What’s it about?: Hiori is the kind of girl who can’t help but help others. Ruka is awkward, can’t make friends, and finds only failure when she tries to reach out. Yet these two girls are bonded together by being Reflectors, girls with magical abilities tasked with protecting the capital-f Fragments of people’s hearts.
I can’t say this title without flipping the “ray” and “reflection”. See?! I just did it while typing! Goodness me, I swear…
So, Blue Reflection Ray. (Got it!) It’s this season’s brand new magical girl show, inspired and based on Gust’s Blue Reflection, a game that North Americans got in 2017 on PC and PS4. The game followed a similar plot to the anime: it had magical girls fighting in a place called the Other World where they’d gather fragments and protect hearts. It was interesting enough, which is probably why it’s now got an anime.
So, how does Blue Reflection Ray stack up? Well… let’s find out in episode 1, “The Undying Light.”
We start our story in medias res with a Sephirot, this world’s monsters, and some unnamed Reflectors’, this world’s term for magical girls. There’s some exposition, then we’re back in the real world on an unassuming weekday in Tsukinomiya.
Except it’s not unassuming, as there’s a new transfer student coming to Tsukinomiya High School: one Hanari Ruka. Ruka is moving in largely because her parents are working abroad. Really, they’re overseas which… is ambiguous, but honestly, doesn’t really matter.
What does matter is the middle part of Blue Reflection Ray, which is where the meat of the story kicks in once Ruka picks up a ring that freezes time and overlays the world with oil-slick like colors.
The animation is cute, but frequently… off. I noticed a lot of off-model scenes where the characters looks a bit funky. Also, the majority of the anime looks smeared with Vaseline, like there’s a film over every scene. It’s like light bloom in video games, where everything is a bit too bright. It’s kind of eye-smarting if you stare at the screen for too long. Not a big fan of it, but hey: that’s a design choice.
On the other hand, the music was actually quite delightful. It’s twinkly in a good way, which matches the kind of ballet vibes of Blue Reflection in general. Additionally, I like that the music drops away for more “atmospheric” moments where there’s just ambient life noises, like hallway chatter, or the sound of the city. Just like Super Cub, it adds to the immense loneliness Ruka is existing in.
Honestly, when you combine both of those, you get a shockingly average anime that… was boring until it wasn’t. Then it gets all magical with it, which is why I was here in the first place.
Honestly, I kind of liked Blue Reflection Ray, enough that I can see myself watching this for the rest of the Spring season out of pure curiosity. Episode 1 isn’t the most thrilling thing: in fact, it’s often boring. But there’s something there that made me kind of wanna see the show grow into its own, if that makes sense. In my personal opinion, Blue Reflection Ray is not worth following week to week, but it’d be something I might binge once a month to catch up the episodes I missed around the everything else airing this season.
I don’t know if Blue Reflection Ray will follow through with the strong yuri vibes it gave me at a few points, but then again, most magical girl shows don’t. I mainly expect Blue Reflection Ray to follow through with that time-honored tradition of providing fodder for my fanfiction.
I’m for sure in for a three episode watch: I think that’ll give me enough information to decide if I actually want to watch this, even once a month on a weekend binge. The ending certainly made me want to commit hard, but the other 90% of episode 1? Well… it kind of didn’t really inspire much in me. Here’s to… episode 2? Yeah, here’s to episode 2.