I was recommended this series on the grounds of both body horror and magical girls – which I love individually, but combined? Even better.
With this specific combo in mind, I was a little disappointed. The magical girl aspect isn’t lacking: with flower themed battle suits and sparkling transformation sequences, Yuki Yuna more than delivered the pastel cuteness requisite of the genre. The cosmic horror and body horror I was promised were certainly there, just not to the extent that the series itself seemed to ask for, and not on a scale that complimented the 12 episode length.
The short length was something I found to be detrimental to the series, mostly because of pacing and background information and world billing that were all hinted at, but unable to be fully fleshed out. There was action, some downtime around the center of the series, and then more action at the climax. While the downtime was cute and a much needed break from the constant, high action battles, if the mysteries at the core of the series had been more explored during this time, it would have kept up the intrigue more. Drawing the battles, and the consequences of such, out for a longer time would have allowed the series more development.
That being said, it was still a cute, fun magical girl series with a unique take on MG powers, as well as the cosmic horror that they fight against.
There are no bad characters – there can even be said to be no villains – and the ending is almost overly optimistic compared to where the series appeared to be directing itself – to physically disabled magical girls.
The series begins with several school friends in a hero club, one of whom is in a wheelchair. She, like her able bodied friends, receives magical power and is able to transform. Her magic doesn’t ‘cure’ her disability during her transformation sequence – it actually works with her to give her magical mobility aides, and eventually an enormous mecha.
The series itself continues to deal with disability – the price the magical girls pay is that they lose physical abilities the more they use thier power – and the fate of the world is at stake.
Some of the girls are horrified, some are accepting – either way, their endings are not what the series tells you to expect.
Yuki Yuna is a Hero is a simple magical girl series that introduced elements of cosmic horror and inevitability, as well as agency and disability, though these came out on the more shallow end of the scale than a more sophisticated series would have presented. Regardless, it’s a fun watch with unique plot and world building. I’ve always wanted to watch a magical girl right the sun.