Yuki Yuna is a Hero

Yuki Yuna is a Hero

Yuki Yuna is a Hero anime cover art featuring main characters
Yuki Yuna is a Hero Cover Art

Overview

Yuki Yuna is a Hero is a magical girl anime which came about after Madoka Magica revolutionized the genre. While there are many who claim Yuki Yuna isn’t a Madoka clone, I am not one of them.

While I recognize Yuki Yuna as its own series, I believe one must be deliberately ignoring the similarities if they think that this series isn’t heavily influenced by Madoka. Due to this influence, I will be comparing Yuki Yuna to Madoka throughout this review. However, while I won’t attempt to hide my bias, I will attempt to give Yuki Yuna a fair review.

Like any other magical girl anime, the we have middle school girls who use the power of friendship to defeat their enemies. That much is a given for the genre. However, in Yuki Yuna we have a key difference which is that there’s a religious organization backing the girls.

The magical girls, called Heroes in the series, are chosen by the divine tree known as the Shinju. This is both the source of their power and the source of life on Earth. If the Shinju were to be destroyed, the world would follow which is why the job of these Heroes is to protect the Shinju.

But what are the Heroes fighting against?

The Vertex are beings which come from beyond the realm of the Shinju. Their only goal appears to be to destroy the Shinju and anything that stands in their way. In some ways they resemble some of the witches from Madoka, such as Walpurgisnacht.

However, the visual similarities to Madoka don’t stop just with the enemies themselves. When fighting against the Vertex, the Heroes are transported so an almost divine realm which features various random colors and textures, similar to those found in the witches’ labyrinths.

Similarities and Spoilers

While this section is going to include some of the major spoilers of the first season of Yuki Yuna (and Madoka), there may be minor spoilers throughout other sections as well.

So as far as similarities go, nothing I’ve mentioned so far has been too extreme. So why is Yuki Yuna considered by many to be a clone of Madoka?

While being a magical girl has never really been a safe job considering they’re often protecting the world from destruction, I think it’s fair to say that Madoka changed the genre significantly by turning the sacrifice of these girls into the main plot point. This is where the clone idea comes from.

Yuki Yuna takes the same concept of magical girls sacrificing their happiness, their bodies, and even their lives and just adds a religious spin to it. Is it really fair to call it a Madoka clone just because it’s a similar anime in the same genre? Probably not, but anyone who’s seen Madoka can probably understand why it’s viewed that way even if they don’t agree with it.

The big reveal that the girls are slowly destroying their bodies and will eventually die do to using their powers could have been a huge surprise, but it really wasn’t. We’ve been there before. Doing something drastic for shock value only works once and in my opinion, Yuki Yuna relied too heavily on this even though it had already been done.

Yuki Yuna transforming into a hero (from the anime Yuki Yuna is a Hero)
Yuki Yuna

What Sets It Apart

So hopefully by now you understand, at least somewhat, how Yuki Yuna isn’t really anything new, but that doesn’t mean it’s just a carbon copy. And, while these things that set it apart make the series better for some, in my view they just distract from the important points of the story.

The first thing here is that the Heroes aren’t some super secret group who quietly protect the world in the background. In fact, they have a club at school specifically for Heroes, and since everyone left on Earth follows the same religion they all know about the existence of the Heroes who protect the Shinju.

The next thing is something I just have a personal issue with which is the use of smartphones as a source of magic in anime. You may recall my review of In Another World With My Smartphone which is currently my lowest rated anime. Well, in this series, the girls use their smartphones to activate their Hero transformations and, for whatever reason, that infuriates me.

The final thing I’ll mention here is the slice of life aspect of the show. This is something that many people actually enjoy about the series, but as far as I’m concerned, I just want some magical girl action, not slice of life filler. I think the idea was to make the viewers connect with the girls more, but let’s face it, it was filler.

Characters

The protagonist and titular character is Yuki Yuna, a 2nd year middle school student who dreams of becoming a hero of justice. While her name in English would actually be Yuna Yuki, due to the way it’s written in the English title this will be the only character whose name I use in the proper Japanese order.

Yuna is actually the one character I like more than her Madoka counterpart because, unlike Madoka, she actually does things. When transformed into a hero, Yuna fights with her fists.

I’m going to be honest here, Yuna is the only character who I actually remembered the name of after finishing the series, probably because it’s named after her. The rest of the girls I always just referred to in other ways which I’ll mention below as I go through each one.

Mimori Togo, or Wheelchair Homura as I called her, is basically the same character as Homura Akemi from Madoka, but in a wheelchair (in case you couldn’t guess). She looks like Homura, she acts like Homura, she’s obsessed with the protagonist like Homura, and she uses guns to fight like, you guessed it, Homura.

Next we have Fu Inubozaki, the Mami Tomoe of the group. She’s the older classmate who serves as a mentor for the younger Heroes. She also has blonde twin curls like Mami (it’s like they weren’t even trying). Unlike Mami, however, Fu uses a large sword to fight.

The fourth girl, Itsuki Inubozaki, is Fu’s younger sister. She’s probably my least favorite character, although I couldn’t pinpoint any real reason why.

Itsuki uses some wire weapon (there’s probably a name for it, but I don’t like it enough to find out) to fight which may be part of the reason I don’t like her. I’ve never really been a fan of characters who use those (like Lubbock from Akame ga Kill!).

The fifth and final Hero of the season is Karin Miyoshi, my personal favorite. She’s the Kyouko Sakura of the group, which makes sense since Kyouko is my favorite from Madoka too.

Karin is the mysterious transfer student of the series and uses a pair of katanas to fight. She’s also the tsundere of the group as she doesn’t like to admit the rest of the girls are her friends.

Mimori Togo from the anime Yuki Yuna is a Hero
Mimori Togo

Conclusion

So how does Yuki Yuna is a Hero compare to the other anime I’ve watched? It’s a 6/10. It was a decent show, but as I believe I made clear, I’m a Madoka kind of person and Yuki Yuna just didn’t have enough that separated it from Madoka in a good way. It wasn’t bad by any means, but it wasn’t good either.

I don’t think I mentioned this at the start, although maybe it slipped in somewhere in the middle, but this review is only for the first season of Yuki Yuna. There will be separate reviews for both the prequel (The Washio Sumi Chapter) which I recently finished and the sequel (The Hero Chapter) which I still have to watch.

The OP for the first season of Yuki Yuna is available here.

Loading Likes...

Leave a Comment

Bitnami