Maerchen Maedchen

Maerchen Maedchen

This is a story about girls (called “Maedchen”) who are selected by “Origin”. They attend school of witchcraft located all over the world to wield their magic and become first-rate “Origin Masters”. Their goal is to win at the annual Hexennacht competition, where representatives of each school compete in their abilities to wield their magic. The winner gets to have one wish magically granted. Due to lack of members, Japan might not be able to attend the annual competition this year. but things start to change when one day Shizuka Tsuchimikado, the leader of Japan meets Hazuki Kagimura.

A magical girl story where people get their powers from classic literature? This sounds like the sort of thing that I can get into!

Hazuki is a quiet young woman who has Story Syndrome – an affliction where, when something negative happens in her life, Hazuki is compelled to seek solace within the pages of a book (I can relate). One day, whilst on one of her frequent trips to the library, she finds a book that she doesn’t remember borrowing – the fairytale story of Cinderella. Then she bumps into a hooded figure who looked like a mage from one of her stories. Hazuki follows this mysterious woman back to the library only to see her disappearing into a portal. After getting too close, Hazuki gets sucked into this portal too.

Hazuki finds herself in a school where the hooded mage introduces herself as Shizuka Tsuchimikado and explains that all the students here are ‘madchen’, chosen chosen by magical texts and given powers. Having been chosen herself by the powerful tome of Cinderella, Hazuki now has to learn a way to control her powers and begin her own story.

To start with, Hazuki struggles to even summon her own powers, and Shizuka believes this is because she’s from another world and not used to this magical way of life and helps her. Shizuka seems anxious for Hazuki to harness the power of Cinderella and its due to the upcoming Hexennacht, where madchen from all over the world come to compete for the coveted prize of getting a wish granted. The Japanese school needs to get Hazuki up to speed or they might not have a strong enough team to compete this year. But the other schools see Hazuki as a threat to their own success and want her out of the picture before she can work out how to activate her Buchülle (literally translated as ‘book cover’) that enables her to transform into Cinderella.

Though Maerchen Maedchen appeals to me personally, I can see why it may fall short in the estimations of others. For one, there are many strong contenders in this season that have bigger budgets and wider appeal. Its storyline isn’t exactly the strongest. At the beginning there are lots of coincidences that allow Hazuki to do things wrong and make incorrect decisions only to be able t come back into the fold once she’s changed her mind. It seems that these episodes could be better used to give the ever-increasing cast of girls more screen time, because Maerchen Maedchen has put itself in the danger of including way too many young women from different schools and countries, each having unique powers and not having enough time to focus on them. I’m currently halfway through the series and they haven’t even scratched the surface on the Hexennacht contenders from China, Russia, India and several others, which is a concern when I want to know so much more about them all. Thankfully, I’ve seen a girl from the American school, Lynne Davies, whose origin book this The Little Match Girl, and I think she’s already my favourite character.

I like Hazuki as a protagonist – I can relate to her. She feels intimidated by all these madchen who have known magic all their lives. On top of that, she’s torn between her own world and this one. The story of Cinderella has always been a big part of her life and a connection to her mother. She thought this new world she’d discovered would give her the chance to reinvent herself, to become stronger. It isn’t until later, when she finally finds her affinity with the story that chose her that she makes the decision to write her own story instead of seeking refuge within the words of others.

Maerchen Maedchen is building towards some good things. Hexennacht, the evil powers of stains and flecks, which constantly threaten the origin text and the mysterious council and their endgame intentions. I’m wondering how they’re going to fit this all into the episodes they have left and my only hope is that all these issues are addressed well. I want Maerchen Maedchen to have a satisfactory ending, if not a happy one (pun intended).