BI BI BI! (way more interesting than the cover, isn’t it?)
Hi there. I bear good news: it’s time to return to the bloody-cute world of MahoIku. But, I also bear some bad news. The fourth volume of the series is a collection of short stories. No new deathgame to get excited about, I’m afraid. If you have any experience with light novels, you should know why I’m not particularly happy about that. Story volumes are usually skippable – they don’t include crucial material influencing the novels in any meaningful way. Is MahoIku: Episodes any different…? This book includes six stories based on MahoIku: Unmarked and nine – on MahoIku: Restart.
If you’ve read MahoIku v1, you might remember how glaringly truncated that novel was – it’s because Endou Asari had to fit inside 220 pages, if the afterword to this volume is a clue. You see, Episodes, or at least the short stories based on the original MGRP, can be seen as an attempt at repenting for that first novel’s bareness. There was no time to give the 16 magical girls proper backstories. So, in MahoIku v4, you can read about what Nemurin does in her dreams – her bit proves yet again that a phone game was not the best way to recruit participants for a social darwinist selection exam. Or you can have a giggle over Magicaloid’s failed attempt to swindle money off Sister Nana. By the way, people are either dirt-poor or absolute magnates in MahoIku – was it supposed to be social commentary? I’ve said before that Hardgore Alice getting encased in concrete was anime-original, but it’s not. Did I just say “anime”? The first few stories in this collection made me think for a second that Asari could write “MahoIku: Definitive Edition” to squeeze more money off nerds like me, but… it already exists! By that I mean the animated adaptation, of course, which turns out to be an adaptation of not only volume one but also a big chunk of this paperback. Yet another opportunity to say “watch MahoIku”.
The rest of the short stories don’t have to fill any holes in an existing tale, so they’re decidedly less interesting. They still maintain a decent level of quality, however – as expected of Asari. Most of them mix both MahoIku worlds by having original MGRP characters show up even in bits about Restart girls. The status of the best story probably should go to the one about @Meowmeow, in which Magical Kingdom uses her as an errand girl, suggesting that MahoIku might be an allegory of labor in 21st century. If your employer told you to fight to death with your colleagues, would that surprise you much? He’s a valuable, illustrous entrepreneur, a modern John Galt – who’d blame him if he wanted to kill a person or two for his amusement? “I’m paying you, that justifies everything”. Right, neoliberal economists? The other stories have their moments too. I’d like to give an honorable mention to “A Cherna Christmas” for using the word “weeaboo” in a printed work. And one to “The Case of the Missing Beef” for having Detec Bell use her superpower better than ever before. Oh and “Magical Illegal Girl” for making Ripple fight Colonel Sanders and Ronald McDonald.
If you need a final verdict on MahoIku v4, it’s an IGNORE IT, in the end. Watch MahoIku. I can’t wait to read volume five. Till then.