The fourth light novel in Asari Endou’s Magical Girl Raising Project series is actually a collection of fifteen short stories featuring the magical girls from both Magical Girl Raising Project and Magical Girl Raising Project: Restart.
The secret lives of magical girls!
Thirty-three girls fought one another within the cruel games of Magical Girl Raising Project and Magical Girl Raising Project: Restart. But those are not the only stories the heroines have to tell! This collection of fifteen episodes takes a closer look at their exploits before and during their battles to the death, revealing the lighter side of their everyday lives, some unexpected connections, and, of course, a few extra clashes in between!
Episodes offers up fifteen different stories that expand upon Magical Girl Raising Project, whilst revealing some rather interesting connections and meetings. I won’t go into details about those things, but I will say that there are certainly some surprises to be found.
Characters who didn’t really do too much during the first three light novels (Magical Girl Raising Project, Restart I and Restart II) have the spotlight shone upon them here.
Those first three light novels are also required reading before jumping into Episodes – after all, it does assume that you are somewhat familiar with its characters.
A few of the short stories were adapted for the Magical Girl Raising Project anime – naturally, the ones featuring the magical girls from the first light novel.
A few stories focus on Restart characters, and others have magical girls from both.
I enjoyed reading all fifteen of the short stories, though if you asked me to pick out my favourites I would go with ‘Nemurin’s Adventure’, ‘Zombie Western’, ‘Wonder Dream’ and ‘Magical Illegal Girl’. Those last two are particularly good examples of characters from both Magical Girl Raising Project and Magical Girl Raising Project: Restart interacting.
‘Come Play With Top Speed’ is also pretty notable, with interactions between Top Speed and Swim Swim. It makes a certain event in Magical Girl Raising Project even more horrific, as Top Speed just outright tells Swim Swim her secret.
As Episodes is a light novel, it does contain a few illustrations throughout.
There are a few colour pages at the start showing key moments from some of the stories. ‘Zombie Western’ has a pretty notable illustration, and ‘Knight on the Day of the Offline Meetup’ shows La Pucelle shortly after discovering that normal human clothes can’t withstand the speed at which a magical girl is capable of moving at.
Marui-no’s illustrations remain as consistent as ever, and are nice to look at when you come upon them whilst reading.
In the afterword, Endou mentions a short story focusing on Snow White and Ripple that couldn’t be included due to the page count. Considering Ripple is my favourite character from Magical Girl Raising Project, I am a little disappointed by that. Should the opportunity arise for me to read it, I certainly will.
Magical Girl Raising Project: Episodes is a great companion to Magical Girl Raising Project and Magical Girl Raising Project: Restart. It expands upon both stories, offering insights into characters who may not have played a big role in either.