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.
Alternate Title: Mahou Shoujo Ikusei Keikaku
Genres: Action, Drama, Dark, Magical Girl, Thriller, Psychological, Moepocalypse
Number of episodes: 12
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
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.
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.