Finally, it’s over. And to think I took this long to finish this anime too. I mean, I know why I kept leaving Magical Girl Raising Project in the backlog and I’ve already explained why in my past episode reviews. But man, had I known what was in store for me, I probably would’ve tried to finish when it aired, even amidst college finals. What a ride this proved to be.
Admittedly, there isn’t anything terribly surprising about MahouIku‘s last episode. You only have three magical girls and a tadpole left so really, who do you honestly think is going to win and lose here? Swim Swim and Fav need their comeuppance and Snow White and Ripple need each other. It’s as simple as that. I guess if this show wanted to, it could let Swim Swim win but that would’ve been really dumb and piss off viewers invested in the story. And really, I think this anime’s edge well has already dried up at this point.
That doesn’t stop the final fight between Ripple and Swim Swim from being entertaining though. There’s admittedly some logistics I question. For one, fighting Swim Swim on a rainy day where she can use the puddles to gain the upper hand is just putting yourself at a disadvantage. Plus, if Ripple has a flashbang and she knows light and sound is Swim Swim’s weakness,…why didn’t she just use that at the start of the fight? However, this is the end so I’m basically crying over spilled milk here. The fight choreography is still pretty good and it still feels tense when Ripple was getting hit, not to mention losing an eye and an arm in the process. One detail I really love is Ripple donning Top Speed’s cape; it really empathizes how personal this fight is for her. Her using Calamity Mary’s weapons is a bit strange, however, if only because I wonder when she procured those.
You know, I’m really surprised that we’re not treated with one last flashback scene as Swim Swim’s death becomes imminent. After spamming that trick like there’s no tomorrow, I didn’t think this anime could resist the temptation to use it again. Sure there’s a repeat of her dream sequence with Nemurin and Ruler but that doesn’t really count. I can’t help but feel a little annoyed as some new material to explain what the deal is with Swim Swim would’ve been nice.
To be fair, I did think it over again and I honestly do really like the idea that the only thing wrong with Swim Swim is the fact that she’s a child. A very normal child, in fact, but like any other, is very impressionable and has no real bearing on what’s right and wrong. Odd as it may sound, children really could be a dangerous threat if they were ever empowered and influenced the same way Swim Swim is. I still don’t think it’s perfect by any means. This story leaned so hard towards Swim Swim’s inhumanity that any time she does act like a human, it doesn’t fully come across as genuine. Still, the concept is great on paper and it so perfectly fits the twisted tone and world presented in MahouIku.
Interlaced between the action, you do get some confirmation about what Fav’s big schemes were. There’s nothing mind blowing here but it’s all serviceable elaborations. I kind of like that there is no good reason behind the competition. Fav was just that bored of cutesy magical antics and Cranberry hungered for battle. No good reason; it was a truly just a game which is amusing given that Fav lured people in with an actual app. As for Fav pitting Swim Swim and Ripple against each other just so that they both die and leave Snow White as the only candidate to be his new master, that didn’t surprise me either. In fact, that was actually one of my blind guesses from my last review so I suppose I was on the mark there. It is a smart plan as Snow White would be less of a nuisance than Swim Swim or Ripple. At the same time, I really must wonder if Fav should’ve even bothered pinning his hopes on Snow White at all. It’s not like she’s on his side anymore.
I got to hand it to MahouIku and its creators, they really did manage to make Snow White a little badass at the end. True to her nature, she outright refuses to work with Fav and tries to destroy the master terminal containing him with force. It’s closest to having her snap and give in to her anger. I guess if she did become a Master, she could change these exams” from the inside. But at the same time, Fav is a devilish little creature. Who’s to say he wouldn’t eventually try to betray Snow White down the road? No matter how you look at it, attacking Fav seems like the right course of action.
Moving on to Ripple, I’ll admit that her surviving her wounds thanks to Snow White’s Rabbit’s Foot is a bit of a deux ex machina. And I know that’s literally what the item does but my point still stands. It’s clearly an excuse to keep the character around. I’ll let it slide, however, for a couple of reasons. For one, this allows the show to keep exploring Snow White and Ripple’s relationship. And two, it’s better to have Ripple kill Fav and not Snow White. The former has already dirtied her hands by killing Swim Swim so adding an evil Tamagotchi to the list is nothing to her. I imagine Ripple would’ve land the killing blow no matter what but I do really like how this scene incorporates Snow White’s telepathy. Suddenly, her ability isn’t so useless as she catches on to Fav’s deception, announces that truth to Ripple, and thereby seal Fav’s fate.
At the very end, MahouIku leaves off on a curious note. Snow White and Ripple now work as free agents and train together as the former wishes to be a stronger, more legitimate combatant. As satisfying (and kind of funny) it is to see Snow White perform some hand to hand combat, it does feel like she’s lost a lot of her innocence now. Gone is the magical girl who’d help old ladies cross the street and pick cats up from trees. She still uses her powers for good of course but she’s clearly more realistic about it now. The implication is that she now focuses on fighting criminals and terrorists. There’s something to lament here but this development fit with the tone of the whole show. If the world is that cruel than even the nicest of heroes has to toughen up.
Thank goodness Ripple is there then. Considering that she has crossed the line before, she can be there to ensure Snow White never does. A shame that the last two episodes is when this pivotal relationship really comes to fruition but to be fair, it surprisingly has felt very genuine after just a short span of time. And seeing as how the light novel is ongoing (how are there ten volumes so far?), I imagine Snow White and Ripple’s bond is at least explored in greater detail there.
Is Magical Girl Raising Project up to par with Madoka? No, not even close and to be frank, I think very few magical girl anime will ever reach such similar heights. Not even another Madoka anime. Still, I think MahouIku makes a very admirable effort. Its dark content does borderline on excess at times but I’m impressed with how it managed to balance between sixteen characters, even getting me invested in a lot of them, and all while steadily descending into a series of bloodshed. I imagine this is it as far as the anime is concerned but needless to say, it was a worthwhile ride.
Thanks for reading!
For all of my Magical Girl Raising Project Episode Reviews, check out the show’s archive page!
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