Alice to Zouroku – Episode 8 [The Evil Witch]
“I will teach you some magic words. Use these, and you can grant yourself any wish. Everyone will do as you say. However, you must only use them for good. Do that, and you can be a good witch. But if you use them for evil, you will become an evil witch.”
This episode had a rather refreshing change of pace in that the first half focused on two girls whom we’ve never been introduced to before. The episode also makes continued references to a children’s fairytale about a young girl who’s given magical powers, but the girl uses them for the wrong reasons and becomes an “evil witch”. In a nutshell, that’s what happens to Hatori, albeit unintentionally.
The main characters of the episode are Hatori and her best friend Ayumu. Hatori comes from a troubled home, with parents who often argue. One day Hatori wishes for her parents to get along so they can watch one of Ayumu’s soccer matches together, and that’s when Hatori’s Dreams of Alice power comes into existence.
During the next 24 hours, Hatori uses her new power to make the people around her do her bidding. Ayumu learns of her friend’s “magic”, and together they play some pranks on some of their schoolmates. They make the other students do things like freeze in place and dance. Ayumu is unconditionally supportive of her best friend, which Hatori is grateful for.
However when Hatori goes home, she sees that her parents have become rather grey and lifeless. They are slumped over in their seats and they look like mindless zombies. Hatori realizes that her parents’ happy family act was never real; her powers had made them get along. Hatori decides to run away from home, and Ayumu resolves to go with her friend.
It’s at this point Asahi and Yonaga make an appearance. They’re on their way to visit Sana, and they’re super excited to see their friend again! Except… they’re supposed to meet her at Zouroku’s florist shop, and they’re not quite sure where it is. Sana’s directions were not very good. The twins are determined to find their way without asking for help. But as they get overwhelmed with how to find Sana, they don’t realize that they’re being rather loud. Hatori, who is standing behind the twins, uses her powers to make everyone around them stop moving. She also tells the twins to stand quietly off to the side, showing that even when people are being mind controlled they can still interact with Hatori and Ayumu.
Over at Zouroku’s floral store, Sana emerges from another room to find Zouroku and his assistants all grey and unresponsive. She, understandably, starts to freak out when they don’t respond to her, and she runs out into the street to try to get some help. This causes the people in the street to crowd around her, which just makes her even more upset.
Hatori and Ayumu notice this disturbance and they leave their lookout spot to go and investigate. Sana can’t understand why Hatori and Ayumu are the only ones affected by the spell, whereas Hatori can’t wrap her mind around why Sana isn’t affected.
Sana puts two and two together and tries to activate her power so she can attack Hatori and Ayumu, but it fails. At the same time Hatori tries to use her “magic” against Sana, and the two Dreams of Alice appear to cancel each other out. Sana finally runs out of energy and faints in the street, while Hatori and Ayumu run from the scene.
When she has a moment to properly collect her thoughts, Hatori realizes that it’s not always fun and games using her new powers. Sometimes people get hurt. In this case she’d caused Sana a lot of pain and distress, even though it was unintentional. Hatori reflects on the children’s story of the good witch and laments that she had become an “evil witch.”
My thoughts: I really liked that, for the first time, Sana and Zouroku played really minor roles in an episode. Will we get to see more of Hatori and Zouroku? Who knows. I think it’d be neat to have them come back in another light, like Asahi and Yonaga have.
Also, does Sana’s power fritzing out against Hatori’s mean that both girls are equally matched, or that Hatori’s Dreams of Alice is only as powerful as Sana’s glitched abilities? I think it’d be really interesting if there was another Dreams of Alice owner who was as powerful as Sana. Then again I guess one could argue that Shizuku is already Sana’s equal, if not more powerful.
I guess episodes like this answer my question of how Alice will fill the back half of the season. Again, I have no complaints. Each episode has been unique in its own way, and I’m enjoying watching Sana’s journey as she explores more of the world around her.