user could lose their memories and identity. Yoshichika was lucky to just go a few years without Logicalist powers.

b) Wait, Mana’s special ability is called “Sneak Walk”, and after using it she says, “Into a time of silence.” Except it doesn’t actually make her silent, it makes her invisible, and the monster only catches her because her footsteps and shots are so noisy. Is, “It sounds cool,” really a good enough defense for blatant bullshit?

c) So Chloe, almost singlehandedly, is able to take out an 8.5 monster. Now the entire group can’t even put up a fight against a 6.5? Power levels are bullshit!

 

3) Mana:

Alright, let’s talk about the start for a bit. Honestly, Mana’s development in this episode was just a little bit better than Chloe’s last time, making her the standout character so far, and I think that reason why is because it wasn’t the only focus, and the pieces building up to its climax were not immediately obvious.

Of course there’s the abandoned child aspect, making up the entirety of the episode intro, but after that nothing that happens really stands out as being about furthering her character, which is good because when it does further her character it doesn’t feel forced or like any other part of the episode suffered for it. Most notably, the Over Trance thing. When it’s first brought up, it seems like the writers are only trying to explain the Over Trance mechanic more, and waltz through some of Yoshichika’s backstory at the same time. “Why is Mana asking about this?” is only a small question in the back of your mind. A small question that builds to something big.

When Mana asks for permission to use Over Trance, she’s warned of the danger. She says that that’s exactly why she wants to do it. She wants to forget her past and become a different person. And the episode not focussing exclusively on her the whole time helps make this understandable. We’re told near the beginning that Mana still goes to the locker where she was abandoned, and leaves a letter for her mom in hopes that she’ll come back for her. That’s been going on her entire life. There is no trigger to her depression in this episode, it’s always just been something she’s had to live with. It’s the background music of her life. So it’s good to have here be more the backdrop to the episode, rather than the star of it. It helps the viewer connect to that continuation of one situation, rather than the changing moods of Yurine or Chloe in previous episodes. It also helps that Mana was saved for last.

On the other hand, the turnaround for her character after Yoshichika shows up and tells her not to Over Trance is kinda dull. As best I can tell, her change of heart came from the fact that he was willing to risk his life to protect her, so she finally recognized him, and the others, as her new family. A good sentiment, but it wasn’t built up well, and Mana’s been living with the others for about a year at this point; have none of them risked their lives for her in a fight before? We know that they’ve tried to be family to her.

Luck and Logic episode 5 Artemis

If no one else, Mana should have warmed up to Artemis

 

4) Animation:

a) We finally get a really good set-up for that battle choreography I’ve been rattling on about, fighting a snake monster in a big by enclosed sewer-like area with lots of levels and catwalks. Then our most mobile character, Chloe, has to ditch out before the fight even starts.

The animation makes some use of this location with Mana’s sniping, but even that is so lack-luster and short lived that I don’t even have a decent screenshot to support it with.

Luck and Logic episode 5 Mana

Though, this shot of Mana was too cool to pass up

b) Round two is a more long winded fight, but less visually interesting. Like I said, they fly in. Not landscape, no struggle for advantageous position; just dodging through a bullet (snake) storm until they were close enough to fire.

 

Conclusion:

Luck & Logic episode 5 finally has some nice, but not perfect, character work. It’s good enough that that alone is worth watching, which is fortunate because everything else continues to be a disappointment. Hopefully, with the character basics done (if they really are done), next time we’ll start getting into the meat of the story, which might actually be good. Still, if the animation doesn’t get some good direction going soon, I’m going to have to call the show overall skippable. Animation is where Luck & Logic should be standing out, and without it, the occasional bit of good character work is nice, but lots of anime have good characters.

Don’t Lose Your Way

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