Magical Girl Raising Project is an anime that aired in Fall 2016. Why am I covering it in Summer 2018? Well, the show is finally getting an English dub thanks to Funimation and the company is currently streaming it weekly for this season. It’s a little odd but it does give me an excuse to finally finish the show. Yeah, this is yet another anime from the backlog. I got to about five episodes, dealt with college, and now it’s been almost two years since the show finished. Since I’m starting all over again with the dub, I figured why not cover the anime for my blog while I’m at it? Who knows, this could be a nice change of pace from my efforts to stay current. Here goes nothing!
If you’re new and you went into MahouIku skeptical of its cutesy appearance, don’t worry! Everyone who saw it in 2016 thought there was something suspicious about the show from day one. I know I did. It’s the natural thing to assume in this post-Madoka Magica world. Unless you’re an established franchise like PreCure, you never know if someone is trying to pull a 180 on you.
I suppose the bloodied cold opening and dramatic OP were dead giveaways but even then, there were some telling signs that MahouIku was chasing that Madoka money. The main protagonist, Koyuki Himekawa (Nao Touyama) is happily playing the titular “Magical Girl Raising Project” game on her phone. Then one day, the app’s mascot, Fav (Kurumi Mamiya), grants her the power to become an actual magical girl. If that doesn’t scream “Kyubey” to any Madoka fans, I don’t know what will. Even if it fell on deaf ears, there is still a suspicious air to the ending where Fav reveals that the abundance of magical girls must now be thinned. How you may ask? Well, I’ll refrain from spoiling since this is just Episode 1 but let’s just say that the show has to get to get dark somehow.
In a way, MahouIku has a double-edged sword here. Nothing could shock audiences the way Madoka did and if it tried to, you’d end up with something deplorable like Magical Girl Site. I can’t blame MahouIku for telegraphing itself with its beginning because it’s not like it was going to be a big surprise anyway. Then again, what matters most is if the show can execute its conceit well enough and to be honest, I always thought it was off to a decent start.
The anime does a good job showing how noble Koyuki is as her alias, Snow White. She’s always admired the trope’s sense of justice and lives up to it by helping others. Her feats are admittedly menial — save a cat from a tree, help an old lady up the stairs, etc. — but that actually shows what a good person she is. She’s a community helper who just so happens to have superpowers and at the end of the day, that’s kind of selflessness a magical girl should have. Even her special ability reflects this quality as Snow White is able to telepathically hear the thoughts of those in need. It’s solid set-up that could make for a good conflict with what MahouIku ultimately has in store. As the show gets darker, you have to wonder if this is an attribute Koyuki can keep up and more importantly, if it’s an aspiration the other magical girls share.
Which brings me to another point about the show. There are sixteen magical girls in the cast which is an awful lot to feature for a single cour anime. Even with my original run with the show, I still wasn’t sure how it could handle such a large cast. For now, MahouIku does the smart thing of just focusing on Koyuki for the first episode before introducing her to just a handful of peers at the end. I heard that Ripple (Manami Numakura), the ninja looking one, is an important character but I never got that far so I’m still curious what her role is. The one who seems to hit off immediately with Snow White is the knight-themed girl, La Pucelle (Ayane Sakura), who is actually Koyuki’s childhood friend, Souta.
Yep, there’s a boy who is secretly a magical girl in this show. This is something that I still like about MahouIku. Some of its characters aren’t actually teenage girls. Some are younger, some are older, one happens to be a young boy. It’s something to keep in mind since knowing the characters’ secret identities do explain why some of them act the way do. Also nice are the character designs. Every magical girl looks distinct from each other, some are even atypical from what you expect to see in this genre. If nothing else, this show has variety going for it.
I could end up loving Magical Girl Raising Project or I could end up hating it. Either way, I now have a perfectly good excuse to finally finish it and hopefully, this series of Episode Reviews will be a fun ride.
I almost didn’t comment on the “SimulDub” but I figured why not since I’ll be primarily watching the show dubbed. Granted, with such a large cast, it’s hard to fully gauge the dub. I remember really liking Nao Touyama as Koyuki (Shimarin, is that you?) but I think Megan Shipman fits the character quite well. Her voice sounds older but it captures her characters’ nobility and aspirations. Katelyn Barr gets decent time to play La Pucelle and she strikes an appropriate register given the character’s secret identity. The one performance that actually took me a while to get used to was Anastasia Munoz as Cranberry. Munoz captures the monotone voice like Megumi Ogata does but I don’t know, it’s a much deeper voice than I expected.
OP: “Sakebe” by Manami Numakura
This OP may be a slight giveaway to the show’s tone but it’s still pretty good. Numakura’s vocals are solid and I like how that there’s barely any action in the intro.
ED: “Dreamcatcher” by Nano
This is actually one of my favorite EDs from 2016. I’m always in the mood for a song by Nano and this combined with the visuals was a nice reprieve from some of the more intense scenes I remember watching.
Thanks for reading!
For all of my Episode Reviews for Magical Girl Raising Project, check out the show’s archive page!
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