Nov 15, 2016
Th334 (All reviews)
I decided to watch Yuki Yuna is a Hero after thoroughly enjoying Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica, which opened my mind to what the magic girl genre could be and is one of the best series I've seen. In a nutshell, Yuki Yuna spectacularly failed at almost everything that I loved about Madoka Magica, but it had nothing to do with superficial similarities between the two shows, and everything to do with... well, a whole list of things right below:

--- THE BAD ---
(story, world building, characters, battles)

(1) The story is the worst part. It has numerous plot holes towards the climax of the show when things are supposed to be revealed. There is also one notable example of a plot twist based on a completely illogical and uncharacteristic decision of one of the characters, which the authors attempted to frame in some kind of emotional reasoning but it really didn't work. It was a new experience for me: trying to watch events unfold that are based on a decision so absurd that it completely threw me out of the narrative. Other than that, the show just tries too hard to create drama and doesn't shy away from throwing all logic out of the window. Most notably the ending was a disaster. It has been pulled out of a hat with no explanation of what exactly happened, why, and how.

(2) There is very little world building, and the universe presented just simply doesn't make any coherent, believable sense. There is no depth to the sides of Good and Evil. The enemies just want to destroy the human world for no good reason and the forces of Good are also very ambiguous and manage to make even less sense than the enemies do. Saying that this universe didn't make an impact on me like some other fictional worlds did would be an understatement -- it would imply that the show at least ATTEMPTED to create some kind of interesting fictional world. But it didn't, rather it used the sci-fi / fantasy setting as a throw-away environment for forced drama which is the focus of the show.

(3) The show focuses heavily on the characters in a slice-of-life fashion, but the trouble is, the characters are very one-dimensional. Their biggest weakness is that the way they are portrayed often times completely ignores what humans are actually like and just shows one quality of their character in isolation over and over. For example, our main character is an overly optimistic "you're likely to succeed if you try", "everything is going to be great because we're the Hero Club and we have each other" type of character. She doesn't have another side where she behaves more human and shows fear, or anger at the tsundere's blatant rudeness, or can't cope with what's going on because she's just a little girl for crying out loud.

Some characters are better than others in execution, but even the better characters are still nothing special. They are unmemorable at best, and at worst they don't make sense and are hard to believe.

(4) The battles are very simplistic and boring. Characters just scream "Hero Punch!", "Girl Power!", or things even worse, like the Five Tenets of the Hero Club one by one while slaying things left and right. This was supposed to make these scenes emotionally charged, but it didn't work and just annoyed me. Moreover, the viewers have no idea how to tell power difference between heroes and enemies, and seeing our characters arbitrary winning or losing based on what the plot demands is predictable and not engaging.

The fairies did absolutely nothing, had no personalities, were neither cute nor anything else, and are the most bland and unnecessary dare I call them characters I've ever seen. The fact that one becomes a magic girl and a servant to a mysterious tree deity by activating an iPhone app says a lot about the amount of thought put into this show in general.

--- THE OKAY ---
(visuals, dub, the Hero Club, Fu)

(1) The art is fine. The fighting is not very exciting to begin with, but the visuals across the whole show look decent. Nothing you wouldn't come to expect from a 2014 show, but there's really nothing wrong with it either.

(2) The music and songs are meh, but I watched the dub and it was good. I particularly liked the performance of English voice actress of Togo.

(3) Before things went all mahou shoujo, the Hero Club the girls had in the first episode or two was cute. They were trying to help the community in whatever ways they could, and it was nice seeing them taking it seriously and trying to be little adults.

(4) I liked one of the girls, Fu. She's cool and not as plain as the rest of the cast, her motivations are easier to believe. Although that's before I stopped to consider the fact that at the age of 14 Fu has no parents or adult family members. On top, she's living alone with her younger sister acting as her caretaker and legal guardian. And apparently she's been doing that since the age of 12. But don't think too much about it.

I tried to make this review useful. If you have any feedback please feel free to message me.