Magical Girl Raising Project – Mid Season Review
Magical Girl Raising Project:
Original Air Dates: October 1st, 2016 – ???
Synopsis: Magical Girl Raising Project is a popular phone game that just about ever girl seems to be playing. Girls enthralled by the Magical Girl genre are especially hooked, such as one Himekawa Koyuki, who’s dreamed of being a magical girl since she was a tot. However, the game is more than just a game, as one of every 10,000 girls is granted the chance to become a real life Magical Girl. Koyuki lucks out and is granted such a power, allowing her to strive to become the most authentic and true version of a magical girl possible. Just as she’s getting to know the other lucky girls tasked with bringing happiness, peace and heroism to the world, things take a dark and twisted turn when Koyuki and the rest are informed that the Magical Girl population is to be cut in half.
Mid Season (6 episodes) Review (Warning: Some Spoilers to Follow):
Linny: There have been a lot of accusations thrown at Magical Girl Raising Project (hereforth refered to by me as MGRP) of being little more than a Madoka rip-off thanks to its dark take on the magical girl theme. While the comparisons are understandable, MGRP has every right to stand on its own and shake off all those accusations. Yes, there are SOME similarities but there are just as many, if not more differences between this show and Madoka and this is coming from someone who considers Madoka one of her all time favourites. In the case of MGRP, the girls aren’t all best friends with each other. Right off the bat, we see that they are divided into factions and soon are turned against each other. A lot of the magical girls are anything but the norm with their personalities being selfish and self serving rather than the kind hearted or noble stereotypes we’re used to.
Tom: Indeed Madoka Comparisons don’t seem entirely fair. While there are immediate and noticeable similarities, Magical Girl is more interested in doing its own thing, offering a more character driven look into the idea of magical girls slaughtering one another. It’s less about a big secret/revelation concerning the entire concept of Magical Girls, although there is a mystery slowly unraveling, and more so centered on how this battle royale impacts each of its many characters. It’s a shame so many have felt compelled to write it off early on, as Magical Girls offers an interesting character study and interpretation of the very concept of Magical Girls.
Linny: If you assumed that the more selfish or ‘evil’ girls have a justified reason for doing so, then you are somewhat right. However, not all of them will end up feeling likeable even with those explanations, and that’s refreshing. They’re not all painted as saints or victims of unfortunate circumstances, giving the show a unique feel. While MGRP doesn’t hesitate to introduce the gorey development early on, it does take a while to build up and reveal itself properly. Even though it was teased in the very first episode itself. it isn’t until 3-4 episodes in that things start to get bloody. Once it starts though, the show isn’t afraid to get brutal and actually gets pretty creative with how bloody and twisted the story and the deaths become.
Tom: Magical Girl’s big issue though is that slow build. Even by the midpoint we’ve only just really started to see a ramp up in the brutality promised in the show’s very opening scenes back in episode 1. If anything, those opening seconds of footage feel, by this point, almost misleading. The story isn’t so much about the ensuing blood bath, but rather how this battle royale has begun to take its toll and effect the various members of the group. There’s much more focus exploring the characters and their reactions to the calamity before them than there is on the sheer mounting chaos and bloodshed.
Linny: The other major downfall of the show might be how bland its main character is. Not only is she somewhat lacking in personality, but as the show builds up its other magical girls, you’re more likely to find yourself drawn to them instead as they prove to be more interesting while all our main character seems to do is be mostly sad or in need of help. If you find yourself unimpressed by her, the good news is that the supporting cast is so diverse and unique that you are bound to someone that speaks to you. I’d also like to mention that the selection process of the magical girls seems extremely random and without reason for now with some girls seeming to have become magical girls without ever wanting to or even being aware of how to become one. It’s not a huge issue but might irk those who wanted more purpose in the selection.
Tom: Indeed Koyuki, or Snow White, is fairly bland, and perhaps what there is of her portrayal is the biggest similarity to Madoka, a young girl challenged by growing disillusion, sidelined while other characters battle it out. That said, Magical Girl Raising Project has plenty of other characters to find appealing or intriguing. From the cold, but calculating Swim Swim to the sword wielding and valliant La Pucelle, there’s a wide range of varrying personalities.
Linny: MGRP’s best feature is undeniably how diverse its cast of magical girls is. From a magical girl that’s actually a boy to a lesbian couple that isn’t used only for fan service. Not only that, one of the characters is drawn to be slightly plump so hurray for body diversity. Going back to the magical girl-boy, the most recent episode shows that he was actually apprehensive about being a magical girl initially but eventually decides to embrace it with the aim to be his own ideal magical girl. MGRP treats its unique characters with respect and intelligence, making them feel like true characters and not just a cheap attempt at pandering.
Tom: One highlight still is Magical Girl’s widely varying designs for each of the various magical girls themselves. What’s great is how unique each design is, tailored to showcase each of the girl’s characters, especially as we come to understand the origins of the designs they’ve chosen for themselves through learning about their secret identities. There’s subtle elements of each design that become apparent the more we get to know who the girls really are and that helps to sell these characters as true individuals.
Linny: Magical Girls Raising Project might disappoint those who expect an extreme and constant violent and bloody action story based on the intro of its premiere episode. It is definitely a little misleading as the story is so much more about the girls reacting to the new twisted situation they find themselves in rather than just being a parade of gore and violence. There’s also clear allusions that there’s some deeper purpose to the girls being forced into their current situation, which I assume we’ll only find out towards the end of the series. For anyone who wants to see a different dark take on the magical girls trope and a vast cast that consists of several interesting and unique characters, MGRP definitely brims with the potential to emerge as a gem of its own and deserves a fair chance free of accusations of being a Madoka clone.
Tom: One hope I have for Magical Girl Raising Project is a satisfying conclusion. The Light Novel series, to my best understanding, is more an anthology tale, offering glimpses into various other Magical Girl battle royales happening at the same time as Snow White’s ordeal. Unless I’ve been mislead it seems like then this series should come to a true conclusion, rather than a half ending you might normally expect from Light Novel based properities. Right now I’m very positive on Magical Girl, and while I do wish we’d reached the bloodshed a bit earlier, I think it’s far better written than most expected.
Magical Girl Raising Project is available for streaming via Crunchyroll.com