Warning! As this is the fourth book into a series avoiding spoilers is going to be near impossible. Read at your own discretion.
Why did I start reading it?
Well, I've read all the others (Links to the series posts below) and enjoyed them so I don't see why I would stop now.
What is it?
Magical Girl Raising Project as a series is based on the idea of magical girl battle royales. This particular book is a collection of small side stories centring around the girls from the last two death games so yes, most of the ones featured in this book are characters that we know are going to die. So it's here to either explain things we might not have had time to explain in the books or just to make us sad that we won't see some of these characters again...
What are the characters like?
Well, they are the same ones so all great. There are some interesting twists on some characters when you learn more about their backgrounds and who they are in real life.
You'll remember in my first review that I felt like the novel left some bits out compared to the anime turns out that was because most of those stories were in this book including the very important Nemurin one.
Anyone particularly cool?
There were a few side stories in here that did change my opinions of some of the girls and generally explained them better. Akane for example, I now understand why she had been so insane in the second book. Clantail and Masked Wonder had stories that completely flipped my idea of their character, as well, under the persona's the had in the main story was a very different person than I was expecting.
What's the bad news?
Some of the side stories just generally aren't that interesting. Probably more because I knew it was going to happen. For example, I wasn't really interested in the Magicaloid 44 and Sister Nana side story. There was also 'Memories of a Magical Girl in Blue' where the author experimented with their writing style. It was a good story, especially when the punchline of it had been set up in another side story, though it had been a bit jarring to start reading a completely new style when the rest had been the usual.
And the good news?
Everything is connected. I wasn't sure whether to put this as a bad thing or not but *shurg* I enjoyed it so it doesn't matter if I this world is full of strange coincidence, it was fun. 9 times out of 10 these stories connected one magical girl to another in some strange way, be it a secret familiar relationship or one character happened to know someone that another character also knew. It was fun playing a bit of a guessing game with some characters, having others name dropped and sometimes just having the two death game sets of magical girls have a straight up fight.
Would you recommend?
If you're not interested in the characters of Magical Girl Raising Project and just want a death game then this volume might not be for you. There are some stories I'd give a skip over anyway as they answer some questions I was left with after the first three books and generally add to the motivations of different characters:
If you haven't watched the anime:
-The Robot and the Nun
-Zombie Western (not entirely plot relevant but a must if you were in for the death game)
-Come Play With Top Speed
-plus all the ones in the second list
If you have watched the anime:
-Akane and the Happy Magical Girl Family
-Meow-meow @ N City
-Magical Illegal Girl (again it's not plot relevant but a cool fight)
If you're interested in the characters, how they might have interacted in the past and how they act outside of a death game then read them all. The rest include some good twists and other origin stories.
Need to find reviews for the rest of ther series? here they are:
Vol1, Vol2, Vol3, Vol5