Outside of her Magical Girl identity, Hardgore Alice is a young girl living a miserable life. Her father is in jail for murdering her mother, and she is bullied at school as an adult. However, her time as a Magical Girl and her friendship with Snow White cause her to begin enjoying life once again. However, Fav’s announcement of the continuing eliminations leads to a distraught Snow White pushing Alice away. The very next day, Swim Swim locates Alice in her human form (where her regeneration powers do not work) and kills her.
Even untransformed, Snow White somehow manages to hear Alice’s dying thoughts. She finds and comforts the dying Alice, who reveals that Snow White helping her find her lost key led to Alice wanting to become a magical girl in the first place. She tells Snow White that she believes that she can survive and continue helping people as a Magical Girl without needing to kill. Alice’s last act is to give her Lucky Rabbit’s Foot to Snow White.
Rather than be happy that her plan succeeded Minael remains melancholy and lost in memories of her dead sister. Swim Swim chooses the isolated Cranberry as their next target. Meanwhile, Cranberry and Fav have a backstory-laden conversation in which it is revealed that Cranberry works for an another world called “the Land of Magic”. She is technically conducting a “selection examination” to determine who is fit to become a Magical Girl, but is lying to her superiors about having turned the supposedly peaceful test into a bloodbath.
Swim Swim sends a meeting request to Cranberry. Cranberry, realizing that Swim Swim has killed the most Magical Girls and desiring to fight her, agrees to meet. Though the team boosts themselves with the Medicine item, Cranberry easily kills Minael, leaving Swim Swim and Tama as her opponents.
We got two more examples of “a character’s human life/backstory is explored in the episode where they die”. In Alice’s case, I didn’t mind so much, as her death had been so heavily foreshadowed already, but it was annoying yet again with Minael. I believe they’ve done this with over half of the dead girls, and it still remains an ineffective method of storytelling.
Speaking of Alice, her death didn’t have the emotional impact on me I think the show’s creators were hoping it would. Alice was overall one of the more poorly handled characters – her entire character/backstory came off as almost laughably over-dark, and her “touching” friendship with Snow White mostly consisted of brief encounters where Snow was weirded out by her. I did like the idea that Snow helping her find her key was her inspiration to become a Magical Girl, though her drawn-out death scene lost a lot of believability for me. She managed to stay alive long enough for Snow to find her, but couldn’t manage to transform and save her life?
Much stronger, however (minus the Minael scenes), was the second half of the episode. Cranberry and Fav’s conversation was some great worldbuilding, hinting at something much larger than our group of girls and one single death game. This scene’s inclusion also gives me hope that we might get to see anime adaptations of further arcs in the series. One thing I love about Magical Girl Raising Project is how the scope of its world starts so narrow and then gradually widens with each novel/arc, adding more and more pieces to the puzzle that is Cranberry and her twisted goals.
I also just really love Cranberry as a character and as a villain. She’s probably my second favorite of the entire cast, behind La Pucelle. She’s calm, poised, never loses her cool, and is absolutely terrifying because of it. I also continue to stand by her early reveal being a good storytelling decision, as it lets us get her commentary and opinions on the actions of the others. We only got the brief beginning of her fight with Team Swim Swim this episode, and I can’t wait to see the rest – both of her previous fight scenes were among the series’ strongest. With only two episodes left, will our sinister Forest Musician be able to make it out alive and see the death game she created to its end?
Out of 5 Dios: