A review of the Yuki Yuna wa Yusha de Aru anime series
Yuki Yuna will never be as popular as Madoka. It’s unfair to compare every magical girl show to that landmark series but Yuki Yuna wa Yusha de Aru (Yuki Yuna is a Hero) doesn’t do itself any favours by trying to cherry pick a lot of the idiosyncrasies that made Madoka so special.
Don’t want to fight, oh wait now I’m fighting, oh isn’t fighting hard, oh you’re a newcomer, look at us accepting you
There is, as is now in fashion, the rather mean spirited take on being a magical girl. No longer is it all about having faith in your friends or vanquishing evil doers; there are elements of that but now there’s a price to pay. And it’s not just the tribulations of trying to be a teenage girl and a superhero and having to lie to your family. There’s the abstract, collage-effect enemies that drift menacingly and unknowably, savaging the colourful little pixies that assault it. There’s the music that may not come close to Yuki Kajiura’s haunting score but gives it a good go with some individually stand-out tracks. So it’s business as usual then?
A review of the Rokujouma no Shinryakusha?! anime series
Wark, wark! That’s the harem alarm, clear and true. If there was ever a set up in anime so overused as the harem, I haven’t seen it yet. That doesn’t stop Rokujouma no Shinryakusha?! (Invaders of the Six Tatami Mat Room?!) though which, after a deceptively promising first episode, pulls out all the tropes you’ve come to expect from packing that much oestrogen into a single location.
they don’t spend the entirety of their waking life fawning over the central male
It’s the first episode that convinced me to continue with the series though. Highschool boy moves into a cheap dorm room, finds out it’s haunted. Haven’t heard this one before… But then a princess from outer space claims the room for herself, followed by a magical girl claiming it’s a mystical convergence, followed by an “Earth person” from underground who wants to use it as a bulwark for an invasion. It certainly goes for the “throw everything and see what sticks” premise, but the potential for a series that sees the different invaders squaring off against one another in order to occupy the apartment (spiritual convergence, magical nexus etc.) seemed like a pleasant twist on what usually passes for a story hook.
A review of the second Fate/kaleid liner Prisma Illya anime series
Sooner or later I’m going to have to make a decision as to what constitutes a series, and thus allow me to write a review about it. How do I even describe Fate/kaleid liner Prisma Illya 2wei now that more episodes have been announced - with the suffix “Herz”? Is it the first season of the second series? Just the second series and Herz is the third? Even with its 10 episode runtime that is as petite as its protagonist, there is a familiar self-contained arc to the story with spin up, climax and wind down that matches a typical series. Even the last episode has a sense of finality to it.
As much finality as a show about a white haired magical girl in a luminous pink frock can muster at least. Almost none of the (spoiler filled) portents that the end of the last series held have to come to pass, despite a deceptive amount happening. So Illya and Miyu are still magical girls, Rin and Luvia are still bickering over the cards and Ruby and Sapphire are still malleable floating rings that somehow manage to avoid being seen by any of Illya’s classmates.
A review of the first Fate/kaleid liner Prisma Illya anime series
Fate/kaleid liner Prisma Illya. Fate: okay, keeping with the Type-Moon Fate/* series naming scheme. Kaleid: kaleidoscope? Liner: hang on, what am I lining? Prisma: prism? plasma? Illya: of the von Einzberns, right.
I’d like to say that the individual words make sense on their own but “kaleid” and “prisma” only sound like they should be words; so all together the series title is just nonsense. It joins legions of other magical girl series (I’m looking at you here Nanoha) with silly titles though and may as well be called Fate/something or other: we got bored of the Holy Grail war. With all of the remakes and prequels and other Fate/* paraphernalia rolling around, turning the tragicly precocious child Illya von Einzbern into a magical girl certainly wasn’t the most obvious of routes to take.
the old standbys of friendship, teamwork and questioning why you fight
It’s within Type-Moon’s remit though when you consider the very silly Carnival Phantasm OVAs, but as to whether Prisma Illya contains the same amount of in-jokes and sight gags - I’m not really the right person to ask. I’m also not the foremost expert on magical girl shows in general (despite early and prolonged exposure to Sailor Moon, Utena et. al.) so like with Sakura Trick, I can’t authoritatively proclaim its effect on its genre. Regardless, Illya’s transformation into a magical girl is at least unique and pleasantly expedited, with her partner in cosplay joining her within a few episodes.
A review of the three Puella Magi Madoka Magica films
Six hours. That’s how long all three Puella Magi Madoka Magica movies run for, eclipsing the series run time by over an hour. You could just playlist all the series’ episodes and still have runtime spare to put up screens full of text describing what Gen Urobuchi ate for dinner when he was writing the series. A series that accumulated so much credit with so many fans that such a production would probably still be enough to line studio SHAFT’s pockets for years to come.
forsaking all normal laws, forcibly rewriting the universe and wreathing herself in hellfire
The backlash of course would be immense and it’s perhaps of a good thing that the three movies don’t do this lest we never hear the end of such entitled scorn. Of course when I say three movies, in reality it’s the first two movies which do this and it’s left to the third one to justify the movie franchise’s existence. I was not the greatest of Madoka’s fans when originally watching it as it aired; certainly there is a lot going on in terms of theme, pathos and direction and the pedigree behind it is obvious to see, however it was fundamentally a magical girl show regardless of its subversions or contrary tonal juxtapositions. That’s not a denigration of the genre as a whole, just a matter of taste and it not being to mine.