For a few moments there I thought this was a typical shoujo anime. Mahou Shoujo Ikusei Keikaku does provide the shoujo recipe: a bunch of cute girls with different personalities (and different hair) have magical powers and jump around fighting evil. That, however, is not the case.
Japanese Title: ‘Yume to Mahō no Sekai e Yōkoso!’ (夢と魔法の世界へようこそ！)
Himekawa Koyuki is a regular high school girl that dreams of becoming a regular Magical Girl instead. She has been dreaming of it since she was a child, which is why she spends her time playing a game bearing the anime title on her phone. And -guess what- the game grants her wish for being a perfect candidate, and Koyuki becomes a Magical Girl. She meets other Magical Girls through her Magical Girl app and one of them turns out to be her childhood friend, Souta Kishibe. In the end of the episode, the app tells her that there’s too many magical girls in town, and their number has to be reduced from sixteen to eight. Seems like the financial crisis is even affecting Magical Girls now.
The anime opens with what seems to be the gruesome leftovers of a battle. This is the one and only horrifying scene in this whole episode, but it’s probably the first of many to come.
Koyuki seems like the very regular – overly nice – slightly awkward, and insecure protagonist you would expect. She is shy when her friends try to get her to talk about her love of Magical Girls and overly excited when through the bus window she sees what seems to be one. When sexy transformation sequence occurs and she transforms into ‘Snow White’, she obviously becomes blonde with her fashion choices much more extreme and much less PG.
The Mahou Shoujo Ikusei Kekikaku app is run by a small annoying animal called ‘FAV’ that says ‘pon’ all the freaking time. It is black and white (possibly trying to look like a ying-yang kind of thing?), it has a fishtail, and he moves around indefinitely. I am still trying to figure out why it looks like a futuristic tampon that farts wonder-dust. I don’t trust it.
An interesting, but somehow expected, twist is that her childhood friend of which she reminisces near the beginning of the episode, Souta, is a Magical Girl fan as well, and he later turns out to be a Magical Girl himself, that goes by the name of ‘La Pucelle’ (fan fact: this means ‘The Virgin’ in French). Yes, ‘Souta’ is a boy’s name, in case you didn’t get that part yet. Yes, he has massive boobs when he transforms. Yes, he wears blue eye-shadow. And nail polish. And he has a tail. Deal with it.
Throughout the episode, a few more Magical Girls appear. We are formally introduced to another two: TopSpeed, who apparently is overly friendly, annoying, and old-school (she rides a broomstick and wears a pointy hat) and Ripple, who thinks she is quite badass, only to be called out as a ‘tsundere’ by TopSpeed while she’s showing off her boobs.
Themes & Trivia
Kawaii & Gruesome aesthetics: The show looks like it is being directed to a ten-year-old-girl type of audience, but don’t let all the unnecessary cuteness fool you: this is a seinen manga we are talking about, and the anime is bound to keep its themes. Even though the story has a very girly setup in the first episode, you can trace the aesthetics of what appeals to an older audience: violence, sexualized characters and cross-dressing. The cute-shoujo style reference does give the show a parodic quality of sorts. It is quite interesting to see how the series will develop in the near future, and I am personally looking forward to something along the lines of Higurashi no Naku Koro Ni.
Sailor Moon… again: A Magical Girl anime would not be a Magical Girl anime without a Sexy Magical Girl Transformation Sequence, and we all know where that comes from. If you are looking for a (slightly advanced) interesting read on that, you can look for Mary Grigsby’s ‘Sailormoon: Manga and Anime Superheroine Meets Barbie: Global Entertainment Commodity Comes to the United States’ for the Journal of Popular Culture.
An army of standardized characters: The cast of characters is very typical: you get a bunch of girls with different personalities, appearances and powers that belong to a certain group where all the drama happens. You get to pick a favourite to root for and wait for her to do her thing in every episode. And then she usually dies. My current favourite is Sister Nana, just because I always laugh so hard at Japanese interpretations of Christianity, like in Ao no Exorcist. Fun fact: Nao Tōyama, who voices Koyuki, when she was taking her first steps in the industry, she actually played a minor role in Ao no Exorcist.
Did I like this first episode? Meh. I mean there is nothing wrong with an anime recipe of this kind, and everything seems to be done properly, good animation, satisfactory high pitched voice acting and a promising cute/violent setup. But let’s be realistic. I have no high expectations of this show. Maybe I will be pleasantly surprised.
It’s Magic Time
I mean it’s not bad. But it’s not good either. It’s pleasant to watch, but I am not holding my breath until the next episode, I know what to expect, more or less. Then again, I am not a huge fan of seinen anime, and I haven’t read the manga… so what do you think?
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NEXT TIME: Collect Magical Candies! (マジカルキャンディーを集めよう!)
Mahou Shoujo Ikusei Keikaku (Magical Girl Raising Project)
Started broadcast in October 2016 !
Official Website: http://mahoiku.jp
Official Twitter: ＠mahoiku_anime