I was actually hoping it would keep going a little longer, but all good things come to and end, like my sister’s marriage. Mahoiku seemed like a poor man’s Madoka attempt, but turned out to be among the most entertaining shows on my seasonal list along with Girlish Number and Occultic Nine.
The reason why shows that blatantly try to emulate some definitive work usually suck is that ironically their understanding on the subject they’re trying to copycat is really shallow. The similarity is limited to some thematic choices and tropes while the rest is filled with weakly designed fluff. This is pretty much what I expected out of Mahoiku once its theme of choice became obvious: A cute but ominous mascot character attracting troubled girls into a magical investor scam with lavish promises. But Mahoiku was smart enough to know that nobody in the current day and age would fall for the same bait and switch trick that made Madoka famous, so it wastes little time in setting up. Madoka rode to success on its shock value, and likely knowing repeating that would be impossible, Mahoiku puts every penny in murderous violence.
It was clear from day one that the setting would be a battle royale with no quarter given, and Mahoiku’s entertainment value lies in that it didn’t half-ass the violence and understood what makes gritty and pointless slaughterfests tick: That deaths are swift, ugly, and without gloria or melodrama. When depicted right, acts of brutality speak for themselves and do not need a band of weeping wives and violin riffs.
This is why the magical mano-a-mano in Mahoiku had impact in despite the lackluster action animation: Little build-up, no climax, and sudden and ugly deaths. This was best demonstrated by the deaths of the annoying Angel Twins and Cranberry. This is not to say they weren’t foreshadowed and sometimes disappointingly cliché – Top Speed’s demise could have been foreseen by a nine-year old and I was more angered by its delivery than the fact itself. Still, it was satisfying to see all the annoying characters die with the worst of the lot going for the rope for good measure.
— Center ★ Nova (@CirNobar) December 18, 2016
And the cherry on the cake.
Having said all that, in the end Mahoiku was pretty light on the content with a lackluster ending that didn’t seem to actually conclude anything. As satisfying as it was to see Fav get a taste of his own bullshit, I would have preferred to have at least a glimpse of the magic land whose machinations were the root cause of the whole shitfest to start with. All that seemed to happen was that Snow White gave them the finger and they figured out it would be best to just leave her alone to saving the world of whatever. I’m also having a hard time accepting how Swim Swim recovered from a lightning strike but got knocked out cold by a flashbang. I’d complain about the blatant deus ex machina in the finale, but the sly bastards actually made it a consumable in-game item.
Pros: Decent characters, satisfyingly violent and gritty with no holds barred.
Cons: Inconclusive, sub par animation.
Would say three out of five exploding Favs.