In Blue Reflection, players follow a team of magical girls as they attempt to save a specific area of the world. Of course, they aren’t actually called magical girls. They are Reflectors. Regardless, we know exactly what they are, which means we also have an idea of how they function. This also means people who play can easily pick out the ways in which it is relying and paying tribute to established traditions.
Blue Reflection is an origin story, something any good magical girl tale needs. It follows a high schooler, of course the natural pick for saving any world. In the first moments of the game, we watch Hinako become a heroine. She’s quickly forced to find her footing, though disembodied voices help her find her way. These become her teammates, Lime and Yuzu. Because while we do see solo magical girls like Sakura, from Card Captor Sakura, it is much more common to see teams like in Sailor Moon, Puella Magi Madoka Magica, and Pretty Cure.
Since most of their fighting is done in the Common or in a time-stopped real world when Sephirot appear, Hinako, Lime, and Yuzu don’t technically need costumes like other such heroines. However, Blue Reflection doesn’t buck tradition. The heroines have a transformation sequence that is practically ripped from Sailor Moon. We see an outfit suddenly appear from light. Different portions appear piece by piece, with a ribbon and some sort of cape accessory showing up as a closer.
It also makes sure to stress the importance of a token. In Puella Magi Madoka Magica, magical girls have a Soul Gem. Sailor Moon gives Usagi a brooch. Blue Reflection has rings. Hinako is given a ring the moment she becomes a Reflector, and each of her major supports get a ring after their first encounter. This is a sign of their bond and helps foster a connection, something especially important in battles against Sephirot. The rings allow the girls who aren’t Reflectors to be active in the real world during these moments and participate with special skills in battle.
Speaking of Puella Magi Madoka Magica, the idea of corruption appears in Blue Reflection too. When Hinako’s classmates in the real world are dealing with intensely emotional moments, fragments of their emotions can appear in the common. Demons will attempt to take them, damaging the women in the real world. meaning the Reflectors need to save them. Understanding what these other young women are going through allows Hinako to sympathize with them, resolving the issue in the real and parallel worlds. I mean, we aren’t going to see them turn into Witches, but it would be devastating if Hinako didn’t save someone.
Meanwhile, collecting these fragments means forming bonds with other people. In practically every form of media where magical girls appear, friendship is shown to be part of the reason the heroines are so strong. In Blue Reflection, this is no different. Hinako, Lime, and Yuzu don’t gain experience. Instead, they level up by saving people and completing sidequests. Friendship has a direct effect on their power. Likewise, the emotional fragments collected in the common add extra effects, like additional damage, buffs, or debuffs, to attacks, and forming Persona-like relationships with people make them stronger supports when you summon them to assist in a battle.
Anyone who has every enjoyed any kind of magical girl media will definitely experience some serious nostalgia when playing Blue Reflection. This is especially true if you are familiar with Sailor Moon, Pretty Cure, or Puella Magi Madoka Magica. The examples I have mentioned are only a few ways in which it pays tribute to its predecessors. There are plenty of other ways in which it references or takes inspiration from those that came before it.
Blue Reflection is available for the PlayStation 4 and PC.