Book Review: Magical Girl Raising Project Volume 1

Magical Girl Raising Project Volume 1 cover

I hope that all of you are having a good week, regardless of whether it is more of the daily grind or continuing to relax while on the temporary vacation.

Things have been going fairly well here and I can still do what I like.

Towards the end of last month, I got had gotten a few books from two different catalogs, and while I have not been good about my usual time frame, due to scheduling things in between, I have not forgotten about them.

Today, I will be reviewing another one of those titles, which is called Magical Girl Raising Project Volume 1 by Asari Endou.

Himekawa Koyuki has always liked magical girls and wanted to become one, and she has started playing Magical Girl Raising Project so that she can further indulge her interest in them.

However, when she and a few other players of the game are selected to become real magical girls, the days of sunshine end when the ones overseeing the magical girls decide to cut down on the numbers and a seemingly friendly competition for who can perform the most good deeds turns into a death game, with the girls targeting each other.

After noticing that FUNimation started to stream the series on their site and trying out the first episode, I thought that I would check out the original series to see if it was any good, as adaptations can give quite a different experience, like how Yu Yu Hakusho was a great anime, yet the Togashi’s original work lacked things that it really needed to be consider great.

And, after reading this, I have to say that it was okay, though not as great as I was hoping that it would be.

Fortunately, there were things that helped to not make me feel like my time was not wasted.

When I opened up this book and started reading it, I was intrigued by how the story used a third person point of view.

Back in school, when we all learn to write, at least where I live, we learn about all of these different perspective in which a story can told, such as first person, third person omniscient, and third person limited, and how they are structured, but when one actually takes the time to read the books out there, it seems like the first perspective is used the most often, due how it is far easier to draw in the reader and make them feel like they are actually part of that world, and it has gotten to the point where some people are tired of it, though I am just fine with it.

However, in this book, Asari Endou decided to write the book in a third person perspective.

Now, some of you guys make be wondering why this is such a highlight of this work, especially because I stress higher importance of how a fictional work starts and ends and this is most definitely not the first book out there to use a third person, but it is a highlight to me because it shows that the author understand how things should be written properly.

In today’s prose work, regardless of where it comes from the UK or the country I live in, which are the two countries with the biggest number of big name writers, there seems to be a tendency to change narrators every so often, because writers, including yours truly, when I wrote my five books and had bad habits, such as not trying to get to know my characters before actually writing my stories, think that the first person perspective is the only way to go about things, so that they could shine the light upon multiple characters at once, yet none of the characters come out as unique or anything of substance that would make the reader want to follow, even though the way they write is still engaging, and when I see publishers allowing such works to come from their presses, I makes me wonder if they truly have an eye for what makes a work good, even if I am guilty myself of the things I berate others for.

Each point of view, or perspective, in writing has strengths and weakness, and while the first person point of view can help people understand the motivations of the characters and what they are going through, it cannot project the same in other characters quite as well, thereby making it only good to use when one character is the main focus of everything and their experiences are the only ones that should matter to the reader to be able to really enjoy things.

However, the third person points of view, such as third person limited and third person omniscient, allow the reader to see the entire world as it is and can portray what each character goes through quite accurately, while using body language and other elements to give the audience an idea of what is going through that character’s mind, though third person omniscient can outright state what the character is thinking, just like the first person point of view can, and Asari, or the editors and proofreaders who helped him or her to polish up this work, seemed to have recognized this strength of the third person perspective.

If Asari had used first person perspective and just changed the narrator, I would have been disappointed, as the work would not have looked too good, and made whatever problems this work seemed to have already, in addition to making him or her seem like somebody else that is just following a trend, as opposed to writing about something that they liked or were interested in.

Fortunately, Asari decided to use a perspective that works better at giving focus to more than one character a time, and that makes me want to give them a good round of applause.

Hopefully, this will be the first step in making sure that writers think about what perspective they want to tell a story in, rather than just doing the necessary research for what they wanted to write, and Asari themselves would make a good decide on how to start off their future works, but until publishers here and in the UK decide that enough is enough, I doubt the overabundance of stories told in the first person perspective will disappear.

I also liked how the action featured in this book was quite exciting,

In our society, there seems to be the belief that men will flock to things if it is oversaturated in action, explosions, and other eye candy, because males like to see fighting and violence, and even let anger get the better of them, because they do not know how to express their emotions in a healthy manner, due to the societal expectation for men to hide their emotions, and, as a result, there seems to be a big push to use action to grab the audience’s attention.

However, just because there is action, or something is going on that suggests something might happen, that does not mean that every person will be pleased, even if the targeted demographic is the male audience like this work expects to attract.

For action and stuff like that to get the audience excited, the action must be interesting enough to hold the audience’s attention, and while reading this book, the action that I was reading through seemed to be interesting enough that I almost read through this book in only a single day, as I was on the edge of my seat the entire time.

Asari may not have done everything right but having action that truly seemed exciting helped to keep me wanting to throw this book in the trash and forgetting it, as well as showed that he or she put a lot of work into this.

If the action was as dull what was seen in the 15th book of A Certain Magical Index, or, even worse, the second book of that same series, I would have gotten the desire to take this book into the desert somewhere and set it ablaze, as there would not have been anything to like about the book, aside from not using a first person perspective to the tell the story.

Thankfully, that did not happen, and that makes me want to give Asari another good round of applause.

Hopefully, Asari Endou can create more works with action that is just as exciting as the action found here, if not make it even better, but knowing that series are not usually as good towards the middle and end as they were in the beginning, I would not be surprised if things start to feel lacking in the future.

The thing that I liked the most though was how Koyuki seemed to become jaded at the end of this book.

In our world, we tend overvalue optimism, thinking that everything will work out if we look at things in the positive light, things will get better if we take our doctor’s advice right then and there, instead of taking the active role in really investigating whether that advice is right, or that we can help others out by doing what society believes is good.

However, both good and things happen in life, and those that do not acknowledge darkness will end up falling because they are unprepared or, in Koyuki’s case, things were not how they should have been, just like how there are people that go through surgery that learned something happened that was just as bad or even worse than what they thought would happen if they did not get the surgery that makes them regret going through with it or we find out that the methodology that group thinks is the right approach to help others ended up hurting those same people we tried to help.

In this book, Koyuki and many other believed that things could become peaceful again if they worked together and focused on helping as many they can, but after a ways through the book, everyone who shared her ideals or she was close friends with ended up dead, and she eventually closed her self off, scoffing at those who thought that those who were doing the small acts of kindness that she once viewed as virtuous would ever fix what happened.

Koyuki went through a lot and saw her world shattered, and if her views on magical girls had not changed throughout all of these events, I would have been very disappointed, because many who fell into despair were at one time looking only at the positive things in life and only paid attention to the obvious risks, and seeing her continue to view magical girls, and herself, in a positive light would have made things just as annoying as many of the people in the many religious denominations in there world think that labeling everyone as a sinner is somehow going to make people feel better about themselves, instead of acknowledging that we are perfect as ourselves and accepting our flaws.

Thankfully, Asari did not have Koyuki come out as the same person as she was when everything started, and that makes me want to give Asari another good round of applause, as he or she actually took the time to think about what happened to Koyuki could do a person.

Hopefully, Asari will be able to portray these kinds of things in both a realistic and believable manner in his or her future works, as that will help to make the story and their writing seem better, but because humans can and do put their own beliefs in the work and I do not know what kind of person Asari is, I would not be surprised if he or she decides to incorporate the kind of hope that readers cannot find believable, even if it is realistically possible, considering how religions can make people ignore their wallets because the believers think that they will get something better.

Outside of those things, I cannot think of anything else that I particularly liked, at least that could stand out as much as what I already talked about.

Because the work used a third perspon perspective to follow the characters, the action was exciting, and Koyuki’s attitude changed in both and believable and realistic manner, rather than having her keep a high opinion of the small acts of kindness of magical girls, which would be realistic, but not believable, this was a fairly decent read.

Although there was quite a bit to like about the book, there were some issues.

However, aside from things that are too minor to talk about, such as typos, there was only one thing that annoyed me, which was how it failed to pull me in.

Whenever a reader tries out a new book, they want to be taken to another world, so they can forget about the stresses of their own lives for a short while, and to do this right the reader must be sucked into the pages of the book rather quickly, and not make them feel lost.

However, when I opened up this book, I had a hard time really getting into it until something started to happen, when the magical girls decided to start stealing candy and then ultimately leading to the first intentional killing of a magical girl, which occurred after it was revealed what happen to magical girls who had been cut.

If I had to say why I had such a hard time getting into the book, it would have to be because the story did not flow well for a book.

Over my time reading various works of fiction and watching many movies, though I tend to prefer reading books, due to how movies today feel like they lack something, I have seen how things can portrayed great and how each medium has things that can deliver something the others cannot.

Many of us believe that prose works the best, because we can use our imaginations to draw things in our mind, as well as imagine the action and get close to what the creator sees, but it has troubles when one needs to give focus to more than two or three parties, because the story needs to flow well and a story that flows well in prose focuses on the protagonist and their enemies, though it works best if only the protagonist gets the spotlight, as the protagonist is the character that really needs the audiences attention, and by having more than one enemy or two enemy factions at a time, the cohesiveness of the story disappears and it becomes hard to follow, even if the writer can give the reader enough details to create the images.

In this book, because each magical girl is pretty much an enemy and Asari tries to give them each some time in the spotlight, I had a very hard time determining who I was seeing and what was going, and made it feel like things were all over the place, because I had to keep track of so many details.

Each character’s motivations might be important for what occurs and what they are aiming to accomplish, but the way Asari wrote things and how it flowed made me think that the prose style utilized for light novels and books publish here and the UK just does not seem to work well for this work, because I need images, instead of words, and I got from the text overall was words, even though I could tell he or she was trying their best to help me see what they wanted me to see.

If Asari had chosen to make this a manga, instead of a light novel, I think that I would have been able to enjoy myself more, as the artwork would have as much importance to being present as the text, and I would not need to create the images myself.

Now, some of you guys might be rolling your eyes, saying that there is a manga version of this series, and is available to purchase on Amazon, but from what I could gather on it, this it is not Asari’s work, just an adaptation, with Asari being credited for the story, and I am not too sure how much liberty Pochi Edoya took with the material. So I am just going to ignore it at this point.

Sadly, Asari decided to make this a light novel, and the way it was all executed leaving me not very impressed with what I got.

Hopefully, Asari will make the next volume feel a little more focused than this book felt, because I am sure fans of this series would want people to see why they like it so much, but if the first volume already felt like something that might have worked better as a manga, I do not think there will be too much improvement, though I am not going to deny the possibility that Asari might just get to level of early Spice & Wolf era levels of Isuna Hasekura’s capabilities.

Thankfully, that was the only thing that really bothered me, so I can let Asari Endo walk away with some dignity.

While there was only one thing wrong with the book, the fact that it exists and is that really affected my enjoyment, it knocked the book down a few pegs.

Despite the fact that there was more to like than hate, the only bad thing that I noticed cancelled out those good points and made this some that is only good enough to kill time.

I mainly recommend this to fans of Magical Girl Raising Project, as they will the like this the most, and understand what is going on.

As for everyone else, this might be worth giving a try, but because how Asari wrote this book, and made it difficult to visualize things, as well as to really get into the book, I recommend looking for something else to read.

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