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Anime / Wish Upon the Pleiades

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"You mean you can combine girls and Cars?"

Subaru is a timid, clumsy girl who has always loved astronomy. One day, while wandering around her school, she stumbles upon a strange room and four magical girls: the elegant Itsuki, the brash Hikaru, the quiet Nanako and Aoi, a former friend who seems to be carrying a grudge. Subaru ends up wrapped in a quest to help the girls' "President," a small green alien who can only talk through Nanako, recover all of the pieces of his spaceship. But who is this strange red-haired boy who opposes them at every turn?

Houkago no Pleiades (literally After School Pleiades, but known in English as Wish Upon the Pleiades) is a 2011 Magical Girl original net animation. Born from a collaboration between Studio Gainax and Subaru — yes, the car manufacturer based in Gunma Prefecture note  — each episode is around 6 minutes long.

It is available for free on the Subaru x Gainax YouTube channel, in Japanese and with English subtitles.

A proper anime series with standard episode length started airing as part of spring 2015 anime season, which is currently available for streaming on Crunchyroll. It is worth noting that due to Gainax shifting its focus to Fukushima Gainax (later acquired and reorganized as the similarly-named but legally distinct Gaina), this is probably the very last Studio Gainax TV production.

Tropes shared in both versions:

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     2011 Web Series 
  • Anime Theme Song: Episode 4. After the final battle with Minato.
  • Cooldown Hug: Subaru gives one to Minato in hopes of freeing him from the evil that possesses him, but unfortunately, it doesn't work, and the evil keeps a hold of him.
  • Full Moon Silhouette: Minato appears in front of the moon a couple of times, forming a silhouette.
  • Gainax Ending: Subaru enters the artificial garden a second time. She sees that it's night time in there, and there's one flower remaining. Though it's not quite as confusing as Gainax's most infamous Gainax endings.
  • Memento MacGuffin: Minato's Jacket to Subaru.
  • Where It All Began: The magically sealed artificial garden.

     2015 TV Series 
  • Adaptation Expansion: The 2015 anime series greatly expands on the original net animation shorts, fleshing out both the story and characters.
  • Anime Theme Song: Features a proper opening and ending in Stella-rium and Koko kara, Kanata kara note  respectively.
  • But Now I Must Go: The final episode. The President, having repaired his spaceship, flies off into dimensions unknown. The girls also must return to their separate universes, although it's heavily implied that they'll meet each other again within their own timelines.
  • Cosmic Retcon: In Episode 2 Aoi and Subaru collide on their school day start routine. The uniform is the same, the route to school's the same, they reach for the same shoebox and try to sit at the same personal desk in class. Onlookers have signs of unconscious readjustment such as quickly backing out of doubts about who wasn't supposed to be here. Rest of the heroines, arriving as another addition to Subaru's class, confirms that they would find themselves brought together in this fashion each time with each new Pleiades member.
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": The President is only known as "The President." He never gives his name. Even when the President first meets Minato, he asks Minato to give him a name, rather then reveal his.
  • Evil Redhead: Zig-Zagged with Minato. While he does interfere with the efforts to collect the engine fragments, he has his own reason for doing so, and by the final episodes of the series this is a subverted trope.
  • Date Peepers: In Episode 9 the other girls, suspecting that Minato is Subaru's boyfriend, surreptitiously follow the two around while taking pictures to submit to a "Cutest Couple" competition.
  • Dude Looks Like a Lady: Minato has a really feminine appearance despite the fact that he's clearly a boy. Also doesn't help to note that his older costume prior to his Evil Costume Switch makes him look more feminine, combined with Long Haired Prettyboy when he was younger.
  • A Day in the Limelight: The anime gives each of the girls an episode that focuses on their backstory and motivations; Hikaru gets Episode 4 note , Itsuki gets Episode 5 note , Aoi gets Episode 7 note  and Nanako gets Episode 8. note 
  • The End of the World as We Know It: What will happen if the President's starship materializes on Earth
  • Evil Costume Switch:
    • Minato in Episode 10
    • Subaru gets a similar one in Episode 11, but it's subverted in that she doesn't actually turn evil or change anything about her.
  • Faster-Than-Light Travel: Having twelve fragments allows the girls to utilize dark energy to do this in Episode 11
  • Forgotten First Meeting: Minato and Subaru met as children in a hospital ward, but Minato eventually left and Subaru began to think that she had just dreamed it up.
  • Genki Girl: Subaru seems to be one, but then stops after episode 2.
  • Grand Finale (a Meta Bittersweet Ending-based example): As of 2016, this is probably the Final Studio Gainax anime series, for now.
  • I'm Crying, but I Don't Know Why: Subaru in Episode 9 when Minato sends her back to the planetarium after they learn they were childhood friends and revealing that they would both forget everything they had learned on their "trip".
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Towards the end of the series Minato gets impaled on an engine shard.

  • Kissing Discretion Shot: In Episode 9, after Subaru learns that Minato was the magician from her past, they embrace each other and bring their faces extremely close, only to be blocked out by the light of Betelguese going supernova.
    • Subaru is also shown thoughtfully touching her lips upon leaving the school, likely confirming that they kissed.
  • Maybe Ever After: Although Minato is still comatose in Subaru's universe, it's implied that he retained his memories of her and will wake up soon.
  • Modesty Shorts: Aoi wears these under her school uniform.
  • Official Couple: Subaru and Minato become this in Episode 12.
  • Power Makes Your Hair Grow: Minato during his time as a villain has this trope, which is odd because none of the girls have it. He is seen using his magic in more varied ways and more offensively then they do, so it may be justified. In his final form in episode twelve, his hair is back to normal in spite of his transformation.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: Minato normally has blue eyes, which turn red in his superpowered form.
  • School Club Front: The girls set up a "cosplay club" so that they can have a room in the school for themselves to use as a base of operations for gathering fragments.
  • School Play: The girls participate in one in Episode 5.
  • Skeleton Key: Subaru uses one key (Which looks suspiciously like a car key.) to open the doors in school.
  • Time Dilation: Featured in Episode 8, in which Nanako must retrieve an Engine Fragment on the very edge of the Solar System. To get there, she has to travel at 99.999% of the speed of light, and although it only feels like half a day to Nanako, three months pass by on Earth while she's gone. However, the other girls manage to bring Nanako back to the day she left, letting them all celebrate her birthday.

Alternative Title(s): Houkago No Pleiades