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- Genre: Drama, gore, supernatural, magical girl, urban fantasy, school, horror?
- Episodes: 12
- Studio: production doA
Those poor unfortunate souls. In Pain. In need. When they think their all alone there only one thing that can help them. The site, yes indeed. Aya is a girl who just can’t get a break. Wherever she goes, misfortune follows. That is until one day she stumbles upon a mysterious website that offers her the power to change her situation and finally get a hold of her life. All a sudden Aya is a magical girl and has a chance to make her first-ever friend. But you know what they say about things that seem too good to be true.
I really liked Magical Girl Raising Project. I liked it a whole lot. In fact, I have a soft spot for Magical Girl shows in general. So when Magical Girl Site first aired I was really looking forward to watching it. Then I found out it wasn’t on a platform I had and I got bummed. Some reviews came out and they were very mixed but that didn’t deter me. Raising Project also had mixed reviews. I had decided I would love this show and that was that!
I’ll be honest, I did sort of forget about it for a while and eventually, my completely unfounded fervour died down. I really only remember it existed at all when doing a bit of research on horror anime for this year’s countdown to Halloween and discovering that it was on prime, which I do have after all. Since it was a 12 episode series, I figured it would fit my spooky month theme well and here we are.
The production is, for lack of a better word, cheap. Or at least it seemed that way to me. I thought it might be a web series at first. The visuals are purely functional. What I mean by that is that you get exactly what is needed to get the story across an no more. No fancy details or visual symbolism. No elaborate backgrounds. But I will give it one thing. The colours where pretty. Occasional gradients on the girl’s hair was a thrill for me.
Similarly sounds design is o.k. Nothing special and voice acting. Well to be honest it seemed a bit forced to me. I don’t like critiquing voice acting because it always seems more personal. I will point out actors who I think did particularly well but I rarely talk about performances I dislike. However, to my ear, there was a complete lack of chemistry in the cast and several characters sounded as if they weren’t quite sure what they were supposed to be doing.
This sounds absolutely terrible. It wasn’t. It’s just that nothing really appealed to me in the production. However, none of it was terrible enough to turn me off a great story! So how was the story?
As I mentioned, I was hoping for a Magical Girl Raising Project but what I got was much closer to a Happy Sugar Life. I didn’t like Happy Sugar life that much. You see the horror in Magical Girl Site doesn’t come from slowly building up tension or creating deep bonds with characters and then placing them in precarious situations to make us worry. It’s not even so much horror per see. At least to me, it wasn’t that scary (and I’m scared of everything). Rather, it was unpleasant. It just builds on uncomfortable moments and gross implications. There weren’t even that many surprises since you knew the unpleasant was coming. So it even ended up kind of dull.
And it doesn’t think the audience is very smart. What I mean is that it really insists on everything and spells it out for you. For example, Aya is the main character and her life is miserable. We know this because there is literally nothing good in her life. She is atrociously and very publicly bullied at school and no one says a word, not even the teacher when it involves the destruction of school property. Her parents ignore and belittle her. Her brother beats her unconscious. Her only solace is a kitten killed in the first episode.
It’s not only the fact that she is so so soooo unfortunate, and just the world’s most gigantic doormat about it, it’s that it’s unique to her. Those bullies don’t bully anyone else at all and there is no particular reason for them to have picked her. Her brother is stressed out and takes it out on her but is at least superficially nice to everyone else. And that sort of black and white storytelling is basically what you’re in for. It gets better once the action kicks in and there’s no need for subtlety but it did get on my nerves during the built-up. It ended up having the opposite of the desired effect on me, as so much was piled in that I stopped feeling sorry for the girl, or really caring.
And I would say 90% of the show was that. I personally went from bored to mildly grossed out back to bored. I had to force myself to finish the series.
But, there were a few good points. The actual plot itself is decent. Nothing special but not bad either. If you are the type to enjoy plot-driven shows over character-driven ones, you are likely to enjoy this much more than I did. Cause the characters are rather weak in my opinion.
Also, to me, actual surprise and a pleasant surprise at that, as the story advances it gets peppered with moments of actual optimism. There are a few nice joyful turns that I was not expecting and I honestly enjoyed it. In fact, I quite liked the ending. I was sure everyone would die or just about everyone but it was considerably more hopeful than I would ever have guessed. Not enough to make me want to watch another season, but enough to reframe my experience with the series and make it considerably more positive. Even if they did have to throw in one last unpleasant scene right at the end for no reason.
And there are a few interestingly odd details. The character designs of the administrators are interesting and manage to be both unusual and very creepy without being gross. Points there. The depiction of the “tempest” and the ED has what looks like a huge army of flying sperm colliding and I don’t know why that’s there. It’s so weird and has no connection to anything in the show. There is some mild yuri insinuation but pretty much no fanservice which was a surprise.
All in all, I can’t say Magical Girl Site was a good show. Cause it wasn’t really. It started off much worse than I expected and kept going down. However, just as my expectations had bottomed out, it got better. And maybe because I was so over it by then, I was really pleasantly surprised. Once again I am the least helpful reviewer out there. Look, if you like little girls in unpleasant and miserable situations, there’s something here for you. But even for that, there is much better out there.
In my opinion, this is one you can skip unless you are out of anime to watch.
Favourite character: Kiyo. I unironically like Kiyo which says something because I was convinced I wouldn’t have a favourite character. Don’t get me wrong, she’s just a woefully underdeveloped as the rest but I still thought she was charming.
Suggested drink: My Dear Unfortunate Successor
- Every time Asagaru whines – take a sip
- Every time Tsuyuno thinks Asagari is a handful – take a sip
- Every time a new Magical Girl appears – quick catch her
- Every time Nana shows up – gasp!
- Every time there is a train accident – take a sip
- Every time the girls have a bonding moment – awww
- Every time there’s a flashback to childhood trauma – take a swig
- Every time anyone mentions “Tempest” – wonder what the deal with the sperm is
- Every time Nijimi bites her nails – take a sip
- Every time anyone thinks Kaname is hot – take a sip
- Every time we see the bleu haired police detective – take a sip
- Every time the admins have a meeting – take a sip
- Every time we see or hear about “the panties” – oh my
- Every time Aya uses her stick – not that way!
In case you’re new here, I have a Pinterest with all my screencaps (there are a lot!). If you can’t find a show you are looking for in my main boards, just go to Anime Screenshots. I move the shows I have reviewed there. Of course, I’m still going to add a few images here!