Magica Wars

Magica Wars

imageA dragon sleeps under the ground, giving an abundant harvest to the lands when sleeping, but bringing disaster when it is awake. Every once in a while, the dragon moves its body as it tosses about unconsciously. The movement becomes a distortion across the land and causes a certain type of impurity. This “impurity” then forms the corrupted being known as Magatsuhi that lavish evil on the people of Japan. This particular distortion is a big one, and as a result Magatsuhi are spreading themselves out across the prefectures of Japan. God foresaw this devastation, and divided his own power to give it to ‘messengers’ to be send down to Earth, tasking them to gather mediums, or “Magica” who can expel the “impurity” and exorcise Magatsuhi. With magical weapon and the power of Gods, the “Magica” will fight to stop the evils spreading within Japan. Each Magica protects their own prefecture and its respective local characteristics.

imageMagica Wars is a media franchise executed by the Japanese internet variety show 2.5 Jigen Terebi. It personifies Japan’s 47 prefectures, with each one being represented by its own home-grown magical girl. Each magical girl varies in her appearance, weapon and fighting outfit, which are determined by a contest on Pixiv, a Japanese art/meta site. Over three thousand people entered the contest, wanting to design the ideal ‘magical girl’ that reflected the history of the place they lived. As an added link, each of these magical girls is voiced by an actress born in the same prefecture.

Magica Wars doesn’t play out like a usual twenty-odd minute anime episodes. Averaging out at only four minutes per episode, the stories run along a three-part narrative for each prefecture, with each one having a typical ‘monster of the day’ approach. This gives more time to dedicate to showing more of the magical girl mascots and little unique details attributed to each prefecture. It works well and, as someone not native to Japan, it’s really interesting. It’s an insight into all the different parts of the country and learn a little bit more about what places are famous for, any landmarks, or just marvelling at the magical girl armour and how it’s influenced by various localities.

imageThe one drawback to having 47 prefectures is that they all haven’t been represented. So far there has been a run of 26 episodes, and eight prefectures have been spotlighted: Miyagi, Shizuoka, Tokyo, Ishikawa, Mie, Kumamoto, Kyoto and Shimane. I’m not sure if another season will be run that looks at some other areas, but I certainly hope so. I only feel that this series has scratched the surface of what it could achieve.

imageThe magical girls aren’t all capable killing machines. Some are very talented, but it wouldn’t be a magical girl anime if they weren’t dealing with some crisis of confidence or a personal problem that effects their evil-battling performance. They are very different, but each have at least one characteristic that is indicative of how young girls would act in real life. Each girl has a mascot that is somehow linked to her place of origin (such as Matsuri from Shizuoka and her mascot Toro – a talking, floating robot hand that is reminiscent of the giant Gundam that was first built in the prefecture some years ago). It’s a lot of symbolism to fit into four minutes, but somehow they make it look effortless.

imageI loved the concept at work here – a short, sharp and humorous anime that was perfect when I wanted to watch something quickly. It was refreshing and fun, a nice change from the longer, serious animes. The animation wasn’t the best, but that was something I hardly noticed amidst everything else that was on offer. What initially started off as a contest quickly evolved into a fascinating creative effort and shows just how proud the Japanese are of their country – and you realise that you’ve learned a thing or two in the short duration of every episode. I would definitely recommend giving it a watch – quick, simple and fun.