This will be an informal editorial of sorts in which Justus R. Stone and I (Cho) throw out some theories for what will happen next in Magical Girl Raising Project. One of the main points of this blog is to encourage light novel discussion, and I figured this is a good time for people reading MGRP to chime in and guess what will happen next in this “Restart” story arc, which comprises volume 2 (released in November) and volume 3 (releasing March 20th).
There will be all sorts of spoilers for volume 2 here, plus some big ones for volume 1. If you don’t want to be spoiled things like who dies in this story, then make sure you finish the book before reading the rest of this article.
Cho: So volume 2 of MGRP has been pretty wild, in that the author seems to be having fun playing with reader expectations. The biggest surprise for me actually was probably the first death, since Magical Daisy was seemingly being set up as the main protagonist. But then she suddenly died, without any warning. The fact it was the result of a bizarre technicality she couldn’t have possibly predicted made it all the worse. =/
Justus: Agreed. I thought she was being set up as this volume’s Snow White. But I think her death ties into a running theme of this volume, and possibly plays into the Mastermind’s plan. Daisy died because she was too proud and over-confident in her abilities. She wanted to show off to the other girls, and so decided to whip out her biggest attack before taking any sort of measured approach to the situation. Also, if the girls hadn’t been fooled into thinking the skeletons were weak, therefore not dangerous, they might’ve taken advantage of the guide book that was for sale and Daisy’s death could’ve been avoided.
Cho: The deaths following Magical Daisy’s are probably the ones we’ll want to focus on the most. First off, Masked Wonder’s head was crushed under a rock. I think this detail is worth considering carefully… Her blood-stained cape would cover most of her body, and the boulder would keep anyone from being able to see her face. In the game, it seems that magical girls don’t automatically disappear from the party lists and whatnot on everyone’s phones if they die. I think it’s possible Masked Wonder faked her death — or she’s been captured, and someone else faked her death. This may have simply been for the sake of getting all the magical girls to distrust each other.
Justus: I agree. Initially, I thought her death was legitimate, as Pfle seems the type to be more thorough in her examination. But I also started to think about the Mastermind and their scheme. Masked Wonder’s inflated sense of justice seems to be exactly the kind of magical girl the Mastermind seems to want to find. The whole game appears rigged to sort out which of the girls will overcome their own selfishness and rise above to become heroic. This makes me think Masked Wonder could be the Mastermind. My thinking is this…Bodies don’t disappear in this game. So, it would’ve been easy, during the logout period, for the Mastermind to stage Daisy’s body as Masked Wonder. As you said, this a) creates more suspicion amongst the girls, which makes them overcoming suspicion and working together even harder. b) It means Masked Wonder (Mastermind) would be free to oversee the game from a distance.
The only thing I can’t explain is why she put herself there in the first place, and then removed herself so quickly. I can only guess maybe she meant to stick around for the most part, but Daisy’s early death gave her an opportunity. I think the way the game is structured, 3 days in-game, 3 days out, was initially created so the Mastermind would have time to review the video feeds of the other girls between logins. We also know the Mastermind can control the girls’ phones, so during the logout period, it would’ve been easy to make the phones see Daisy’s body as Masked Wonder’s.
Cho: The next death — or deaths — that followed occurred when Pfle wanted everyone to show their inventories on their phones as a means to determine who stole Masked Wonder’s rare coin (and thus was likely the killer). Everyone ultimately complied save for Akane, the unhinged samurai girl. Because she refused to cooperate, everyone assumed she must have been the killer — but the reality might simply be she’s lost her mind in her quest to kill “the Musician,” who I have to assume is referring to Cranberry, the Forest Musician, who was the mastermind of volume 1’s killing game. How Akane ties in to Cranberry’s backstory is up in the air, and it’s perhaps a moot point now that Akane is dead too.
She may or may not have killed Genopsyko, but regardless her violence led to everyone attacking her until finally Meow-Meow dropped a skyscraper on her. This death is somewhat similar to Masked Wonder’s in that a crushed body could be difficult to identify, but because there were witnesses to the event I find this situation harder to question. Shadow Gale does note that she checked on the corpse, and I can’t imagine someone staging a body there without any prep time.
Justus: LOL, I don’t have much to say on this one, because I agree completely. One thing I wonder about is if both Akane and the Mastermind are students of Ripple, the other survivor of volume 1. If Ripple told them about the game she was involved in, it might’ve caused Akane to become unhinged when she was forced into a new game, and from Ripple’s story, assume it must somehow be Cranberry. It’s probably a stretch, I admit. But I’m more inclined to think the Mastermind is connected to Ripple. Particularly because she says she is against battle royals when it comes to choosing magical girls, and that her “teacher” taught her there was more to being a magical girl than strength alone. Also, as a fellow survivor, Ripple would’ve probably told her students about Snow White, which might be where the Mastermind’s obsession began.
Cho: I have wondered where Ripple would fit into this story, and I like the idea of her efforts inadvertently leading to another deadly scenario. This makes me wonder if “Musician” can then simply be a self-proclaimed title — i.e. a magical girl chose to emulate Cranberry from volume 1 in order to orchestrate a new theatrical killing game. I also like the idea of Akane having associated with Ripple in some way in the past, because samurai and ninja, right?
Cho: Now for the mystery of Genopsyko. Her face was cut by Akane, and then her body immediately dropped to the ground. Detec Bell (the detective, I should note) felt Genopsyko died there, but her body disappeared amid the scuffle with Akane. The idea of Genopsyko running away seems rather unlikely, given her injury and her personality. Later though, we get a bizarre scene in which Lazuline, Melville, and Cherna tell Detec they had seen Genopsyko running around, her face stitched up in some ghoulish manner. Cherna inexplicably was unable to keep up with Genopsyko, and curiously notes that “she had no smell at all.” My theory for all of this is that this figure was not Genopsyko, but rather a doll controlled by Rionetta (the puppet girl). Perhaps this doll was constructed from Genopsyko’s own corpse, which would certainly be a morbid fit for MGRP.
A second bizarre situation occurs at the end of the volume, when Genopsyko suddenly appears and hug-pushes Meow-Meow directly into the dragon’s deadly fire zone, at which point both characters appear to be burnt to a crisp. The timing of this makes it clear to me this was orchestrated by one of the magical girls. I’m sticking with my Rionetta theory for now.
Justus: I think this is a rather brilliant theory of yours! I never really considered the corpse becoming a puppet, but that makes quite a bit of sense. I just thought it was an illusion, but that didn’t explain her physical presence hugging Meow-Meow at the end, or being able to throw a stone. As a puppet, though, she could accomplish all those things. By having her appear to one group, thereby sowing seeds of more mistrust, the game becomes more fractured. Meaning if a small few were allied, they would have an advantage. I also thought Genopsyko’s appearance at the end was intentionally to kill Meow-Meow, as she was integral to the plan’s success.
Interesting to note, when Genopsyko appears the first time, she is stitched up, but the second time, she is not. I have an appropriately ghoulish theory on this. I think one of the girls can influence what others see. And I think she and Rionetta are working together. This could explain multiple things. a) if a person’s perception can be altered, the body could be hidden in the open. b) the reason Genopsyko appears normal is the body would’ve probably decayed during the logout phase. The perception wielder made her appear normal, while Rionetta worked the puppetry. Otherwise the “happy” reunion with Meow-Meow would’ve failed. Because really, who is going to be happy and huggy with a rotting corpse? And, assuming both were incinerated by the dragon, it would cover-up the fact Genopsyko had been dead the whole time. If true, it’s pretty devious and sort of brilliant.
Cho: There is a change in Genopsyko’s appearance, but perhaps that could simply be a matter of Rionetta having more time to work on the corpse puppet between the two incidents. It’s magic, so she can probably make Genopsyko look realistic enough to fool everyone for the brief span of time necessary to rush in and kill Meow-Meow (conveniently along with the evidence of the puppet, as you noted). Genopsyko wears a full-body sentai squad suit anyways, so I don’t think all that much needed to be done to keep everyone in the dark.
Cho: There is one other murder mystery to work out in all this: the death of Cherna Mouse. This one is particularly curious because all the characters — namely Pefle and Shadow Gale — were working to specifically prevent anyone from dying when Fal announced that the magical girl with the least candy would die in 15 minutes. She was sitting between her teammates Detec Bell and Melville, who supposedly were checking each other’s phones to ensure everyone had the same number of candies. Shadow Gale is the obvious suspect since her power is manipulating machinery, but we are given her point of view afterward and told she wasn’t the culprit. I have a couple theories for what might have happened here.
Theory One: Nokko, the child who can change the feelings of those around her, may have (understandably) felt especially tense at this moment, and Cherna may have been particularly influenced to feel despairing and deleted a candy at the last moment to kill herself. I feel Nokko is a bit of a wild card in this story in general, because her power can affect everyone else in ways they (and perhaps even she) can’t readily notice. Theory Two: Melville has chameleon camouflaging power, so it would have been a simple matter for her to reach over and delete a candy from Cherna’s phone, keeping her arm magically invisible to everyone so long as nobody was paying careful attention to her. She could even keep her hand over Cherna’s phone screen and have it look like the old number is still being displayed, right? Perhaps it’s a stretch, but I like the concept. The biggest problem with this of course is that Cherna and Melville are teammates, so the motive in this isn’t apparent.
Justus: My theory goes with Nokko on this one. But I think her powers do more than we’ve been told. I think she can not only influence how people feel, but also what they see. If this were the case, she could’ve easily influenced Cherna Mouse to see her screen as having 1 more candy than she actually did. It would explain the lack of any additional phone noises. For me, Nokko is a very untrustworthy person. She uses her abilities to maintain her peaceful life at school, as opposed to really doing good deeds. She is selfish. Well, most of the girls are. But she in particular I could see going out of her way to destroy things to keep her status quo. And the second you can alter people’s emotions, I don’t think it’s a stretch to think you can alter their perception.
Also, I seem to recall her saying she’d been witness to other magical girl fights. If true, it could explain why she’s willing to go to such extremes to keep herself safe. The only problem is, how did she and Rionetta end up working together, as they are on separate teams. I can only guess maybe they know each other in the real world. Maybe when Genopsyko died and everything went nuts, Nokko saw it as an opportunity, hid the body with her perception-altering powers, then approached Rionetta in the real world. Yeah, maybe I’m stretching too…
Cho: I suppose the final mystery to work out is what the purpose of this particular Magical Girl Raising Project game is, and who the mastermind is. We are getting snippets of the mastermind’s nature in the brief “Master’s Side” chapters. She is a big fan of Snow White (one of the two survivors of volume 1), and thus has a strong belief in magical girls needing to stand for “things like compassion, friendship, sincerity and stuff like that.” I get the impression she loathes the Magical Kingdom for letting people who aren’t particularly selfless become magical girls, so this game she has put together is meant to make some kind of point related to that.
And indeed, it seems that most of the characters in this story aren’t exactly doing a top job with that whole great power & great responsibility thing. The fact some characters appear to be suffering from laser-guided amnesia might imply that there’s a bit of a dark past for some of them that they’ve hidden away from themselves (or was perhaps hidden forcibly by the Magical Kingdom).
Justus: The Mastermind goes out of her way to tell Fal that the game could be easily beaten without casualties if the girls worked together and behaved like “true” magical girls. She’s clearly angry with the Magical Kingdom being too lenient with who is a magical girl, and who remains one. As we’ve pointed out, most of the girls are either selfish, or seem to have dark events in their past. This could be the root cause of why they in particular were selected. I think the Mastermind also wants to show Snow White what these girls are doing. Recall she declares in the first Master chapter that she wants to “help” Snow White. It seems Snow has been working solo to right the wrongs of Magical Girls (as well as the world in general) so I think this Mastermind has some delusion that her game will deliver Magical Girls who will stand together with Snow White so she doesn’t have to be alone. Or, she sees this as a means of punishment/rehabilitation for wayward magical girls.
Cho: That all seems to fit, and it will be interesting to see how things play out at the start of volume 3, as volume 2 ended with Snow White actually coming face-to-face with the mastermind. I don’t have a sound theory for who this individual might be, but I’m going to go ahead and make a guess anyways. I’m going with the quiet and observant Clantail. She’s the one that the current main protagonist (Pechka) trusts in most, so that will make things nice and dramatic in the final act. The fact she’s half-animal and half-human as a magical girl seems to tie into the mastermind’s psyche thematically (or so I can imagine).
Justus: I still go with Masked Wonder on this one. Aside from the character bios in the front of the book, does she ever openly state what her abilities are? The sheet says she can change the weight of anything, which explains how she made the massive Cherna Mouse go flying with little effort. But we don’t really know if those are all her skills. Or, my other theory on the Mastermind is she isn’t anyone at all. In other words, she is another party not having ever taken part in the game. She is only the creator and observer. This fits best, as her abilities don’t seem similar to those of anyone in the game. It would be less convoluted, but kind of a let down. I just think Masked Wonder’s sense of justice, and her downplaying of strength alone plays into the intentions we’ve gleaned from the Master chapters. This is why I loved this volume far more than volume 1. We have multiple theories, and honestly, most (if not all) are plausible. I think the mystery element instead of just blunt fights takes this series to a higher level.
Cho: It was fun putting this editorial for it together, at least! I hope we can hear some more theories from other readers too, because I think that’s half the fun of a long mystery that plays out over an extended period of time.
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