Well, as it turns out the outcome I thought was teased at the beginning of the show was a complete misdirection. What I thought was Snow White losing her mind, was in fact a look at Cranberry’s entrance exam.
From what we can gather, Cranberry was a previous entrant to these magical girl trials. It also seems that previous trials centered around the girls working to defeat a single monster. I would assume whomever survives or lands a killing blow would receive magical favor.
During Cranberry’s entrance exam, the demon-monster-thing that was summoned by Fav’s previous master was too powerful and kills everyone but Cranberry instantly. Cranberry in turn destroys the monster, and Fav recognizes her as his new master since his previous one was killed. Fav mentions that he is bored of the typical exams, so we have to assume that most magical girl screenings run similarly to Cranberry’s trail.
While the scene sheds light on our original cold open, I do still wonder why these girls are even needed. Furthermore, what is this monster they summoned? It surely can’t be an arbitrary test subject since the master of the trial was killed by it.
Back in the present, we get to see Swim Swim defeated by Cranberry who distracted Swim long enough to blow her away using some sort of localized energy blast. Cranberry looks over her prey, and possibly the best death in the entire show happens: Tama kills Cranberry.
It’s crazy, and I can’t believe I didn’t think about using Tama’s power in this way before. Tama hits Cranberry from behind- and thus digs a hole that tears Cranberry apart. It was really very cool, and I loved this application from Tama. It’s genius, and I’m surprised no one thought of it before.
Tama is happy she saved Swim Swim, who had turned into her human self after Cranberry’s blast. Swim comes to and slits Tama’s throat because Swim’s rule is that no one can know who you are in real life.
Poor Tama bleeds out, and we get a glimpse at her sad, pathetic life. She has no talents and everyone in her family dislikes her for it. Only Tama’s grandmother sees that she is worth something, but when the grandmother dies, Tama loses her ground. It makes sense now why she would follow Ruler and Swim so fervently- she just wants someone to praise her and tell her she is valuable in some way.
During this aside, we get to see the softer side of Ruler when she helps Tama read the difficult kanji in the pamphlet she shoved on her. I feel like this additional humanization of Ruler is very important, though late, since we really only see her as a totalitarian leader.
Of course, none of this matters now since Ruler is long deceased, and I feel as if this time could be spent making us care for a character who is still alive.
Fav then appears to Swim claiming her as the new master and Swim accepts. However, the partnership isn’t what Fav is used to- or really wants. Swim refuses to read the materials about being a master and the magical world he is representing.
I actually wonder if this is frustrating for Fav, and is that why he tells Ripple Swim’s weakness to light and sound. Fav should want nothing more than his master to succeed at their work, but if Swim refuses to even learn about what her new role is Fav would be rightly upset since she is granted almost unlimited magical power.
During this episode we get a very much needed realization from Snow White: why is she still alive when she is weak and useless? It’s a wonderful question.
Until this point, I’ve been working off the assumption that Snow White loses her mind and kills people- thus winning the game. However, now that we know that Cranberry was the one in the teaser, I’m really not sure why – or even how – Snow White is in the picture. I’m holding out the hope that she has an awakening and kicks some major butt, though I doubting I’ll get such a wish granted.
I also learned that Ripple actually brought home Top Speed’s body, so there wouldn’t be any investigation into what happened on the rooftops. That actually eases my worries about Top Speed’s death, and I’m happy that she got to go relatively peacefully.
Next episode is the finale, so we will be getting the Ripple and Swim fight we need to make way for why Snow White is even alive still.