Mahō Shōjo? Naria Girls airs Wednesdays at 12:45 pm EDT on Crunchyroll. New episodes are for premium users while free users will have to wait one week between episodes. Each episode lasts for four minutes.
Okay, this is pissing me off now. Japan, take a seat, we have to talk. I want to know what your problem is.
MikuMikuDance is the best CGI animation software you can get for free. Coupling it with the addendum freeware titles MikuMikuEffect and PMDEditor almost guarantees you are instantly ready for quality CGI animation. It's so easy, I've seen children put together some impressive videos with it. Just go to YouTube and search for "MikuMikuDance" or "MMD" and you'll be bombarded with high energy dance videos. While MMD is perfect for animation and for basic mouth movement when couples with a .vsq file, MME as an add on can make even the most cartoony models look ready for Shrek.
And yet, every single MMD TV show sucks. WHY?? You litterally have NO excuses, Japan! You have the best animation software in the world, HOW can you screw up this badly??
Mahō Shōjo? Naria Girls comes from a growing list of BAD MMD shows from studio Bouncy. Considering their breakout hit was the stupid-turned-depressing Straight Title Robot Anime, I kept my expectations low. Still, they found a way to disappoint me on a more grand level.
The show centers around three middle school girls, around 14 years of age; Uraha: the self-centered leader with strawberry hair, Hanabi, a flighty blonde in pigtails, and Inaho, a well-endowed teenager who likes to talk about her breasts. By day, they are airheaded middle schoolers, but by evening, they transform into magical girl fighters who are training to defeat an evil ice queen.
Most of the episodes show the girls playing pretend and being very silly. The animation in these segments is choppy with the mouths barely moving on cue, or even at all. I'm not sure what angers me more, the sloppy animation, or the dialogue, written by men who seem to think that teenage girls are just stupid, tall children.
At random, the girls may be joined by their magical mascot Animaru, a white creature with film strips on his ears and computer parts, tucked under a teddy bear-ish body with a long tail. But as soon as he appears to toss them their magical gems, we get a Sailor Moon/Battle Skipper inspired transformation scene with the girls coughing (litterally) up their magical girl names. The Naria Girls represent summer, spring and fall. While Hanabi and Uraha's transformations are benign, Inaho's focuses too heavily on her breasts and all three are shot from the crotch up. Very age inappropriate considering they are 14.
But the action scenes, school segments and backstory are all hand-drawn stills. These segments are NOT animated, unless you call the shaking of a piece of paper animation. I don't get this, Studio Bouncy. You're already using FREE software, why not use it to animate these segments instead of shaking a piece of paper?? HOW much more cheap do you need to be when FREE is too expensive for you??
I would forgive this show if you told me this was made by a 12 year old for a class project and it was his first time ever using MMD. But this is made by an animation company, with a large team of adults. Considering the avgerage 13 year old can kick out an hour's worth of videos in a day BY HIMSELF on MMD, and this team can't even slap together a four minute video, I find this to be unforgivable.
Mahō Shōjo? Naria Girls is an inexcusable mess. It's meant to be a joke about magical girl shows, but just comes across as stupid. If you're looking for what MMD can do for you, DO NOT use this show as a guide. Go to YouTube. There are high quality MMD videos all over the place, you do not need to waste your time on this.
A medium which is still evolving is CGI-based anime, where the entire episode is all done in 3D models instead of traditional hand drawing. This is a category for shows that are 100% 3DCG, not to be confused with shows that blend hand-drawn "Anime Studio" animations with full computer graphics.