Final Score: 7
Magical Girl Raising Project is a popular web game in Koyuki Himekawa’s world. Advertisements include a message that every so often some players become real magical girls. Koyuki has always dreamed of being a magical girl and picks up the game on a whim. It couldn’t hurt, right? Koyuki’s life turns upside down the day Fav (MGRP’s mascot) appears and grants Koyuki real magic. Now she, and fifteen other girls, are tasked with collecting magical candies. Things take a dark turn however when Fav announces that sixteen is too many magical girls so the developers have decided to cut the number in half.
Animated by studio LERCHE (Danganronpa the Animation, Assassination Classroom), Magical Girl Raising Project never lies about itself unlike other dark magical girl shows such as Madoka Magica (which tried to look innocent until the very well-known scene in episode three) or Yuki Yuna is a Hero. Instead MGRP takes a group of girls who could be doing good with their powers and pits them against each other in a fight to the death. Watching each girl come to terms with what this means is interesting, especially when you think about how different each girls’ response is.
And as morbid as that may sound, LERCHE makes it look beautiful. The animation/art style is softer than some of their other works and is more reminiscent of their work on School-Live. Each magical girl has their own feel and personality which isn’t always common. For example shows like Sailor Moon feature the girls in different colored version of the same outfit. Here the outfits match the girls personality, viewpoints, and talents. From Sister Nana to La Pucelle, each girl has an outfit to match them. La Pucelle, for example, not only dresses like a knight but also has a magical sword and values things such as chivalry. Koyuki, known as Snow White, has a design that exemplifies the the idea of a magical girl: a light, pure colored sailor suit that helps highlight her belief in helping others.
While a nice touch this really ends up being wasted potential for Magical Girl Raising Project. Each girl has their own unique outfit, style, and power but the plot pushes them around mercilessly and they are gone too quick for it to really matter. There are sixteen girls: our main character Snow White as well as Nemurin, Ruler, La Pucelle, Magicaloid 44, Yunael, Minael, Weiss Winterprison, Sister Nana, Calamity Mary, Top Speed, Ripple, Hardgore Alice, Musician of the Forest, Cranberry, Tama and Swim Swim. That’s a lot of girls and twelve episodes isn’t a lot of time to get to know them.
This isn’t the only flaw of the show as the plot is rather lackluster. If you know anything about the source material for this show you would know that the light novel it is based off is still going. How is that if these girls are fighting for life and death? Where can this possibly go? The show barely gives an answer and it isn’t a highly satisfactory one either but luckily I found the journey good enough to forgive the mediocre ending. After all watching the girls react to each new challenge and bizarre rule turn Magical Girl Raising Project into some weird reality TV show. Like a life or death version of Survivor, I may not like every character but I tune in each week to see who will end up on top.
This post is part of a series, A Magical Year. The goal is for me to do 52 reviews of magical girl anime in 2017. This is my first review. To learn more and find out how to join in visit my announcement here.