Reviews

Mar 29, 2019
Stark700 (All reviews)
It’s beautiful…is what I would say if Mahou Shoujo Toushusen Asuka managed to bring in a magical girl show worthy of glory. But beautiful isn’t a good way to express this anime. From what I’ve seen from the first few episodes, it’s a show that takes on a darker, edgier, and grimmer side of the magical girl genre. Adapted by LIDENFILMS and based on the manga, this was a peculiar anime to talk about.

For starters, there’s a clear reason why the show airs late at night on the MBS block. Like the manga, this adaptation actually keeps the censoring to a minimal. Here’s an early warning: be prepared for body horror in the form of limbs being blown off, emotional torture, and brutal deaths. I’m not joking. Mahou Shoujo Toushusen Asuka isn’t even a bit afraid of showing how dark and dangerous its world can be. Speaking of which, let’s look at the world setting. It takes place 3 years before the mainstream timeline in Japan. According to history, the world was invaded by monsters known as Netherbeasts. A group of magical girls rose up to stop them from annihilating humanity. A girl named Asuka is the leader of this group (known as the Magical Five) as we look at her story.

From my first impressions, I actually got hooked by some dark and edgy entertainment. Make no mistake, I believe the creator is fully aware of the series’ style of violence so they are not timid to show it. The first few episodes contains a flashback that opens up the storytelling while introducing the main cast. We meet characters such as Asuka, Kurumi, and among others that we’ll learn more about later. Titular character Asuka gives off a peculiar charisma for being a badass on the frontline but more of a regular normal human being while not fighting. It’s made clear in the beginning as she tries to live a normal life until a faithful event pits her into fighting again. We also see her trauma in the past that resulted in PTSD and to this day, she hasn’t forgotten. But deep down, Asuka is a kind person who is selfless and isn’t afraid to take risks to fight the good fight.

Joining her is Kurumi Mugen, a combat nurse and close friend. I should say right off the bat that it’s obvious she has feelings for Asuka. It actually becomes more and more obvious especially in later episodes with even some rather disturbing moments. But don’t mistake this for a shoujo-ai. The bigger picture is that she is part of the Magical Five and serves as an important support in battle. The remaining members includes Tamara, Lau, and Mia. Unfortunately, the show doesn’t dedicate more time for them as compared to either Asuka or Kurumi. We only get to see their actions rather than development. However, the show also makes it known that illegal magical girls exists. Outside of the Magical Five, these illegal magical girls play an antagonistic role. Characters such as Abigail brings in the brutality and darker side of the magical girl genre. She displays psychopathic behavior and even uses scissors to terrorize a hostage for her personal amusement. Be ready for limbs chopped off and even a magical form of waterboarding. Sounds edgy yet?

Yet from what I’ve seen in this show, there are still some bright moments in their dark world. For example, Asuka’s friends (Nozomi and Sayako) at school brings in joy and an experience at normal life for her. The show also takes breather time on occasions such as with school activities and even a beach episode. But never forget, there’s no peace in the world of Mahou Shoujo Tokushusen Asuka.

For its worth, I wish this show had a better budget. Most of the fights all feel the same without strong production or animation quality. It lacks style too without demonstrating any source of uniqueness. I will say that while the violence captures a mature mood, it sometimes relies way too much on it. How many times are going to see blood being spilled until it’s satisfying? On the other hand, I do appreciate the variety of creative weapons that are featured. Asuka’s signature karambit is a set of weapons I don’t see often. A combat nurse like Kurumi also brings in expertise along with Mia, Lau Pei-Pei, and Tamara. These characters shows their transcendence beyond common logic. Furthermore, I should say this show is known for some uncharacteristic designs such as the oversized creatures. Most of them give an otherworldly appearance that I find hard to ignore. And the theme songs on most parts are worthy enough for this mature magical girl adaptation.

“Should I watch Mahou Shoujo Toushusen Asuka”? Or rather, the better question would be…”Do I enjoy anime with dark and edgy magical girl content with troubled characters?” The bottom line is, you should judge this anime exactly for what it is but realize that it’s nothing really that special. It’s one of those shows anyone with a livid imagination can write or come up with. There has been a reemergence of dark magical girl anime in recent years. We may be seeing more of these in the future so who knows, maybe the next one will set a higher standard.