It feels like it’s been ages since we’ve gotten a proper Mikan-focused episode (except for the extended cockroach-killing sketch from last week, but that hardly counts). With summer vacation officially over for our girls, it’s Mikan’s time to officially begin her tenure as Momo and Shamiko’s classmate. The results are, as you probably all expected, very sweet (and very sad).
As we’ve known for a while now, Mikan’s curse isn’t just a source of occasional comedic tomfoolery; it’s actually quite the tragic circumstance. Yes, her father made this devil’s bargain to protect Mikan from harm, but the long-term consequences of her curse have made it very difficult for Mikan to make friends or even feel at home anywhere, since every new person and place is simply another potential target to get caught up in Mikan’s collateral damage. Like every other character in The Demon Girl Next DoorMikan is an adorable and bubbly character who has had to deal with some genuinely painful hardships, and I’m loving that the show is making sure each of the girls is getting enough time in the spotlight to explore these conflicts as the season draws to a close.
Lucky for Mikan, the people at Momo and Shamiko’s school (not to mention the whole town) are incredibly chill about the presence of magical girls, demons and otherworldly creatures. One of the funniest jokes comes from Mikan’s class introduction, where she goes to great lengths to explain her magical background and the nature of the curse, and all of the girls in class just want to ask her about her favorite snacks and what kinds of clubs she wants to join. One of my favorite ongoing bits in TDGND is that the regular people of this world have apparently dealt with so much bonkers magical girl anime nonsense that literally nobody is phased when they learn, for instance, that Mikan’s body is a magical projection, and her cute fruit bow is a fully manipulatable extension of her being. Also, it’s just great getting to watch our heroines interact with more of their classmates. More Anri screentime is always welcome, but it never hurts to remind your audience that there’s a whole world out there for the girls to protect (you know, when they’re not busy with the usual shenanigans).
Of course, the more regular people that Mikan lets herself get close to, the more chances there are for the curse to go haywire and get people hurt. It’s obviously heartbreaking for Mikan’s curse to go and wreck things just when she was starting to find her groove with the Sports Club, but it’s even more heartbreaking when all of the girls go out of their way to show their support and ion for Mikan. The poor girl is so used to her inevitable self-exiles that it’s almost worse when people don’t just outright blame her for the curse’s damage, because those are the kinds of friends that Mikan would never forgive herself for letting down.
Thankfully, Mikan’s newest pals aren’t just any old friends, they’re Shamiko and Momo! This means that, instead of Mikan running away from home yet again, she can have the friendly neighborhood succubus (and her loyal Dark Peach vassal) invade her dreams and solve this curse once and for all. Not only is it an appropriately sweet direction for this little arc to go, it’s a great way to give the season finale just enough stakes to feel properly climactic. Will Shamiko and Momo be successful in their quest? We’ll just have to wait and find out next week—though my money is on yes, obviously, because these wonderful girls can do anything, and I don’t even want to in a version of reality where we believe The Demon Girl Next Door would break my heart and let the Shami-crew fail.
Odds and Ends
• Momo is in the “Get Surrounded By Cats Committee”, which is officially the best extra-curricular club of all time.
• The scene of Momo frantically flailing her hands to try and convince everyone that her club is a super important and necessary function is wonderful.
• We get another glimpse at pre-demonification Shamiko this week, and it proves two things: The first is that the poor kid really was a barely functional mess back then, and the second is that Anri has always been a hell of a good friend.
• I love that Momo has just casually become an expert craftswoman on account of having to make so many spare doll bodies for Lilith.
The Demon Girl Next Door Season 2 is currently streaming on HIDIVE.
James is a writer with many thoughts and feelings about anime and other pop-culture, which can also be found on Twitterhis blog, and his podcast.