OF COURSE, NATURALLY, THIS WILL BE FULL OF SPOILERS. BE AWARE OF THAT BEFORE READING ON.
Ah, Yuki Yuna wa Yusha de Aru. Could it possibly be the second coming of Madoka Magica? That makes me wonder. Of course, WIXOSS could be considered this, too, but I don’t think so because WIXOSS IS NOT A MAGICAL GIRL ANIME. But, of course, that doesn’t make it a “ripoff” either. Realize this: around the Internet, people are calling anything that’s dark/suffering/dark magical girl = Madoka ripoff. Two idea can be similar, yes, but that doesn’t make the other a ripoff. I’ve heard people call Yuki Yuna wa Yusha de Aru a Madoka ripoff, and to be honest, it’s not. If anything, it’s the second coming of Madoka Magica.
“But… but how?! It’s clearly trying to outdo Madoka Magica!!”
Huh? No, it isn’t. That’s what Genei wo Kakeru Taiyou tried to do. Actually, no, it didn’t try to. Genei wo Kakeru Taiyou was nothing like Madoka Magica. Unlike Madoka Magica, Genei wo Kakeru Taiyou went from cute to dark within half an episode. Madoka took three. Yuki Yuna took eight.
Yuki Yuna wa Yusha de Aru is also a multimedia project. Its Light Novel is sort of a prequel to the series, and the manga is probably multiple spinoffs. Madoka was an anime first, obviously, and then a manga that literally just…copied the anime came around. A single novel that has yet to be translated by fans is also lurking around.
“But how is the second coming of Madoka?!”
How… err. Well, (this might be a terrible thing for me to do, but.) I’m going to label each of the characters.
Fuu is kind of like Mami, see, she’s the senpai, but she’s not fake like Mami was. But you can clearly see from later episodes that she regrets letting the girls become heroes. Also, just like Mami, Fuu’s parents are dead. She has to look after her twelve year old sister Itsuki. So, unlike Mami, Fuu isn’t alone. In the Different Story manga, we see a rather darker side to Mami’s character. In this series, we see something we didn’t see in Madoka with a senpai character. Of course, this show doesn’t have much character development, either…
We could also argue that Beat Up-Senpai (Sonoko) is this show’s Mami. Obviously, Mami died in Madoka. (No shit, lmao.) In this series, Sonoko serves as plot device to show us what really happens to heroes when they use the Mankai forms.
In a way, even though I don’t want to say this, Mimori is kind of like Homura. I’m saying this with the way episode ten was approached and showing their backstory. Also, in the novel, Mimori used to be a girl named Washio Sumi. She was a hero in the past and I guess in more ways than one, one could say she’s this series Homura without the “I must not let Yuna become a Hero!” or any stoicism.
Even though, not directly, Karin is kind of the Kyouko of this series. But not really at all since she’s kind of a Tsundere/Himedere. But kind of like Kyouko because she was introduced rather late compared to the rest of our cast.
And of course, Itsuki is nothing like Sayaka, but like Sayaka, I guess you could say Itsuki got the cruelest fate. (Ie: she can never talk again because when she used the Mankai, it took her voice.)
And Yuna is this series’s Madoka. But, unlike Madoka, Yuna never cries. She’s actually pretty strong (Madoka isn’t that weak, though), but just like Madoka, we see that Yuna wants to change the system of heroes. But unlike Madoka, she’s not all “that’s too horrible! That’s cruel!” She’s still able to keep a happy face and be with her friends.
Anyway, comparisons aside… let me explain the plot twist of this anime and how it’s the second coming of Madoka Magica.
In Yuki Yuna, the plot twist is also pretty terrible.
When the girls transform into their Mankai forms, they get the powers equal to God. In exchange for their bodily functions, the girls can never die. They will also be worshiped. Once taken, the heroes never get back the senses/bodily functions they lost. That means: Itsuki will never be able to speak again, Fuu will never be able to see our of her left eye again, Mimori will never be able to hear out of her left ear again and Yuna will never be able to taste again.
…Geez. Shocking. Yuna doesn’t seem to think the never dying thing sounds too bad. (She actually finds it kind of cool.) I, the viewer, though, find that pretty terrible. I would never want to be immortal. No way.
In episode ten, we see what the real world is like. The world is inside a universe sized force field. The defeated Vertex are reforming into full Vertex and the girls think they’ve defeated the Vertex! Well, nope, they didn’t. This means that the girls will be stuck in a cycle of fighting until they’re completely crippled…like Beat Up-Senpai… Is that suffering to the max? Yeah, kind of.
But did I see this plot twist coming? The first one with the girls never getting better? Yes. The part about them never being able to die and continuing to become a cripple? Yes. Did I see it coming that they’d have to fight as heroes again? Yes. But I was hoping the girls would get better, despite my suspicions they wouldn’t.
But how is it the second coming of Madoka?
It was able to handle its plot twist pretty well and present us with a change from souls. As we know, in Madoka Magica, they become what they’re fighting against, but in Yuki Yuna, they’re doomed to eventually lose all their bodily functions. But the girls don’t go straight into despair about it. Mimori decides to find out answers, while Fuu goes straight into denial and despair.
Also, Itsuki and Karin don’t know about the whole Mankai making them become cripples thing. Remember that Karin never got her power up. Makes me wonder what kind of power up she’d get if she were to use her Mankai form.
Yuki Yuna was also able to stay cute and with the norm for quite a while, too. Five/six episodes until episode seven when the girls had to fight again. Of course, those death tarot cards worried me, but it seems like those kind of led us to nowhere as no one is going to die.
But, trust me on this, Yuki Yuna is Madoka Magica with a better and more realistic kind of plot twist, if you ask me, anyway. The girl’s souls being ripped out of their bodies and being placed into soul gems vs becoming like a god and losing your bodily functions each time you use a godlike power. Now, which do you think sounds better? The latter. The latter. Further, for Madoka, if the soul gem gets too black, the girl becomes a witch, while in Yuki Yuna, the girls are being worshiped.
To be honest, Yuki Yuna is everything Madoka could have been. In my opinion, I feel like Yuki Yuna’s ending can go anywhere. (And face it with Selector, that’ll end darkly.) With Yuki Yuna, the show can go anywhere with the way it’s presenting itself. Madoka, the only place that one could go was darker and darker until the ending reintroduced this thing with hope. I doubt that we’ll see the girls use their Mankai forms again. This show is pretty secret about the episodes. We don’t see anything in the previews. (Madoka did that too, iirc). All we hear is voices and possible clues as to what might happen next. I honestly think that this series is going to be a happy ending. Maybe there will be a way to rewrite the laws of the heroes, who knows?
There’s also a video game coming out for Yuki Yuna. While I’m not sure for what system or what it could possibly be about, I’m pretty sure it’ll be a good game and when it gets patches, I’m going to play the thing to my best ability.
On another note, these characters are color coded. Bear with me.
Yuna = pink. (Duh).
Mimori = blue(?) (Not entirely sure on this, um.)
Fuu = yellow. (Yeah.)
Itsuki = green.
Karin = red.
Also, what’s great about Yuki Yuna is how they’re not completely color coded. In Madoka, everyone is literally their color. Madoka is pink pink pink, Sayaka is blue, blue blue all the way through, Mami is pretty yellow everywhere, Kyouko is most certainly red everywhere, and of course, Homura is purple.
In Yuki Yuna, at least their eye colors don’t 100% match their hair! That means they’re not entirely color coded. That’s one thing that annoyed me in Madoka–how they were super color coded. In Yuki Yuna, Yuna has red hair when she’s not transformed. Mimori keeps her black hair and doesn’t have blue eyes, Fuu is the only one that’s fully color coordinated, minus her eyes, and Karin has brown hair, oops.
Another thing that Yuki Yuna has that Madoka doesn’t: it shows that being disabled is okay. Do you see anyone alienating Mimori for being in a wheelchair? No. They’re okay with it. And instead of Mimori’s disability being ~cured by magic~ she still can’t use her legs in her transformation. Those “tentacles” (that’s what I’ll call them, I guess), allow her to move, but she cannot walk herself. Have you ever seen a magical girl anime do this? Of course not. We’ve never had a magical girl with a disability before.
And again, unlike Madoka, the girls aren’t in super despair about what’s going on. Itsuki has learned to adapt to not being able to speak by writing down things on a pad and paper. I don’t think Yuna is really bothered by losing her sense of taste, either. Of course, I’m sure she wants her sense of taste back, she didn’t cry later when she lost it, nor did she break down when she found out she might never get it back.
And, Mimori decided to test out the never dying thing. The girls in Madoka were obviously too horrified to try to be separated from their soul gems. Mimori actually tried to see if the thing about heroes never being able to die was true. And it was. The Faeries stop the hero from dying. In Madoka, Kyuubey just wants the energy quota to stop entropy from running out and causing the Heat Death of the Universe. In this, the Shinju-Sama are basically lying about the girls getting better, and now Mimori is going to try to destroy Shinju-Sama.
I feel like that’s what Madoka never did. I wonder what it would even do if someone brought up wishing to erase Kyuubey? (Then again, Kyuubey cannot die. He just eats himself and gets another body.) I wonder what’s going to happen if they do try to defeat the Shinju-sama? Will it do the same thing as Kyuubey?
Of course, Madoka Magica is already completed. Yuki Yuna is not. And everyone is quick to compare dark mahou shoujo to Madoka. Well, that’s what half of the people I see complain about, but remember this: Madoka Magica isn’t even the first dark magical girl anime.
We’ve got Mai Hime, Revolutionary Girl Utena, Uta Kata, Princess Tutu, and (don’t hold me to this) Kaitou Tenshi Twin Angels. There’s also Kamikaze Kaitou Jeanne, Shamanic Princess, etc. After Madoka Magica, of course we got some more dark magical girls. Genei wo Kakeru Taiyou, Symphogear, kind of (it’s deep. Not dark), Fate/Kaleid Liner Prisma Illya and now Yuki Yuna wa Yusha de Aru.
And just because they’re dark, doesn’t mean they ripoff Madoka Magica. And, of course, Madoka Magica is compared to Evangellion (which I don’t like to begin with), so as long as it exists, there’s always going to be someone to call it a “ripoff”.
But, Yuki Yuna is a really good anime. It’s the second coming of Madoka Magica and serves with a better sort of dark plot twist than Madoka has. I wouldn’t say it’s going to change the magical girl genre. It could, depending on how it’s going to end. But Yuki Yuna, I feel, has the potential to get pretty popular and become a bigger anime. I wasn’t even going to watch it at first until I heard it as a magical girl anime.
Of course, now this is the era of anime where most stuff is pretty gritty and dark. Our next “magical girl” anime is called Handsome High School Earth Defense Club, but this time it has boys. Naturally, this might inspire more magical boy anime!
But Yuki Yuna is a really good anime, and it should be given a try. It’s not too much like Madoka. It’s actually pretty nice if you give it the time of day.
So, go and watch it.