If nothing else Magical Girl Raising Project‘s premise promises to be an interesting show to watch. It could be a very good dark magical girl show if done right. On the other hand a death game premise should be interesting even if it falls apart. So, how did the first episode deliver on this premise?
What is Magical Girl Raising Project about?
Magical Girl Raising Project is a new Mobile RPG that’s all the rage. Our protagonist Koyuki (character name Snow White) has always wanted to be a magical girl. Soon after beginning the game she is chosen to be a real magical girl. 1 in 10,000 players are given their game abilities in real life. After being a magical girl for a while it is announced that her town has too many real magical girls (16) and that it must be halved. This is where the episode ends and that’s very interesting. Anybody that read the synopsis for this show knows that the way it will be halved is through a death game, but the show does not state that in it’s first episode. Risky move is it not?
It doesn’t hide that it will get dark though. Akin to the opening scene of Higurashi, we’re quickly shown that things go downhill for our heroes, and it’s just that we’ll have to wait a bit to find out how. The opening scene is very well put together, and visually impressive. It seems they felt that the opening scene would be enough to hook viewers who knew nothing beforehand. The show is littered with foreshadowing of it’s dark twist, so it’s not impossible to pick up from the rest of the episode. Characters repeatably mention things like the purity of our protagonist and magical girls, while we the viewer know magical girls aren’t so clean cut. A notable line is that “nothing could stop a magical girl”.
Thoughts on episode one of Magical Girl Raising Project
I am worried about this show, as I mentioned in the preview guide. As the source material is not finished this death game will most likely not have an end. The only way it will is if the producers make an original ending. I do still expect deaths though, and one character especially has some flags over his head.
I will eat my hat if Souta isn’t dead by the end of episode four. As the childhood friend of our hero and a fellow magical girl, his death is an obvious tool to show Koyuki that the world of magical girls isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. He even flat out states that he will protect Koyuki as her knight. He’s the only person she could be herself around and express her love of magical girls with. Virtually every scene with Souta in it that we know it’s him, hints that something bad will happen to him. He’s a friend, mentor and ally to Koyuki, who is the protagonist of a dark magical girl story. There is no way he makes it out of this alive.
The presentation of Magical Girl Raising Project
Episode one’s visuals were nothing over the top. The show is directed by Hiroyuki Hashimoto (Key Animator on Azumanga Diaoh, Code Geass, Angel Beats), and he does an okay job. The angles of shots weren’t crazy, but not incompetent either. The one place I would have to give major props is the color pallet. Many scenes have a brownish color, which really adds to the overall aesthetic of the show. This is important, as color design is an often overlooked aspect of world building. If the colors don’t mesh with the tone and setting of a story, it can fall apart. The color design for Magical Girl Raising Project perfectly fits with the tone the show has had so far.
The character designs are all attractive, but not overbearing, which is important in a magical girl uniform. There’s a lot of variety in the garbs of the magical girls, and they aren’t a bore to look at. The original character designer for the light novels was Maruino, so they did a good job on that front. Those designs were adapted for the anime by Yukiko Aikei, whose previous design work includes Your Lie in April. The opening and ending themes were both passable, but not anything I’ll find myself listening to without the show. The rest of the soundtrack wasn’t especially memorable, but could be in future episodes.
This one episode didn’t get far enough in this story to tell exactly where it’s going to go, but was good enough to make me want to see where it could go. In that way it did it’s job as a first episode. In conclusion, it seems like it’ll be quite a ride, and I’m very happy I’ll get to write about it every week.