Is it a Magical Girl Anime? Is it a slice-of-life? Is it a Madoka Magica rip-off?
It’s… Yuuki Yuuna wa Yuusha de Aru (“Yuuki Yuuna is a Hero”)!
Yuuki Yuuna is a teenager who really wants to be a hero. In typical Anime style, she gets her wish when Fuu (don’t laugh… that’s her actual name) establishes the “Hero Club” at her new school. The season technically begins with Yuuna, Fuu, Itsuki (Fuu’s little sister), and Togo (whom Yuuna made friends with prior to enrolling in her new school — NOT this girl’s actual name, though!) putting on a play for a kindergarten class, but it soon gets into the Magical Girl action with Fuu leading the foursome in the mission to defeat the monsters, “Vertexes,” that lie just on the other side of the “veil” put up by the “Shinju-sama.” Karin, the stereotypical transfer student who’s as good as she makes herself out to be, also ends up joining this crew.
As soon as you’ve had a handle on the initial situation, episode 5 rolls along and suddenly the main conflict in this series seems to be over and done with. Now what…?
Time for some slice-of-life stuff, that’s what! The girls assume normal lives, with those who went “Mankai” learning to deal with a particular loss they’ve acquired as a result: Togo adds a deaf left ear to her amnesia and paralysis, Yuuna can’t taste anything, Fuu is blind in her right eye, Itsuki can no longer speak, while Karin remains unaffected having not undergone the Mankai process.
Again, as soon as you’ve had a handle on this new situation along comes episode 8 and a return of the Vertexes! The girls are sent back into action, and easily take care of the stragglers. Enter the final stage…: Yuuna and Togo are teleported to the bedside of a bedridden girl named Sonoko, and so some nasty truths are revealed by her.
And thus we enter the Madoka Magica part of this show…. In exchange for awesome powers provided by the Mankai state, the girls are forced to give up one bodily function whenever they use this ability. Here, the girls of Yuuki Yuuna really take on similarities to counterparts in Madoka Magica:
>Yuuna — the star of the show, who eventually commits the greatest sacrifice for the sake of her crew. The Madoka counterpart is (of course) Madoka; both even have pinkish hair.
>Fuu — the one who gets the star character involved. The Madoka counterpart wields a different weapon, but both still share the blonde hair and odd hairstyle aspects.
>Itsuki — the innocent little loli whose misfortunes from being dragged into this stuff (without full knowledge of the consequences) are the source of incredible suffering for other characters in the show.
>Karin — the transfer student who has trained for this her whole life, and has little patience for the other members of the crew. The Madoka counterpart even wields daggers and has rust-coloured hair, too.
>Togo — the mysterious girl who’s been through all this before. Her Madoka counterpart also shares the dark hair aspect of her.
It’s a wonder the creators of Yuuki Yuuna were able to stuff so much in so few episodes! Maybe they took inspiration from Kill la Kill?