A Magical girl’s battle never ends.
- Episodes: 12
- Genre: Drama, Magic, Seinen
- Airing Date: January 2019 – March 2019
- Studio: LIDENFILMS
Mahou Shoujo Tokushusen Asuka Preview (No Spoilers)
Take a world where the veil between mundane and mystical elements in your usual magical girl anime is torn to shreds and dial back the idealism by about eighty percent. Now add arcane terrorism, military tropes, and a more than healthy serving of PTSD and you’ve replicated the core concept behind Mahou Shoujo Tokushusen Asuka.
The anime follows the titular magical girl, an ace combatant and veteran of a deadly conflict with extraplanar invaders known as the Netherbeasts that threatened to drive humanity to extinction three years ago. Asuka attempts to retire in peace, only to be dragged into the battlefield anew.
Asuka Highlights (Spoilers Beyond This Point)
1. Not Your Momma’s Magical Girl
When we think of magical girls, the image of frilly dresses, cute poses, and obscure references to celestial bodies come to mind. Yeah, aside from the outfit, Asuka is having none of that. From her shaky integration into a school life plagued by flashes of the tribulations she experienced in the past we get an inverted and coldly rational view of the norm.
Rather than a girl who grows more mature through discovering an affinity for magic. Asuka’s a girl chasing after what remains of a fleeting childhood magic robbed her of.
2. Not so Cold After All
Despite spending so much time in retirement, Asuka remains a venerable badass, bisecting fools with her karambit as casually as we take out the trash. Her resignation and relative ease with violence create a disconnect between her youthful appearance and cute maid uniform that reminds us of both Full Metal Panic’s Sousuke Sagara and Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magika’s Homura Akemi.
Similarly to the two above, she quickly develops a soft spot. In Asuka’s case, it’s reserved for her two normal classmates, Nozomi Makino and Sayako Hata. Seeing her interact with the pair is adorable, like a lion minding two kittens.
3. (Super) Soldiers Soldier on
She was made to suffer the deaths of six squadmates, fought at the forefront of humanity’s defensive war against the Netherbeasts, and even had her parents’ body parts mailed to her, all before she would be old enough to enlist in a modern military.
Despite her social awkwardness and bitter demeanor, anyone on the outside could be convinced that Asuka was a stable person. She displays a remarkable level of resilience that provokes as much awe as it does sympathy.
4. No Nonsense
Asuka is generally level headed and displays wisdom well beyond her age. Just how much of her personality is a result of coping with trauma rather than any natural disinclination towards most waif and genki-girl female protagonists isn’t too clear. She represents a breath of fresh air for people tired of foolhardy, lovesick, and loud protagonists that refuse to grow their wisdom teeth in any case.
5. She Just Wants to Live
Compared to so many protagonists that risk life and limb to seek a vaunted position, treasure beyond their wildest dreams, or some other heady aspiration, Asuka’s goals are simple. She wants to go to school, make friends and do anything but worry about saving the world. It’s a trait that makes Asuka human, and one that has us gritting our teeth for her when something that easy can’t be granted.
While she might not appreciate being treated like damaged goods, Asuka deserves more than just our sympathy. Let’s cross our fingers for her and hope that she finds the peaceful existence she yearns for soon. While you’re at it, if you have any praise for commentary for her, feel free to share it below.