In the success of Madoka there have been plenty who have tried to capitalize on turning the Magical girl genre dark. Few have actually succeeded and while Magical Girl Raising Project doesn’t quite succeed, it is still a much more competent attempt than many others. The story is about a phone app which promises to turn people into magical girls. However when the number of magical girls in a city goes too high, an elimination contest is held to cut their numbers in half. The end result is akin to a magical girl battle royale.
This show does play with some interesting ideas and throws some nice curve balls within it’s run. It can certainly get the viewer brainstorming on what is coming next and has nice little twists to the magical girl concept though not often explored to the degree which it could be. It’s at it’s best when the body count rises and sparks fly between the cast of sixteen magical girls. While not all shine there are a few within the cast which are highly likeable and the story does have an excellent antagonist in the form of the cold calculating Swim Swim as well as some standout moments from unexpected characters. When you can’t see what’s coming this show can grip you and have you wondering just who is going to fall next as well as how.
However the problem with Magical Girl Raising Project is that it’s large cast of characters remain undeveloped until the point where they are about to be killed off. The development is primarily through flashbacks but does shed interesting light on the characters. However as the flashbacks often appear right before the character’s demise it often telegraphs that character’s death. Ultimately killing the unpredictability of a battle royale and making the death of a character not all that shocking. Though the show does have a few surprises, more often than not you will see the death coming. The animation as well seems to never quite convey the intensity of the battles making they feel rather plain. While there is a high diversity of character designs and abilities, the fights in this show rarely feel all that exhilarating which could be attributed to the lacking character development or simply the fight animation just being average.
In summary Magical Girl Raising Project is a show with good concepts not executed well. I do see potential in this writer and if a second season does come to be then whn not restricted to the battle royale format he may have a chance to really shine. However as the series is currently it is a serviceable and enjoyable watch. If you have an interest in a dark take of the magical girl genre and have checked out the notables like Madoka or Princess Tutu then Magical Girl Raising Project isn’t a bad recommendation. Even fans of Danganronpa could get a kick out of it as it does take some inspiration from it. A show that sadly didn’t live up to it’s potential but remains a decent watch regardless.