Warning: Contains spoilers!!
It’s time for the finale of Magical Girl Raising Project, that magical-girl-anime-turned-battle-royale. Frankly, I’m satisfied with the ending. Quite a few loose ends are tied together, and the episode leaves it open for a sequel. Snow White tells Fav she wants to quit, but Fav tells her she can’t do that because of a contract violation. He reveals that he’s a familiar of the Scouting Department from the World of Magic, who oversees exams for the Magical Girl Recruiting and Training Project with a Master. The sole winner of the project, determined by the rules set by the current Master (here, the sole survivor after everyone else has been killed—thanks, Cranberry!), becomes a true magical girl and can either work as one or oversee the next exam as the next Master.
He wants Snow White to be the new Master since the others have personality problems. He’s actually pitted Ripple versus Swim Swim on purpose because they can both be killed off. Disclaimer: in previous exams, girls merely forgot that they were ever magical girls and lived on with their lives. He was bored, so changed things up.
Meanwhile, Ripple and Swim Swim fight in the rain—Ripple tossing weapons at Swim Swim as she turns into water and avoids them. Snow White begins rushing there but is too late: Ripple has killed Swim Swim with a flashbang grenade, while Swim Swim has left Ripple to die. The lucky Rabbit’s Foot saves Ripple, and after breaking the Master Terminal, the last link to Fav, the two continue being magical girls and saving the city, with Snow White strengthening herself through training sessions with Ripple.
I’m glad they’ve told us what the Magical Girl Training Project was—which I think is enough for the series—and that the exam will vary from Master to Master, even though it seemed like Cranberry had twisted the system from what the administrators wanted and kept it a secret. Could it be that Fav still has some machinations up his sleeve and that he’s still lying to all of them?
I’m not sure exactly what constitutes a real magical girl, either, though I believe that’s something that can be answered in the future. As we’ve seen in the anime, one magical girl can be so drastically different from another. I shudder to think what would have happened if, say, Calamity Mary or Swim Swim had become Master. The idea that two of the girls who believe more in the traditional sense of magical girls—that they fight for righteousness—won, one without even doing that much, feels like ample vindication for what Cranberry tried to do. But it also rings a little hollow, since Snow White pretty much won by uh, doing nothing. Or looking at it from another way, not abiding by Cranberry’s rules. You could say she’s a real rebel in that sense.
The statement that Snow White is the winner is not exactly true, since due to the contingency of the Rabbit’s Foot reviving Ripple, both she and Snow White are still alive, leaving not one but two magical girls still standing. Could it be that there’s still no winner, and that the exam is still going on? That since they’re no longer killing each other, there’ll be a perpetual stalemate? There’s a message at the end when the girls are saving people around the world that they should just try keeping to their own districts. And is that from Fav, who’s possibly still alive, or someone else?
One of the things I would have liked a clearer answer to was why Ripple and Snow White can still continue to be magical girls even after destroying the terminal containing Fav (Fav’s hologram?). My hypothesis is that they simply removed the methods of transforming back and forth between regular form and magical girl form, and so now are stuck as magical girls. This seems to make sense, since Snow White simply left a note with her mom six months ago that she was running away from home.
Another aspect is Snow White simply wanting to quit at the beginning of the episode. I might recall this incorrectly, but wasn’t it clarified at the beginning that anyone who dropped out would die? That seems like an attempt at suicide to me, but Fav was having none of it so it wouldn’t have mattered anyway. It also puzzles me that he wants Snow White as his master, since she was the opposite of Cranberry. Perhaps he’s bored again.
Overall, it was a pretty nice ending to the gruesome battle royale we’ve been treated to. After a drawn-out fight on a stormy night, the side of good won. The two girls are now fighting to keep the city safe, and seem like they’re spending every moment doing so. Snow White, ironically, is finally training herself to become stronger. But it’s such a Snow White thing to do—that she’d only want to become stronger to help other people, rather than killing other magical girls.