Oh, WaSuYu has a TV Version now, I guess it’s as good of a time to rewatch it…again.
Now before I begin this review, I need to make a disclaimer. This show is meant to be a prequel series to Yuuki Yuuna is a Hero, or Yuuki Yuuna wa Yuusha de aru. If you have not seen YuYuYu, do not watch this show. This show was made to be watched as a prequel, and needs context from the original YuYuYu to be understood entirely, as well as to know aspects of the story for more of an effect. Due to this, I will assume you’ve seen YuYuYu already if you’re looking at this review outside the synopsis, and will bring up terms from the show, as well as casually spoil elements of YuYuYu because of the show’s nature. So go watch YuYuYu before you both read this review, or watch WaSuYu. Now with that out of the way, lets begin the actual review.
Friendship is a very beautiful thing, it can last ages and creates powerful bonds between people. With the help of others, one can take on larger problems, work together, grow together, and accustom oneself with one another. With friends, you can create memories, some happy, some sad, but definitely some that will be unforgettable. Washio Sumi’s Chapter is a story about that kind of beautiful friendship, in the form of a story about a trio of powerful heroes that fought not long before the heroes we are already accustomed to.
This story takes place a mere two years before the events of YuYuYu, if it isn’t obvious already, this is the story of Tougou as a yuusha before she lost her memories, back when she was taken in by the Washio family, where she was given the name Washio Sumi. In this prequel, Washio is part of a smaller team of yuushas than the ones we are familiar with in both age and numbers, and it’s up to her, Gin, and Sonoko to fight against the Vertexes that invade from the Great Seto Bridge. Fighting Vertexes works differently in WaSuYu, for one, the yuushas don’t have help from the fairies, so the yuushas will get injured and aren’t as powerful. Second is that Jukai in general works a bit different, instead of being an open field, the battles all take place on the bridge, and it’s like a tower defense where the 3 girls have to prevent the vertex from reaching the end of the bridge and to the Shinju.
As for the actual story, it begins first with introduction and training as well as a few fights. Unlike YuYuYu however, the fights are not too plentiful, and in fact, about half of the show is pure slice of life, which actually serves a purpose in this show. Now, this story resolves a few of the questions that were left unanswered in YuYuYu, like why there were fairies in the first place, and why the Taisha chose to use them in the first place.
Now if you remember the events in YuYuYu should realise that this story does not end happily, Sonoko goes Mankai twenty times and loses most of her body functions, Wasshi loses her legs a large part of her memory, including the time she spent with Sonoko and Gin, eventually turning into the more self-doubting Tougou, as for Gin, you’ll see what happens to her in time. Now remember what I said about the slice of life elements? Well the show uses those parts along side the likeable characters to get you attached to the trio, so that even though you know it ends sadly, when the tragedies hit, they still hurt to watch even though you’ve anticipated them.
The art is pretty damn good, but also in some areas could be better. The art itself is very graceful looking, with thin lines and a pretty feel. The art itself looks very good for the most part, I especially love the eyes of the characters, as they look really pretty and are also expressive. It’s definitely above average level in my opinion but at the same time doesn’t really reach for the top. Just like YuYuYu however, I think the jukai looks excellent as usual with it’s bright and colorful surface, a place where the coloured vertexes actually kind of match.
Animation is usually satisfactory, however in some areas, the animation cuts budget and resorts to 3D animation. Now I’m not one to say 3D animation equals bad animation, but in some of those scenes that do use 3D animation, it looks unnatural and kind of jarring. This is not for all the 3D animation in the show however, as the vertexes and bridge animation look fine, mostly it’s the character’s movements that look strange in 3D. Still, you can look past it, and overall, the art is really good.
This is one aspect of the show that I found really well done. Most of the tracks are reused from the WaSuYu movies, to be expected, so it’s nothing new in that regard. Just like YuYuYu, is one of Keiichi Okabe’s few works in anime soundtracks, and I think he did very well with the sound design. Most of tracks aren’t as recognisable as those in YuYuYu in my opinion, but those that are shine very, very well. Emi Evans returns again for the vocals in the soundtracks, and my fucking god she does an amazing job. As expected from the vocalist for the OST of the NieR: series, her clean angelic voice does an excellent job at setting the atmosphere for some of these scenes. My favorite track by far has got to be A Girl’s Wish, a track used at the finale of the show, and one that almost makes me shed a tear as I remember the heartwretching events so clearly. The ED’s are reused from the original movies, and depending on the episode, the ED’s and visuals change for both emotional purposes and to fit the state of the show.
As for new tracks, we have the OP Egao no Kimi e, roughly translated into ‘To the Smiling You’. The OP is actually sung by our main character Wasshi herself, just like the movie OP and the first and third ED. I personally love it when characters sing their theme songs, and Wasshi is a damn good singer. The song itself is also one I really love, and prefer it over Sakiwafuhana, the OP for the movies. While some people might prefer the slower and more grander song of Sakiwafuhana, I find Egao no Kimi e to be much more suited to my taste, with upbeat positive vocals, a rising beat, and an overall happy atmosphere. I also love the OP because the lyrics actually makes puns of the main character’s names.
The characters of WaSuYu are awesomely done, at least in my opinion. The show only really focus on the main 3 girls, the only supporting character that gets any real screen time or really any real purpose is the teacher. Asides from that, we only focus on the 3 main characters, but this is what they lack in variety they make up for in development. The characters of WaSuYu are extremely likeable with very recognisable and charming personalities, yet none of them are perfect. Washio is very bad at socialising, but takes her work very seriously. Upon first meeting them, you realise Sonoko is very carefree and commonly sleeping, and Gin seems to be too relaxed and commonly late for class. But the characters are properly developed in the show, and we’re seen more about how they work as the show progresses.
Unlike with YuYuYu, our three main yuushas are not close friends with each other at the beginning in the show, and instead were just 3 classmates that they loosely knew. In this prequel, we’re shown the yuushas having to familiarise with each other, grow together, improve their teamwork, and become stronger as a TEAM. All while learning more about each other and strengthening their bonds with one another, which is one of my favorite aspects of the show. Their development and growth together is easily witnessable, and due to the viewer being able to really see these characters get to know each other, train together, and deepen their friendship with one another feels very, very genuine. You really get the feeling that these three girls have a strong and dependable friendship, as opposed to YuYuYu where you’re mostly told they’re good friends instead of really being shown it. This all increases the impact when the tragedies strike, and it's painful to watch these three loveable friends and their strong friendship go through the stuff that hits them in the show.
You could probably expect this, but I absolutely love this show. From beginning to end it was a joy for me to watch, and I loved all the emotions it brought me. It definitely hit me harder than YuYuYu ever did, all because of the characters WaSuYu gave us. They were more likeable due to the extra bit of focus on their characteristics we got in the SOL segments, and thus it was easy to get attached. They were loveable characters that had a friendship that stemmed from barely anything, that blossomed into a genuine feeling, strong, and supportable bond that would last ages.
This show brought me on a bit of an emotional rollercoaster on the final few eps, and while it’s not as intense as a show like Clannad or AnoHana, it also did more than the average show as well. Plus watching the characters interact and familiarise themselves with one another was just a lot of fun, especially with Sonoko’s quirky personality, Gin's strength and kindness, and Wasshi's sense of responsibility. Even despite the initial differing traits between them, these 3 close friends go together like yin and yang.
Overall, this show is a great one, and an absolute blast to watch. Animation isn’t the most revolutionary for certain scenes, and the story can feel fast or rushed for some, but overall, I think that this show easily makes up for it’s flaws with what it offers. It not only acts as a solid prequel to YuYuYu explaining a few things about the yuusha system and the world, but also shows the audience a story about a beautiful friendship of three loveable characters. The way these characters begin and grow their friendship feels extremely genuine, and the feelings that they have in the show are captured very well as you care more for these characters. You laugh when they laugh, you cry when they cry, you have a fun ride and also get emotional at the inevitable fate the cruel world had given them, but still in a way, it’s a happy ending overall.
If you should take one thing away from this review, it’s that WaSuYu is where I believe this franchise really shines. People always, always argue that YuYuYu is a Madoka Magica clone, and honestly I can absolutely see where they’re coming from. But when it comes to WaSuYu, this is where my stance changes. This part is where the franchise deviates from Madoka Magica, and asides from being a magical girl show, shares little similarities. WaSuYu shines as it’s own piece, and in my opinion, is a lot more enjoyable to watch. This show alone made me go from liking YuYuYu to loving it, it changed my view of the franchise, and if you’re going to ask if it’s worth watching YuYuYu for WaSuYu alone, personally I’d say yes. This show is definitely worth watching the entirety of YuYuYu alone for this story of three friends, and will always be one of my favorite anime to date. Overall it gains a high recommendation from me, and a good watch for any magical girl fan.
PS. The official Amazon Strike subs are absolutely god awful, do not support them. Instead I direct you support MajiYuusha and their fansubs.