First glance, I thought the same thing you were thinking when I saw Magical Girl Raising Project – it looked like a cutesy Shojo series, and while I have nothing against that (I was raised on Sailor Moon after all), unless the writing is top notch, I generally don’t carry much of an interest in that series, nevertheless, I was curious enough to check the sypnosis and that was enough to sell me on the series.
Magical Girl Raising Project seems to come from the Madoka Magica mold and even the Kill la Kill mold of subverting the magical girl tropes, and subverted tropes are generally enough to capture my attention. A mobile game goes wide where one out of every ten thousand players gets to become a magical girl. The protagonist, Koyuki, has never grown out of magical girls unlike all of her peers, and has held a lifelong interest in it. She idealizes the traditional and ideal magical girl (think Superman) and is hooked on the game, it isn’t long before she becomes one of the select few to become a magical girl, becoming her in-game character, Snow White.
With that comes heightened physical abilities with a special ability unique to her to detect people that are in danger. Keeping her idealism in mind, unlike the other magical girls in her city (about fourteen or fifteen others, I believe), she goes out of her way to immediately make an impact, less due to ulterior motives, more due to what she believes a magical girl should be doing. She gets to meet the other fifteen magical girls as well, and soon discovers one of them, Shouta, AKA La Pucelle, is an old friend of hers, a boy who was also into magical girls but had to hide his interest for obvious reasons.
The twist comes at the end, post-credit. The host, think Danganronpa’s Monobear, announces to all of the magical girls that there are too many of them in the district and that they will have to halve the number. The episode ends on that note. The concept is an instant hook. A benevolent being gives powers to a group of teenagers in a city, and then suddenly announces there are too many of them, they need to halve it. You can guess what comes next, a Hunger Games/Battle Royal type where these characters must kill each other to survive, most importantly will be how a character like Koyuki will act in the face of her ideals being challenged but also how her interactions with a friend like La Pucelle might change (I’m already predicting La Pucelle gets off’d, let’s be real). And no doubt, we could see the issue swell, perhaps we’re later told only one person can be the magical girl of this city – of the country – or of the world. I don’t know how far they’ll push it, but you can’t tell me you’re not interested in seeing what comes next.