Cendrillon's past is revealed as Fairy Musketeers finally gets stuck into its underlying plot. About time too.
What They Say
Join Little Red Riding Hood, Snow White and Briar Rose from Sleeping Beauty as they are appointed to be guardians of a sealed key which could control a parallel universe inhabited by characters of well-known fairy tales while rebel clan, lead by a she-devil Cendrillon, desperately searches for the Key.
When I was watching the last batch of Fairy Musketeers episodes I reviewed, it seems that I underestimated the importance of one of them: the gang's visit to the town covered by ash, and the girl in the fairy tale that Souta encountered there. That girl makes several returns over the course of these episodes: she now has a name, Marlene, and the story of her separation from the boy she loved and the events that followed that begin to take centre stage in Phandavale's story.
After the worlds were split, separating Marlene from her love, she went away to learn the magic necessary to travel from one world to the other - only to find that, in the interim, her love had apparently forgotten about her and moved on to someone else. There's nothing so fearful as a woman scorned, of course, and in response to her apparent rejection Marlene began learning more and more magic, looking for a way to take revenge on the God who had separated the worlds in the first place.
I say "apparent" there because I can't help but think that Marlene's 'rejection' wasn't quite what it appeared to be, and that that will become a plot point further down the line - but that's speculation on my part. In the meantime, it's Marlene's descent to the dark side that takes centre stage, with the eventual revelation that she's still on the scene today & controlling a lot of the events that are going on around Souta and the others.
The switch away from essentially stand-alone stories to more arc-based ones also signals a darkening of the show's tone - appropriately enough, as most fairy tales are pretty dark anyway when you scratch under the surface, and that's where the series is drawing its inspiration from. This leads to scenes like Souta being targeted by a demon who's impersonating his mother; Snow White falling under the thrall of black magic and becoming almost deliciously evil; and Cendrillon getting personally involved in the efforts to capture Souta, which leads to quite a few casualties. Amongst the bad guys. There are still some lighter moments, usually provided by the Musketeers themselves, but they're far less common than they used to be.
None of this is bad, of course. The series was beginning to lose its way with all the standalone stories, a common problem with magical girl shows, but there's now far more of a feeling that there's a purpose to the stories and an end in sight.
These episodes definitely pick up the pace quite a bit, with some good revelations and a good amount of Cendrillon's backstory filled in, making her far less of a cardboard-cutout villain. There are one or two small disappointments along the way, but nothing too serious - overall, a very enjoyable batch of episodes.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English Subtitles
Apple MacBook Pro 17" with 4GB RAM and Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard.