「消えない光」 (Kienai Hikari)
“The Undying Light”
When preparing the spring preview Blue Reflection Ray was one show I honestly had no idea what to think of. Indirect video game adaptation falling to the vices of similar game compatriots? Magical girl yuri bait gone wrong? Total and utter shocker turned good? Everything was on the table (and still is), but what I now know for certain is that I’m liking what I’m seeing.
As per the linked preview above, BRR is an adaptation of the similarly named game that effectively dispenses with the game’s actual story. In short this one can be thought of as a 2000s style Madoka–YuYuYu mix: feelings are the main driver behind many events and character choices; battles are fought in an alternate dimension with the girls powered up as magical girls; and there’s plenty of room for some major suffering down the pipeline. Just take our main girls Hanari Ruka (Chisuga Haruka) and Hirahara Hiori (Iwaki Manaka) as case in point; while Ruka is your typical social introvert, a newly transferred student who’s completely at odds with the typical route of small talk and friend making, her roommate Hiori is the exact opposite in being socially outgoing and very much an eager supplier of assistance whenever apparently needed. It’s clear as day that Hiori will likely get hurt badly for overreaching at some point while Ruka learns to leave her introverted shell, but the manner of such developments is up in the air. We likely have some time before we see how hard this one intends on breaking its cutie pies – because you damn well know some of that is in store.
The main trouble for BRR though will be successfully reaching that point before the audience falls asleep. It’s hard denying this episode was all over the place, hinting towards important aspects like the rings/fragments, the alternate dimension, clear distinction between red and blue, and teasing various other characters while providing no real answers or sense of understanding. Although admittedly easy to piece certain aspects together (such as who the immediate antagonists likely are given various imagery), BRR will need to provide some tangible answers sooner rather than later to help keep this train on tracks – you can only get so far with Madoka-esque visuals and a penchant for the artistically abstract after all! Provided the next couple of episodes help fill in the blanks, however, I strongly suspect this one won’t completely follow in the footsteps of Assault Lily considering the material at work. And given it also has 24 episodes to work with too, well, let’s just say this one stands a very good chance at beating expectations.
Overall while too early to make any predictions on BRR, I will say anyone with a taste for melancholy magical girls to keep this one on their radar. It could very well drive right off the cliff – but it could also turn into this season’s biggest surprise.
OP: 「DiViNE」by EXiNA
This reminded me a lot of Flip Flappers. It has that whimsical/fairy tale kind of vibe, while being more “grown up” than typical magical girl series, but without the “everyone’s going to die” approach you get from Puella type shows. This could be a very relaxing watch.
Actually that’s a good example to use, thanks for reminding me of it! While death is unlikely here I wouldn’t discount suffering or tragedy, there’s enough hints regarding feelings and the nature of what is being fought over to suggest something sinister is at work under the surface.
I was left wondering what’s up with the rings colours.
Personally I suspect we’ll learn that within the next couple of episodes, given feelings are a major component of this universe there’s definitely a mechanism which involves their harvest or consumption.