Subaru is a young girl who discovers that her best friend Aoi is part of magical group trying to gather engine fragments so that a little being from Pleiades can return to his home. Subaru considers joining them as she was chosen by the Pleiadian, president of this afterschool club.
A collaboration between Gainax and the car maker Subaru.
This review is being written under the assumption that there are only going to be these 4 episodes as it concluded pretty well.
Afterschool Pleiades is a very simple mahou shoujo. There's no metaphors for today's society, blatant fanservice, over the top humor, nor any overlying themes. It just has magical girls and the power of friendship. For whatever length it had, Afterschool Pleiades didn't try to be anything more than your basic mahou shoujo.
The story is simple mahou shoujo stuff. A girl one day unexpectedly receives magical powers and uses them to collect fragments of a magical device. In this case, remembering the Subaru
sponsorship, these fragments are called "Engine Fragments". There's also a rival character who wants to collect these fragments too for what seems to be a desire for power. No edgy plot twists or anything of the sort here. Just plain, old "power of friendship".
Compared to most other mahou shoujo series, the magical girl outfit designs are relatively simple. White clothing with no excessive frills or ribbons. Their transformation sequence is quite tame as well. Despite its simplicity, their clothing has quite the magical girl feel to it. The cutesy artstyle fits the mood of the show perfectly. As this show's main points take place in the night sky, the outer space visuals filled with stars can be somewhat stunning. The character sheets and fan art end cards during the end credits helped to flesh out the show even a little more. Overall, the art of this show was done quite well as to be expected of something of short length.
The overall tone of this show is very mellow and healing. As such, the sounds used in this show for the most part were quite mellow as well. The sound did its job and set the mood when needed. It's not anything noteworthy though.
Obviously due to its short length, none of the characters' personalities were able to be fleshed out at all. That even includes the central main character who we know nothing more than "she is slow". There are some semblances of character archetypes, but that's it.
It's always nice to watch cute girls doing cute things or something like that. It's not particularly long or anything, spanning the length of an average episode of anime, so it's not really wise to complain about it being a waste of time. It was entertaining and was able to hold my attention until completion.
As stated previously, Afterschool Pleiades didn't try to be anything more than your basic mahou shoujo. Most of its faults can be attributed only to its short length. Had this been a fully fleshed out series, it would've been much easier to find faults with this series as there would've been more time to develop the characters, story and everything else. As it stands however, Afterschool Pleiades is nothing more than a short healing story and should be enjoyed as such instead of trying to find faults with its fundamental structure.
7/10 Story is pretty simple, gather Engine Fragments in order to get the Pleiade (a little alien) back into outer space, there is also a "bad" guy trying to collect them.
9/10 Art is pretty good being that is being made by Gainax,
9/10 Sound of music was very nice, also good voice actors
8/10 Characters are pretty unique in their own way,
8/10 Very enjoyable for just 4 six minute episodes.
I have never seen a Gainax production that I didn't like... There is a first time for everything.
The characters and plot are shallow, generic, and uninteresting. The pacing is absolutely horrid. The art style is decent, until your retinas are bombarded with bright pink mahou shoujo nonsense, which makes you wish you were never born. I personally wanted to gouge out my eyeballs with a screwdriver.
Besides for the usage of the Pleiades's constellation as seen on Subaru's logo, this show has absolutely nothing to do with Subaru or cars at all. The closest you will get is the horribly out of place engine sounds which
come from the glorified broomsticks the girls ride on. This production has barely any redeeming qualities, which coincidentally includes the ending theme.
I thought that both Subaru and Gainax would provide us something up to their normal standards of quality. So far I have been completely wrong, and will be watching just to get it over with.
The Story:A very standard story that offers nothing interesting, which is sad, I've seen shows with less time than this offer a unique story.It's a basic collect the maguffins plot that were dropped in to near the end. Never really established what they do asides from being a source of power for both sides That being said it's not horrible just poor . I'll get to characters farther down.
Art:This is where the show shines, the art is very nice looking and the character design is nice if again stranded .Though as a minor nitpick the girls themselves
have some of the stupidest hats I've ever seen. Not that I'm a stupid hat expert or anything but it just bugged me. The fight scenes,few that they are work well and the broom flying was kinda cool Also I think the bad guy was Yoh from Starry Sky, not quite sure
Sound:I'm not going to say much becasue I noticed very little of it and skipped the ending song.It's not bad but nothing really stands out.At least it's unobtrusive and that's a plus
Characters:This is where things fail hard.They have no development, no establishment of even the most basic relationships and as a result I feel nothing for these characters.With the roughly 20 minutes given I'm not expect deep complex characters but at least something other than stereotypes.We get one inkling of a relationship between Aoi and Suburu but it's never stated if they're sisters,friends or what ever.Ever other character is along for the ride . Suburu gets a bit of small development in that she's a bit thick headed and determined.The main Villain gets a back story about wishes but like everything else it feels rushed and unmemorable.It's kinda hard to say anymore about bland stereotypes.
Overall: I have to say while I've kinda ragged on it,it's not horrible just bland and stupid.Though for some reason I can't shake the feeling that the whole thing is taking the piss out of the Magic Girl genre.If I find out it is this could easily be a 7 or 8 overall.However since it seems to be doing it straight faced then it's a solid 4. Is it a waste of time? Not unless you can't spare about 20-30 minutes of your life. If not just go watch the much better Mahou Shoujo Madoka★Magica or if you haven't already seen it Mai-Hime.Both which are better.