My review of the fall's anime continues with Yuki Yuna is a Hero.
Yuuki Yuuna wa Yuusha de Aru (Yuki Yuna is a Hero)
Yuuki Yuuna wa Yuusha de Aru (Yuki Yuna is a Hero), or Yuki Yuna for short, is about a middle school club named the "Hero Club" with the purpose being to help people. However, what started out as a typical slice-of-life club series soon turns into an interesting twist on the magical girl genre when the club president, Fū Inubōzaki, reveals that the girls in the club were chosen to be protectors of the world by Shinju-sama. When the mysterious monsters, referred to as the Vertex, attack, the girls are transported to another realm where must defeat the Vertex with their new powers.
Even though series starts out as a typical magical girl anime, as the plot unravels, it begins to show a darker side with some unexpected twists and surprisingly tragic elements.
From my description, chances are, Madoka Magica is the first anime that comes to mind, and while different from said series, Yuki Yuna does start out lighthearted and then add more tragic elements as the story progresses. Even though Yuki Yuna is not nearly as dark as Madoka Magica, it is darker than most magical girl anime.
Yuki Yuna's best aspect is the plot. Throughout the series, elements of the plot are revealed to be different than expected and even the world that it is set in is unique. Since the twists are a key element to the series, I will not discuss them in detail. However, many of the twists did surprise me, even if the series decided to not go all in on its darker aspects.
Unfortunately, the series falters in one key area: the characters. While the characters are decent, I rarely felt a true connection to them for the majority of the series. Towards the end, the characters do receive development, but for the majority of the series I felt as though I really wanted to become attached to the characters, and yet I could not. The character problems lead into another issue: the series is kind of boring at times. After the first two introductory episodes, it switches focus to the girls' everyday lives. Normally, slice-of-life moe fluff is at least entertaining to a degree, yet I found myself checking my watch while waiting for it to end. Despite the lack character attachment, the series managed to deliver surprisingly emotional moments, especially towards the end.
Another strong element of Yuki Yuna is the action. For a magical girl anime, the action is rather well executed. Instead of the typical magical powers for the characters, they have more of a sci-fi visual aesthetic, which lends itself well to the action sequences. Also the enemy, Vertex, remind me a lot of the designs for the Angels in Neon Genesis Evangelion, but in a good way.
Studio Gokumi's animation is generally quite good with the moe character designs being consistent and the magical girl costumes, while a bit derivative, are stunning at times during combat. Even the 3D animation for the Vertex and other elements blended surprisingly well without feeling terribly jarring.
Yuki Yuna is a Hero's plot showed a lot of potential, and while the plot did excel, the weak character development throughout the early part of the series prevents it from being a truly exceptional anime However, for those who have already seen Madoka Magica and want to experience another unique magical girl anime, then you might enjoy Yuki Yuna is a Hero.
Watch if you like: Magical Girls, Sci-Fi/Fantasy,
The Fruit of Grisaia
In Search of the Lost Future
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