Even Magical Girls Get PTSD
- Episodes : 12
- Genre : Drama, Magic, Seinen
- Airing Date : January 2019 – March 2019
- Producers : LIDENFILMS
Mahou Shoujo Tokushusen Asuka (Magical Girl Spec-Ops Asuka) Introduction and Story
Asuka Ootorii and the Magical Five are a group of magical girls contracted to defeat the Disas, monsters from another realm. Though they lose many of their friends along the way, these five girls manage to win the war. Asuka sets out to live a normal high-school girl’s life, but is soon forced into battle once again when more powerful Disas and enemy magical girls start to appear. She finally decides that she must fight so that her friends can live normal lives and joins up with the military task force that Kurumi Mugen has been working with. Together, they attempt to protect humanity as best as they can!
Mahou Shoujo Tokushusen Asuka is a dark and more militaristic look at the world of magical girls. Each of the magical girls has their own way they are dealing with the trauma of the past, and their own reason for fighting. The anime introduced plenty of questions, though almost none of them were answered by the end of its 12-episode stretch.
1. Dark, Realistic Take on Combat
Initially, we see Asuka enjoying her role as a magical girl, but after the war ends and she has lost everything, we see the damage that fighting in this war has done to her. Indeed, every magical girl has some sort of post-battle issue as a result of the war–while Asuka is determined not to fight anymore, Kurumi has developed a more sadistic, torturous and possessive side of her personality. Though we’ve seen magical girl shows with a darker side before, Mahou Shoujo Tokushusen Asuka takes this element to a whole new level by dealing with the aftermath of combat specifically.
2. Asuka as Main Character
In Mahou Shoujo Tokushusen Asuka, the magical girls are mostly bland and follow standard character tropes. Asuka is the exception, as a main character who explores a lot of depth. We see her initial beginnings as a magical girl, her desperate fight alongside her friends and her struggle to come back to a peaceful reality. Asuka grows into a stronger person because of the trauma she has faced and is able to come back to the battlefield in the end with her own reason to fight.
3. A Promise of More to Come?
The final episode of this anime hinted at a bigger war coming for the Magical Five. The entire series has been hiding a mysterious conspiracy and an evil magical girl/”queen” in the background, but not much of it was resolved by the end of the season. Asuka and her friends went back to their relatively normal lives for the time being, but their fight is clearly not over. And with the fifth magical girl only briefly introduced in the last episode, we know there has to be more to this story!
1. “Filler” Moments
Every anime series needs those moments of calm and tranquility to develop their characters and provide the audience with some rest from the action. However, in Mahou Shoujo Tokushusen Asuka’s case, the series seems to switch rapidly between these moments of calm and the dark action scenes. There is almost no in-between for Asuka and her friends, which is jarring for the audience. Because of this, the moments of calm seem too out of place for the series, making them feel almost like filler or fan-service for the characters in place of their constant action.
2. One-Dimensional Characters
Mahou Shoujo Tokushusen Asuka starts off with Asuka as the only magical girl we see. Since she is such an interesting main character, the series as a whole promised to be interesting. Yet when the other magical girls and Asuka’s friends get more screen time, we begin to see that Asuka is the only well-developed character in the show. Most of them are one-dimensional, revolving only around one or two specific traits, and these are usually following along with common, predictable tropes as well.
3. No Real Resolutions
While we appreciate that Mahou Shoujo Tokushusen Asuka left room for the plot to continue developing, it is a bit disappointing that nothing really happened over the course of the series. We as an audience discovered a few things, but most of the characters still know nothing about the mysterious Queen and her plans. If this show doesn’t get a second season, the entire first season will have been for nothing.
Mahou Shoujo Tokushusen Asuka was a promisingly dark look at an interesting story with Asuka and her friends. However, the plot didn’t really get anywhere, so without a second season to add to the story thus far, it doesn’t appear to be anything except yet another magical girl anime to add to the list.
What did you think of Mahou Shoujo Tokushusen Asuka? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!