312th G-View: Magical Girl Raising Project

I put off watching this show for a while, especially after what I heard about it. I was scared to pick it up but one Sunday evening I watched the whole thing from 8PM to 2AM…yup, on a late evening. Let us take a look at Magical Girl Raising Project.

Magical Girl Raising Project Cover.jpg

Alternate Title: Mahou Shoujo Ikusei Keikaku

Genres: Action, Drama, Dark, Magical Girl, Thriller, Psychological, Moepocalypse

Number of episodes: 12

G-Rating: N/A

Plot Summary: A social game called The Magical Girl Raising Project allows one in tens of thousands of people to be a “magical girl” — possessing extraordinary physical capabilities and looks, as well as special magical powers that set them apart from the rest of the human race. But one day, in a district containing 16 magical girls, the administration announces that it must halve the number of magical girls to solve the problem of magical energy. At first, the 16 magical girls race to collect more “magical candy” than their competitors, but the rules quickly change…and not for the better

koyuki-and-la-pucelle-on-the-roof

I gave the show nickname based on what I heard about it after watching the first episode, Magical Battle Royale of DOOM! After seeing it myself…yes, that is exactly what it is: Magical Girls meets Battle Royale. This show is evil, ruthless and merciless. The very first scene gives viewers an idea of what to expect. After that it takes its time, slowly setting up its world and cast and then going from bad to worse…and worse…and worse…As a lover of all things cute this show was painful to watch. Of all the dark anime I have seen over the years, especially in the moepocalypse subgenre, this was one of the worst (Not as an insult) by far. HOWEVER, as much as it hurt to watch…I could not look away.

Veterans of the “moepocalypse” subgenre of anime know that these kinds of shows explore both the best and especially worst in humanity. MBRoD is no different with each girl sooner or later getting a flashback giving a glimpse on who they are and why they fight, be it for justice, righteousness, selfishness or the suffering of others to name a few motivations. It is, again like other moepocalypse shows before it, a psychological study of human emotions told through a tale of cute girls (and sometimes women) forced to survive inhumane conditions against their will or for some in this show’s case just the way they like it.

winterprison-vs-cranberry.jpg

This being a magical girl show there will obviously be battles and unlike other moepocalypse shows that have monsters to combat and at some point the girls are forced to face each other, this one does away with monsters and only features really violent battles between the girls. The anime censors or pans away from SOME of the gore but not enough to prevent the stomachs of sensitive viewers from turning. Think of it like the last scene in “episode 3” of Meduca Meguca, the violence is still brutal and very little is not shown  but the gorier kills are SOMEWHAT censored, most likely to be shown in all their gruesome glory in the Blu-Rays. Basically tears are clearly shown but the tearing is sometimes covered depending on how nasty the inflicted damage is.

The overall animation is solid and captures the bleakness of the situation while magical girls’ designs match their personalities for the most part. The soundtrack fits the show’s dark theme. My favorite tunes being the one that plays in Ruler’s Court and what I assume is the theme of “the black one”.

As far as the girls go, as I mentioned above, besides showing off their personalities they all get character developing flashbacks. The timing and execution can be hit or miss for some. What I mean is when the flashbacks are shown can disrupt the interest viewers have for some of the girls because said flashbacks are revealed either too soon or too late. This can lead to some viewers being nullified to the madness. I admit to not being as freaked out at times but that is more because I have seen many violent shows and played violent games that it takes something emotionally heart wrenching or gruesome to disturb me or make me shiver when it comes to ultraviolent media. MBRoD has quite a few of those shiver inducing moments. It all depends on the girl. A solid estimate would be 75% of the girls had well timed character development and the other 25 were a bit off. From personal experience I understood what kind of people the girls were and the flashbacks, be it on time or late, helped me form a conclusion on how I felt about each girl whether it be support, empathy, disdain or indifference. Obviously the timing and execution could have been done better to help some viewers have a less difficult time determining how to feel about some girls but I think it was done decent enough to get the message across. One thing is for sure though, Fav sucks, pon. Also this is a Battle Royale type show so I imagine that alone would be a bother to some, both in its concept and pacing. I do not blame those viewers.

As for yuri, among the girls there is a married lesbian couple…that or they are living together. Eh, I will go with married.

Overall watching Magical Girl Raising Project hurt me a lot emotionally but I do not regret having picked it up at all. In fact, as strange as it sounds, I can see myself watching this again one day. Does that make a masochist? Perhaps. That or it is the strange allure of moepocalypse shows. It is not for everyone, especially people with sensitive stomachs or fellow fans of cuteness who are not into kawaii torture. It being compared to survival game type stories like Battle Royale in both concept and pacing may already be a turn off for some. Like most media it could have been done better. It kind of reminds of Daybreak Illusion in that regard. I strangely enjoyed it more than I should have.

PS: The “Meduca Meguca ripoff” thing has outlived its relevancy. It has become a meme at this point.

Also check out Rai‘s analysis of the show’s finale, conclusion and main message HERE.

About OG-Man

Yuri and Slice of Life are my anime passion.
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31 Responses to 312th G-View: Magical Girl Raising Project

  1. Jamie says:

    I loved this show very much. I loved as well they included a boy MG, and implied that while uncommon, it is not overly rare. As close to trsans rep as we get outside of traps. Hardgore Alice may have been my favourite outside Winterprison and Sister, just for their relationship. The pregnant mother dying hit me hardest, it was well telegraphed but still a gut twist.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Rory says:

    This show would have been my pick of the season, if not for a certain other show starring gay magical girls. The autumn season was a good one for magical girl fans.
    I loved the different character designs, though Ripple would always be my top pick. I have to say, I quite like Swim Swim as well; it’s amazing what a single dream can do for a person.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. I really enjoyed this show because it was so brutal and moe at the same time. Though I will admit that some of the deaths were difficult to watch, Top Speed’s being the worst. I was so happy Ripple survived though because she was my best girl for sure. I’m glad you decided to finish it.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Eerika Norja says:

    The one show that I was hyped for this season based solely on it’s synopsis. Magical girls + dark plotline? Count me in! (Even if I die of heartbreak because of it.)

    I quite liked the route the story took in the end. Even if you knew most of them would die, a few of them still caught me by surprise as to when/how they happened, for example Ruler and Cranberry. Guess they both underestimated someone at just the wrong moment, huh?

    That said, Hardgore Alice was definitely the death that hit me the hardest, honestly. At the beginning of the season I thought Snow White x Ripple might be the ship I would like the most in this show, but honestly, by the end, Snow White x Hardgore Alice beat it fair and square. Now I just headcanon an ending, however impossible in canon, where Hardgore Alice survived due to Snow White reaching her just a moment earlier, having the brains to hand Alice her phone, and then help Alice focus enough to transform, thus saving her life due to her regen powers activating in the nick of time. Oh well. It is a headcanon for a reason. sniff

    I sort of liked the inclusion of La Pucelle in the show (also that reference to Jeanne D’Arc’s sword is wonderful and so, so fitting). A boy becoming a magical girl is a very interesting idea, certainly, as is the idea that Sou/La Pucelle could actually have been a transwoman without realizing it himself yet (I wonder how it would have been had La Pucelle survived?)

    That said, I’ve heard from people who’ve read the LN’s this is based on that if this gets a season 2 (and 3/4), then this show will get darker and darker, apparently. So yay, I guess? More sadness and suffering for any masochistic Yuri lovers, if we get any more of this?

    Liked by 3 people

    • OG-Man says:

      Hardgore Alice was the surprise character of the show.

      It would be more interesting seeing it as a transgender character study rather than “Fav picked Sou-chan as a candidate for the lulz”, thus showing viewers the potential of a serious/dramatic magical boy series if one were to ever be made.

      Like

  5. yurimylove says:

    a compelling series for sure. The girl whom I was saddest to see her go was Hardgore Alice. She was both the scariest (remember the “headless” entrance?) and the most moe character. Poor girl all she wanted was to support Snow White, and she even burned 6 years of her lifespan to give the lucky rabbit foot to her, only to die such a horrible death ;_;

    Regardless of any other faults or merits this show might have, for me the one thing they did right was to not use the “universe reset ending”, which is a surefire way to turn me off any series.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. kitsu260 says:

    Oh this show become my madness of Saturday after La Pucelle dead who was my favorite, this affect so much that turn off my sense of humor for weeks and just become more painfull even after end.I can’t see Cramberry without tremble for obvious reason, it was ironic that Danganronpa who had a worse scenary end with a happy ending, I wish The Avenger was there.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Umedyn says:

    Personally, I hated this show, but for a good reason. I feel this was only a “dark” magical girl because of all the death, they took the Game of Thrones of “dark”, telling us “you like this character? Dead! These two are cute together, right? DEAD!” but where GoT had the story and drama, this covered it’s “kill off everyone” behind a tissue thin reason and barely a plot besides “cute girls dismembering each other.” They took all the bad parts of dark magical girls, and kept none of the good, and that is a shame, because I has high hopes for this anime when I first watched it. I love dark magical girl anime (puella, yuki yuuna, etc) but where those had the psychological and hard choices, with deep stories and some really great mythologies the only psychological parts of this were “I just saw someone die, oh no!” and the reason for them being magical girls was… reasons. When making a dark magical girl anime, this show is basically a list of what not to do.

    Like

    • OG-Man says:

      Goes back to what I said about some disliking the show because of the survival game narrative. Your thoughts here are an example of that.

      Like

      • Umedyn says:

        Very true, the funny thing is, I loved Battle Royal, which this seems like, but where Battle Royal didn’t care about it’s feeble plot point of pitting the students against each other, and they made it fun and over the top, this show took itself WAY to seriously for the flimsy reason that held that battle royal style blood bath in place. If they had gone all out and said “you are magical girls, the last one alive, wins, FIGHT!” Yeah, it would have been better in my eyes, but they kept sidetracking the obvious “we’re killing off people just because” with trying to make the plot feel deeper than it actually was.

        Liked by 1 person

      • OG-Man says:

        Point taken.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. elkat4 says:

    This was a fun thrill ride. It’s anime that got to me to drop my jaw in shock and surprise after characters die. Even when I knew characters were going to die, I was shocked just because I was expecting them to die at that moment. It’s sad that most of the likeable characters died, but I suppose it was plotted (and honestly, it was clear that only one girl was going to live; the fact two survived in itself was a good enough consolation prize for watching characters who had no reason die go.)
    Honestly, this anime raises the bar for moepoclypse, I hope the next anime that walks in this anime’s path can measure up.
    Amongst the characters I liked:
    -Hardgore Alice
    -Ripple
    -Tama (I was truly saddened by her death even though I knew she was going die eventually)
    -Calamity Jane (she was crazy as hell, but hot)
    -Sister Nana & Weis Winterprison (being the canon yuri couple.)
    -La Paculle (closest thing we’re probably going to get to a sympathetic trans character.)

    Liked by 2 people

    • OG-Man says:

      No. I would not want magical girl battle royale shows to be commonplace. At best a 2nd season of this series featuring a new batch of victims like WIXOSS 2. The source has enough material to craft a 2nd season.

      Good choices for fav girls.

      That’s the thing about the show. Most that figured out its survival game narrative expected there to be very few to no survivors but the show did a good job of making the deaths of favorite characters hit hard despite viewers expecting them.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. chikorita157 says:

    While it’s sad to see all the favorite girls get killed off, it was an interesting story given that it’s not that predictable to see who will survive next time. While the idea of a magical girl battle royal is interesting, it’s not that present to watch. Seeing my favorite magical girls get killed off is unsettling some hit really hard. Still, I enjoyed it.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Error says:

    “G-Rating: N/A” Sadly, i total agree with that. 😦 When i saw the genderbender “mahou-shoenjoen”, i hit the wall with my head… How’s stupid is that?!
    The whole anime was a interesting nonsence for me. Maybe the end was good SPOILER! when finally kill that “magic cellphone stuff”. So i sad, overall i don’t like it…

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Pingback: OG’s Top 10 Anime He’s Seen in 2016 | The Yuri Nation

  12. K says:

    I’m thinking of writing obituaries for those who died over the course of this anime in another post if that’s ok with you. I just to say what I thought about this show in this one.

    This was a despairingly good show. I think it did well showing off the hopelessness and despair in this game of mutual killing initially dressed up as a friendly competition of gathering candies. The deaths were mostly brutal and quick. The info we got about their lives before becoming magical girls was nice but I can see why some peeps would think they were too late or pointless since it usually happened before the magical girl in question died or was dead already. I have to say, I liked Ruler a bit more because of those flashbacks but you know, it happened after her death.

    Top Speed and Hardgore Alice were my favs and sure enough, their deaths was a sad watch. Funny (more like sad) enough, they died in the arms of the two survivors, Ripple and Snow White. La Pucelle and Tama’s deaths were painful as well and Swim Swim’s too to an extent (not discounting the deaths of some of the others, of course).

    Fav and Cranberry were real pieces of work,creating this killing game because they wanted things to be entertaining (to them). Seeing those two bite it the way they did was most satisfying.

    Something I noticed; Koyuki (and Ripple) could not turn back into her human form after ‘winning’ this competition, showing that she’s a denizen of the magical world now. Just imagine if Sou made it to the end; he would’ve been a girl for real.

    Liked by 3 people

    • OG-Man says:

      Very painful and entertaining at the same time. This show in a nutshell.

      Understandable reason for not getting as invested due to the survival game narrative and flashback timing.

      .The deaths of favorites were easily the most painful.

      They were douches to the very end, especially Fav.

      Would have been pretty interesting if Sou had survived.

      Like

  13. K says:

    Parting words for the fallen:

    Fav – This monochrome critter gave these girls and women the means to become the magical girl they wanted to be, whether they liked it or not. Its friendly appearance however was nothing but a facade hiding a condescending, pompous creature that derived joy out of the suffering of those participants. It met its end thanks mostly to the efforts of a girl he thought weak and useless. The irony of that outcome was clear to see.

    The Musician of the Forest, Cranberry – The mastermind behind this game of death. She came up with this game because she sought powerful warriors to fight and ultimately conquer. It was her cause, her hope. Unfortunately for her, her quest for such a warrior blinded her to the strength of those she considered weak, which proved to be her undoing.

    Calamity Mary – An intimidating tour de force to those who opposed her. She only made alliances if she could gain something from the partnership and as long as the partner knew their place. In reality however, she was a bitter woman, who lashed out at those around her (like her family, for instance) for her own shortcomings and furthermore, she had great disregard for human life. Thus, as she was in life, she was alone in death.

    The Peaky Angels, Minael and Yunael – Twins they may have been but they were of one mind. They were completely synchronized in thought, word and deed, especially when it came to subjects of their ire. Indeed, they were similar in all things, even in the swift brutality of their deaths.

    Ruler – A great overachiever who thought her way was the right and only way and the peons who didn’t agree with her just didn’t understand her sheer brilliance. These actions earned her no friends She reigned over her followers with an iron fist but deep down that cold heart of hers was someone who genuinely tried to be an effective ruler, leading by example and passing down her teachings. One pupil of hers took her lessons to heart and put them to use…to her detriment. A betrayal she did not see coming.

    Nana Winterprison – Sister Nana was a kindred spirit who made a noble effort to end this game of death without the use of violence. By her side was Weiss Winterprison, there to save her whenever there was a hint of danger surrounding her. Winterprison’s hands were praised by Nana for being gentle, an image she wanted to preserve when they had fallen into the enemy’s trap. Winterprison sadly lost her life in that skirmish, wishing that her beloved was safe. Tragically, living without her beloved was too much for Nana to bear and so she followed Winterprison into death.

    Magicaloid44 – A robotic magical girl from the world of tomorrow. In life, she was a grounded drifter who was quite prepared for many a situation that came her way. She also knew how to play the field in order to come out ahead, seeing as she didn’t really want in on this game. Unfortunately for her, a little greed and an unpreparedness for unnatural circumstances left her heart with a gaping heart.

    La Pucelle – An unique magical girl this one, due in part to the fact that in life, La Pucelle was a young boy. He had always admired magical girls ever since his youth and strived to be an ideal one. In a sad twist of fate, he saw his ideals torn asunder by the harsh reality of the game he was involved in and the battle that ultimately claimed his life.

    Top Speed – A vibrant, passionate woman with strong, unwavering convictions. She was the life of the party. She also looked out for her fellow man and tried to keep disputes to a minimum. An expectant mother, she wanted to make it through this game unscathed so that her child may yet live but it was, tragically, not meant to be. She is survived by her loving husband.

    Nemurin – The magical girl that protected people’s dreams. She was a kind person who gave encouragement to those who needed it. In her human life, she hardly left the confines of her abode until recently when she decided to step out into the world and take life by the reins, only to have that chance cruelly taken from her.

    Swim-Swim – She was a silent one but that belied an efficient, terrifying warrior. She took her liege’s teachings to heart and applied them effectively, resulting in her having the highest kill count of this game. Applying teachings is one thing but you could say that she reached such great heights due to having a dream of being a ruler, a dream bestowed on her by the protector of dreams. The most surprising aspect of this killing machine was that she was but a wee lass not even out of elementary school, adding an extra tinge to the actions she took and her death.

    Hardgore Alice – She was like no other, a magical girl who, in the frankest of terms, was an immortal juggernaut. Her frightening appearance matched her unique ability. Once you get past those, however, there was a girl who was shunned by those not her immediate relatives due to the sin of her father when he took her mother’s life. She thought she was of use to no one and had contemplated ending her own life but a fateful encounter with a certain magical girl gave her renewed hope. You could say that this encounter gave her a goal; to be of use to this person in any way possible. You could also say that it gave her the potential to become one of the unfortunate chosen. Even when she was rejected by that person, she was steadfast in fulfilling her goal. She may have been immortal as a magical girl, but as a normal, frail human girl, Death could come for her whenever it chose to. Her identity was revealed and she was cut down without getting the chance to mount a counterattack. With her dying breath, she was able to be of use to the one she admired, an assistance that was made known at the end of this game.

    Tama – A kind, meek, timid girl who did what she was told with negligible protest. In life, she could not pick up on activities nor attain excellence like her peers and siblings. She was seen as a nuisance, a repulsive blight whose only quality was in increasing her family’s disappointment in her. Her grandmother was the only one who saw her true worth but she had already passed on. It wasn’t until she was chosen that she felt proud of herself and through that change, she met people that she considered friends, which is why she died with deep sadness and despair, wondering why a compatriot separated her head from her body for the crime of witnessing something she should not have by mere happenstance. At her funeral, the family cried for their daughter. Whether those tears were genuine or fabricated, only the heavens will know.

    Liked by 3 people

  14. Crimson Crusader says:

    It’s a shame that there are no plans for future seasons of this show.

    In any case, I believe that MGRP is deserving of an English Dub.

    Liked by 2 people

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