Mahou Shoujo Ikusei Keikaku v1: Sugar, Spice and Not Playing Nice


Snow White by Ume Sasami
(https://twitter.com/gyoran_umai/status/772439714926178304)

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.

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5 Responses to Mahou Shoujo Ikusei Keikaku v1: Sugar, Spice and Not Playing Nice

  1. ZakuAbumi says:

    Why hello there, sempai.

    I figured that since you’re so nice to help me out with Japanese, I’d leave a comment. A relevant one too, at that! Be grateful and all that.

    I also found vol. 01 to be significantly worse than the anime but I had already expected that. It remains to be seen whether or not the following arcs will do better. If the characterization remains as lacklustre, I might as well read the manga adaptation instead (I’ll probably at least read it additionally) for the visual bonus. I’ve said it in regard to Rokka and I’ll say it again: An anime, by virtue of definition, adds things. Conveniences like visuals and a soundtrack (MahoIku had some really nice tracks I think). If a source material can’t compensate for that through better writing, that’s kinda sad.

    You mentioned the anime having a lot of original content (clearly the best one being Cranberry’s green tights and longer skirt contrary to the pantsu exposal that is the original!) but as far as I’m informed the author has written a lot of side stories, some of them adapted by the anime and still continues to do so. Last year, he released a Cranberry/Mary story amongst others. Also an interview with SwimSwim wherein she confirms that she knew Top Speed was pregnant. I’m just not particularly sure if I like that kind of writing procedure.

    I’ve brought up the manga and I’ve read the entire first arc of it. Funnily, back in the days, I assumed it’d just be a rushed comicalization. Turns out it’s not that rushed and a comparatively loyal adaptation of a fast-paced source. Now, being generous and all that, I’d still like to point out a few unique things the manga did:

    – Nemurin unceremonously kicks the bucket by page 20 or so but had about 10 pages of flashback screentime, interacting with La Pucelle and Snow White before dying right in front of them (this gets rid of the speculation on what happens once you get disqualified)
    – SwimSwim is a bit more expressive. When Ruler gets offed, she looks downright psycho and occasionally she blushes (Ruler patting her head and all that, gives a stronger impression of her actually looking up to her). She also looks a little bit less kid-esque than her anime counter-part and has slightly longer hair. It’s just tiny things but I prefer her looks in this version by far.
    – After Ruler’s death, Winterprison and Nana approach SwimSwim to offer their condolences. They suspect that their might be magic that allows someone to revive others and offer SwimSwim a peace treaty. That one doesn’t want Ruler to be revived (Ruler as a concept is immortal after all), spells out how she killed Ruler, tears apart a butterfly and then stuffs one of Ruler’s hair ornaments in her mouth. You’d think the two of them would have learned from this but, uh…
    – Exposition on the setting is delivered by Top Speed to Ripple. Top Speed makes fun of Ripple’s ability sounding ultra-lame
    – Ripple’s mother being abused by her father and Ripple using magical girl anime as a tool of escapism was a thing
    – Calamity Mary and Magicaloid earn candies through severely injuring civilians only to heal them. As a result, a battle between Ripple and CM ensues
    – Top Speed’s broom is a mishmash of a broom and a motorcycle
    – Ripple warms up to Top Speed a lot earlier
    – Snow White and La Pucelle only get to know about each other’s identities right before Cranberry takes one of them out
    – Winterprison is a bit more approachable in the manga, even telling Alice that her behaviour might startle Snow White (Alice at one time hides behind Winterprison, considering Snow White didn’t react well to her at first)
    – There is no Cranberry vs Winterprison
    – Winterprison and Alice believe all the more that there’s revival magic after seeing what Alice can do
    – Alice dies way earlier. She fights against a twin, gets crushed, then untransforms and encounters SwimSwim. Her uncle thereafter finds her bleeding harshly and calls an ambulance. The rest is as you know it
    – Mary places a young boy on a landmine. Ripple tries to save him but only ends up with his hand in hers
    – Part of Mary vs Ripple/Top Speed takes place inside the hotel
    – Top Speed regularly gives Ripple (much to her dismay) pumpkin to eat (see, she’s a witch!), the reason being that pumpkin is said to give your family a healthy and peaceful life
    – Cranberry vs SwimSwim is more of an actual fight here. When SwimSwim retransforms, Cranberry remarks that she’s the same age as when she was turned into a magical girl and under the right circumstances, could go down the same path

    Long comment is long.

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  2. mbednorz says:

    >Cranberry’s green tights and longer skirt
    Didn’t even notice.
    I did like how the novel points out how ridiculous Swim Swim’s design is. She has headphones, a swimsuit AND wings. Definitely something a weird little girl might come up with.

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    • ZakuAbumi says:

      Oh, don’t worry, it gets very tonally jarring the moment things are supposed to be serious but you can see her underwear.

      I hope there are some details to SwimSwim’s odd fashion choices in the interview sidestory. I assume she just went with whatever or thought it looked cool.

      With that said, SwimSwim had good taste.

      Like

  3. gamewerx says:

    Have you given volume 2 a try? Keep in mind that volume 1 was written a while ago and it was the writer’s first ever written story. And it is by far, his weakest. Volume 2 and later are far superior. I’d be curious what your thoughts on those would be. And I’d be really happy to see those animated .

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  4. Pingback: On MahoIku v4 | Bednorz: The Weeablog

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