Mahou Shoujo Ikusei Keikaku Limited

Mahou Shoujo Ikusei Keikaku Limited

Greetings, my readership. This is your local Magical Kingdom speaking, demanding you to immediately read Mahou Shoujo Ikusei Keikaku Limited as well as this post. Unless you want to have your pay cut and drown in unreasonable bureaucracy.

Mahou Shoujo Ikusei Keikaku Limited tells the story of a single day in B City: As seven girls are one day called to an empty classroom, they soon find themselves in extravagant outfits, commanding their very own magical powers: Indeed, they have become magical girls. The fairy Toko tells them that there are Evil Mages approaching and they must be slain in time or else the world will come to an end. Baffled by their circumstances yet also not left much of a choice, these seven people accept their task: There’s Kuru Kuru-Hime, the only adult in the group and teacher who would rather not be part in any of this but feels obligated to shield her students. Captain Grace, the adventurous busybee, attracting trouble like no other. Inseparable from her, Funny Trick, who gets dragged along with her against her own will. Weddin, the class president who believes that a strong rationale trumps all. Postarie, who lacks self-confidence and the strength to make up for it. Rain Pow, her one and only friend who will always stay by her side. And Tepsekemei, the girl who above all else just wants to live a carefree life with no obligations – as it best fits her nature of being mentally impared.

Mahou Shoujo Ikusei Keikaku Limited Postarie Rain Pow Funny Trick Captain Grace Tepsekemei

Life is no less complicated for Kotori Nanaya, as she has a very special secret: She’s a magical girl working for the Magical Kingdom. Or rather, she gets worked to the bone as 7753, specializing in evaluating all sorts of magical girls as her magic allows her to analyze any human being, the kind of person they are and might become. Her position is so valuable that she is one of the few magical girls who receive an actual salary but she dreads an existence where she is committed to a job all about sacrificing her life and a position that doesn’t treat her particularly well and leaves her with no options. Things don’t improve for her as she is suddenly ordered around by her superior calling for drastic measures – an assassin is on the lose in B City, killing their forces. There, 7753 is obligated to join a special, hastily scrambled together task force: There’s Mana, the grumpy witch acting as her intermediate superior, quick to anger and only to be calmed down through her bunny girl subordinate Hana, the only person who understands her. Then there is also Archfiend Pam, the least trustworthy addition to the team, said to rival a weapon of mass destruction in terms of strength, known throughout the Magical Kingdom for being the strongest magical girl alive. And last but not least a certain tsundere ninja girl we’re all too familiar with, trying to rank up in the Magical Kingdom to increase what little good she can do for the world.

Mahou Shoujo Ikusei Keikaku Limited Mana Hana Archfiend Pam Ripple

Many miles away in Great Britain, a different scenario unfolds: Pythie Frederica, hair fetishist par excellence and master to Restart villain Keek alongside her quirky yet no less deadly punk/rock magical girl sidekick Tot Pop free two of the most lethal magical girls in history from more than 100 years of imprisonment – Sonia Bean, a girl who can make anything she touches crumble yet possesses the mind of a child and her senior Pukin, one of the worst magical girl mass murderers and entities of chaos to date who is all too proud of her delusions of grandeur and makes sure to always have her way – no matter how much reality refuses to bend to her pride and selfishness. And so, they make their way into B City.

As the barrier that imprisons them will last for only a single day, these three fractions with very different motivations are about to clash and one thing is for sure: Nothing short of a bloodbath will ensue.

However, these 16 magical girls must make haste; for there is only a limited amount of time left. In 24 hours, all will come to an end.

Mahou Shoujo Ikusei Keikaku Limited Tot Pop Pythie Frederica Pukin

This was no doubt the longest premise blurb I’ve written in the history of my blog just to get the basics covered. I suppose I could have done without the character introductions but they are kinda sorta vital. It also took that long because it takes Mahou Shoujo Ikusei Keikaku Limited 100 pages to actually finish with its setup. That’s new. What’s also new is the timer displayed next to characters’ names, making sure to remind you that this is a story that will make sure it ends – with or without its characters.

Speaking of the characters, that’s what we’re here for again, aren’t we? And to nobody’s disappointment, the character writing of Mahou Shoujo Ikusei Keikaku Limited is as rich as always and full of personality.

The characters are as colored and varied as ever and are always charming. Mahou Shoujo Ikusei Keikaku has this fascinating, complex appeal for the oddball type of reader – someone like me. It’s hard to explain this to outsiders but MahoIku’s character writing has “it”. I couldn’t tell you what “it” is but no other work I know of has it. Once again, this is the otaku franchise that does the bishoujo and moe concepts justice like nothing else.

Mahou Shoujo Ikusei Keikaku Limited Characters

As always, in Mahou Shoujo Ikusei Keikaku Limited, the characters are diverse, charming and unforgettable. Characters like Archfiend Pam are hard to judge with sides to them you wouldn’t expect and that’s what makes them interesting, especially in the context of political intrigue and not knowing the assassin’s identity. As such, Endou Asari’s character writing both in terms of dynamics and personalities retains its unique strengths that just can’t be found elsewhere. I go kyaa~ over the little things. It’s the small details like Tot Pop wearing an apron with a music note on it and how the food she cooks tastes good but is sloppy in presentation and Pythie subsuming that sums up Tot Pop the best that make the character writing shine and florish and fill with life. Or like when Weddin goes on a several pages long explanatory rant that they’re not actually magical girls but fighting pretty girls and how magical girl anime have it all wrong by her definition and then Captain Grace just goes “Shut up, otaku.” And as always, Maruino’s incredibly charming character designs are a treat for the eye and so very unique to look at.

Mahou Shoujo Ikusei Keikaku Limited Hana and Mana Sisters

What’s more, if you’re familar with this franchise, Endou Asari’s sociopolitical undertones are back. Remember when he sprinkled those in during previous volumes? Like Rionetta mocking the principles of communism until learning that sharing is caring once she warms up to the chicken girl? The entirety of Ruler’s character? The blue collar/white collar distinction between Shadow Gale and Pfle? The disdain towards the Magical Kingdom for being a bureaucratic clusterfuck that gets nothing done? They’re back! In fact, they’re no longer undertones; they’re overtones now, oftentimes exemplified through 7753’s misfortune of dealing with harsh superiors and other exploitative conditions that come with a modern workplace in a civilized society.

Mahou Shoujo Ikusei Keikaku Limited Tepsekemei Magic

Because, as it turns out, working as a magical girl sucks. It’s unpaid and eats up your time to a degree that it makes it hard to live your life properly or pursue a career. It’s essentially slavery if you will.

This, for me, is one of Mahou Shoujo Ikusei Keikaku Limited’s biggest appeals. Criticizing the state of our society through the mirror that is the Magical Kingdom. You look at how the Magical Kingdom runs its business in bureaucratic, inhuman ways, taking the practices we’re all too familar with and applying them to a world of magic, making these characters we come to love suffer under them. Oftentimes, you can’t help but feel “Oh, this magical girl is pretty relatable!”. It’s sad, isn’t it?

Mahou Shoujo Ikusei Keikaku Limited Hana

As such, Mahou Shoujo Ikusei Keikaku Limited is laden with commentary. It feels like an explosion in the making. There are also some weird side bits where Endou Asari goes astray for a paragraph or two; like when the bad guys kill a man who is specifically stated to be a white collar salaryman driving an American car he couldn’t possibly afford; or when the schoolgirl troupe is jumping across buildings and ends up at an abandoned warehouse that shut down as the whole district crumbled as a result of the 2008 financial crisis. And when Pythie Frederica is wrecking cars, she in particular damages the foreign one with the fancy emblem. I’ve joked that this story arc has the Kaiji energy to it and I stand by that.

Mahou Shoujo Ikusei Keikaku Limited Funny Trick

All of that gives Mahou Shoujo Ikusei Keikaku Limited an additional edge and quite frankly, it does need it. Compared to the amazingly innovative genre mishmash with grand twists that is Mahou Shoujo Ikusei Keikaku Restart, Limited is a much more straightforward story liked Unmarked was. This doesn’t have to be bad; after all, execution is key. But the execution has a set of issues in Limited.

The character writing for one is not flawless. It’s very strong in general but it does take a very long time to get used to the school girl team – variety in characters is one of MahoIku’s greatest strengths yet making half of its cast spawn forth from the very same place of origin limits that extensively. These girls are also the only ones given proper backgrounds, adding insult to injury. Meanwhile, characters like Hana and Mana remain one note for the largest time and Sonia Bean with her all-erasing magic must have also gotten rid of her personality that way at some point as well.

Mahou Shoujo Ikusei Keikaku Limited Battles

The story leaves some things to be desired as well. The pacing is a bit of a mess. As seen by my premise blurb, there is too much time spent on establishing a rather simple premise. A lot of it is admittedly good build-up but once you finish the first volume, you come to realize not much has happened and the characters were not more fleshed out than say, Restart’s after that one’s first half. Restart was a superbly crafted and structured story arc and Limited can’t quite keep up, neither in scope nor flow. It does beat Unmarked in all its aspects by far, that’s for sure, but oftentimes, comparing it to its predecessor did Limited no favors.

The main claim to fame in Mahou Shoujo Ikusei Keikaku Limited, the time limit, is also a very superficial gimmick and feels more like make-up. Ideally, it would add pressure and tension with each passing hour. It doesn’t. “8 hours left” feels as vague as “16 hours left” since “0 hours left” is the only one that yields consequences and nothing inbetween. I can tell the book is ending soon by the amount of pages left just as well. Besides, the worst case to avoid at all costs here is “the bad guys escape” yet the thing that creates the most tension about MahoIku is worrying about your beloved characters. Them being stuck with the bad guys is the worrisome aspect, the bad guys getting out of the barrier and therefore away from those you want to see survive stands counterproductive to that.

Mahou Shoujo Ikusei Keikaku Limited Weddin Tepsekemei

Mahou Shoujo Ikusei Keikaku Limited also turns out to be a lot more action-oriented and light novels have it harder to sell themselves on such a primarily visual storytelling aspect – it certainly didn’t work in Unmarked. And a lot of the battles in Limited’s first half do feel rather… generic? I couldn’t tell you all of the battle matchups in Limited’s first volume actually. Did Hana fight Captain Grace at some point? I think so? What actually transpired in the fight? I’m not sure.

And that’s a first for sure. Unmarked isn’t anyone’s favorite arc but I could still easily remember all of its battles in order. Heck, some of these battles feel like filler if nothing else and time that could have been spent more wisely.

Mahou Shoujo Ikusei Keikaku Limited 7753

There is good news, however. A lot of these issues can be attributed to the first volume alone. By volume 2, the writing gets better and better, making leaps and bounds. Events unfold. Brutality occurs. The tension rises. Characters start to shine and flourish and character development becomes a major factor for the first time, something barely seen to this degree in either Unmarked or Restart. The journey some characters go through here was really powerful. Characters I previously deemed unexciting turned into beacons of hope. Woah!

And by the time Mahou Shoujo Ikusei Keikaku Limited reaches its eleventh hour, the battles, too, have evolved into something so utterly amazing with an absurdly creative use of powers and brutality and a slick pacing slamming you against the wall with unforeseen intensity I was often left speechless. Was this still the same franchise? It reminded me of the best of times of JoJo Part V, the days of Diavolo vs Risotto. The cleverness of the later battles ended up catching me offguard many times to say the least.

Mahou Shoujo Ikusei Keikaku Weddin

What also helps is that Mahou Shoujo Ikusei Keikaku Limited’s villain gallery makes for a striking impression as it’s Chaotic Evil Times Four (plus the assassin). These people carry a murderous aura with them and are a massive slaughterhouse. Remember Calamity Mary massacring innocent civilians as she put Grand Theft Auto to real life? They’re a lot like that. Except a lot more sinister. They are charismatic, they are uneven, they are deadly. Mahou Shoujo Ikusei Keikaku Limited easily has the best antagonistic forces so far. They are a tremendeous force to be reckoned with.

And this is important as furthermore, it’s also where Mahou Shoujo Ikusei Keikaku Limited’s themes become apparent – and while it’s no Babylon on this front, as a story of Good vs Evil, this is a piece of fiction that executes the premise in quite the memorable manner. It’s about morality and taking responsibility.

And it’s not a coincidence that Mahou Shoujo Ikusei Keikaku Limited uses Good vs Evil as a ramp-up to ask the fundamental question: What even is a magical girl?

Mahou Shoujo Ikusei Keikaku Captain Grace

Ultimately, it’s the question for the ages: Are things really supposed to be this way? A magical girl is supposed to be boundless yet in reality, everything about their existence is limited. You break society’s shackles to find yourself bound with new ones. What’s the difference between regular everyday life and the magical girl one when it’s the faces who change yet the game stays the same? When institutionalized bullshit weighs down on you and prevents you from doing the right thing? When formality trumps justice? When bureaucracy and authority drive kill leadership and waste underlings?

The smartest thing about MahoIku is how it draws parallels to adult society and its many limits wherein we look the other way at times we shouldn’t and deny ourselves and our ethics not even for the greater good but something we don’t fundamentally agree with because that’s the way things are. Contrary to expectations, the Magical Kingdom, a fantasy land that already sounds like something out of a fairy tale, is just not magical at all. Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a place somewhere out there where things were different? This one place, where, by definition, that should be the case, evidently is not.

Mahou Shoujo Ikusei Keikaku Limited Weddin

As such, MahoIku is not different from other magical girl franchises or a “deconstruction” thereof because it’s a grim tale where magical girls can actually die – it’s strikingly pointed and different for showing you that the things that don’t work out in our society don’t work out in the magical girl society either – because the people are the same and that means there’s ultimately nothing fantastic, dreamy or magical about the Magical Kingdom. It’s a mirror of our society and that is precisely why MahoIku is about magical girls at heart and yet at the same time unconventional in its execution of the genre.

Long story short, Mahou Shoujo Ikusei Keikaku Limited drives the entire angle of being a magical girl home as an overarching theme the best I’ve seen in fiction so far and it’s precisely the new, inexperienced girls who make that distinction very clear rather than the ones who have been part of it for all too long. There’s a cool part in Shaman King where Yoh’s dad says it’s the children’s job to change the world as they can still see the endless potential of the sky – whereas adults just see the cealing come closer day by day. In that way, Mahou Shoujo Ikusei Keikaku Limited feels a bit like a generational clash between adults following orders and youngins believing in something. As it turns out, the school girls turned into magical girls on the spot with little say in it bring a more compelling take on what a magical girl should be all about to the table than the veterans. Where did we all become so cynical when we grew up, sinking into defeatism and believing that things just can’t be helped?

Mahou Shoujo Ikusei Keikaku Limited Schoolgirls

And all of these things unload themselves on the battlefield as characters make discoveries about themselves and their set of values as their comrades die needlessly. As such, much like Restart, Mahou Shoujo Ikusei Keikaku Limited is a fundamentally tragic story that punches you in the gut more than once. It orchestrates its story and character writing in such ways that leave behind a massive impact on the reader. By the time it’s all over, it feels like you’ve aged 10 years in the process and gained a new perspective as a result. Yet for all its cruelties, it’s also a story about hope and it feels like the characters have learned something valuable and are beginning to understand something fundamental so that no death was in vain. It’s a tragic and heroic story. Maybe it’s a MahoIku trademark in general but Mahou Shoujo Ikusei Keikaku Limited leaves you behind with a very gentle kind of sadness.

Mahou Shoujo Ikusei Keikaku Limited is many things. A magical girl story. An urban bloodbath. A worker’s plight. But it is also a story of staying true to your ideals in these unforgiving times of ours. And isn’t that at the end of the day what being a magical girl is all about?

Mahou Shoujo Ikusei Keikaku Limited Volumes

Mahou Shoujo Ikusei Keikaku Limited’s plot and characters are not as good as Restart’s. But when it matters the most, it reveals itself as a story about ethos and finding your own justice. Because, after all, when the world is as bad as it is, do you really need for the other one, that’s supposed to be a place of dreams and magic, to be just the same? At the very least, the characters of Limited have found their answer.

I hope you too will find your own answer for where you stand in life and can make peace with it.

Final Verdict: Very Good.

4 thoughts on “Mahou Shoujo Ikusei Keikaku Limited

  1. Pingback: Mahou Shoujo Ikusei Keikaku Restart | Beyond The Mountain Lies A World Of Frills

  2. Pingback: Dark Magical Girl Anime: They Don’t Have To ‘Get’ Madoka | Beyond The Mountain Lies A World Of Frills

  3. Pingback: Mahou Shoujo Ikusei Keikaku Jokers | Beyond The Mountain Lies A World Of Frills

  4. Pingback: Comments from maruino and Yukiko Aikei on the MahoIku anime character designs | Beyond The Mountain Lies A World Of Frills

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