Light Novel Review: Magical Girl Raising Project [Volume 5-6]

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

Seven girls are transformed into Magical Girls by a mysterious fairy. The fairy requests the assistance of the girls to protect her from an Evil Witch…

Five Magical Girls from the Land of Magic have been sent into the city in order to investigate and arrest an Assassin…

With only 24 hours remaining and nowhere to run, the chase begins.

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Magical Girl Raising Project continues its story in volumes 5 and 6, the Limited Arc. Limited  presents new Magical Girls and splits them into three teams with different agendas. While Limited provides more information to the big picture of both the Land of Magic and Magical Girls, the ending result is a giant bloodbath with disjointed themes and characters.

Limited’s story operates differently than the previous arc. Instead of a deadly survival game, the plot can be summed up as a big violent race to achieve the teams’ agenda. Seven girls are transformed into a Magical Girls and they all agree to help a Fairy from an Evil Witch, unknowing of the consequences of their actions. On the other hand, a investigation team consisting of high ranked Magical Girls from the Land of Magic are in the city to apprehend an dangerous Assassin. And to top it all off, four rogue and deadly Magical Girls have escaped prison and their leader is searching for the Assassin as well.

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Limited is also the most plot-heavy when it comes to the Land of Magic. The Land of Magic acts as a government responsible for Magical Girls, with divisions dedicated to certain purposes (i.e Examination Division investigates any rogue Magical Girls, Human Resources Division is responsible for the selection testing and training, etc.) Magical Girl Raising Project has always had a secret fixation on politics ever since Unmarked, having the Magical Girls retort about business related practices, backroom affairs of the Land of Magic, and just ethics in general. Here though, we are introduced to the Land of Magic’s corruption and the Magical Girls that are directly affected by this. This also applies the concept of the ideal Magical Girl, not just a value that an individual has, but on a much grander scale.

The Land of Magic likes to make the Magical Girls believe that they are all-powerful and all-seeing. With their administrators and mascots running around, trying to fit them in a nice little order.

The truth is far from that. Due to the internal infighting of the Land of Magic, they are far from omnipresent. Each and every one of their Divisions acts like a power bloc.

The more power they can exert over the entire administration, the more Magical Girls they can recruit to their Division, the more they can have their own agendas advanced.

Each team is built of strong individuals with powerful abilities. But when all of the members fail to communicate with one another, it all comes crashing down. Trust is thrown out the window and the novel makes the consequences very clear. So much so that I found it frustrating as each team attempts to get their stuff together but everyone is too busy thinking that the other will backstab them, causing the teams to self-destruct in the end. Only one team is able to salvage their teamwork, but that doesn’t stop them from having causalities or resolving everything in the end.

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While Limited invests its time progressing the plot, it does so at the cost of weaker individual character backgrounds. The seven Magical Girls are the girls from Namiyama High School plus one turtle, and their stories revolve around friendship. Captain Grace (Umi Shihabara) and Funny Trick (Kayo Nemura), while appear to be friends, their feelings aren’t truly reciprocal. Meanwhile, Postarie and Rain Pou have similar circumstances that affect their relationship. The novel covers both of our duos and the history they have with each other, but these sections are cut short due to present-time events taking precedence.

As for the others, Kuru-Kuru Hime, Tepsekemei, and Wedin all share qualities of wanting to protect their friends and family, but aside from their initial given personalities, their actions and emotions are purely based off of the events that happen in present time. For example, Wedin is the closest individual to the core theme of what Magical Girl Raising Project has been proclaiming, an ideal magical girl, off of her obsessive interest in Magical Girls. Overall, Team Namiyama High School is an example of a group that should not have been involved in the affairs of Magical Girls and the brutality of the Land of Magic, and the conclusion to their story directly matches it.

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As if we didn’t have enough of Magical Girl Raising Project screaming the words Ideal Magical Girls, Pythie Frederica is on the loose in search of said Magical Girl. Together with her gang of killer prisoners, they set off to find the Assassin who Pythie Frederica assumes to be Snow White. Out of the characters who wants to change the Land of Magic, Pythie Frederica, while still radical, at least has her head on arguably straight. As a sympathizer of Clamberry, she agrees with the idea of natural selection, but instead Clamberry’s search for a good opponent, Pythie decides to directly reform the corrupt government of the Land of Magic. Despite her revolutionary ideals, her actions make her the resident antagonist for the novel, and perhaps the most challenging opponent in the series to date.

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Pythie’s team of deadly inmates consists of: Top Pot, a leader of the Rebellion and a apprentice of Pythie, Pukin, an egotistical warrior with a vicious bloodlust, and Sonia Bean, the right-hand man to Pukin. While all of these girls are fearsome, Pythie is able to deceive and manipulate them into doing what she want…at least most of the time. Her frustration at the unpredictability of her comrades is something that keeps the novel on its feet for all parties in the story.

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The B-City Investigation Team is a rag-tag team of individuals who almost have no connection with one another, but they somehow manage to make things work in the end. Consisting of Mana, Hana, 7753, Mao Pam, and Ripple, the girls are sent in to capture a  assassin wanted for killing Magical Girls. Despite the four individuals coming from the Land of Magic, each of them has their own agenda assigned by their higher-ups, which reflects the infighting between the Divisions.
Heading the Investigation Team are Mana, a lead examiner in the Examination Division, and Hana Gekokuko, her right-hand support. The two are the closest out of all the relationships, but Limited decides to split them apart for the sake of its core theme of trust. Limited focuses on our leader Mana in the duo. While she appears to be the coldest and the most serious out of the group, she gets very emotional, often lashing out at her teammates when Hana isn’t there. She can cooperate with the other members, but she doesn’t fully place trust in them like she does with Hana, so much so that she’s willing to take on the burden on herself. Throughout the novel, Mana has to learn how to fully depend on others, but despite progressing, the conclusion fully doesn’t reciprocate and she pays for it.
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As for the other members, while they do bring their own individual stories to the table, it feels disconnected with the rest of the themes of Limited. Simply stating, their roles are purely support. Ripple returns to the story, more experienced and calmer than in Unmarked, but she’s there to fill in the plot holes about her situation and Snow White’s. Mao Pam provides a bit more backstory to those related to her in the Land of Magic, and 7753 fully uses her ability to introduce plot elements as they suddenly appear.
The illustrations takes a much darker and serious tone, with Maruino designing the characters to be fearsome in their depictions. Like with previous volumes, the full cast in shown in chibi-format. Additionally, the cast pictures of volume 6 or the second part of Limited does not disclose the deaths of any Magical Girls. Personally, I really like the character designs for the Magical Girls for its wide diversity and overall appearance.

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After all this chaos, there really is no happy ending to this arc, just a step forward in the grand scheme of what is to come. While developments are made, they don’t feel conclusive and just by how everything happens, there is really no choice but to accept the result. Limited displays the various themes of friendship and trust, and ultimately ends up happening when our characters don’t learn from it.

But hey, at least someone ended up in a good position as shown by the cliff-hanger.

Rating: Recommended – Average


 Author: Asari Endō

Illustrator: Maruino

Fan Translator: PlatFleece

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