Wish Upon the Pleiades or Houkago no Pleiades in Japanese, is a short 4 episode (6 minutes each) anime sponsored by Japanese carmaker Subaru and produced by Gainax. The anime was created in order to help bring a greater awareness of Subaru’s name to anime fans. The name “Subaru” is the Japanese name for the Pleiades star cluster and is where Subaru, the carmaker, got its name and logo.
You would think that an anime sponsored by a carmaker would be about cars, but strangely enough, it’s about stars and magical girls. The main character, named Subaru, is a regular schoolgirl with an interest in astronomy. The day after she witnesses a magnificent meteor shower, she encounters a magical garden and a boy named Minato. Later, she discovers that one of her best friends and a few others are magical girls and eventually decides to become one too.
Their task is to gather Engine Fragments, which look like shooting stars in the sky, in order to send their alien friend back home. Unfortunately, it seems that Minato is also after the Engine Fragments and they must fight each other in order to claim all of the fragments.
Considering the series is less than half an hour, it’s difficult to get into any sort of real plot. Wish Upon the Pleiades follows a very basic good vs bad premise with some brightly-coloured scenes to please younger audiences. A lack of character development is expected in a series of this length, but all of the characters did have well-defined personalities and weren’t just extras in the background.
Coming from a well-respected studio such as Gainax, the anime naturally had very good animation quality. The battle scenes were action-packed and they did not skimp out on the fine details such as starry backgrounds. The music was somewhat simplistic, utilizing piano solos for most of the BGM and a few more instruments during the battles. In fact, the battle scenes sounded very video game-like.
Wish Upon the Pleiades is nothing special, but if you enjoy watching magical girl anime and want a short and complete series to watch, then it’s certainly worth the time. The anime has been made available to watch for free by Subaru on their Youtube channel. There is both a Japanese version and a version with English subtitles.