Book Review: Magical Girl Raising Project (Volume One)

Title: Magical Project Raising Project (Volume One)
Author: Asari Endou, Marui-no (illustrator)
Released: June 20, 2017 (Kindle)
Series: Magical Girl Raising Project
Rating: ★★★☆☆

Description: The hit smartphone game Magical Girl Raising Project is not only free, but one in tens of thousands of players will win real-life powers. In N City, sixteen of these lucky girls help the city’s citizens – until upper management announces that each week, the least productive magical girl will lose her gifts. But this is no ordinary contest, and as the rules become increasingly sadistic, the competition to keep their powers becomes a vicious battle for the girls’ very lives…

Please keep in mind that this review contains spoilers for the entire book. Read with caution. This is a warning that this book does contain graphic descriptions of bloody battles, gore, and suicide. Also, this review will touch upon those subjects as well. Please read at your own risk! If you click the “Read More”, it is under the assumption you either don’t care about spoilers or you’ve already read the book.

As someone does frequently play gacha games and as someone who is a massive fan of magical girls, this story intrigued me at first. To someone casually reading, this can absolutely read as yet another “dark” magical girl series where cute girls do violent things to each other.

And it really does feel that way at times. A lot of the violence does fade to black but that doesn’t stop the author from describing what could’ve happened just because of the girls’ magic they have. The fights that did occur “on-screen” are extremely fast-paced and you can tell that the author had fun in this aspect than the “boring stuff”.

If there are two main characters that we follow, they are Snow White and Ripple. The author makes that very clear but at the same time, there really needed to have ample time to get to know the girls before their demise. Unfortunately, we don’t really get that and the ones we do get are either almost a few paragraphs to a few sentences – or worse yet, assumptions made after their death. It’s a tough balance to focus on either the two or the rest so maybe I’m being a bit sympathetic here.

But there’s certainly a pacing issue. Maybe if the novel itself was longer, there could’ve been more time to focus on the girls and their pasts and to have the reader really build a connection to them. It becomes more evident that at least this volume is rushed especially near the end when Tama gets killed by Swim Swim. I wish that I could really feel emotional battering that the author really wanted to include in the ending and tried to include as much as they could. It’s disappointing but I ended up getting attached to some of the girls regardless.

I really did like, though, that there was significant character development for at least Ripple and Snow White. I wish it was a bit more focused on them but I think there was just a lack of time on the author’s end. Ripple was a bit better than Snow White’s but it’s still a bit disappointing that I didn’t really know the main “evil” character’s intentions until near the end. If I were someone else, that probably would’ve made me drop it or hesitate to continue, at least.

However, and this is a big issue I have in general with this volume – Sister Nana’s graphic suicide was absolutely not needed. Unfortunately, the “bury your gays” trope is still very popular and that’s frustrating in itself but that suicide scene was not needed. Honestly, that scene alone made me very angry because the author had proved that they could fade to black – so why couldn’t we have a fade to back with this scene? I suppose it could be necessary because Sister Nana’s sadness over Winterprison’s death but again, there could’ve been another way to do it and if a magical girl had to commit suicide, why did it have to be the lesbian?

This issue alone wasn’t enough to get me to drop it as it is because right after that chapter, we’re back in the fray with only Fav to tell the other survivors she had died. I think that’s ultimately what made me bring this down because of that scene alone.

But I love magical girls too much to put it down – I want to see what happens to Snow White and Ripple in the future.

Though, out of everything I said, there are quite a few things I did like more than what’s presented here. I’ve always wanted to explore the darker themes of being a magical girl. Of course, the Madoka comparisons are coming but I really enjoyed this more than Madoka, putting the suicide scene aside.

For this volume, it explored how useful how these collectibles (magical candy) really are. They’re not. The question in this volume is: how far would a magical girl be pushed if she could just kill to get what she wants? While it doesn’t explore as deeply as I’d like (especially for a light novel), it does leave me somewhat satisfied and that’s more than I can ask for in this type of genre.

Regardless, I’m going to look forward to the next volume.

About Lily

A fujoshi who won't shut up about anime, manga, video games, BJDs, nendoroids, and anime conventions. She apparently can't stop writing either.

Posted on August 27, 2020, in ★★★☆☆ – 3 Stars, Book Reviews, Light Novels, Magical Girl Raising Project and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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