Having defeated the Disas, Asuka tries to return to normal, but there’s no escaping her past. Once a Magical Girl, always a Magical Girl.
What did you watch?
Magical Girl Spec-Ops: Asuka was part of the Winter 2019 lineup and one that I was particularly looking forward to, especially after how much I enjoyed Magical Girl: Raising Project. The animation looked slick and it looked to continue the strange meshing of cute and violent.
What’s it about?
Asuka was part of the Magical Nine. She was selected by an envoy from the spirit world to help humanity defeat the Disas, a race of magical monsters intent on taking over the world. They won and now things can return to normal. Not for Asuka, however, she is plagued by nightmares from the battlefield and struggles to settle down again.
With a new breed of terrorism and an illegal magical item black-market, the world governments are setting up groups to counter. The Japan based M Squad already has Magical Girl War Nurse on board and hope to convince Asuka to come out of retirement.
What did you think?
On the whole, I was actually pretty disappointed with this series. I would probably describe it as average with some interesting concepts and subject matter. The idea of using Magical Girls to fight crime and terrorism was fun. I really liked the way the portrayed the harder aspects of it, such as Asuka’s PTSD. It really seemed to lack a cohesive story and while there was somewhat of a conclusion, it didn’t really answer half the questions it raised.
What was your favourite moment?
I think my favourite moment was when Asuka was fighting against the two magic wielding terrorist and the water spirit. This showed how much Asuka is struggling with PTSD, which caused her to hold back and question herself more and more, until finally she let go and unleashed her full power on them. There were other good fights, but this one stood out for me.
What was your least favourite moment?
That would be all of the torture scenes. Once they’d done one, the shock factor had gone and they really lost a lot of their impact, not to mention that they seemed to be a peculiar mix of torture and BDSM. Honestly, which side was Kurumi on, she was pretty terrifying.
Who was your favourite character?
That one’s easy. Asuka was the most interesting character and had the most important role, which isn’t much of a surprise given the title. They did do a good job of developing her past and revealing the things that might make her question her actions. It would appear that I wasn’t the only one to like Asuka either. I feel like almost every other character in the series was interested in Asuka.
Who was your least favourite character?
That would be Geiss, the armoured anti-magical girl terrorist. He was a tragic character who suffered through unbelievable tragedy, but he was also a massive arsehole. Maybe that made him a good villain, but I felt it was all too cliche. Were we supposed to feel sorry for him when he was lying on the floor dying. I hope not, because I didn’t.
Who needs more screen time?
So, we only got one tiny scene of Pei Pei, the fifth member of the surviving Legenday Five. She’s an assassin and honestly that looked like it would already have been a more interesting story. If we get a second season and I do decide to watch it, I hope we get more of Pei Pei.
Is it similar to any other anime you’ve seen?
There are some similarities to Magical Girl: Raising Project but not loads. It has a similar mix of cute and violent. The Disas look like giant cute stuffed toys, but they are anything but cute. I think the problem is that weren’t sinister enough and the show didn’t really play on the terror of facing them. It’s hard to describe, but there wasn’t anything of real note in this series.
Would you like another season?
If they make another season, I would probably end up watching it although I wouldn’t watch it live. I think I would wait until it’s all out and see what the reception is like before diving in. It’s a shame because I had quite high hopes for the series and was excited to get back into another dark Magical Girls series.
Other reviews in the series
This was another twelve episode season, which on one hand I kind of glad. Still it all adds up.
Episode Count: 12 (268)
Push-ups – 120 (2,090)
Sit-ups – 120 (2,100)
Squats – 120 (2,090)