Idol Magical Girl Chiru Michiru
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Idol Magical Girl Chiru Chiru ☆ Michiru is a Japanese visual novel and spinoff of the popular visual novel series The Fruits of Grisaia developed by Frontwing in 2014 and published by Frontwing USA for Steam and translated into English by Sekai Project on July 25, 2015. The game is divided into two parts and sold separately.
Michiru Matsushima wants to be a star idol just like the idol she loves named Kazuki Kazami, but instead she's a nobody just performing occasionally on weekends in the basement of a dingy bar. One night, while making a wish on what she thinks is a falling star, a black cat named Nyanmel falls down from the sky from a place called the World of Magic. Nyanmel wants her to become a Magical Girl to help stop a group of evil enemies called the "Seven's Chaos" by collecting medals from seven monsters, and after that a wish will be granted. Can Michiru handle the responsibility to be able to do this, even after she finds out her idol Kazuki is also a magical girl, or will she fail and the world fall to Chaos?
Why It Sucks
- Despite being a visual novel, there is no option of making different choices to see how they will affect others and show different paths Michiru will take in here, instead, all you do is just click to watch what is basically like a slideshow with occasional movement and occasional anime video, with the ability to save/load if you're bored or have to do housework, yard work, make food to eat or anything else and want to return to it later. This results in a lack of/very low replay value.
- Mediocre to poor voice acting from some characters such as Michiru, Nyamnel, Sachi and Irisu Makina.
- The game's story is poorly written, convoluted, baffling, and fails to intrigue or put anything new to the table for the magical girl genre:
- The entire concept alone just reuses the whole trope certain anime like Sailor Moon and some Pretty Cure series have: "Ordinary elementary or teenage schoolgirl meets talking cat, gets powers to transform into magical girl and fight monsters, has to gather seven of a certain item to help defeat the evil enemy", but this is done very, very poorly.
- There is too much filler that just consists of unfunny, repetitive, boring jokes/comedy is just dreadful with horrible implications (see #9), and it plays off like a modern Nostalgia Critic sketch: it focuses on one particular joke, such as another tired "MICHIRU IS A STUPID FAILURE!!!" thing (see #5), Michiru trying to fly or help a citizen across, Michiru trying to find a method to prove her worth as a magical girl, her stupidly de-transforming into a gym outfit and running some dumb Olympics game thing with the Seven's Chaos monster Sloth, Yuji refusing to take medicine, Michiru and Yuji trying to recreate Nyanmel first meeting Michiru for the first time like a movie, and Michiru and Kazuki trying to get a bus full of people to fly to the World of Magic, for example, are dragged out for at least five to ten minutes. Not only does it fail to bring any laughs, they go nowhere and grind the pacing down to a screeching halt. It comes off like Frontwing, director Ryuichirou Yamakawa, scripter Karasu Torishima and scripting chief Shino Kirisachi tried to make the episodes as long as possible and cared more about all of these unfunny jokes and scenes than actually having Michiru grow as a character and perform better as a magical girl.
- Certain plot points like Michiru "dying" with her spirit leaving her body (parodying grimdark magical girl anime where the magical girl dies), Nyanmel losing the ability to talk briefly, Yuji being sick, have no impact on the plot, go nowhere and only seem to be there to make it look more serious and full of depth than it actually is.
- There is no character development, or whatever development is there is quickly erased and forgotten about. Michiru and Nyanmeru seem determined to not give up in episode 6 despite Kazuki defeating all the monsters and getting the medals, Michiru agrees to help get Yuuji better, but then in episode 10, she just chooses to give up feeling useless after being in a tough decision with her idol career, and in so doing, she completely regresses in character and all that development she got from before ends up going out the window. She just fails to get another medal, and while she's obviously helping Kazuki help get her brother better, she instead just gets the right to whine and complain? And even then and there, while it was nice her friend Nozomi was able to help her out, what would have happened had she not been there? Just like how Linkara mentioned how terrible the Operation Overdrive Rangers were in his review of Once a Ranger, it's the same thing here: just like with that episode, Michiru comes off, especially when she was thinking of stealing the medal case before finding out about Yuuji, like a self-centered, unlikable jerk with no real fighting prowess and just gives up lickety-split. If she was trying to save someone important, and said important person died, rendering her efforts completely wasted and making her feel totally useless as a person, and she wanted to give up, it would make more sense.
- Michiru talking to Nozomi for comfort with Nozomi talking about working hard to accomplish her dreams, Nyanmel losing his ability to speak (before regaining it) along with Michiru struggling to regain her lost ability to fly to help get to Kazuki very badly rips off the plot points from Kiki's Delivery Service when Kiki starts losing her witch's powers, when she can't hear Jiji talk anymore, and when she finds/seeks help from a friend and struggles to fly a broom again but manages to succeed.
- The whole thing with the Ghost character is a stupid twist, nothing but an attempt to add a pathetic, badly written story for God and Ghost only seems to be there to make the visual novel even longer than it should be. He also is easily caught by Kazuki absorbing/possessing him, so he ends up being totally incompetent; if Kazuki could easily possess him from Yuji's body as shown in episode 13, why didn't she do that in episode 11?
- The final battle, while it was sad, was anti-climactic, rushed and considering Kazuki was the one who made the villain weak, once again, done all the work completely by herself, it's a cheat; all Michiru literally had to do was show up.
- Michiru's wishes at the end not only wrapped up everything a neat little sugar-coated bow, it erased all of the character development a lot of characters had, like Michiru taking Nozomi's advice to heart, Yumiko's confidence, and even Michiru and Nyanmeru's "growth" together considering they now never met, (and Michiru never even got to say goodbye to him). Plus, wouldn't Yuuji still be sick, and what if he dies? Michiru 's wish erased everything that just happened so she could get her own selfish dreams of being an idol and meeting a girl idol she loves who's brother may be dying, basically making the whole visual novel's story pointless and a waste of time. This entire game's story comes off like a bad fanfiction written by an over-obsessed otaku who had excellent art/animation skills and the hopes he'd join an animation company one day (and had he taken this to an animation company, they either would have pulled it into a more professional shape or rejected/talked him out of it).
- Michiru is the perhaps the WORST magical girl ever to exist. She comes off like a Flanderized Usagi Tsukino/Sailor Moon, doing all sorts of stupid things like not paying attention to what her mentor, Nyanmel is saying, falling asleep, being extremely selfish to not care about a very sick kid, literally every action she does is the most idiotic thing. In battle, she is totally useless and 99% of the time, fails to help fight or actually defeat the monsters of the day/Seven's Chaos or evil enemies that appear in this series. Instead, either another character (usually Kazuki) helps save the day, or instead the shoddy writing/plot conveniently helps her get out of said situation. She fails to seal any of the Seven Medals, comes up with sloppily executed plans that never work out, and even though she does learn the magic of summoning items and flight, they don't help out with her at all. She only casts a beam with her wand once, only uses it to do a whack-a-mole thing against what ends up only being a minion of Chaos so nothing is accomplished, and other than that, it's literally just a bauble she carries around and she fails to use it again. The only other things she does include her just pouring drink mix, using a baseball bat, etc. Her incompetence just gets annoying over time, you want to see her do something and defeat an enemy which mostly never happens. This ends up resulting in the action/fight sequences being the least exciting parts of the story, which for the magical girl genre, is a red flag. WHAT GOOD IS A MAGICAL GIRL WHO CAN'T EVEN FIGHT THROUGHOUT THE ENTIRE SERIES?? She also is an unlikable Mary Sue as she gets both her dreams and doesn't even do much to accomplish them, just gets them handed to her on a silver platter.
- Most of the characters are just obnoxious and not very likable, and some seemed to be just ripped from better, more original anime. For example:
- Nyanmel is a poor clone of Luna from Sailor Moon and Jiji from Kiki's Delivery Service who just constantly berates and insults Michiru, constantly calling her an idiot/stupid/useless. And whilst he does teach her how to do magical abilities such as "Magical☆Hammer" and how to fly her sponge wiper with "Magical☆Flight", but he never teaches her how to seal any of the Seven's Chaos, nor how to use her want to cast spells or maybe to use it to seal any monsters like Kazuki does, he only resorts to saying "Just play it by ear!". What does it mean? No one in the anime/game knows, and the gamer will never know. So, Nyanmel is a complete fool who's inept in his job of helping his magical girl get better as a warrior. Unlike Luna or Artemis from Sailor Moon, it doesn't feel like he's trying to make an effort to be Michiru's friend, and when he finally seems to warm up to Michiru, it only happens in the second to last episode and feels unearned.
- Sachi is just strange and doesn't really accomplish much of anything other than just spout out poor jokes and only helps Michiru out once.
- Thantochu is just bland and nothing but the typical tired "bad/evil magical girl mascot" thing.
- Ghost is not an interesting villain and is just a generic, boring, one-dimensional "evil for the sake of evil" villain.
- Amane, the landlady at the hot springs who joins the cast for no reason, is there for no reason but fanservice.
- Also, a bunch of characters, along with the visual novel itself, just keep on making the same joke over and over again about Michiru: "YOU'RE STUPID! A FAILURE! USELESS!! AN IDIOT!!", or does unfunny scenarios to make Michiru look stupid and incompetent, which just makes the whole thing feel incredibly and unnecessarily mean-spirited.
- Based on all the unfunny jokes, this story comes off more like a typical slice of life/comedy series/visual novel than a magical girl one. If one is going wants to make a simple comedy slice of life visual novel they should not advertise it as a magical girl one as it shows they care less about making a story of a magical girl who grows stronger and lives a good life and instead on whatever random stuff they throw out.
- A lot of backgrounds get reused a lot, and when they get to the World of Magic, instead of unique, different backgrounds, instead the same city, park and bar backgrounds are used but instead with different colored shades/tones, like a cheap anime trying to hide its low/lack of budget.
- Episode 9 is nothing but a 30 second stupid fart joke; it could be cut out entirely and nothing would change in the slightest.
- There are instances of what seems to be bestiality, when Asako SHOVES HER FINGER UP NYANMEL'S ANUS TO CHECK IF HE IS A REAL CAT, and pedophilia, as there are fanservice panty shots during Michiru's transformation sequence (and she is 14 in this series), Michiru for some unfathomable reason wanting to lick Yuji's bellybutton along with a bunch of people possessed by the Seven Chaos' monster Envy, along with Michiru rubbing Yuji's ankle in a way where he ENJOYS it, Irisu, Michiru's manager, threatens to have Michiru participate in posing in sexual positions to have ice cream thrown on her despite her being 14 years old (which could count as a form of child sexual exploitation), if she doesn't cooperate and Michiru in episode 5 ends up in a fetish situation with a vacuum and plastic wrap, the Seven's Chaos monster Lust and literally has to point it out, which doesn't make it funny. It also doesn't help that FrontWing also helped make mostly erotic video games such as Jiburiru - The Devil Angel. This gives off the impression that similar to Winged Cloud, they didn't care about how creepy and disgusting it sounded and knew fanservice/hentai addicted otaku and weeaboos would eat it up, and Yamakawa, Torishima and Kirisachi felt that throwing out random creepy nonsense is comedy.
- The bonus content you unlock after finishing both parts is nothing special. While it's nice to be able to listen to the music tracks and instrumental versions of the opening/ending themes, ability of extracting the voices is unknown, and what's the point of re-watching cutscenes that were already seen?
- The worst part about this: there is LITERALLY NO REASON to purchase this game/visual novel, when there's no decision making/or actual game play in it, especially for the $19.99 price. One could instead just look up a playthrough of the game on YouTube and the videos listed in the "Videos" section of this article and they would get the same experience.
- So...considering there's a The Fruits of Grisaia anime, it makes you wonder...they never bothered to create, license, English sub and dub an anime of Idol Magical Girl Chiru Chiru Michiru to stream on Crunchyroll, HIDIVE, nor release it on DVD, or Blu-Ray, but instead make a masterpiece of a failure of a visual novel game and magical girl story? It goes to show they clearly didn't care at all.
- The idea of a visual novel looking and playing out like an actual anime series complete with opening, episode previews, ending and video sequences is not a bad one in concept.
- The art and backgrounds are are well drawn/colored and do present a great atmosphere.
- The opening and first ending songs "MAJICK" and "Love Me Do" (no relation to The Beatles' song of the same name) are pretty catchy and the music itself isn't bad.
- The video file of Michiru's transformation sequence, despite its problems (see "Why It Sucks" #9), opening and ending sequences are very well animated.
- Some decent voice acting from Asako, God, Yuji and Kazuki.
- Kazuki is a much more enjoyable and competent magical girl, has a cool design, cool use of guns, and has a much better motivation for getting the medals.
- The idea of basing enemies off of the Seven Deadly Sins is a good idea.
- Some of the jokes like with Michiru flying on a sponge wiper and the wand having its own CAPTCHA login system do work.
- Yuji is pretty funny.
- There at least was some effort put into this game with the voice acting, openings/endings, music and FMV sequences unlike other games like Sakura Magical Girls.