Light Novel Review: Magical Girl Raising Project – Volume 1

YenPress continues to publish a wide-variety of Manga and Light Novels within the UK and America and today we will be sharing our thoughts on the first light novel release of Magical Girl Raising Project – Volume 1.

Title: Magical Girl Raising Project – Volume 1
Publisher: YenPress
Author Asari Endou
Illustrator Marui-no
Pages 208
Language English

Synopsis:

The hit social network game “The Magical Girl Raising Project” selects one out of every tens of thousands of players to become a real life magical girl. The lucky chosen girls gain magic powers as well as incredibly good fortune, and spend their days blissfully.

But one day, an absolute announcement declares that the number of magical girls has risen too high and must be cut down to half. Sixteen young maidens are thrust into a merciless, deadly contest to survive…but how many will come out the other side?

Our View:

Magical Girls are often seen as the heroes of justice, saviours of humans and protectors of peace, but when it comes to Magical Girl Raising Project then it could not be more further than from the truth. Offering similarities to that of Accel World, by bringing the game world to that of the real world, and combining it with the twisted and dark agendas similar to that seen within Puella Magi Madoka Magica, Magical Girl Raising Project offers a story that follows the adventures of numerous Magical Girls as they fight for survival within N-City.

It’s a unique combination and offers some interesting turning points within the story that it is trying to tell; but unfortunately it does require effort and determination in order to experience this invigorating story of justice and survival. Usually stories tend to introduce the main character, their surroundings and dreams before following their journey to achieve it; but here readers are thrown into a mixture of different perspectives and character viewpoints. The result is difficulty understanding the basic concepts of the story and as such readers must adapt to the presentation and pacing of this story before being able to enjoy it.

This first volume introduces readers to the world of Magical Girl Raising Project, whereby a free-to-play mobile game of the same name allows players to become a Magical Girl in order to collect candies. Although to most it is a free-to-play mobile game played for fun, for some it sees the game choosing them to become real magical girls in order to do as they see fit; with most opting to do the norm by helping those in need in exchange for candies that can be used within the game itself. Those chosen to be magical girls are recruited by Fav and each week chosen members can meet-up in a special chat room, within the game world on their phone, to discuss events within the game and real world; as each chosen magical girl has a designated area of N-City to protect or manage.

What starts as a story of protecting those from harm through the use of Magical Girls some spirals into despair for those involved, as Fav announces that all chosen Magical Girls will need to compete against each other to obtain the most amount of candies or face losing their powers.  The story here is that each one of the sixteen magical girls will compete on a weekly basis to obtain the most amount of candies, and the magical girl with the least amount of candies will be cut from the group. This realisation causes all of the Magical Girls to perform more good deeds then ever before, but soon enough some of the Magical Girls learn alternate ways of obtaining the candies they need.

This discovery sparks the ‘second arc’ of the story in the first volume, whereby magical girls Ruler, Swim Swim, Tama, Mineal, Yunael and Calamity Mary fight against each other – and other Magical Girls – in order to steal candies from less competitive combatants. The result is that the story within this first volume quickly turns dark and brutal, with Magical Girls using all abilities at their disposal in order to incapacitate their enemy and steal their candies. Personally I wasn’t expecting such a dark, twisted and brutal story and as the pages, and chapters, turned I found myself being further and further engrossed within the story being told.

What’s surprising is that, despite being the first volume of a bigger collection, it offers a rather complete story within a single release which seems unheard of for a light novel series. Another issue I had is that characters are quickly introduced, and in turn killed, before any relevant information about said character is revealed and this is where the difficulty lies of adapting to the novel and the story being told; not just from a presentation perspective but from trying to visually imagine the characters and events occurring – as its hard to imagine something without becoming familiar with what is occurring – as naturally this takes time.

Each chapter within this first volume has story elements for each character within the story with some story elements in a chapter for a character being longer than others depending on the events. This combined with the additions of Prologue and Epilogue moments, which offer insights into the world and its events leading in and out of the story, make immersion difficult to grasp at first. To make this even more difficult Chat Log moment sections depict interactions between characters within the chat room of Magical Girl Raising Project and act as a way of progression the story forward for the characters stories in each of the chapters.

Basically Magical Girl Raising Project – Volume 1 is not your typical light novel as it instead opts to follow the events of multiple characters within the world it is trying to depict rather than that of a single person. The first half of the book heavily explores Snow White, a magical girl that is pure to the personalities of a magical girl, and the challenges that lay in wait for her; while the second half of the focuses on Swim Swim and the challenges of defeating other magical girls; but surrounding these elements is everyone else’s own story, personality and agenda. The ending is also adrupt as well but it offers something different to the norm of a light novel series; especially for one that is the first volume.

Those who enjoyed the deceptive elements from Madoka Magica and the gaming terminology styles of Accel World will enjoy what Magical Girl Raising Project – Volume 1 has to offer; but it is overshadowed by a slow and difficult type of presentation and reading style.

Score: review-stars-3

Magical Girl Raising Project – Volume 1 is now available in the UK via YenPress.

About Scott Emsen
Scott is the Founder and Executive Editor of AnimeBlurayUK but in the past he has worked at ZOMGPlay, Rice Digital and Funstock and was once a Community Moderator for the Nokia N-Gage forums. Based in the UK, he loves anything related to Games & Anime and in In his spare time you'll mostly find him playing on one of his many gaming consoles; namely the PS Vita, PS4 or Xbox One.

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