Let the culling commence!
Okay, no one’s actually killed anyone (yet). All Fav has officially stated is that the roster of sixteen magical girls needs to get halved so he’s having everyone collect “candies” and whoever has the least amount gets, ahem, canned. On paper, it sounds like a simple competition but let’s not kid ourselves, this is going to escalate and this episode provided a lot of signs. How convenient that Top Speed mentions that magical girls are the only people who can kill magical girls. Hmmm…..
I guess Magical Girl Raising Project is a bit on the nose with its direction but in its defense, anime audiences have also gotten “trained” by the dark magical girl craze of the 2010s (or at the very least, Madoka). Give credit where its due, I always thought MahouIku at least had a solid set-up going on here. The main conflict being a competition has serious battle royale potential and even in just two episodes, you get a clear sense of who could cause a ruckus and who might get a bullseye painted on their head.
It comes to no surprise that Snow White quickly becomes the “favorite” in this race. It’s not something she is consciously vying for but because she strives to be a noble magical girl like the ones she loves in media, she just keeps helping people in need. Even without La Pucelle, someone with actual combative powers, Snow White is still more than willing to take on tasks on her own. Simply put, she’s really good at this magical girl business.
Naturally, Snow White’s hard work is attracting a lot of attention from civilians and, more importantly, the other magical girls. Ripple seems to be pretty curious about her though if anyone is actually envious, it’s the regal looking Ruler (Yoko Hikasa). With a whole gang of magical girls at her command, Ruler seems adamant about winning the competition. Not only does she get annoyed when her underlings aren’t getting enough candies, she also finds Snow White’s insane lead to be an eyesore. This character is definitely worth keeping an eye on for now.
As someone who didn’t get too far into MahouIku originally, I’m still wondering how Ripple will ultimately factor into the story. For now, I find her scenes to be pretty interesting especially when she’s interacting with her partner, Top Speed (Yumi Uchiyama). The latter’s peppiness is a nice contrast to Ripple’s stoic and angst-filled personality and I like how she flat out calls her partner a “tsundere”, even if it’s on the nose. Actually, Top Speed might really be on the mark there as you do see in a flashback scene, Ripple readily protecting her from Calamity Mary, a Western-themed magical girl who takes some pot shots on the two.
I’m curious if calling Ripple a “tsundere” extends beyond mere pandering. When she transforms back into her civilian identity, Kano Sazanami, you see her deleting text messages from her mother. The first episode’s eyecatch also mentions her strongly disliking the person too. Maybe Ripple has attachment issues?
It takes a lot for me to like a character who comes and goes in just one episode so I have to hand it to MahouIku with how they handled Nemurin (Yumiri Hanamori). How she becomes the first victim of the competition is pretty cruel. Her ability to enter people’s dreams makes her ill-suited for real world tasks and because she only works in dreams, none of the candies she earns in them are actually real. Some might find her getting the axe to be predictable and I’m inclined to agree but because the game got so rigged against her, I found myself sympathizing with her anyway. Having Snow White become friends with Nemurin also helped. It’s a simple yet relatable online friendship and it’s a shame that it’s short-lived.
Also, that dream where Nemurin meets a girl admiring Ruler…we might want to keep that in mind…
When I first watched MahouIku, I expected the show to go with some shocking imagery to cement its dark turn. I feel like that tends to be the case with dark magical girl anime. Even Madoka, one of my favorite anime of all time, still pulled off a remarkably disturbing turnaround in its third episode. With that in mind, I was and still am impressed with how “modest” MahouIku‘s big shock scene is. Just seeing Nemurin’s hand hanging from the bed as her mother stumbles upon her lifeless body is a haunting enough of an ending. However I end up feeling about this anime as a whole, I’ll still consider this first death scene one of its strongest moments.
English Dub Comments
This episode definitely gave me a stronger impression on the dub so here’s a more extensive take from me.
I didn’t realize I wanted Ruler to sound British or Calamity Mary to sound Southern…but thank goodness Funimation went with accents anyway. It feels so appropriate given the individual aesthetic given to the characters. And on their own, I think Emily Neves and Mikaela Krantz sound great as Ruler and Mary respectively. Now, I can see the accents feeling out of place when/if we see these characters in their secret identities so that is the only caution I hope the dub crew exercises.
Lindsay Seidel and Sarah Wiedenheft got more screentime as Top Speed and Ripple respectively and I’m liking their performances. I’m randomly glad that Ripple still does the “tch” sound whenever she’s annoyed. I just remember liking that quirk when Manami Numakura did it and it’s nice that Wiedenheft is following suit. Something that did initially throw me off was hearing Top Speed call Ripple a “noob”. I was not expecting that kind of vocabulary for that character but the more I thought about it, the more it strangely does fit and Seidel’s delivery does make it feel naturally.
I was pretty surprised to see Amanda Lee as Nemurin though that’s not because I think she’s miscasted. Rather, I’ve been following Lee’s Youtube channel for years and somehow, I’ve been oblivious to her recent success in voice acting. Anyway, I adore Lee’s dreamy delivery as Nemurin. A huge shame she won’t play the character a whole lot because…you know.
Thanks for reading!
Magical Girl Raising Project is officially available on Crunchyroll.
For all of my Episode Reviews for Magical Girl Raising Project, check out the show’s archive page!
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