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What can you strip away from an anime while still leaving something beautiful?
There is a lot that is seemingly missing from this collection of shorts. Neither the magic academy of Mysteria nor either of our leads, the Mysterian princess Anne and the half-dragon princess Grea, receive much elaboration unless you're already familiar with Cygames properties like Rage of Bahamut or Granblue Fantasy. There's no overarching plot, as each episode is a mostly self-contained vignette about our heroines' daily lives. There isn't much action outside of one episode, and it's not quite a pure comedy like many other slice-of-life shows.
Mysteria Friends is about one thing, and one thing only: the intense relationship between its two leading ladies. This relationship, and not the gorgeous visuals and piano score, is what makes Mysteria Friends beautiful.
Anne and Grea are so full of emotion that who they are comes out entirely in their interactions. Grea is quiet and introverted, but the way her tail perks up and her face turns bright-red whenever Anne talks to her says everything about how she views her friend. And yet, the extroverted Anne is the lonelier of the two, separated from others by her status and talent, and needs Grea just as much if not more than Grea needs her. Grea waits for literal hours for Anne to return from sealing a monster so that they can have lunch, but has no problem spending time apart to study for an exam. Anne jumps into a lake without a thought looking for a cure when Grea gets sick, but reveals that she's afraid of water a few episodes later. This relationship isn't given a backstory, but it doesn't need one because it's so natural and emotional that it never feels forced: Anne and Grea are two girls who can't get enough of each other: that's how it was, is, and will be.
As mentioned earlier, this relationship features absolutely stunning visuals which the show is not afraid to use for slow panning shots despite being a short. The soundtrack also has a lot of melancholy piano pieces, and the theme which eventually becomes the show's ending theme is very pleasant on the ears.
This relationship isn't without its flaws. While there isn't any plot progression, there is not too much progression in Anne and Grea's relationship either; it remains in the same state of intense romantic tension as before. While yuri fans will likely enjoy that romantic tension, they may find it frustrating that the show never takes that next step into true romance, and that's perfectly fair. However, that desire to see the tension fulfilled serves to show the power of that tension in the first place.
Mysteria Friends is an intense gaze at the classic Romantic Two-Girl Friendship, nothing more, nothing less. For those who can endure that endless tension, it's sure to be a thing of beauty.
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