Yuuki Yuuna is a Hero - Reviews

Alt title: Yuuki Yuuna wa Yuusha de Aru

ThatAnimeSnob's avatar
Dec 28, 2014

First of all, can we please cut the pretence of assuming Yuki Yuna is not comparable to Madoka Magica? Madoka may have not been the first dark magical girl anime but it sure as hell is the point of reference when it comes to such shows. In fact, its plot is WAY too similar to Madoka. Not Princess Tutu, not Full Moon, not even Uta Kata. The comparison is unavoidable. So excuse me if I am constantly doing the obvious when it comes to the staple of this subgenre.

So yeah, Yuki Yuna, a magical girl show that begins in a typical fashion (girls get superpowers and protect the world from monsters) and later on turns much darker (holy smokes, there is a price for all those cool superpowers).

… What’s that? I just spoiled the big plot twist? Come on; would you even give a damn about Yuki Yuna if you assumed it was yet another kiddy show for little girls? You wouldn’t, would you now? Good, now zip it and keep reading. It’s not like the plot has anything noteworthy if you remove the twist, anyways.

That aside, what else is there in this show that Madoka already didn’t do? Well, character fleshing out is definitely the thing it excels at. You see, Madoka’s characters were all cardboard cutouts, and in the typical fashion of the scriptwriter, they felt like plot devises which existed to forward a cynical plot. Yuki Yuna on the other hand is doing a much better job at making you feel the girls have a life outside of their moeblob archetypes. This becomes possible by spending most non-action related scenes at slice of life moments that feel closer to a moe school comedy than a textbook with mouth and legs.

Of course, the exact same thing is what also makes many viewers to cringe at it, since if you are not a fan of moecrap, you will be eye-rolling 50% of the duration. Yes, those scenes are there for fleshing out the characters and for hiding the dark revelation later on (which I spoiled for you, so it doesn’t mean a thing). It still doesn’t make it any less boring and nauseating if you are not into cute girls doing cute things.

Even if you tolerate (or plain like) the moe aspect of the show, there is another punching glove attached to a spring that can throw you off just as easily; and that is the fan service. There isn’t too much of it and it’s mostly limited to transformation scenes, but DAMN when it happens, you will be looking around, making sure nobody saw you watching that shit. It’s a seinen anime alright, and Japs are into pedoshit, but it doesn’t make it any less immersion breaking when you are trying to watch an action scene full of magic and cool choreography, and out of nowhere the camera zooms on bouncing boobies, arses, and other jailbaits. Madoka had perky moestuff too but it was never in-your-face at sexualizing teenage girls.

Speaking of action scenes, they are actually pretty cool. They are not psychedelic like in Madoka but they are still very exciting to the most part, with fluent motions and flashy energy beams. I didn’t even mind the CGI because it was cleverly hidden amongst fast motions and neon glow explosions. As far as a spectacle goes, it’s amongst the best of the subgenre.

Yet even this part has its snare. It’s only an aesthetic issue but it’s still a reason. You see, the action feels way too much like a videogame, and the fact the girls use smartphones to transform adds dry wood to the immersion-breaking fireplace. And guess what, there actually is a videogame based on all that, making you feel like the show is promoting merchandise. Sure, all anime are trying to sell toys and accessories but not all of them are doing it so obviously. When I was watching Sailor Moon using her tiara, I never imagined an ethereal tag price appearing on it, nor did I think there was a videogame somewhere out there that played out as such (even if there actually was one).

And that’s it with the positives; what follows are now only negatives, and those won’t have punching gloves or snares. They are plain negatives; and don’t worry, there are only two of them.

A gripe I had was about the ontology of the world they are living in. Why exactly do the gods want to destroy it and why does one of them want to protect it and why do they need monsters to achieve that and why doesn’t the god stop the monsters or the rest of the gods stop that god? They never explained it properly and it felt like it was there just for the sake of having a plot twist. It sounds like it’s not much but come on, everything happens because of that, I wanted more info. Maybe they will make sequels later on to make it clear, but until that happens, son, I am disappoint.

The second grip is the ending itself, which is literally one big troll. They spent a lot of time and emphasized way too much how whatever body functions they lose are permanent. And then the ending happens and it’s all fine and dandy because… the power of friendship? What does that even mean? If it was so simple why didn’t any of the countless magical girls that were sacrificed so far do it? Were they all anti-social or something?

If it has to do with technology and they somehow improved the transformation smartphones so they won’t have these backlashes, why didn’t any of the elders prove why they had nothing to worry and left them to slowly sink in despair? One of them almost wiped out the whole world because of a misunderstanding, so it’s not like I’m splitting hairs here.

For the build-up the show had, the ending is contradicting everything it was struggling to achieve throughout its duration. I mean, ok, Madoka’s ending was also disappointing but the scriptwriter there was a master at leaving everything so vague that the fans can explain stuff in any way they like, and thus everything can make sense in a meta sort of way. It may be bs, but at least you get your fanfic answers. Over here, it’s a plain obvious cop-out.

And don’t give me any of that nonsense excuses many have used, like, it’s a redeconstruction of the genre or something. You don’t throw a twist where you tell me the cute show for kids you are watching is actually much darker, and then you throw a second twist telling me it was a cute show all along. You undo both twists this was and make the viewer feel like he was being trolled the whole time.

So there you have it, that is what Yuki Yuna is, in as few words as possible, coming from someone who spent days writing ten pages of a rant about Madoka. It isn’t nearly as good as many presented it to be but it definitely did a far better job at character fleshing out, as well as pacing the events in a much better way. If anything, it helped a lot of people to realize after 3 years how Madoka is not that great after all… something they should have realized by simply watching Princess Tutu, but whatever. Let’s just hope now for something less Madoka-ish in the future, because this formula has already saturated.

And yes, I did watch Kamen Rider Gaim.

7/10 story
8/10 animation
7/10 sound
7/10 characters
6.5/10 overall
Mendacious's avatar
Oct 18, 2016

Five school girls play around a tree

Yuki Yuna didn't do much for me. By the end I was unmoved and felt I had wasted six hours. It is not dreadful though. It has its good points and I can see why some people might greatly enjoy it.

I did not find Yuki Yuna, he series that is, to be heroic. No sense of triumph. And for a while I was not sure why.

The surrounding world of Yuki Yuna was adrift from the five protagonists resulting in a hero club that felt claustrophobic to me. The five heroines were too self-contained from the world that produced them and they were trying to protect. The reason for this was the absence of any supporting characters. Many animes are ruined by too many inconsequential figures stealing screen time from main cast. Yuki Yuna makes the opposite mistake. There are no secondary or supporting characters. We never meet any of their schoolmates or teachers, family or friends. The suffering experienced by the non-main character peoples of this world due to the grand battles of the hero club are only relayed at a distance from a television. The main characters are too removed from the world that they are invested in saving. To the viewer this leaves the girls alone to be the only thing worth saving, removing any true heroism from the story.

Yuki Yuna is often compared to Madoka Magica. While the main five girls in Madoka do dominate the screen there are a few other characters that bind them to the world. In the opening scene we meet Madoka’s Mother and father and brother who ground Madoka in the normal world forcing the viewer to empathize with the fate of the world.

Don't take my comments too harshly. Yuki Yuna is reasonable anime and if you have already watched the all the better Magical Girl shows then give it try. At only twelve episodes it won't swallow to much of your time.

4/10 story
6/10 animation
5/10 sound
6/10 characters
5/10 overall
CaptainSlow's avatar
Sep 19, 2016

What I Liked: The beautiful watercolour backgrounds in the Jukai scenes. Characters feel more detailed than their given stereotypes / roles let on. Action scenes are well-choreographed and suprisingly minimalistic, with great intergration of 3DCG and SFX elements. The Mankai designs are super pretty. For a cliche Beach / Onsen episode, Episode 7 is surprisingly inoffensive and cute. The world-building is really interesting and detailed.

What I Didn't: The weird obtrusive fanservice in some of the transformation sequences (Togo's is the worst offender). I was a bit divided on the soundtrack - it's good, but it sounds like poor man's Yuki Kajiura. Depending on your point of view, the ending can feel like a complete cop-out. A good portion of the dialogue in the final episodes feels uninspired to the point of bordering on cliche.

Final Verdict: An amicable attempt at a dark Magical Girl series, Yuki Yuna is a Hero offers up some quite lovely pastel visuals and an interesting world of characters. It excels in the choreography and world-building department, but the unfortunately sloppy ending and unnecessary fanservice does make the series feel a little shallower in comparison to its contemporaries. Still, if you like your fantastical darkness offset with blue-sky slice-of-life moments, then maybe give this a try.

?/10 story
?/10 animation
?/10 sound
?/10 characters
7.5/10 overall
Etue's avatar
Dec 25, 2014

Yuuki Yuuna wa Yuusha de Aru

A series in the same vein as Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica. A group of girls attend a middle school and are part of a Hero club. One day they are suddenly chosen by Shinju-sama and their peaceful lives are turned upside down. The story follows this group of girls through their struggles. We first get to know them before it dives into the action allowing the watcher to become somewhat loosely attached to the club members. The club and therefore protagonists all have varied personalities with the titular character being a second year energetic straightforward girl she is often accompanied by her closest friend a disabled quite smart beauty in a wheelchair. The clubs founder is a mildly tomboyish mischievous third year student. The cubs founders sister also is in the club as the only first year student. Later another character is introduced being a very warrior like person. 


The series is mostly focussed on displaying girls fighting and struggling as they juggle their responsibilities and their ordinary lives. As the plot grows more dark and dramatic over time they face a harsher and harsher reality up to the climax. The girls grow closer as the anime expands the world and handles their fates. The series doesn't rush forward towards its ending feeling mostly well paced after the initial slow episodes that start out with exploring the main members of the cast. The girls have their pasts explored and their characters build up throughout the series even after their initial introduction. The character building ties into the plot in often significant ways. Main character Yuuna in the end being the least expanded upon character yet we still know her personality as the bright but not very smart person that she is.


The series is colourful with many effects and imaginative yet not always visually impressive environments for the girls to fight with. The girls character designs are easily to tell apart especially when transformed. The ordinary slice of life segments running through this anime are generally not especially captivating yet get the job done in terms of both art-style and animation it's simply on par. The fights tend to be flashy but not very high on movement animation which is a slight disappointment in some cases but it's generally not too apparent to be a bother. 


The music in the opening isn't very notable and the ending theme isn't memorable either. The OST is hard to notice and not captivating yet get's the job done as it isn't distracting and set's the mood quite well. Knowing that making this anime's story take the forefront isn't actually a bad thing. .The voice actresses all do a good job not seeming really off at any time. Togo's and Fu's voices might be a bit distracting at first to some but they didn't bother me. The other characters all sound very familiar to most anime watchers and therefore I doubt anyone will be bothered by them. 


The characters are varied and emotionally involved with each other. They heavily tie into some parts of the story later on. In fact it could be said that the characters are part of the story. Those closest to each other are noticeable and it tends to lean on somewhat subtly portrait feelings of love between the girls. Be it romantic, between siblings or simple admiration. The variation between the girls personalities however doesn't always shine through. Still they were rather consistent in portrayal throughout the series. 

As a complete piece this series wasn't a masterpiece along the lines of the famed Madoka. However it has it's own strong and weakpoints. The artstyle and animation as well as the backgrounds are more mainstream yet the designs chosen for the girls especially in their fighting forms doesn't feel recycled. The plot felt large and it felt like this was only part of a larger story which makes the occurrences have weight. This is not a story everyone should have seen, but as someone who likes a darker take on magical girls this certainly isn't a bad anime to pick up.


8/10 story
7/10 animation
7/10 sound
9/10 characters
8/10 overall
miubot's avatar
Sep 23, 2017

Ok, so I did not expect to enjoy Yuki Yuna as much as I did. I turned it on waiting for some badly written magical girl show to take my mind of things. But it totally proved me wrong and pulled a Madoka Magica on me! 

Since episode one I could see why people would tie it to the Madoka Magica franchise. It is pretty similar, but there are dramatic difference in the characters and story line that helps Yuki Yuna stand out as it's own individual show rather then a cheap copy of a popular and well done anime. Since they are both magical girl shows, it's obvious it has some parallels. All magical girl shows do... cute girls do cute things with cute outfits and th power of friendship. And that's really how both shows, both yuki yuna and madoka magica seemed to start out. Over the course of the show, however, it took a turn to the dark side, and things are not as they seem. The type of realisation that they have been used the whole time and there is serious unwanted consequences for their actions of justice, etc. That's really what ties Yuki Yuna to Madoka Magica. Not to mention the obvious similarities between our main five, especially yuuna-madoka and fu-mami.

But It stands out with it's own unique ideas and concepts, not to mention the FEELS it gave me were so completely WOW that it stands on par with madoka magica, if not in front. The loss of itsuki's voice actually made me so emotional, as it is utterly heartbreaking to see this adorable little girl lose her dream, and her sister's gutteral scream and rage and despair at the situation (have to say, fu's voice actres blew me away. Her crying was so real!!!). Seeing my strong willed protagonists have breakdowns over the gravity of the situations (in the same sense of sayaka in Madoka) was certainly the cherry on top of the very intriguing yet depressing last couple episodes.

So I enjoyed Yuuki Yuuna is a Hero. It is similar to Madoka Magica yet stands on it's own plane of creativity, and I did not expect the show to be such high quality. Doesnt hurt that the girls are adorable, the costumes are awesome, and the positive messaging is so pure. Check it out if you want a dash of adorableness and tons of feels!

7/10 story
8/10 animation
9/10 sound
7/10 characters
8/10 overall