- Genre : Magical Girl, Action, thriller
- Episodes: 12
- Studio: Lerche
What makes the difference between an ordinary person and a hero? No one is born the strongest, the fastest, the best shot. You can train all your life to get those skills or you can stumble across a mysterious online mobile game that will magically bestow them upon you, but does that make you a hero? Is it really as simple as the one with the most points ,(or candies) wins? Like any true fan of magical girls Koyuki knows that heroism starts in your heart. It’s that strong calling to help those in need for no other reason than the fact that you can. You know what they say about good intentions don’t you? Koyuki is about to find out exactly where they lead…
This is completely uncharacteristic of me, but I actually had too many titles to choose from for this post. This will likely never happen again. My alternates where:
This could be the start of a beautiful friendship. Or
From Madoka to Danganronpa...
I sort of regret my choice…
I was recommended this anime by a friend a long time ago (before I even started this blog) and I was a bit dubious. My friend you see, is a devotee of all things moe. Cute girls are his passion and he has no issue foregoing storyline, interesting characters or even decent animation as long as he can get his fix of adorable art. As long as the art is of girls… Free! did nothing for him.
It’s plain to see why he would have been drawn to Magical Girl Raising Project. The art is simply beautiful. Detailed and lush with a variety of body types, facial structures and intricately designed costumes that give every single character a truly one of a kind look. No simple hair and color swap here. Moreover, the animation is actually very good. Fight scenes flow well rendering them extremely engaging and quality remains generally consistent under most conditions. No matter what else you may say about it, Raising Project is technically impressive.
Honestly, the art was gorgeous. I have started a fanart collection already. I was however distracted by those…magical chests… The costume/character designs are very fanservicy here. There’s really no way not to notice. Considering the storyline, it did seem somewhat fitting though. As the magical girls’ appearance are avatars and most people do have a tendency to make those as sexy as possible, I can easily accept that so many of them ended up extremely well endowed and with very breezy armor.
What was more difficult to accept was how body parts regularly changed size. This is a very pretty anime and the investment in production values is clear. As this is a recurring problem in many shows I’ve seen, chest size consistency is obviously tricky. However, if you’re going to put so much emphasis on a character’s breast, you should try to make sure they are physically sound. I can accept that some girls may occasionally wear different underwear that make an impact on their figures but unless they are stopping to stuff their bras off camera in the middle of fights, the girls should stay more or less the same size in single scenes. Mind you, if an anime ever does incorporate that into their narrative, I’m giving it extra points! Is this too much time to spend on imaginary cleavage? Anyway – lots of fanservice but it didn’t bother me and oddly worked well in context.
Getting back to the, ahem, review… Sound design is acceptable, with a fitting if not particularly impressive soundtrack but I found environmental sounds to be a bit lacking. The city was a little too silent overall and there wasn’t enough variation in background noise to truly bring it to life if you closed your eyes. On the other hand, the voice acting and directing was very good. It’s one of those cases where I didn’t notice it at all until I did. It seems perfectly serviceable with no particular standout until you realize just how powerfully emotional all the performances are without ever becoming grating or exaggerated. When you consider the sustained state of stress all the characters are under, suddenly the very believable way in which dialogue is delivered becomes quite impressive. If I was to single out anyone, I would say I particularly enjoyed Yumi Uchiyama as Top Speed.
When I first started watching the series, I was warned to not be close minded and dismiss this as a Madoka rip off (close minded is my word – the words used were a little more forceful and a little less suitable for work. This has been a sticking point for fans on both sides of the issue, it seems)
Fact is, I couldn’t blame for drawing parallels between Magical Girl Raising Project and Puella Magi Madoka Magica. The similarities are plentiful and obvious right off the bat. Both are ostensibly a serious take on the Magical Girl archetype, both treat their casts with unabashed ruthlessness, both have visually similar pink haired heroines and morally dubious mildly pokemon like mysterious creatures that serve as narrators and plot catalysts. Both shows dramatically change in tone at ep2/3 with an event involving a sweet blonde twin tailed mentor character. The comparisons are all right there. It’s so obvious that it may be a touch too obvious.
Magical Girl Raising Project is not dumb. It tackles more than a few big themes and provides gentle commentary on a number of issues. After considering the entire series, it seems unlikely that the above-mentioned similarities are accidental. If you’re the cynical sort, you may think that they were added in order to ride on the coat-tails of an extremely popular anime and that may well be the case, but that’s not what I think. I think the creators here realized that Madoka still casts a huge shadow over any new title that could be considered of the genre and that comparisons would be unavoidable. So, they leaned into it only to hit us with a subtle bait and switch of the central conceit, forcing the viewer to analyze and take in this particular tale in a completely different way. I have a feeling that at least part of the viewers that did not appreciate the series, were unhappy or at least disoriented with this particular realignment of the thesis. Like a dark magical girl uncanny valley. Too bad for them…
Koyuki is a naïve, extremely idealistic protagonist just as Madoka was and the story will make her face some truly harsh disillusionment but that is just one aspect of this show. Magical Girl training project is truly an ensemble cast, which gives time and attention to a large number of characters. The cruelty explored is not so much the crash of pure idealism and bitter reality, but that of the depths of the human psyche when pushed to extremes.
The Girls here are all imperfect, all in fact they are very average girls and women of all ages, with different experiences, strengths and failures. And the narrative constantly insists on their normalcy. But we almost never see them in their daily lives. For most of the run time we only see the super powered, extraordinary magical girl personas they embody, making it seem as though their every day personas are the masks they wear while the costumed vigilantes are their true form. A personification of a dream they all shared. A desperate escape from a reality they deemed imperfect. They have slowly given themselves up to their magical girl counterpoint and are now nothing without it. This isn’t the story of the fragile girl next door. It’s the story of the weight of heroism. Clearly underlined in the fact that for most of them, we only get to see their normal forms after their deaths. We also don’t get any magical transformation sequences until the very end. I’m not sure what that symbolizes but I thought it was interesting.
Like a lot of these shows, the premise is held together by a somewhat shaky explanation. Although they do eventually give us a reason behind all the violence onscreen (and personally I would have preferred if they didn’t), large parts of the big picture remain obscured. We never really know what exactly fav is or why there is a raising project at all. The shadowy powers that be remain completely veiled and the bit of info we do get is from a highly unreliable source. I actually like this approach much better than some idiotic half thought out explanation that unravels at the slightest probing and mars everything else. But if you are the type that is annoyed by vague plot points or loose ends, this may bug you.
There is a whole lot of action here, and a whole lot of points thrown out. The narrative is extremely ambitious trying to convey thoughts on child abuse, abandonment, redemption, gender roles, responsibilities of romantic partners, grief management, mental illness, online gaming addiction, the dangers of microtransactions and the subjective nature of morality, but to name just a very few. It won’t come as a shock when I say that in 12 episodes with tons of action to dole out and a dozen characters to develop, they didn’t get to explore all those points fully. A lot of them are really just ideas being thrown out at you with no clear conclusion. But they are food for thought nonetheless, and that is more than we get in a lot of shows.
As for that character development, it is outstanding. I really and deeply felt all those gruesome events. I was rendered speechless and slack-jawed on no less than 4 separate occasions without exaggeration. We are given exactly enough information of everyone’s lives to really care about them.
I really wanted to give you guys a smart review. This show really impressed me and I thought it deserved it. I wanted to elaborate on the subtler commentary or the masterful development. I wanted to write a fawning essay on how Snow White’s ultimate shrugging off of the horrors she has endured and her decision to take her life into her on hands and win by her own means, to put in the unglamorous work to gain the strength to stand by her principles, was deeply empowering and truly worthy of a Magical Girl to admire. I wanted to point out how complete and intricate the personalities of characters on-screen for just a couple of episodes, were. I wanted to point out that he friendships portrayed were lyered and logical, with solid foundations and heartwarming interactions. I really wanted to sell it because this series deserves better than the mix reception it has gotten.
Luckily, I take notes while I watch series, so I have three full pages I can base myself on. Hmmm, it seems I just wrote Shizuku is so hot over and over again, very chesty (not sure who I was reffering to or if it’s a good thing), is Swim Swim on the spectrum? and finally, Kyubey still best evil pokemon. If you change the names, this could be my notes on just about any show.
So, I guess instead I’ll try to summarize Magical Girl Raising Project a bit here and give you something useful to go on. This is a graphic and ruthless show that could be difficult to watch for some, for both the physical and emotional violence portrayed, but I believe it has a lot to offer. There’s a nice depiction of a lesbian couple if that’s your thing. Most importantly, Shizuku is really hot!
Favorite character: Ruler (I know right – even I thought it would be Shizuku but…, I’ll say it again, characters are really well written)
What this anime taught me: Never get attached to anyone
I always drink responsibly, I never spill
Suggested drink: Snow White Daiquiri
- Every time we see a cell phone – take a sip
- if people are playing on it – take another
- Every time we see Fav – be suspicious
- Every time Ripple goes tch– take a sip
- Every time anyone says candies – have a snack
- Every time Ruler insults someone – take a sip
- Every time there’s a noble sacrifice – pour some out
- Every time we see things bounce – take a sip
- Every time we see a transformation sequence – raise your glass
- Every time an important character dies – get some water….
- Every time Alice gets hurt – take a sip
- Every time someone gets betrayed – stretch
66 thoughts on “Magical Girl Raising Project – That Escalated Quickly”
I agree with most things you kind said about the anime. It isn’t the best but it isn’t the worst. While Madoka is slightly better in terms of story, I say MGRP was better on characters IMMHO. Despite my user name Ruler isn’t my favorite character (though she is maybe second) as my favorite was Top Speed. Though there were characters I didn’t think we’re written very well we’re mainly MMagicaloid 44 and Calamity Mary, but then again they did work for the roles they were given. Magacaloid 44 was barely relevant while Calamity Mary I admit was more so relevant. I kind of wish Magicaloid 44 was killed second and there was a little more build up on Swim Swim turning on Ruler…😒 But the death order was find the way it was.
Ruler was my favorite – although I guess you know that but winterprison was the most fascinating to me.
Honestly it’s a toss up but I think I enjoyed MGRP more than Madoka precisely because it was more character driven than plot driven.
True both were driven through different ways, but I admit I do like character driven things over plot driven things. I mean I like good stories, but I’d rather see good characters as long as there is some story that can be seen easily.
The series is a simple deathmatch and a younger me was a bit upset that viewers could more or less predict who would die based on the character the episode focuses on. But fleshing out a particular character before her demise is the typical train of thought (unless if the show wants to make extensive use of flackbacks) so this really couldn’t be helped.
What I really enjoyed about the series, however, is the attention of detail woven into the narrative and the underlying message about how being hopeful and doing good is worthwhile in the end. A lot of noble characters die along the way, but good still manages triumphs over evil. As for the part about the details, I just really liked how attentive watchers could guess at who Hardgore Alice is based off events that occurred in episode 1, Top Speed’s secret based off her cryptic remarks, the true age of Swim Swim, and so on. It really made watching the series felt so engaging and worthwhile, I felt.
Thanks for the review! I was a smaller blog back when I reviewed it and I tried to play it cool in mine despite enjoying the series, but it seems like yours has done an excellent job in promoting a series that more people should really consider watching.
Dawnstorm also pointed out the development/die dynamic that works for most of the charas but not all of them. hat’s why the deaths that don’t adhere to it and there are a few, were kind of shocking to me. Like it was unfair that the show didn’t stick to it’s own pattern…This said, I wasn’t watching it for the surprises so it didn’t bother me much.
The real problem with comparing it to Madoka is that folks keep comparing it to Madoka. Yeah, Madoka was huge, and influential, and important – but [curseword], it’s a way marker in literary evolution. Everyone borrows elements from the past, that’s no crime. The important thing is to judge what it does with those elements.
And by that standard, MGRP shines.
I’m just boggled that you’d class this as a fanservice show…
I think I classed it as a Magical Girl, Action, thriller…
Maybe “class” was the wrong word… I keyed off you discussing fanservice almost right off the bat.
Well it was something that I found quite visually stricking and I beleive that people who are very uncomfortable with it should probably get a heads up. As I said, I didn’t find it particularly detrimental and I thought the visuals fit the theme and plot very well.
Wow, thank you for this detailed review! I haven’t watched this show yet but it looks promising (hoping that the ahem fanservice is not too in-the-face) and the animation is so pretty <3 Definitely going to add it to my list!
I’ve seen much worse in Fanservice and it drops off as the episodes advance. I would actually be quite interested in your thoughts on it
Ah, I think the ‘fanservice issue’ deserves a few posts on its own, but I’m glad to hear it’s not the main focus of the series. Thank you, I think I’ll give it a try uwu
You know maybe it does
I’ve written a few myself. One to be published soon but nothing particularly incisive
Ohh I’m looking forward to reading them, then!
I dropped this before, I might come back to it later.
You know – I liked it a lot but there is tons of anime out there. No need to watch stuff you’re not feeling!
I drop it due to to my backlog of anime, so I haven’t fully given it a chance.
If you do go back to it – I hope you like it as much as I did!
You will find out when I review it.
Sweet!!!! Well what are you still doing here – go watch!!!
Ah, the Magical Girl Razing Project. I remember clicking the first episode and expecting either misery porn or torture porn, and I was fully prepared to quit on it, and then I didn’t because it ended up being carthartic carnage instead.
I don’t really think there’s much commentary in the show. There’s a lot of referencing, but I don’t remember any of it going further than suffering is bad. It could come across as a tad exploitative, but the show treats the characters with genuine sympathy, so that’s fine.
It’s not really much like Madoka, I think. There are obvious similarities, but if you’re taking off from a highly formalised genre such as magical girl shows, there would be. Fav does come across as the bastard love child of Kyubei and Monokuma, but evil mascot characters didn’t start with Madoka either (can’t think of many examples, but Narutaru, at least, was late nineties). I love Madoka dearly, but it wasn’t nearly as revolutionary as many people make out. (I don’t think I’ve seen any other magical girl show where the prototypical MG character is last to make a contract, but that’s not usually what people talk about.) Magical Gril Raising Project is really a magical-girl-themed Battle Royal – and the prototype of that particular mix is Mai Hime, anyway (and it’s quite a different show).
I loved the visulas in the show. I loved how death in the show was brutal but usually quick. Many of the girl were dead before they even realised it. Little drawn out sadism. Mostly just swift, brutal death. And they follow through with that in that the survivors actually feel like veterans, scarred inside and out. The writing’s pretty good that way and understands what the genre (battle royal shows) is about. There were quite a few interesting twists and turns along the way (impressed with the resourcefulness of left-over angel, for example), and some of it was dark comedy gold (e.g. Mary attempting to off Alice).
People who don’t like predictability, aren’t going to be fond of the have-your-backstory-revealed-and-die pattern, but it’s not really a show that works on big surprises; it’s all in the execution, because you’ve seen it all before anyway. And there’s still enough fodder for fun guessing games in there; it’s just that you typically know who’s going to die an episode early. (Typically.)
I actually liked a lot of the characters here, with Top Speed being my favourite. It’s an entertaining show that knows what it wants and does it well.
Great comment as usual but for once, I have to respectfully disagree on a few points. There was a pretty explicit theme on how people who are isolated and robbed of agency in their lives are likely to take out their frustrations on who they perceive as weaker. there was also a distinct judgement made on how pushing unreasonable expectations on a partner is likely to put unsustainable stress on a relationship. Neither observations may be particularly novel but they are commentary.
As for Kyubei not being the original evil muppet, cute creatures luring unsuspecting people to their doom goes back to mythology but in this context I do believe Kyubei is among the better known ones which is what people will actually latch onto. Who the original was is pretty inconsequential. For the record I prefer Danganronpa and Raising Project to Madoka but Kyubei is my favorite iteration of the evil pokemon.
Top Speed was my second favorite…
I actually completely agree with everything else.
Hm, I may have easily missed the commentary; that or dismissed it.
Kyubei is definitely iconic, and I agree it’s inconsequential who’s first. The main thing here is that with Japan having such a mascot culture, turning them around isn’t so far-fetched. I’m not discounting influence (actually influence is likely); in fact it’s perhaps the most direct one.
I prefer Madoka by a pretty wide margin, but it’s definitely steeped in DRAMA. I can see why you prefer MGRP and Danganronpa (though I may be seeing the wrong reasons, who knows?).
I enjoyed Madoka a lot and visually it was stunning but I really disliked the ending, found character developpment too uneven for the proper vicseral gut punch some events could have wrought and thought the central idea of why they were using teenage girls as energy just Matrix level nonsense. This was super disappointing because I thought the ironic time leap twist was downright brilliant. Superbe even.
I should say Ive only played Dangan. The anime may not be as compelling. Ill find out soon
I find those pretty relatable criticisms of Madoka. I’m slightly less harsh on the entropy reveal, because while it was stupid SF-wise, it did make some metaphoric sense, with magic transforming imagination into energy, and the moment where you fall into despair you create your own repetitive realm and give off all creative energy. It’s still stupid, though. Having a (good) Kajiura soundtrack always helps.
I’ve only seen the anime of Danganronpa, but they’ve put the first game into a one-cour, and that’s pretty much what you get. I see the potential, but I didn’t come back for seasons 2 and 3 (won’t rule out watching them at some point). Anime isn’t bad, but my guess is if you’ve played the game, it’s expendable. At best it might be fun seeing some scenes animated. But who knows? They don’t get much use out of any of the characters before they bite it, sadly. That’s where games shine, when you can set your own pace.
In any case, MGRP was quite a bit better than I expected it to be; also much, much smarter.
My biggest issue with this show was it set up a death match early on but I didn’t really like any of the characters enough to care whether they lived or died so I kind of abandoned this series early on (much as I should have abandoned Juni Taisen – I’d have been happier if I’d dropped that).
I can see that. The very first big confrontation is a bit early, it didn’t bother me but i was going straight to the next episode so the emotional payoff at the end of the sitting was probably much greater
I actually think of that as a strength. (But then, I liked Juni Taisen, too.) If you’re going for a free-for-all you’re not going to have time for a character study anyway. They’re all types, but they’re also all stylish. It’s fun (or not if that’s not your thing, but it was for me).
I thought the first half of the show was pretty great but the second half was pretty mixed. Character designs were generally fantastic for me and the music was good. Decent show but not one of my favorites. Enjoyed the review 🙂
What turned you off? Was it too gorey?
No, I don’t mind gore or stuff like that at all! I actually like my media on the darker side. What turned me off was when the show started to explain stuff. The whole reason behind the battling was pretty dumb, the ending did the non-committal thing I’m not a fan of, and I felt things got a bit contrite. This isn’t to say that the second half didn’t have good moments but the first half felt a lot better for me. Maybe it was a bit on the pacing too? Any way, like I said, still enjoyed it but not as much as I probably could have.
I completely agree with you on the central conceit being dumb. It was one of my biggest problems with Madoka as well and really about 90% of super hero stories. I’m not sure what the non committal thing is. I found the ending quite clear with a satisfying resolve and very few loose ends. As for the pacing, I thought it was a strenght. It gets frantic which mirors the drastic downwards spiral of the plot. Information is withheld or doled out piece meal leaving us uncertain and then suddenly infodumbs bombard us with new details shocking the audience. It’s unconventional narrative structure for sure and I can understand how some would find it subjectivly unattractive but I loved it. I can’t call it objectively bad pacing…
I have been dying to discuss this show. Sorry for the wall of comments.
No worries. When I refer to the non committal bit I am talking about having characters live when they really shouldn’t have. It feels cheap, especially if done poorly. Maybe pacing wasn’t the right word? It’s been a bit since I watched it but there was something else that bugged me about it but I’m not exactly sure what it was now XD Glad you had a nice time with the show though 🙂
Ah Irina! I got distracted from all the stuff I was doin’ and forgot to tell you some of the stuff I really thought was cool about the show >.< Sorry! Any way, I really liked the idea of a boy becoming a magical girl and wish that could have been explored more deeply, that was the most interesting part of the show for me. Additionally, the names of most of the characters were very humorous, I really liked that.
They were a bit overambitious with the amount of stuff they were trying to cram into 12 episodes. I also would have loved to see a bit more about the gender roles issue
Yeah, I think if the show had a full 24 to work with it would have been really something. Though, at the same time, I’m not sure how they would have stretched everything out since I am not familiar with the source material at all.
Good point. It’s a balancing act
So glad to see i’m not the only person who noticed how awesome this show was! As a long-time fan of the Magical Girl genre, MagiPro pushed all the right buttons for me while still being very fresh and interesting. It’s no exaggeration to say it was my favorite show of Fall 2016, and receives very hight marks from me. I appreciate you pointing out the faults of the show while still acknowledging how insightful, well-written, and just plain GOOD it is, with hardly a single bad, clunky, or poorly-written scene from start to finish.
It’s made me very very interested in seeing what they do with Magical Girl Site next season…
For sure! I always try to watch currently airing Magigal Girl stuff anyways, though 🙂
… Or a daquiri. 😉
You made me buy frozen strawberries in the middle of a snowstorm with that pink wine cocktail you had the other day….
Ha ha!!! But, wasn’t it worth it?!?! And, you’re so smart!! I bought real strawberries and FROZE THEM!! How silly am I?! LMAO!! I probably would have cost me less for a whole bloody bag of frozen ones!! *smacks head on desk* this is why I need you around…Lol!
Sweety, I’m pretty sure we need each other!
The nice thing about the frozen ones is that they get all mushy when they taw (more so than fresh ones ever do) It’s yucky to eat in a fruit cup but they aborns twice as much booze… Are my priorities ok?
Funny how you came to watch this one because this has also been on my list for a while recommended by a similar friend!! Lol! Good to know that it’s worth my time.. Now I guess I’ll give it a shot. 😉🍻
Haha, yes, please do. I will wallpaper my house with them.
MagiPro is one of my favourite mahou shoujo shows, and I’m super glad to see more people give it a chance! It’s one of very few shows that did so much with its approach to world building that I found myself going out and seeking the source material (light novels) to read further and see where the world goes!
Needless to say, if you enjoyed the show definitely try and grab the light novels! Whilst personally I felt the anime said perfectly enough about why the Raising Project existed, its purpose, and why [REDACTED] took over and did all the horrible things she did, the light novels go into a lot more detail. The anime adapts the whole of the first volume, and Volume 2 (MGRP: Restart) is a standalone “sequel” so to speak, with ties and threads linking it to the first with a new cast and setting (Sword Art Online-style RPG world) – I can highly recommend!
[It’s worth noting as well that only the first two volumes are currently out, so anybody getting into the series won’t be far behind! The third releases at the end of March)
Oh that sounds great. I’ll make sure to grab them. I hope the illustrations are as beautiful as the series is.
Cool post. I suppose if you’re gonna make your characters magical, you might as well give them magically fluctuating bosoms!
I’ve been dreaming of a battle bra stuffing scene ever since I wrote it…maybe I’ll try to illustrate one some day.
Sounds like a really interesting show! I’ll put this to the top of my list after I finish watching Scorching Ping Pong Girls. Great review by the way!
Thank you! I really enjoyed the show but this one is devisive!
My Ping Pong girls one is coming out next week I think. I hope you’re enjoying it – I thought it was super fun but I’m a sports groupie…
I’m really really enjoying Scorching Ping Pong Girls, despite my opinions on sport. Also I’m really enjoying trolling the irl waifu by saying it’s better than Haikyu! lol
Interesting… My reveiw ends on speculating what fans who traditional have an aversion to the sports genre would think because it’s really a very traditional sports anime. All the standrad tropes are there it’s just a touch more ecchi
I’ll be sure to do a review of it and explain what about it I like that makes it different to other sports anime, and it’s not just cute girls.
I have watched a huge amount of Sports anime and I really think it fits very snuggly into the genre. In fact it’s more or less a spots swap of Days isn’t it?
Also, I was just thinking, I could probably finish it tomorrow and have a review done in a day or two after, would you want to do like a partial collab? Like basically where your review ends with a question about fans who have an aversion to sports anime it could segue into my 20 question review? Either fully in your post or just via a link to mine? Just an idea though!
Sounds great – it’s morning here but I’ll DM you tonight, we can hash out the details