“In battles between two beings with power beyond human understanding, isn’t it natural that it would come down to kill or be killed?” -Cranberry
Koyuki Himekawa always loved the concept of magical girls ever since she was little. She never outgrew her wish to someday become a magical girl herself, even as a teenager. Recently she started playing an online mobile phone game called Magical Girl Raising Project, which has a rumor surrounding it. The rumor states that there is a one in a few thousand chance that the game will choose its player to become a real life magical girl. Koyuki was chosen for this role and became the magical girl known as Snow White, but it turns out that being a magical girl is not all it’s cracked up to be. When Fav, the game’s mascot, announces that everyone must start competing in order to continue being a magical girl, the group of fifteen magical girls in the area become slightly upset at Fav’s negligence, until further information is discovered on the subject.
Magical Girl Raising Project is a dark fantasy story that began as a light novel series written by Asari Endo in June 2012. The novel series is currently ongoing in Japan, and will begin to be published in English by Yen Press starting June 2017. The 12-episode anime aired during the 2017 fall anime season and is currently available to watch on Crunchyroll. It was animated by studio Lerche.
As for the music, the opening theme “Sakebe” was performed by Manami Numakura while the ending theme “DREAMCATCHER” was performed by Nano. I thought “Sakebe” was only slightly above average when it comes to anime music, but I found that “DREAMCATCHER” was pretty good! I definitely would want to put it on my playlist, and I recommend checking it out.
Despite being a magical girl series, it was aimed at a male demographic, and is a psychological thriller that contains some elements of horror. It also somewhat carries the theme of a survival game.
While a couple early episodes started off lighthearted in tone, the dark atmosphere in Magical Girl Raising Project was always present. At the same time, the creators managed to put in a couple jokes here and there, but they had little effect as the sense of a darker plot drew closer.
The animation is very cute, and befitting of the theme they chose. Even if the anime is a dark fantasy at its core, it’s still magical girl in theme, and thus the cute art style compliments the lighthearted feelings Koyuki wanted to have before things got grim. I personally enjoyed the animation on more than a cute level; I felt that it was really well-done. The gradient colors and shading were very detailed. The eyes of the magical girls are very bright and stand out.
I also enjoyed the visual character designs. Each magical girl has a completely different outfit with a completely different theme, whether it be a nun, witch, ninja, or even a western outlaw. The distinction in characters helps to make them easy to remember, which is important since there is a lot of characters in this show, when you think about how few episodes there are.
As for the characters’ personalities, they were greatly varying as well. Some magical girls had good intentions, while others had bad intentions. Kuudere and tsundere characters appeared, as well as siblings, and characters in love. It was a good array of personalities.
As for the plot, I felt it was very similar to Puella Magi Madoka Magica, and not just because of the two titles sharing the same genres. The mascot character of Magical Girl Raising Project is a black and white creature called Fav, and he shares many similarities to Madoka‘s Kyubey in that they had both planned out all of the tragedies-to-come beforehand in their respective series. Despite this fact, both Fav and Kyubey continued throughout the shows to act innocent and cute as though nothing could be helped.
In addition to this, Koyuki and Madoka as characters are both similar in personality, except I’d say that Koyuki has a bit more character than Madoka. Both of them intend to do what’s right, and that’s all that they want to do. As long as everyone is happy, or even if they just think it, then they act as though all is right with the world. The only thing that sets them apart is that Koyuki actually wanted to become a magical girl, and she chose to become one as soon as the opportunity arose, whereas Madoka spent her entire TV anime pondering over the decision.
In regards to the pacing, I found that it was pretty fast up until episode seven. I don’t think it would be fair to say that it became slow at that point so much as that there was more story during those episodes, as there was more description about the other magical girls’ lives. Actually, I found that the later into the show it got, the more the action and violence increased.
On the topic of violence, Magical Girl Raising Project can be quite gory and graphic, so I wouldn’t suggest it to anyone who has a weak stomach. Of course, anyone who’s seen Attack on Titan should be fine.
I think it is worth noting that there is also a yuri theme in this anime, which reminded me personally of the relationship between Michiru (Sailor Neptune) and Hotaru (Sailor Uranus) from Sailor Moon. I found it to be similar in a number of ways, such as how the pair expressed their love for each other in both feminine and masculine ways.
As far as magical girl anime go, this one is pretty unique. It’s similar to Puella Magi Madoka Magica in ways, but in others, such as animation and character design, not so much.
One of my personal problems with the show is that most of the characters do not get much screen time outside of being a magical girl, so the viewer does not get a good idea of how they lived before becoming a magical girl. There were some good subplot ideas going on, but since their appearances were so short, the emotional impact was limited.
One of the show’s perks are its twists. I insist that there is at least one twist in this show you won’t be able to predict, no matter how good you are at predicting things in anime. I also found that I was on the edge of my seat quite a bit during the first half of the anime when things started to get rolling. As new features to the game were introduced, things got more and more intense.
All in all, I enjoyed Magical Girl Raising Project and I recommend it to anyone who likes a dark fantasy anime. Some guys might think it’s a little too girly for them, but remember, it was aimed at a male target audience in the first place. I think it’s worth giving it a shot.
This was my first anime review on Kyun! Anime. How’d I do?
Would you watch Magical Girl Raising Project? Have you seen it before? If you have, what did you think of it?
I’m eager to read your comments! Also, thanks for reading!