The third light novel in Asari Endou’s Magical Girl Raising Project is a direct continuation of the second, hence the subtitle ‘Restart II’. Sixteen magical girls continue to fight for survival in a game world.
What makes for a true magical girl?
Just a few short weeks ago, sixteen magical girls were pulled into the new Magical Girl Raising Project, a video game-like world where they must work together to survive. But between the formation of factions, high tensions, and even a mysterious murder, trust and cooperation have proven difficult. As the heroines enter the final phase, can they band together and succeed? Or will their fear and weakness tear them apart?
And what is the master of this game truly after…?
Magical Girl Raising Project: Restart II picks up directly where the previous light novel left off, meaning an immediate jump into some action. It doesn’t take too long for the number of casualties to increase, either…
Still, the magical girls continue to advance through the game, with the truth behind gradually being revealed as they go. There are some pretty big bombshells dropped in this light novel. Obviously I won’t say what any of them are here to keep things spoiler-free.
With my thoughts on Restart I, I said that the first light novel wasn’t exactly required reading. After reading Restart II, I retract that statement. Definitely read the first Magical Girl Raising Project light novel – or watch the anime adaptation – before reading Restart.
Another thing I wrote off from Restart I was Pechka’s real life outside of the Magical Girl Raising Project, and her crush on a boy called Ninomiya. Turns out there is a reason for that, which comes from Pechka’s past. I still don’t care for Ninomiya, but I can’t deny that is an important of Pechka’s character.
I talked about my favourite characters before, too. I won’t do that here again, because they are still pretty much the same. It also means that I don’t have to say too much that will reveal who survived Restart I.
The story continues to be told from several different perspectives. This means that there isn’t a central protagonist. This has always been in the case in the Magical Girl Raising Project series. Having multiple perspectives allows the reader to learn what each character is like, and form attachments based on their personalities or actions.
Besides the whole video game thing, you also have the subplot featured in the ‘Master Side’ segments. There is certainly some interesting stuff going on in those. It might be slightly spoiled by the first couple of pages showing all the characters, as there is one extra added when compared to Restart I.
To be fair, though, that is the only way you will learn that particular character’s name from what I can recall – nobody ever uses their name within the actual story.
Throughout the light novel are occasional illustrations, drawn by Marui-no. They look as good as ever, whether the magical girls are happy or full of despair. As you can see the cover featuring Shadow Gale is in colour, and there is another coloured illustration on the very first page – this one is of Pfle. The character profiles are in colour as well, but all other illustrations are black and white.
So, how does Magical Girl Raising Project: Restart compare to the original Magical Girl Raising Project? Well, I would say that Restart is an improvement.
One contributing factor may be that Restart consists of two light novels, which means there is plenty opportunity to elaborate on characters’ pasts and personalities.
I think the plot for Restart is slightly more interesting. In the original it was there are too many magical girls; reduce your numbers by fighting to death. Here, the girls have to play their way through a game, which also contains murder mystery elements.
As for characters… well, Ripple from the original still remains my favourite of the magical girls. Still, Restart does have a good cast of characters, and there aren’t any that I find to be particularly unpleasant – unlike characters such as Ruler and the Peaky Angels from the original light novel.
The first light novel does have a better antagonist, though Restart not having a very clear villain within the game world does make certain reveals even more effective when it comes to them.
When the Magical Girl Raising Project anime ended, fans already familiar with the light novels were keen to see the other light novels get adapted into anime – in fact, they probably still are keen.
Having read Restart, I can say that I would love to see it in anime form as well. There’s plenty to like here, and I reckon a Magical Girl Raising Project: Restart anime could be an improvement over the first one.
Not to say that the Magical Girl Raising Project was bad – in fact, it was my second favourite show of 2016 (beaten out only by FLIP FLAPPERS, for those who are curious). I’m just saying that since Restart is better than the first light novel, it would make sense for that to be the case with a potential anime adaptation as well.
At the time of writing, though, Magical Girl Raising Project: Restart doesn’t have an anime adaptation, and so the only way to experience it is by reading the light novels. Fortunately, the light novels are very good.