Snow White by Ume Sasami
The first volume of Mahou Shoujo Ikusei Keikaku series was originally published in 2012, but its English translation came out only recently, a few months after the animated adaptation. As a MahoIku fan, I could not miss the opportunity to buy and read it. The cover looks nice, doesn’t it? A cute mahou shoujo on a pitch black, ominous background. Very appropriate.
Since this one volume was adapted into a 12-episode anime series (one packed with content, too), one would expect it to be a rather thick, dense book. But it’s not. The afterword begins on page 193. Having read it only confirms my suspicion that making it at least 220 pages long would be good idea. Things happen way too fast. For example, Nemurin’s death gets unceremoniously checked off – the novel pretty much spends three lines on it. The fight between La Pucelle and Cranberry happens entirely offscreen. The chapter ends and after a while you’re informed that La Pucelle died. There’s plenty of moments that were added in the anime – like the “Schoolgirl in Concrete” bit with Hardgore Alice – that was one hundred percent anime-original. And I could think of more. Even though this novel wasn’t the author’s debut work, it seems like one. The crew responsible for the anime did a great job elevating this flawed piece of storytelling into one of the best shows of 2016 – it’s a middle finger shown to habitual 原作厨.
Also, when reading, I thought that this story, in all its incarnations, missed a golden opportunity to be a story centred around an idea, one that imparts a conviction in the reader, which would elevate the story a notch higher on the quality scale. You know how the winner of the battle royale is the girl who never killed anyone? Isn’t that saying a lot?
Endou Asari could point out that the Magical Girl Raising Project is a spectacular failure of a social darwinist ploy to select the best fighter out of all participants. And yet, in the end Fav and Cranberry don’t care about that. They turn out to only be a pair of sick fucks who decided that the usual “selection exams” are boring. It’s only my opinion, but making them ideologically motivated would be so much more impressive.
Anyway, the novel is a disappointment if you’ve seen the anime beforehand. Don’t read it. The anime is so superior it isn’t even funny.