Mahou Shoujo Taisen

June 26, 2015

Japanese people just love to look up to something, do they? They have their idols and character mascots all around. Now they even have magical girls! Yup. Just like being unique to every province and prefecture (and even products), there is a magical girl representing each prefecture! Well, at least in Mahou Shoujo Taisen. Wow. How much do you love them? From what I gather, this anime is adapted from a game of the same name but what I found interesting was the design of each magical girl being determined via contest. I have not seen all 47 magical girls but from the ones I do see here, some are quite creative and typically, uhm, magical girl-like. Since it isn’t possible to show every magical girl, I suppose the top finalists of the contest earn the extra right to be adapted into anime. So don’t be sad if your province isn’t featured because as long as you support your own magical girl, everything will be alright. Will it?

Miyagi Prefecture: Naruko Aoba

Episode 1
Naruko Aoba is chasing a Magatsuhi but she is stopped by a policeman because she just crossed a red light! Being a magical is tough. Especially when you have to fight enemies that normal people can’t see. Yup, it makes her look like a nut talking to herself when she is exchanging heated words with her fat familiar bird, Takesuzume. Naruko is tired and needs a break since she has been chasing the Magatsuhi since morning but when evil is on the loose, no time to rest. So get your ass going! As hard as she tries to catch them, she couldn’t. Takesuzume says she needs to put her heart in it. And she’s going to do it and be the best magical girl. How did she ever get into this mess? Finally she nails one by hitting it away like a baseball. Naruko spots another one but this time the policeman stops her again for trying to cross a red light. I suppose Takesuzume is so obsessed in wanting her to catch the Magatsuhi that he couldn’t care less to notice Naruko is in a bind with the policeman. Magical girl and fat bird get into an argument. She calls him a blockhead and the policeman thinks she insulted him. Remember, nobody can see the familiar. Naruko is whisked away to the police station and Takesuzume still can’t comprehend all that is happening and why she isn’t going after the Magatsuhi. Speaking of which, this cute little creature has spot an armour it would love to possess…

Episode 2
I don’t know how Naruko got freed but she is seen talking to her friend, Micchan about the mysterious cosplay girl (make a guess) who may be going around to liven up the festival atmosphere. Micchan believes if her popularity continues to soar, business will capitalize on it and make a killing on merchandizes and products. Takesuzume swoops down to remind Naruko about the Magatsuhi she let escaped yesterday. Micchan is puzzled about the odd faces she is making. Like as though she’s interacting with a ghost? Takesuzume whisks Naruko away to transform. Yeah. You’re going to cosplay again. And here is your great elaborate and lengthy magical girl transformation. Wow. It took a minute for all that. No wonder we have to continue to the next episode.

Episode 3
The Magatsuhi who donned the armour is now a giant hideous blob heading towards the land from the sea. Takesuzume blames her fault that it might have merged with others to become this big. Naruko faces off with it as Takesuzume is just giving lip service. He should just shut up and help her. Naruko lacks the motivation to defeat it as she remembers how she was working in the paddy fields when Takesuzume swooped down to her. She tried to attack it but was zapped and turned into a magical girl. Although she is mad that she is forced into this and all the trouble she has gotten into, she will not allow the land she loves to be wrecked. She unleashes her most powerful beam to zap the Magatsuhi. It explodes and rains down into some little green bean mochi snack. Wow. It’s like everyone expected it because they’ve got their plates ready to receive it. Takesuzume praises Naruko for a good job well done and that she could do it if she puts her heart in it. But now it is back to more training! And Naruko thought she could go home and get some rest…

Shizuoka Prefecture: Matsuri Sengen

Episode 4
Matsuri Sengen is a miko priestess but she has an odd interest in piecing together old artefacts that her father brings back from the museum. For this particular piece, after halfway through, it suddenly transforms into a mecha robot fist. And Matsuri is going to have a little rude wakeup call from this cheeky little fist whom she nicknames Toro. I mean, you’ll definitely wakeup when some hand is molesting your chest, right? Next morning, Toro claims he is a servant of God and is sent to do an errand. Since it will be faster showing it to her, he has her repeat the lines after him. Matsuri transforms into a magical girl and realizes too late that she has been duped into it.

Episode 5
Matsuri buys a charm in a form of a little robot although Toro opines that it would be better if they sell a figurine of her in a swimsuit. Toro continues his cheeky ways by tugging her skirt. There is a giant size robot nearby as they visit it as Matsuri wonders if Toro could have been from this robot’s hand. Toro scoffs it off that his hand is more sophisticated than that cheap replica. Matsuri also argues that recent plastic models are also as sophisticated and good quality. While they argue about this, a Magatsuhi possesses the robot as it wreaks havoc on the town. Toro won’t let Matsuri run away and suggests they fight together this Magatsuki (something that is possessed by a Magatsuhi). At first she is scared and embarrassed to don the magical girl outfit but seeing the town getting destroyed at this rate, she has no choice but to try it out. However she took too long to decide and thus her transformation scene will be in the next episode!

Episode 6
And here is Matsuri’s transformation scene. Although it just lasts for around 30 seconds. Matsuri swings her beams but all of them miss! Yeah. And I can’t believe that even if she fires at such close range, she can still miss and the shot hit the mountains! Toro motivates her to believe in her own strength. Have confidence. Trust yourself. Before he could finish, the robot pummels him and he is destroyed. Matsuri becomes mad and this time her beam hits the robot. She continues firing and putting all her focus into it till the robot explodes and disperses into yummy snacks. Mmm… Tasty. Wait a minute. Why do the people have bowls ready waiting to receive them? Back home, Matsuri fixes Toro and he is as good as new. Well, almost. But his cheeky nature is still intact as he gives her a ‘friendly touch’ on her chest. I think he might be a small breast lover…

Tokyo Prefecture: Rin Kobari

Episode 7
Rin Kobari is seen fighting a villainous magical girl. Wait, too busty and sexy to be a magical girl… Rin gets knocked out in this tough battle. But she wakes up. Could it be just a dream? Rin as well as her fat bird familiar, Mosuke (is he related to Tamako Market’s Dera?) accompany grandma to Tokyo’s shopping district. Rin thought she spot that villainous babe and follows her right down into the dark sewers. All Mosuke can do is just complain and being a big chicken (although he is a fat bird). Rin has more guts than him. Suddenly something scary is about to pop out from the corner…

Episode 8
What the heck is this KKK?! But they look scary. As usual, Mosuke is screaming in fear and thinks it is better to run away. You survive, you win. As they make a run for it, Mosuke mentions they smell like Magatsuhi but only they are being possessed and influenced by it. If that is the case, isn’t this a job for a magical girl? Mosuke doesn’t think Rin can handle such a big group (pessimist) but Rin says that is the reason why magical girls exist: To exorcise Magatsuhi. She cannot bear to see misfortune on people or abandon them, the reason why she became a magical girl. And now for Rin’s transformation sequence… As she purifies the Magatsuhi, she pops out at the Tokyo Tower. There are lots of seal over it. It was once built to manage the release of ley lines power but sealed due to its age. Standing atop it is that villainous babe, Rei Amagiri.

Episode 9
Those KKK guys view the magical girl in light as their enemy and are delighted Rei is here and want her to grant her power of dark corruption. Rei swoops down to deal Rin a surprise attack. Mosuke smells her as the source of the Magatsuhi corruption and thus those people are charmed by her who is also a magical girl. Rei relentlessly attacks but Rin only defends since she is in a dilemma to fight her fellow magical girl and hurt her. Mosuke tells her there is no difference when one is possessed by Magatsuhi. Rei says she is jealous of Rin because she is pretty. Although she likes pretty things, she still hates her. Time to die.

Episode 10
Mosuke saves her from certain death but Rei still strikes a blow that has her crashing to the ground. When her subordinates pin Rin down and want Rei to corrupt her, Rei dispatches them and asks Rin if she can handle it. Rin powers up and fires back at her. Surprisingly, they see Rei as not fully corrupted and it was something else was possessed by Magatsuhi. Rei fires back a powerful blast. She stabs Rin but it doesn’t penetrate. Instead, Rei gets purified and disappears. It was grandma’s charm that protected her. When Rin returns to her grandma, she couldn’t stop crying that she couldn’t do anything. But grandma knew she did her best and her feelings got through. Hey… Is this a sad ending?

Ishikawa Prefecture: Yuri Inuwashi

Episode 11
Yuri Inuwashi is complaining the place is cold and lack decorative. So why complain to Kijikawa about making more money to buy those stuffs and put his great handicraft skills to work? But to him, money is not important. Unfortunately some people don’t think so. Like this ruthless businessman who thinks he should take up their great offer. And since he won’t, he threatens that he will regret it since this city is a dangerous place. While Yuri is in town, she spots that shady guy making some deal. She tries to tail him but a couple of punks stop her.

Episode 12
Yuri easily beats them up but her dog familiar, Shishiku feels she should have taken them down more gracefully. She’s a magical girl, you know. Later she learns from Kijikawa that there is a group trying to buy up all the region’s famous trademarks and approaching everyone so they won’t run into trouble later. More scooping around has Yuri find out this guy is planning to remodel the handicrafts museum and turn into some theme park. She waits outside to take photo evidence of him meeting a diet member outside a building. To her surprise and dismay, Kijikawa is one of them. This is where she is going to get tough. She transforms into her magical form which looks like some sort of futuristic sentai. Shishiku thinks she is misusing the power to turn invisible and trace Kijikawa since the power is only to protect the area from Magatsuhi. But if she doesn’t use it now, when will she use it?

Episode 13
Yuri spies on the meeting. Shady guy is talking about ‘caring’ for the city and wanting to develop it but it’s all in the name of money. Sure, no doubt about that. But it’ll bring money to the area to and make people like him have enough to eat. He is confident of buying Kijikawa’s technique, have him join the association and make him swear never to question how they do things. Kijikawa isn’t interested and leaves. The technique he inherited cannot be bought by money. Shady guy orders his yakuza henchmen. Once last chance. Join the association or else. Suddenly a Kaga lion possessed by Magatsuhi runs rampage into the room. Yuri saves Kijikawa before he passes out. The lion corners the shady guy but is distracted by Yuri’s powerful beam blasts.

Episode 14
Yuri is in a dilemma since the lion will be getting rid of the baddie. But Shishiku says even so, a Magatsuhi is still a Magatsuhi and cannot be allowed to roam free. He transforms into a Kaga lion to fight it. Yuri joins in and is told there is no need for sympathy when fighting it. After taking some damage, Yuri sees the lion like as though it wants her to defeat it. Yuri does it and ends the menace. She then tells of the shady guy that she doesn’t like him. However what he is doing is not entirely wrong but try not to force others. Kijikawa is weaving an umbrella as Yuri wants to buy one. Although it is designed for males, she doesn’t mind.

Mie Prefecture: Suzuka Kamiki

Episode 15
Long ago, Suzuka Kamiki crashed while trying to do some bike stunt. A guy helps her up but mistakes her to be a boy. Now, Suzuka and her old lobster familiar, Ebizou is watching a motorcycle race. She wonders if Kouta remembers her. Well, I’m not sure if he should at this time because he is under immense pressure. He was told if he doesn’t win the next race, he will have to step down. And since he still wants to race, he aggressively overtakes to the front. Suddenly a Magatsuhi appears and plays with his mind. If he wants to go faster, he’ll stick with him. Kouta wants to ride more and so the Magatsuhi possesses him and they’ll ride till he dies. Yeah. He’s going to crash into the wall!

Episode 16
However the bike goes through the wall! Suzuka transforms into a magical girl and Ebizou a badass lobster bike to chase them. However as they ride on the highway, Ebizou is losing speed and energy if he leaves the prefecture. Luckily Kouta has turned back but there seems to be lots of weird and cute Magatsuhi in his wake. Continuing the chase, Suzuka is barraged with lots of foodstuffs as well as attacking ninjas and aliens. Huh? They need to catch up and stop him because Kouta will ride till he dies at this rate. Ebizou thinks of slowing him down with his missile but Suzuka won’t allow that.

Episode 17
Ebizou detects a shrine nearby and if they head there, they can purify the Magatsuhi. Suzuka rides up to Kouta. She hears him murmur how he doesn’t want it to be game over. She notes that he may not remember her but he was the one who told her if she gave up, it’s game over. She used that inspiration to be like him. She watched him race with a smile and it was what made her keep going and not let life get her down. Where did that Kouta who enjoys riding go? If he is riding with a face like that, she doesn’t want to see him at all. Kouta crashes at the shrine. As the Magatsuhi emerges, Suzuka instantly purifies it. Back in reality, Kouta crashes in the race but walks away okay. In the aftermath, he is doing udon delivery as Suzuka watches from afar. Has he given up racing for good? Is it game over? Ebizou says it isn’t like everything ends after that. All he needs is to continue a new game. Suzuka cycles away thinking he has spotted a suspicious person staring at him. But when he rides up to her, he mentions she has learnt how to ride but still look unsteady. Happy that he remembers, this definitely makes her day.

Kumamoto Prefecture: Renka Ariake

Episode 18
Renka Ariake is cleaning the school’s field by herself and her familiar, Ekuu is not amused she is doing all the grunt work. She’s fine with this. What about the festival? She’ll go when she’s done. Ekuu loves the atmosphere at the festival but since Renka is just gloomy, it puts a damper on his mood. He says if she just wants to join her friends over there, then just go. Suddenly they are surrounded by weird masked people. A Magatsuhi teases Renka as a lonely girl and if she would like to date him. Time to transform and exorcise this lecher.

Episode 19
The Magatsuhi mocks humans as noisy during festivals for the sake of being noisy but Ekuu claims it is to protect the ley line powers. True. But how many humans know about that? Because of ley lines, magical girls exist to keep the region peaceful. Yet nobody pays attention to them. Doesn’t she feel lonely? Renka remembers she trained hard and cleaned up everything herself. Her friends were worried and told her not to try too hard because it made the rest look like slackers. But since Renka didn’t find it hard, they gave up and left her alone. Renka is reeling from this memory as the Magatsuhi continues to mock her that just like her friends, nobody understands her hard work and is not interested. She would be happier alone and toss away everyone else.

Episode 20
Renka continues to be in a dilemma over Magatsuhi’s words. This forces Ekuu to fight that green toad while trying to convince Renka not to listen to him because it is just a trick to let her guard down to corrupt her. That happens when a magical girl loses sight of her purpose and becomes possessed by a Magatsuhi before turning to the dark side. It might be a pain to deal with that she is stubborn but don’t be stubborn because of pride and don’t let her heart grow stubborn too. There is nothing wrong about liking festivals and such. They are not the enemy. Also don’t forget passion because if you do, you go from being stubborn to selfish. It is then Renka realizes and gets the strength to stab the Magatsuhi. Even if nobody will acknowledge her, she will still respond to people’s feelings. Stubborn fool… In the aftermath, Renka joins her friends at the festival. They both apologize and make up.

Kyoto Prefecture: Mebuki Konoe

Episode 21
Azuki fails to capture a bunch of Magatsuhi at some shopping district. Not only people’s opinion of her as a monster specialist is going down, but she has a hectic schedule of places she needs to go to catch those spectres as people claimed to have spotted them. Hardly have any time for breaks, eh? Will her body break by then? Maybe they should hire more people. Meanwhile, Mebuki Konoe and her familiar Oage are seeing those Magatsuhi and think they are being lured by some greater power. As they go after it, Azuki spots them.

Episode 22
Azuki is thinking where has she spot Mebuki before when her boss tells her there is an unusual assault at the crime scene. The area is covered with blood and lots origami paper cranes lying around. She thought one of them assaulted her but could it be just an illusion? As she walks around to look for clues, it leads her to a creepy place with an equally creepy girl, Rei making origami. Those paper arts start attacking her but Mebuki comes to her rescue. She says this Magatsuhi is too much for her to handle.

Episode 23
The magic battle begins. Azuki really thinks she has seen this before. In some anime. Haha. You’re such a funny girl. Only, this isn’t. Rei summons her familiar, Libby as they power up and defeat Mebuki and disappear. Oage notes that Rei has gathered lots of power and it is going to be further trouble if they don’t stop her. Because Azuki can see this fox (thanks to her meddling in Magatsuhi affairs she developed some sort of this power), they need to fill her in with details to avoid her doing anything risky. Mebuki introduces herself and Azuki recognizes her from the famous Konoe family who has purged Kyoto of impurities. Rei who was once a magical girl is now a Magatsuki after being possessed and now absorbing all the power she can find. That itself might have caused her to lose her memories. If this continues, it is going to be more than just people ending up getting hurt. Therefore, Mebuki will be the one to protect Kyoto so please stay out of her way.

Episode 24
Rei remembers when she was fighting a Magatsuhi, the public got injured and she felt guilty about it. While she is wallowing in depression, Libby infused her with something and now she is tainted. Mebuki fights Rei again but Oage notices with Libby around, the protective power of the shrine is broken. This is bad because it will set off a chain reaction and explode other ley lines. Meanwhile Azuki is helping to evacuate the people.

Episode 25
Rei can’t understand why magical girls can remain pure when being one is nothing but pain and hardship. No matter how much Mebuki hurts her, as long as she has the ley line powers, she can recover instantly. Azuki plans on releasing some underground power the spread out the leak. Since the ley lines are connected by the underground train stations, Azuki and the people start closing the shutters to seal it off. With Rei not being able to absorb them, Mebuki purifies her and turns Rei into a normal girl. She tells her that magical girls are the people’s hope. There are times hope cannot be fulfilled but that is no cause for despair. As long as there is hope, a magical girl’s power will never run out.

Shimane Prefecture: Amane Sakaki

Episode 26
What an insulting episode. It isn’t the fact that we see short cameos of all the other magical girls in this final episode. Or the fact that a shooting star is seen streaking through the sky and a high school girl, Hina Yakumo trying to make a fervent wish for hamburger steak for dinner and missing the bus. The next bus is at noon. Better catch up… The comet crashes and it isn’t a celestial maiden but a magical girl! Butt naked at first, that is why you need a transformation scene. Her cheeky familiar, Yamada tries not to peek but did. He thought she is going to kill him but with her memories returned, Amane Sakaki makes her way to go slay Gods. That’s it???!!! ISN’T THIS INSULTING???!!! It feels like she’s just a consolation and missed out on the top 7 so they just barely animate her just to ‘show face’. What a let down…

Magical Girl Galore!
Well, I don’t know if it is a good thing or bad but since I have a hard time picking, I’m just going to call it in-between. Just okay. Firstly, the stories are no more than seeing the magical girl of a province, perhaps a little peek into what she does as an ordinary girl, her transformation into a magical girl, her familiar sidekick, and they go around busting Magatsuhi’s ass and save the day for the locals. It is hardly anything exciting unless you are from that same province of that magical girl so you’ll tend to support her more than others. It started out as okay and with certain stories just ending like that. I know, I expected more but what more do I want?

Of course the final episode ‘killed’ the overall sentiments with its lacklustre teasing because the featured magical girl didn’t even do much. Even with this seemingly ‘boring’ formula, thanks to the 4 minute duration of each episode, it seems tolerable. I mean, would it been better if they blow it up to the usual 24 minutes per episode and perhaps feature 2 magical girls per episode? I’m sure the story would fit and they could also feature all the magical girls that way. Maybe this short series is just serving as an introductory to promote the game. But let’s not think too far and as far as this season is concerned, if you like magical girls, you should find this one satisfactory entertaining. And if you’re obsessed about them, you’ll love it. After all, who hates magical girls, right? I know I love maids more but that doesn’t mean I hate magical girls. Just saying…

The character development is very much lacking. I know we can blame the 4 minute duration thingy and despite the mini arcs taking up a handful of episode, it still doesn’t delve deeper into the magical girl character in focus. You won’t know anything much more about them as you have seen. Some have their own issues and dilemmas but they’ll get by with hope and resolve, the all-important ingredients you need as magical girls, no? Some familiars are amusing with their weird characters and personally, I thought some stood out more than their magical girl like that fat coward Mosuke, the cheeky Toro and that old geezer shrimp, Ebizou. Even more disappointing was perhaps I thought since the featured magical girl is representing a prefecture, maybe we could see and learn a little more about it. Sadly, you’d be better off looking it up on Wikipedia.

Probably the most interesting magical girl would be Rei because I am intrigued on how she turned to the dark side and from the things ended for her, I have got a feeling that the source of it is still roaming free. That is why we still need our magical girls to keep us safe 24/7, right? Therefore if this anime is to be adapted into a proper series, I am sure there will be some interesting characters and maybe doing a cross-over or something because you know, you can’t just stay perfectly within your prefecture borders, can’t you? It’s like Batman never leaving Gotham City… I know, magical girls lose their power but I think fans’ devotion should be enough to power them up till the next galaxy and into the heavens. Seriously ;p.

Action is rather okay if you love those typical magical girl stuffs of using their magic to dispel and purify evil. Otherwise, casual viewers like me would just find it pretty normal and just enough to keep you entertained for that duration. I mean, at least with a limited time, it is a good thing that they do not draw the fight for too long like certain animes… Yeah, it takes episodes to finish a damn fight! I am not sure about this but for certain magical girl arcs, once she defeated a Magatsuhi, it will explode and turn into little snack foods that end up in the hands of the citizens. Is this some little advertising to promote the local delicacy? I don’t know. I’m not sure. I didn’t bother to look it up. Funnily, it’s like everyone is waiting to that food to end up in their hand because after the Magatsuhi explodes, you’ll see them waiting with their hands out just to receive that food.

The art is nothing to shout about as it looks pretty standard although there are some scenes looking cartoonish. Especially the familiars that come in all sorts of shapes and sizes that you might think maybe the producers are trying to imitate something out of Disney’s animal sidekicks but failed. Some Magatsuhi look so cute that you’d never think they’d be something threatening to the townspeople. Heck, I think they can be candidates for new Pokemon monsters. The oddest looking ‘things’ are the extra unimportant people in the background, in which to me look like beans. Bean people? I don’t know. Maybe some of you may find them looking like stick people. And of course it goes without saying that the magical girl outfits and appearance are given prominent priority. You might have guessed that I am going to say that some look like cosplay fanatics.

The voice acting is pretty okay and nothing much to shout about. What is interesting that I found out is that each magical girl that is being voiced is voiced by a seiyuu that was born in that prefecture they represent. I didn’t do my homework to check it out but I’ll take the easy way out and believe them ;p. I recognized a handful of recognizable seiyuus lending their voices such as Ryouko Shintani, Kappei Yamaguchi, Satomi Arai, Mikako Komatsu and Shigeru Chiba. The opening theme is which only played at the start of an arc, is All Over by Livetune adding Anna Yano and sounds like a generic lively anime pop piece.

It is no joke when some people do believe in their magical girl, like they are the super heroines that fight crime and save the city. It’s okay to believe in that. I mean, you’re not going to tell kids that Santa doesn’t exist, right? Even if it looks odd, but I believe the goodness and the virtue behind it that it brings. You see lots of people cosplaying as their favourite characters especially those from the American comics and games so why not magical girls too? It is nothing embarrassing when you realize it is more than just dressing up to save the region from unwanted evil from time to time. Magical girls outfit are embarrassing, you say? Well, like I have always said before, it is always the clothes that give them the powers, right? Otherwise, why would Superman wear his red underwear outside his suit? But with magical girls, you can save the day and at the same time look cute in it. Then one day, Japan will have a magical girl as their national spokesperson. That will be the day…

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