Like Girls Club shows another genre I never get tired of watching is that of magical girls along with female centered Moepocalypse shows. This next one is a magical girl anime with a dash of moepocalypse. Find out what I mean as we take a look at an anime based on a video game series, Blue Reflection Ray.
Genres: Drama, Magical Girl, Moepocalypse (sort of), Psychological, Yuri
Themes: Family, Emotions
Number of Episodes: 24
Plot Summary: This is a story of connecting shining emotions.
Joy, sadness, anger. Feelings are a power, invisible to the eye, that every person possesses. Sometimes this power is even capable of changing the world.
Hiori Hirahara always has a positive attitude and can’t leave people in trouble alone. Ruka Hanari is socially awkward, she wants to get along well with others, but she doesn’t know how to go about it.
How will the meeting of these two wildly different girls change not only them, but the world itself?
The first question some will surely ask is whether newcomers need to have played the Blue Reflection video game before watching the anime. Mostly “no” but a little bit “yes”. No because the anime does a solid job explaining most things pertaining to the world of Reflectors, the magical girls of the story. Yes because it will help understand their world better. Also is it a sequel to the game? In a way “yes” but more like the events of this story were influenced by what happened in the game. That and some characters from the game appear on the side aiding the anime heroines. However, the events of game are not directly referenced but hinted in a way that does not disrupt the flow of the anime story.
Basically not really but it helps viewers better understand how things work in this universe even though the anime does a decent job explaining it over time.
Like most magical girl anime Reflectors’ powers rely on their emotions/state of mind. Depending on the side, blue or red, they must either have more positive or negative emotions. Not only happiness and optimism or rage and sadness but a balance of either side. Based on the girls’ personality, outlook on life and determination to do what they believe is right regardless of side the ring responds to their power. The reason I bring this up first is because as mentioned in the themes and plot summary emotions play an incredibly important role in the story. The red Reflectors, who I referred to as the Red Ring Gang, go after girls who are either depressed or struggling with something deep in order to steal their negative emotions for their master plan. It is up to the blue Reflectors to stop the RRG from achieving their goal along with trying to heal the girls suffering using either their powers or simply listening to them and help as best as they can. Sometimes it works, other times not.
The struggles all the girls on the show, be they civilians or Reflectors on both sides range from challenging such as social awkwardness, neglect or confusion, difficult but not impossible to heal such as conveying one’s true feelings to “messed up does not begin to describe how traumatic of an experience this girl went through”. Some viewers may consider the early girls’ struggles easy to solve but the thing is all humans think and act differently, meaning what is easy for one person to overcome is a great struggle for another. The show does a good job exploring many kinds of emotional struggles that even after finding happiness still linger and take a while before truly dominating the pain. Sometimes all a person needs is someone to hear them out while other times it is not only very specific but someone who can relate with their pain. While not 100% a Moepocalypse as not all the girls’ emotional struggles are horrifying but there are some who as mentioned above “messed up does not begin to describe how traumatic of an experience this girl went through”.
Another theme mentioned was family. Without spoiling anything let us just say the relationship between girls and their parents plays as important of a role as emotions. Viewers will be surprised how many times it comes up and the connections characters have because of it.
Fortunately the anime is not all gloom. There are many fun and cute scenes among the heroines as their friendship grows stronger. They help to lighten the mood. I went d’awww or laughed on multiple occasions s do not think going into this show it is all sad and painful.
The presentation is admittedly an art style I am not familiar with in all my years watching anime. It is difficult to describe. The scenes where it feels like time stops in the real world, a twilight dimension called Leap Range, gives off Madoka Magica vibes, The character designs feel especially unique to me. It may take some getting used to for some but I quickly grew to like it thanks to one girl I will get to soon.
Meanwhile the magical girl fight scenes are pretty cool featuring radical sword fights, traditional magic beams of justice/injustice and other neat visual effects. The soundtrack has some nice tunes, particularly one dramatic theme and the two OPs and EDs are very nice.
The cast of characters on both the blue and red sides are cool or take some time before becoming likable. It depends on viewers’ patience. Hiori and Ruka are great leads, Ruka once she opens up more. Ruka is also the character I alluded to when I referred to one helping me get used to the character art quickly. She looks and acts SO CUTE before and after opening up!
While the Red Ring Gang members are all fascinating girls with equally fascinating stories to tell…yes indeed…the one who I enjoyed watching the most was Uta here. She is both very simple and complex at the same time. Without giving anything away she is the epitome of chaotic neutral, neither good nor with evil intent. She simply enjoys what she does with a passion. While there are very small hints of concern from time to time her desire to achieve her personal delight far outweighs any concern. It is this desire and how she expresses herself that I could not help but enjoy. Basically she’s a lot of fun to watch. Not in the “love to hate” sense. I legitimately thought she was entertaining.
Most of the cast are great, even the cameos from the first and sequel games. While not getting the spotlight very often they are delightful when on screen. Even Yuzu and Lime who do not do very much compared to the first game. They are cute twin guardians.
Lastly, as always we have the yuri. It is mostly soft yuri but far from subtle. Long story short most, if not all the girls on the show are gay. Some of them hook up with each other. They do not say the magic words but as is often the case in anime not featuring a yuri tag in the genre actions speak louder than words. Furthermore some of the girls’ emotional struggles either include or are centered around their feelings for another girl.
Lastly despite the anime taking place between the first and second game it has a conclusion. No “play the game to see what happens next” cliffhanger. Some girls will appear in the sequel game Blue Reflection: Second Light and there may be some connections with events in the anime but again no cliffhanger ending.
Overall Blue Reflection Ray is in the middle between magical girl and moepocalypse. It finds a good balance between the two and delivers a very enjoyable watch provided the viewer has the patience and interest to see where it goes next. The girls are mostly enjoyable. As much as I really enjoyed it I cannot guarantee others will too. The show will either keep your interest or lose it over time.