Q&A With Asari Endou And maruino

mahou-shoujo-ikusei-keikaku-fanbook-q&a-faq-questions-answers-maruino-asari-endouYou might have not believed in me releasing this anymore but here’s the long-promised translation of the MahoIku Q&A! Because sometimes, it pays off to secretly never stop dreaming… with that said, where’s my Restart anime? 

Hey there, fellow magical girl fans! Today, I’ve brought us a special treat! Yup, it’s none other than the translation of the Q&A featured in the Mahou Shoujo Ikusei Keikaku Official Guidebook. Now you’ll find out even more about your favorite characters and creators!

This contains spoilers from Unmarked all the way to Aces. Keep in mind that there are a few questions about the Drama CD and Archfiend Pam Survival Hell tournament in here, which I have not listened to or read, so my translation there is based on guesswork a bit. Japanese as a language is heavily context-reliant so that doesn’t help.

Question: How did Detec Bell, with that physical strength and magical power, make it through the Cranberry exam alive?
Asari Endou: By using her magic, she acquired information on the other girls’ magical abilities and she planned to attack them while they were still in human form before transforming into magical girls, however, she had already failed at her first target and so word got around the other magical girls, so Detec Bell just hid herself inside a wall’s mouth until danger passed and passively relied on the other magical girls knocking each other out to achieve victory. Needless to say, Cranberry was deeply, deeply unsatisfied.

Question: Pukin’s sword, 7753’s goggles and Patricia’s hand cuffs were also used by other girls, with their magical powers still in effect, so does this mean magical items can be used by people other than their owners in general?
Asari Endou: When magical girls lose their magical items and undo their transformation (or even die), the items alone remain. These items may then be used by other magical girls. Generally, they can’t use them better than their actual owners, however, there are also those that are adept enough at handling them to that degree. Much like Ruler’s scepter, if the item itself is only a device for assistance for enacting magic, there’s no point in taking it. This gives us a glimpse at Ruler’s greatness.

Question: Is Umbrain an elementary school student?
Asari Endou: She’s an elementary school student magical girl incredibly capable of not letting others find out that that is what she is. Whereas Nokko-chan used the fact that she’s an elementary school student for her appeal, Umbrain resents that. She is a master of it in her own way.

Question: What’s your favorite death scene for all the magical girls?
Asari Endou: Starting to cry while writing, that is something that happens every now and then, however, during Pechka’s death scene, it’s not just that I was crying while writing it but every time I reread it, I tear up again. I remember being all like “Just who is the one who would do something so awful?” and getting angry quite a few times.

Question: When Kishibe Souta-kun was still alive, were the feelings Himekawa Koyuki-chan held for Souta-kun that of friendship? Or that of love? Or were they something entirely different?
Asari Endou: They were the feelings of friendship among mutual magical girl fans. However, I can’t deny that there were also faint feelings of love involved. As for that love, I don’t think there’s any doubt it’s being expressed much like a spy hiding inside an organization.

Question: Among the many characters of Mahou Shoujo Ikusei Keikaku, which is your favorite name? Which is the one that gave you the most trouble?
Asari Endou: At every opportunity, from all sorts of people, I receive praise for Genopsyko Yumenoshima’s naming so I think that’s a really amazing name I came up with, however, I think there might be some slight brainwashing going in with that one. The character whose name gave me the biggest headache was Uttakatta. Originally, I intended to name her “Pukupukukaruu-tan” but my editor was strongly opposed to it, saying “Are you really okay with this? Are you sure you won’t regret this?”, so after some turns and twists, “Uttakatta” is what came to be.

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Question: maruino-sensei loves rounds things I’m told, however, among all the round things, what’s your favorite one? Mine are alleyways.
maruino: I love the through a particular rounding method rounded roundness of the curves of a gauze handkerchief when held so you could just barely see it in the lower left corner of your field of vision.

Question: A magical girl is, compared to a human being, strong, yet how strong are they in general? As long as Genopsyko has her visor equipped, she could even submerge into lava, however, if any of the other magical girls attempted that, they would have died instantly, right? Also, if you applied aqua regia or strong alkalis or highly acidic liquids, would they still be alright? I’m really curious.
Asari Endou: The toughness varies from magical girl to magical girl. There are magical girls who would be unharmed from stepping on anti-personnel land mines and there might be even those who could completely ignore anti-tank land mines. Generally speaking, if you think of magical girls as strong compared to those who hold no magic, you wouldn’t be mistaken. With that said, that doesn’t make them unbeatable. So of course lava would be bad. As for liquids that are highly acidic, I can’t help but wonder. Just because it depends on the concentration doesn’t mean it’d be a good thing to do, right?

Question: Which magical girl was the easiest one to draw, which one the hardest?
maruino: As you can imagine, the easiest one was Nemurin and as for the hardest, that’d be the entire rest.

Question: As for Melville’s way of talking, what kind of dialect is it?
Asari Endou: Living inside the depths of giant mountains, bringing bears and boars she hunted down into the village and making a living of that, that is the kind of family Melville or rather Mashiro Kujo was born into. Living with modern Japanese, her family visited a lot of villages and so, from every place an accent would leave its influence on her and ultimately, her family original dialect would be completed. It’s a Tohoku dialect. By the way, Melville can also speak in standard Japanese, however, it embarrasses her and so she communicates through dialect instead. All of her standard Japanese is entirely in keigo.

Question: Please tell me about the source of income for the Magical Kingdom. I’m really intrigued.
Asari Endou: Sometimes it appears to be certain corporations, sometimes the government, sometimes religious organizations and sometimes it’s secret societies that the Magical Kingdom receives payback from in return for offering certain services. A certain country would make a secret agreement with aliens, a certain secret society would control the world from the shadows, a woman wearing a mask would ask you “Am I pretty?” [TL Note: a reference to kuchisake onna], these are the kind of rumors that might arise from that.

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Question: Is there a Ekaki-Uta character?
maruino: Of course there is no such thing, so please make one and send it in.

Question: Why are grade schoolers so quick to die?
Asari Endou: When you transform into a magical girl, whether you’re an adult or a child, the conditions are the same for everyone. So even if you’re a grade schooler, you have to be able fight your battles in the same arena… and of course that’s not achievable. Because a grade schooler is lacking in experience, that alone puts them at disadvantage. Compared to adults who have become used to the cunning ways of the world, their survival abilities perform too low. Following this logic, the grandfather and grandmother magical girls end up the strongest and in actual life, these people are the masters. Also, one more thing, I don’t hold a grudge against grade schoolers or anything like that.

Question: In Restart, Snow White’s magic had changed, was that through some kind of awakening?
Asari Endou: Magic can be fortified through training, and if your training corners you, putting you to the verge of death, growth can be achieved in a shorter span of time. Also, through usurping a strong mind, within a mere instance, a fake sort of transformative awakening can be initiated. Snow White’s magic has not undergone such a transformation but rather growth through training.

Question: Sensei, please tell us about your favorite food! Whether it’s a dish or just an ingredient, I’ll take anything!
Asari Endou: I like fried fish. Especially fried megisu. There’s also ramen. Conquering a local ramen shop is a small dream of mine. By the way, when I just looked it up, I got the very delicious-sounding word ‘megisu ramen’ out of it. Isn’t that fascinating?

Question: If Genopsyko were to be hit by a Daisy Beam, what would happen?
Asari Endou: If Magical Daisy were the kind of slightly raunchy anime, there’s no doubt just the suit would melt away. However, Magical Daisy is a very upright anime and so, such things do not happen! Isn’t that nice?

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Question: Which character gave you the most trouble to create?
maruino: I remember that the Pure Elements were quite a hassle. Just how would I best express the uniform “Pure Elements” feeling? That’s the kind of trouble I had. At first, I intended to give each of them the same frilly white garment and they all would have more or less the same kind of arrangement (like with the uniformity that comes with a Saturday morning anime).

Question: When Marika lets a dandelion grow, what kind of magical power does that result in?
Asari Endou: It gives her the ability to fly. Before long, it would turn into fuzz and she would descend just like with a parachute. I actually did once write a scene about Marika letting a flower bloom and attacking from the sky, however, sadly, that got cut.

Question: Was the one who made a cheesecake out of the materials of Fukuroi Marika’s plants Fukuroi Marika? Or was it Fukuroi Mariko?
Asari Endou: Minor operations are done by Mariko. As for trials of strength, Marika helps out. When it comes to making sweets, it might be hard to imagine Marika undergoing that but her shouting ‘bwahaha!” and “hey-hey-hey!’ while she’s stirring cream, now that’s a bit easier to imagine, isn’t it?

Question: Of all the episodes in the Cutie Healer series, which one is your favorite starring Dark Cutie?
Asari Endou: The intense battle depicted in the episode before the finale, “The Night Before The Final Battle! Dark Cutie’s Sentiments.” How could one forget about that? As she didn’t even try to hide her shivering, she could give it her all to her heart’s content against Cutie Altair and even though she proved superior, she ended up retreating. How this would have an effect on the final battle… that is what the fans were wondering, with their breaths held and teeth sunk into their televisions, however, the last episode is not worth mentioning. As for my favorite comedy episode, it’s gotta be episode 16, “Let’s Become Top Breeders! The Magical Pet Shop!” Dark Cutie, running away from a flock of dogs and cats while crying, that was a legendary episode.

Question: What’s the short story you have written that you had the most fun with?
Asari Endou: Speaking in terms of fun, with “From Hot To Tot About Music, there’s the possibity that I’m speaking under the charme of Tot Pop so I can’t pick that one. I also really like the feeling of “brainless and packed with dreams” that ‘The Archfiend Cram Hell Survival’ has. ‘Akane And The Happy Magical Girl Family’ was fun because there was little trouble in the story being revised or rejected… no, that wasn’t fun, that was just comforting for me.

Question: Why did ‘Ignores Anyone Who Doesn’t Have The Proper Manners’ Grim Heart die in an accident?
Asari Endou: As the number 01 expert on accidental deaths, I will humbly answer this question. An “accidental death” is, and will always be, a front. As for this case and most of the time, they aren’t accidental deaths or anything of the sorts and there are quite a lot of them; and so, they are written into the Encyclopedia of Accidental Deaths.

Question: There are quite a lot of MahoIku goods being released these days, but I would also like to see more merchandise with maruino-sensei’s art on them! If you could have any kind of merchandise produced, what would it be?
maruino: I just can’t get enough of cute deformed figurines that you can put on your desktop and so on. I want to buy a ton of those small boxes where you don’t know which character is inside.

Question: maruino-sensei, what is something that you are lately totally into?
maruino: Drawing the faces of 4.5 inch head-sized dolls is a lot of fun to me. Ah! There is so little time that I can’t make anymore! I want to create more!

Question: To be blunt, do you sometimes mess up with the names or magic of the characters?
Asari Endou: Since these are thought up by myself, that might happen but fundamentally speaking, it doesn’t. However, now that I’ve said “fundamentally”, there are characters where I sometimes mess up, so that’s what that word means here. Some of you might be slightly aware of it. That’s right, this is about Minael and Yunael. Unless “’Yuna is…’ – there’s that kind of line, so Minael’s the older sister, right?” goes on in my head, I can’t tell who’s the older sister. To remember the order of the alphabet, I sometimes sing the ABC song and to remember the direction of the rising sun, I might start singing the Bakabon OP. It’s kinda like that. Now that’s magi-cool.

Question: While writing Mahou Shoujo Ikusei Keikaku, when was the tipping point that you started thinking ‘I’m so glad maruino-sensei is the illustrator’?
Asari Endou: There was no such thing as a tipping point… it’s much rather that maruino is worthy of being called a heavenly illustrator. I don’t have to ask her to draw square objects in particular and I have absolutely no room for complaints. Thank you so much for drawing these always lovely magical girls.

Question: I want to get to know the order in which the residents of N City became magical girls.
Asari Endou: It’s Cranberry -> Mary -> Nana -> Ruler -> Top Speed -> La Pucelle -> Minael/Yunael -> Swim Swim -> Magicaloid -> Tama -> Winterprison -> Ripple -> Snow White -> Alice. It’s just that figuring out where to put Nemurin is vague. It’s Nemurin after all. That girl can ignore time and such sometimes.
By the way, the individual mentor/student relationships are as follows:
Cranberry -> Mary
Fav -> Nana
Mary -> Ruler, Top Speed, Magicaloid, Nemurin
Nana -> La Pucelle, Winterprison, Alice
Ruler -> Minael, Yunael, Tama, Swim Swim
Top Speed -> Ripple
La Pucelle -> Snow White
There were quite a few mentor/student relationships that ended the moment the lecture was over.

Question: Have you already come up with ideas of all of their appearances before their transformations?
maruino: I haven’t! In general, when a character makes an appeance, I get the absolutely necessary minimum of an image to work with from Endou-san and from thereon start with the imagination process.

Question: maruino-sensei, which one is the magical girl with a way of living that you like the most?
maruino: The magical girls all proceed according to their own logic so I like all of them. The one who exemplifies her own way of doing things the most is Marika, so I like her the most in that regard.

Question: Are there times when you see maruino-sensei’s character designs that you change a character’s fate? Also, if yes, which characters had their courses changed? (Like say a character was supposed to die but then ended up surviving)
Asari Endou: The order for both character design and story is that the story comes first and designs are submitted thereafter. As such, it’s really unfortunate but a character design has no bearing on the outcome of a character. How many times I have shed tears over that… maruino-sensei has already stated that she gives characters who exit the story early on cute designs on purpose, so in a way or too, it’s like this has already turned into a composition at the level of bullying. Aaaaaaaaahhh… Nemurin…

Question: As the Inspection Department was in the process of investigating Totkeek’s true identity, did they inquire Keek?
Asari Endou: As for a magical girl names, there are countless of them and there are also plenty magical girls with matching names. Like a Poptok-san who can talk to birds, a Cockpok-san who unifies the good points of both chicken and pigs or a Cookcheek-san who generates edibble cosmetics and since there were so many other magical girls with similar names to Tot Pop and Keek, the officials didn’t even reach out to her. How nice.

Question: From maruino-sensei’s point of view, is there any character that makes you go “what a satisfying job I’ve done”?
maruino: Putting aside good or bad, Cherna is a design that I could no longer think of while designing nowadays.

Question: Pre-transformation, who is the prettiest?
Asari Endou: As for the most beautiful, that is something that depends on one’s individual preferences, the era and culture, that’s all I can say, and, of course, personal opinion so with that said, since Endou-sensei’s subjective bias is totally a-okay, here comes the top that managed to overcome them all, the ranking of the magical girls with the most attractive apperances pre-transformation! So let’s start with fifth place!
Number 05! It’s none other than Kanoe Hitokouji with whom you’re quite familiar! ‘Isn’t this just Mamori’s bias coming through?’ she says with her unwilling suspicion raised, taking fifth place! But rest assured, you’re a gorgeous beauty to the fullest!
As for fourth place, we’ve got the Archfiend cram school’s violent deliquent (or at least that’s what she turns into), Fukuroi Mariko! There are also voices (inside my head) totally approving of the gap between her regular form and her magical girl one, so thats why she’s ranking fourth! She’s so used to pickup lines on the streets she doesn’t even care anymore!
For number 03, we have Kujo Rio, who would have thought that assassin Rionetta would take the bronze medal! Yet in the work itself, there is not even one illustration of her beauty! This is based on the storywriting only! In middle school, she was so popular, putting on airs like Kaguya-hime and would make impossible demands from her admirers!
On second place ranks Nonohara Noriko! Rather than referring to a grade schooler as a beauty, Nokko-chan is just that cute! The mere fact that her face resembles her magical girl form’s is proof of her beauty! Because when people turn into magical girls, everyone is adjusted to be beautiful! HAHAHA!
And coming first us Shizuku Ashuu! Sister Nana’s favorite! Weiss Winterprison took the top spot! Nokko-chan ranked second because she resembles her magical girl form so much, however, pre-transformation Winterprison is so exceedingly pretty she’s fantasy-tier! The one woman who bested the magical girl system (in a way or two) is none other than Shizuku Ashuu! Her taking the top raises objections by none!
So with that said, that was my Top 5 ranking. And, of course, until the very end, this was just the creator’s subjective ranking so other people might set their priorities differently! To Winterprison, the beaten Habutae Nana would come first. And while the wall between first place and second place is unbreakable, it might be no Genopsyko… the reason for that is a secret.

Question: In Jokers, you have Ripple covered as Stanczyka breathing fire, how did that work?
Asari Endou: She put magical gasoline inside her mouth and then pretended to breath fire. As for the hand grenades and gasoline, unicycle, stilts, balls, throwing knives, and various other kinds of utensils, her master happily provided for those and, by using magic, handed them over. Since there was nobody to prevent her from going overboard, had things escalated, she would have even acquired a lion or a tiger- The importance of friends preventing you from overdoing things is something I’m all too familiar with.

Question: As part of the plan to deal with Puck-sama, we were told that the Osk fraction has exchanged its reincarnation and in the conversations between reincarnations it was decided to have Puck-sama not be sent out, so does this mean that rather than there being one body for one reincarnation, there are multiple ones?
Asari Endou: There’s usually a stock for candidates for reincarnation. However, at any given point of time on the time scale, one can only have one such reincarnation. For the Three Sages to use two or more reincarnations, that is something entirely outlawed through a magical binding that they have mutually restricted upon each other. If one were to use several reincarnations, as a formality, their parliamentary system would come to crumble, leading in practice to an endless arms race of reincarnations. As a means of interfering with the world, these reincarnations are already strong enough.
Exchanging a reincarnation is doable. When Puck-sama wants to rest a bit, she lets a different reincarnation take over the reigns.

Question: Which one is the magical girl you’d like to be friends with the most?
Asari Endou: If I was friends with Nemurin, I could do my job while dreaming and my work efficiency would double and there’s a lot of people I wouldn’t have to be a burden for anymore so that would be a nice thing…
maruino: For me, it’s got to be Cherna. I’d play with her and even if I died, that wouldn’t be vexing.

Question: If you were to think of a magical girl duo, which one would be your favorite?
Asari Endou: I can’t just decide which one I like the most but “if you were to run away now, people would complain that you’re just running away and if that’s the case, then just let’s just change the question to something different”, is what my editor is saying so with that said, let’s make sure we give it our best. Magicaloid and Shadow Gale is is (*I am not running away).
maruino: Snow White and Marika. There seem to be many moments when Marika is attentive.

Question: Tell us about an interesting story between Asari Endou-sensei and the editor!
Asari Endou: We were talking about if there was a difference in breast size between the non-pretty (in terms of deeds and heart) version of Calamity Mary and Pretty Mary, how they differed and when you compared the illustrations for the two of them, we saw that Pretty Mary’s breasts were bigger so we wondered what that was all about, if it was okay for Nemurin to prefer big breasts and have designed her that way then and that conversation went on for about 10 minutes. That’s a recent story.

Question: Who’s the magical girl with the biggest chest size? If possible, please do a top 10. If it’s not, a top 5 would be fine too.
Asari Endou: It’s like… rankings are really sought after? Well, I can understand why you’re curious. Anyway… gentlemen! Today, we have gathered to witness the unveiling of the five best magical girls’ pair of breasts! Now, let’s proceed! I hereby declare the bust five… errm, best five.
Ranking fifth! Pythie Frederica! She is a woman rattling on and on about about hair yet once you take a closer look, you can’t help but notice she’s got quite the nice figure! Her custome, something that you couldn’t wear if you had no confidence in your body, is proof that she truly belongs into the Top Bust Camp (I’ve just coined this term).
Ranking fourth! Swim Swim! A school uniform and big breasts, when we multiplied something that was originally a minus with a plus, something enormous emerged! I’m not quite sure what that means but it’s alright! You can understand just by looking!
Ranking third! Archfiend Pam! First of all, let me just say this! That custome is not part of my preferences! I just ordered it to have an archfiend look through and through! Believe me!
Ranking second! Pretty Mary! How Pretty Mary and Calamity Mary differ I’ve already answered above! She’s greatly successful through the world of dreams, using her wonderfully matured breasts as an asset just as made through Nemurin’s interests!
Ranking first! Masked Wonder! She absolutely does not want to show them off! And yet she’s ranked 01! And that is fine! Her mere existence made women jealous and got middle school boys talking, be amazed by the wondrous americanized chest size of hers!
Cherna Mouse (she can get really big), Clantail (how do you even best categorize her?) and Tepsekemei (taking her measurement seems impossible) have favorable conditions going for them so they are excluded from the ranking. Please understand.
Well then, everyone! Next time, we will meet at the butt size ranking! See you!

Question: While a magical girl stays in her transformed form, how does time flow for the actual body? Say a magical girl stayed transformed for a span of 100 years and then undid her transformation, would she die from a lack of life span? Or would her body be just as before?
Asari Endou: Even if you stayed transform, it would not stop the flow of time. A magical girl who is all fine and dandy being knocked out and untransforming, only to die from senility, that is also a possible scenario. The human body is sent into something like a state of sleep so time doesn’t halt entirely, however, compared to the norm, it progresses incredibly slowly. After all, even the rule that a magical girl does not have to eat or sleep has its limits. Altough it is a very generous limit.
Transforming frequently also has the side effect of looking young of age compared to the amount of years you have accumulated over time. Everyone, what do you think of the Magical Girl Anti-Aging?

Question: Why did Fal not have his sentence endings changed?
Asari Endou: At the start, Fal was little more than your average digital fairy, but when Keek obtained him, she modified him and as such, external sources carelessly lying hand on him wouldn’t be any good. It would be quite challenging in terms of cost, time, risk and preparation and there would also be no guarantee of success. To Fal, this may be unsatisfying but maybe that’s just the way things are meant to be, pon.

Question: Magical girls whose real identity is actually of male gender are exceedingly rare yet how rare are they actually? How rare are they compared to, say, magical girls based on animals?
Asari Endou: There are so few of them it is difficult to measure them statistically. Animal magical girls are also practically a thing that almost never occurs, however, when acquired as laboratory animals (compared to male magical girls anyway), they are easy to acquire, so ever since the creation of magical girls, animal magical girls have been created and gotten rid of over and over again… but this Algernon-like story is too long to bring up so let’s just cut things short here. Naturally born animal magical girls are, compared even to male magical girls, incredibly unlikely to happen.

Question: I want to become Lady Puck’s servant, however, how would I go about joining the Puck fraction? Can I enter even though I’m not a magical girl?
Asari Endou: You can’t become Lady Puck’s servant. Because Lady Puck does not wish for servants. “So does that mean then that it’s impossible to join Lady Puck,” you wonder in your deepest despair yet rest assured. It is entirely possible to become friends with Lady Puck. Of course, even if you aren’t a magical girl, you can become her friend. You could be an earthworm, an okera, a water strider, a honey bee, or a human being, Lady Puck accepts all. Ah, how unbelievably generous Lady Puck is. To protect Lady Puck, I too, must join the Puck fraction and give it my all!

Question: This one goes out to 7753. Out of all these magical powers you have witnessed so far, which one was the dullest?
Asari Endou: Eeeeh, it looks like it’s incredibly hard for 7753 to answer, so instead I, Endou, will live up to the task! 7753 has taken a look at countless of magical girls’ magical powers, however, the freshling magical girls she gets to look at are those with good prospects for their immediate future or those that might be dangeous. 7753 would not even get to see a magical girl with dull magic. With that said, if you want to know about dull magic, you shouldn’t implore 7753 rather than Keek or Fav. Unlike 7753, who is concerned about dull magical girls and can’t answer, these two will gladly talk about these to you. In fact, that might take several days even.

Well, I hope you’ve made it to the end. If you’ve got enough stamina for more reading material, check out my other translations:

My thoughts on the individual MahoIku arcs, meanwhile, can be read over here.

And now excuse me, I’ve got urgent matters to attend to. Until we meet each other again… stay magi-cool!

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