Plot: A girl gains magical abilities and stumbles upon a group of other magical girls who take her in to their group as a new member to collect stuff and fight evil. Well, kinda.
Breakdown: Gainax, maker of such greatness as Nadia: Secret of Blue Water, His and Hers Circumstances, the Cowboy Bebop movie and more had a love affair with the car company Subaru to make a magical girl anime.
This is not a full out series, instead it’s a series of four less-than-ten-minute short webisodes called “nights.” It’s a really quick watch, however, that is its biggest flaw.
The story starts out with our main character, a girl named…..Guess. Go on. Guess. You’ll never get it…..Give up? Her name is….Subaru. I know, right!? God, how lame to name her after the leader of the Crimson Knights from .Hack//Sign. Pfft.
Subaru gains odd abilities, and by that I mean transmutation circles shoot from her hands when she touches walls which seem to give her access to secret magic rooms in the school. These abilities lead her into two rooms. The first is a greenhouse where she meets a boy/girl named Minato who has an awesome character design.
The other room leads her to the other magical girls meeting area. There’s girl with black hair, girl with blond hair, girl with purple hair and awesome friggin’ hat. I mean look at that thing.
That is an awesome hat. I know it seems like I’m glossing over these girls but…..so did the show. In total, the show is under 30 minutes long so we obviously can’t delve into everyone’s personalities too much, but there is literally no information given about these girls barring their names.
Except for Aoi, the girl with, of course, blue hair. She’s rather rough around the edges and seems to dislike Subaru (must be a Toyota person) but even her relationship to Subaru is glazed over. She seems to dislike her a bit, but sometimes it seems like her insults and pushing her away from the group is her protecting Subaru. One day in the rain, she apologizes and they’re instantly friends. That’s it.
The point of these magical girls is to, not making this up, collect magical engine parts for an engine that will send their club president, a blob of green goo, back to his home planet. No explanation as to what he is, where he came from, why his engine parts seem to come with magical girl abilities complete with new outfits (one girl even gets a ship captain hat) just accept it and move on.
They achieve this through magical flying brooms or sickle-like things that, not making this up again, make engine sounds when they’re turned on. And not just any engine sounds. According to several commenters on the video, that’s specifically the engine sounds of a Subaru Boxer.
When they sense a magical engine fragment, they fly out, catch it in a giant star design and store it in a glass container.
Their enemy for this show, who is also collecting the engine fragments because they supposedly hold great power, is the aforementioned Minato. He seems to be just as powerful if not moreso than the girls since he’s keeping the fragments for his own power. And, of course, being the bad guy, he wears black torn clothing.
In the final episode, Minato launches a big attack on the school to get the girls’ fragments which are in no way, shape or form protected. They’re in a glass jar on their club table. Way to go, girls!
The jar floats out into the void Minato has created, but Aoi grabs it before it floats away. Minato launches an attack on Aoi to get the fragments but Subaru stands in the way of the blast, somehow absorbing it or something and using its power to fly towards Minato without her Subaru Boxer.
She hugs him and he starts reverting to a good guy. She tells him that she saw the same stars he saw the night before. He’s about to hug her back before his earring shines red and pull him into the nothingness. He tells her that he can’t be with her yet and that she should return to her friends. After all is said and done, she goes to the room she met Minato in and sees a few flowers growing on the floor, the end.
Did you catch that? Because I didn’t skip over anything, really. That’s the whole show. This is a problem with shows this short – you can’t cover anything really well. This isn’t the kind of plot meant for a short story – it’s meant for a full-out series. As such, it’s really just incredibly confusing and very poorly paced. The plot itself is fairly generic magical girl fare, too. Girl randomly gets powers and in the end she gets the best ones because of the power of heart or something.
I would say that the girls don’t really fit the stereotypes of magical girl groups, but I don’t know enough about them to say. Subaru does fit the shy freaked out newbie who is always brave to save her friends, and Aoi does kinda fit the friend who seems to butt heads with the main protagonist but is really her best friend trope.
Also, the obvious product placement is groan worthy.
That being said, I could totally get on board with a full-out series, and, according to some, there will be a full series coming out sometime in the future, which is cool. I look forward to watching that when or if it gets made.
For what we have here, it’s not bad by any means and there’s nothing to truly hate on, but there’s no meat on this particular sandwich. Maybe we’ll get some ham and turkey when the series comes out.
Art and Animation: Really beautiful and easily the best part of this show, but what else do you expect from Gainax? All of the art is really colorful and appealing with cute shoujo designs and very fluid animation.
Music: Decent but pretty forgettable.
Voice Acting: Japanese – Everything was very good in their roles, but there wasn’t much range to go on.
Bottom Line: It’s a quick watch, and I’d suggest a viewing merely for the art and animation, but if you’re looking for substance, I’d probably wait until the actual series gets made.
Additional Information and Notes: Wish Upon the Pleiades was directed by Shoji Saeki and was written by Shoji Saeki and Daisuke Kikuchi. It was produced by Gainax with no English dub to date.
Recommended Audience: This is as innocent as it gets, adorably so. Some people believe there’s a shoujo-ai aspect if that bothers you, but that’s purely conjecture. E for everyone!
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