Firstly, I am happy with the ending of Magical Girl Raising Project. Before the final episode, I admit I was worried that the ending was going to be disappointing. With all of the death and violence, I was afraid that every character was going to die and that the ending was going to be hollow and meaningless. I don’t mind tragic endings- some of my favorite anime of all time are Elfen Lied and Madoka Magica, both of which have sad endings. However, all of the tragedy has meaning in the end. But this show was so hopeless and relentless that I thought the ending was going to be the same. But I was pleasantly surprised by how it ended, and how it left the audience with a message of hope, although bittersweet.
Relying On Others
Overall, the message was about taking action. Snow White was idealistic and kind, which is why she wanted to become a magical girl. Despite this, though, she was weak. Not just physically, but mentally. As much as she wanted to help people, she didn’t have the resolve to fight and kill the other magical girls. Is this a bad thing? No. Most kind people are gentle and don’t want to hurt others, which is to be admired. But in such a high-stakes game with ruthless opponents, fighting is crucial. The problem with Snow White is that others took actions for her.
La Pucelle vowed to protect her from the very beginning. He acted as a knight, someone who would lay down their life for another. He was valiant and noble. But this was also his downfall. Whenever danger arose, La Pucelle sent Snow White away so she wouldn’t get hurt. For example, La Pucelle knew Cranberry was following him, and sent Snow White home because he didn’t want her to get involved or hurt. However, Cranberry was so strong (and crazed) that she killed him. If Snow White had been there and helped La Pucelle fight Cranberry, it is possible that he would have survived. In the end, his chivalry is what caused him to die, and once he was gone Snow White was helpless. She relied too much on him. There was no one to fight off the growing number of enemies.
After La Pucelle came Hardgore Alice, who also protected Snow White. She wasn’t physically strong or courageous the way La Pucelle was- in fact, she was quite the opposite. However, her magic was practically invincible. In her magical form, it was impossible to kill Hardgore Alice. This made her the perfect shield for Snow White. Alice could protect her and also help with some of the legwork of being a magical girl. On top of this, Hardgore Alice acted as moral support for Snow White. She may not have been very sociable (can you blame her after finding out her backstory?), but just simply having her around helped to comfort Snow White. Although Hardgore Alice is helping her so much, Snow White isn’t very appreciative, at least now on the outside. When news comes that the game is requiring more killing, Snow White lashes out at Hardgore Alice, who hasn’t done anything but support her. Then, of course, Alice is killed and Snow White is left alone again, feeling guilty and ashamed. Another one of her friends has died and she didn’t do anything about it.
Snow White Finally Takes A Stand
At this point, Koyuki’s mind is faltering. She cannot handle all of the death and despair. She feels useless and wants to stop being a magical girl. Achieving her dream of becoming a magical girl has only resulted in tragedy- why should she continue? Despite this, she gathers her strength and tries to stop Swim Swim and Ripple’s fight after she finds out the true purpose of the Magical Girl Raising Project. Unfortunately, she is too late and arrives to find a dead Ripple, her last ally.
This is when Snow White gets angry. This is what she needed to do from the beginning. To let go of all of the doubt and other negative emotions she was feelings, and finally act. Which she did. When she was angry, or rather enraged, she was able to finally confront Fav. She tries to smash his terminal, hitting it until her hands are bloodied. She is unsuccessful; however, by finally acting, she sets off a strain of events. While attacking Fav, she somehow activates her magical rabbit’s foot, which brings back Ripple. When the merciless Ripple hears Fav insulting Top Speed, she uses the magical weapon to destroy his terminal and kill Fav.
After this scene, it skips ahead six months, where we see Snow White and Ripple meeting on the familiar tower. We learn from some clues that Snow White has been acting as a magical girl and saving many people, even outside of her town. Even though she is doing her duty, Snow White seems determined to grow stronger. She admits she is still too weak. She asks Ripple to help her, and they begin fighting one another, like a sort of magical combat practice. The meek Snow White is gone. She goes full out, attacking Ripple with everything she has, and Ripple doesn’t hold back either.
Right before their friendly fight, Snow White relays the message of this anime and its conclusion:
“Just watching won’t set anything in motion.”
After being a spectator to all of her friends who fought so hard and died, Snow White has decided she will never sit still again. She needs to act when things go wrong. She needs to take care of them herself. If she does nothing, others will get hurt, just like the magical girls.
Overall, I think this is an important message. Even in everyday life, you need to act in order to accomplish things, even if they are small. Snow White has become a strong person who will fight for what she believes in. She is still hoping and dreaming that being magical girl will bring some peace into the world. Of course, this ending was bittersweet because all of the characters, including many of my favorites, had to die in order for this to happen.
I am not sure how the light novel ends, or how it continues the story, but I am curious to see if they went a different route. Although I was quite happy with the ending, I still think Snow White could have done things a little differently. I may discuss this in another post, where I will explain an alternative ending I have brewing in my head.
If you dropped this anime because it was too brutal, I suggest finishing it. You will still have to go through the death of all of the girls, but the ending won’t disappoint.