Light Novel Review: Magical Girl Raising Project [Volume 2-3]

Forewarning: Magical Girl Raising Project has been licensed by Yen Press. Please support the official release once it comes out.

Magical Girl Raising Project has been reborn into a Magical Girl-only Social Game. In order to complete the game, you will need to use your powers to unlock new areas, fight against enemies and defeat the Demon Lord that awaits at the end!

The reward is 1 Billion Yen, awarded to those who have completed the game. Even playing the game rewards you with 100,000 yen!

Sixteen Magical Girls are now trapped in this virtual game world and they must work together in order to escape. But who survives to the end?

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Taking place after the events in the first volume of Magical Girl Raising Project, Restart features an new set of 16 Magical Girls taking part in a different survival game. With the 2nd arc spreading over two volumes, the series takes more time to indulge the readers into the more mystery-oriented plot-line and the actions our characters take to survive.

The game begins with the sixteen Magical Girls entering the world of the ‘Magical Girl Raising Project’ game. Shortly after their arrival, they are quickly acquainted with each other in order to accomplish the main objective of the game; defeating the Demon Lord. The girls are split into four different teams and we follow one particular member of each team. The perspectives switch periodically but in these volume, Restart switches them consistently so that a team continues the passage of time right as we leave another. It also helps that the simplicity and the fixed state of the in-game design allows the story to focus on the character interactions and relationships.

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A new element that was introduced in Restart is the Master’s perspective. To those who have read the first volume, the title “Master” has a significant role in the series. At the very beginning of the arc, it’s very clear that the”Master” is the one operating the game and the one watching over all of the Magical Girls. Besides this direct connection, Restart doesn’t capitalize on the effect the Master has on the overall plot. While names of key Magical Girls are relayed to the reader, there aren’t any big plot twists or revelations to the main storyline.

Besides the improvement with organizing perspectives, Restart adds another layer to the overall narrative. Now that we recognize the existence of the Land of Magic, we expect to discover more about this hidden organization, while still progressing with the main story. Restart’s writing often takes on multiple meanings for scenes both small and big to compensate. For example, a simple quest that one of our main characters goes on helps build her relationship with her teammate as well as relaying information about the in-game mechanics while at the same time insinuating a much darker message. There’s also the inclusion of the ambiguity of certain character’s backstories. Sure, we may not get the full development of a Magical Girl that gets killed off early on, but doesn’t mean we can’t understand the underlying meaning behind that character’s actions.

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Speaking of characters, Pechika is one of the most troubled Magical Girls out of the entire cast in Restart. Pechika’s human counterpart, Chika Tatehara, is very shy and timid, but when she changes into her Magical Girl form, she becomes more confident in herself. But in the game world, her status as a powerful Magical Girl and her special ability of cooking is overshadowed by fifteen others, leaving her to be completely useless in combat. Over the course of the story, we follow Pechika as she tries her hardest to contribute to the team as best she can, leading her to become one of the most (if not, the best) sympathetic and devleoped character.

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Compared to the first volume lover duo of Weiss Winterprison and Sister Nana, Pfle (Kanoe) and Night Gale (Mamori) are the partner duo in Restart. Their relationship in real life is that of a master and a servant, and in the game, they relatively have the same roles. Pfle is the strategist and find a way to proceed through the game while Shadow Gale would handle all of the combat and work. While we view Shadow Gale’s perspective, the duo hardly ever separates. Ever since they were born, they’ve been together as they’ve grown up, so much that they can guess what other is thinking. So when they are put into this game of deception, it tests their loyalty to each other-and given the fact that people will ultimately die in this game, their strength and morals are challenged as well.

“My lady, no. The fact is, it’s not dangerous for me, it’s safer for you, and it puts no strain on me. I’m just doing my job.”

“…But do you like it?”

“Why does it matter?”

“Because what you feel does matter, Mamori.”

Another character who handles parts of narration is Nokko-Chan. While Restart has its fair share of powerful individuals, Nokko-Chan is a very experienced Magical Girl. Ever since she was four years old, she’s been honing her powers and training. Through her ability of influencing emotions, she acts a natural peacekeeper. She embodies the idea of utilitarianism, providing happiness to everyone she interacts with. Her thought process gravitates around the fact that “everyone should be happy.” It’s an ideal thought but it’s also flawed at the same time. Her teammates can be overjoyed that they defeated powerful enemies but when those emotions overwrites feelings of sadness of a friend’s death, Nokko-Chan’s actions and motives appear very questionable. Her moral conduct allows her to stay on the sidelines as a purely neutral bystander in Restart and her placement in the gray area of morality makes her one of the more intriguing characters out of the cast.

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The last characters that have narrator roles in Restart are Magical Daisy and Detrick Bell. While they don’t get big portions of development in the story, they are necessary to move it forward. As one of the most well-known Magical Girls though her anime, Magical Daisy has quite a big influence on everyone and her role in the story makes a lasting impression on the girls. As for Detrick Bell, her abilities aren’t as applicable in the game world, but whenever she gets the chance to go back to the human world, her skills prove to be very valuable, providing the team and the reader with shocking revelations.

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The illustrations are done in the same style as the previous volume and the colored illustrations displays the cast of Restart in three pages after the front cover. I should also mention that the character cast pages for volume 3 reveal which Magical Girls are still alive at that point in time.

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Magical Girl Raising Project proved it had the potential in Unmarked, and Restart follows up nicely. By splitting the cast into four teams, it allowed space for the narrators to get sufficient development while not neglecting the others by focusing on the team’s interactions and relationships. Additionally, instead of the predator versus prey game that the first volume told, the premise changed to an survival game, full of deception and traitors, for a very thrilling experience in volume two. I would highly recommend these two additions to the series.

Rating: Highly Recommended

Afterword: Can I get a slice of life series featuring just Detrick Bell and Lapiz? 


 Author: Asari Endō

Illustrator: Maruino

Fan Translator: PlatFleece

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