Magical Girl Spec-Ops Asuka

Magical Girl Spec-Ops Asuka

Magical Girl Spec-Ops Asuka anime series cover
Magical Girl Spec-Ops Asuka

Overview

Magical Girl Spec-Ops Asuka (Mahou Shoujo Tokushusen Asuka / 魔法少女特殊戦あすか) is simply the newest entry in the dark magical girl sub-genre. And, I can’t help but wonder who exactly this sub-genre is targeted towards since there hasn’t been a good entry in it since the series that started it all, Puella Magi Madoka Magica.

Really the closest this genre has ever gotten to Madoka Magica was with Yuki Yuna is a Hero, and even that falls short. You could make the argument that the magical girl series was dark even back in the Sailor Moon days, but Sailor Moon still didn’t subvert the tropes like the anime in this sub-genre do.

So, what makes Magical Girl Spec-Ops Asuka any different from the series which have come before it?

For one, as the title implies, this is a much more militarized version of the magical girl genre. In this universe magical girls work for their respective countries’ military, and basically function as super soldiers, not true magical girls.

The other big change is that this series goes even deeper into the dark side of being a magical girl in a war-torn world than any before it. It could even be argued that this is where the series shines, however, I think it goes a bit too far and enters the realm of twisted fan service.

As for what the magical girls are fighting against, they’re creatures known as the Disas, they come from a parallel world, and they take the form of giant stuffed animals. There are also various terrorist organizations who either use or work with the Disas to commit crimes around the world. And, some of these organizations even have magical girls of their own.

Characters

Asuka Ootorii is the protagonist of the series and one of the five remaining “true” magical girls known as the magical five. By true magical girls I mean officially sanctioned by the United Nations, but for simplicity’s sake I’ll be referring to true and false magical girls.

Her code name is magical girl Rapture, and she wields two magical karambits as her weapons of choice. However, now that the war against the Disas is over, Asuka wants nothing more than to return to a normal school life free of violence.

I’m also fairly certain that all of the magical girls, and other girls, in this series are middle schoolers despite their overly developed busts. I’m pretty sure the smallest girl in the series is a D-cup so I don’t understand why they aren’t just high schoolers or something.

Asuka Ootorii from the anime series Magical Girl Spec-Ops Asuka
Asuka Ootorii

Kurumi “War Nurse” Mugen is another of the magical five who serves as the healer for the group. However, her other role is that of interrogation expert. This second role is really where Kurumi shines due to her sadistic tendencies.

A giant hypodermic needle is Kurumi’s weapon of choice (because she’s a nurse, get it?), and it can be used to either heal allies or inject various drugs into enemies. Of all the magical girls’ weapons, hers makes the least sense realistically.

She’s also completely obsessed with Asuka in an almost yandere way.

There are a few other characters who I would go over in more detail, but I use MAL to remember characters for series and it doesn’t actually have them all included. So instead I’ll just do a quick rundown of the remaining characters worthy of note.

First up we have two of Asuka’s friends from school who aren’t magical girls. I don’t remember the names of these two, and I don’t care enough about them to figure it out. All you need to know is that protecting these two is the only reason Asuka remains an active magical girl and doesn’t retire.

Then there are three other magical girls which complete the magical five. While Asuka and Kurumi live in Japan, the same isn’t so for the other three. The only one whose name I know is Mia Cyrus, the American who’s essentially just your stereotypical gunslinger.

Next is the Russian magical girl who’s a member of the Spetsnaz. I don’t remember her name, but she uses a large flamethrower as her weapon and seems to have some mental issues which are revealed at the end of the series. I’m spoiling that because it literally doesn’t matter.

And, finally, we have the fifth magical girl who I assume is Chinese. She could honestly be from any Asian country and I wouldn’t know because she’s not actually a character in the series despite being featured prominently in the cover art and OP/ED.

Complaints

Alright, so it should come as little surprise by now that I don’t think Magical Girl Spec-Ops Asuka is a good anime. So what does it do wrong?

First we have the art. I get it, people will say that all art is subjective and so it’s unfair of me to say that the art in this series is bad. However, it’s very plain, and the faces of the female characters look strange because of their eyes, so I’m going to say it’s not the best art.

The animation isn’t very good either, as you may have assumed. It’s definitely not the worst animated series out there, but don’t go into this expecting One Punch Man (season 1) quality animation.

What about the story? Well, it isn’t very good either. It’s a pretty generic version of a dark magical girl series, so you know that being a magical girl isn’t all fun and games (which it lets you know right from the start).

However, what really makes this series bad is how seriously it takes itself during scenes which are either way too over-the-top or way too out-of-place. For example, the series might cut from action one scene, to a fan service scene the next, then back to the action.

Kurumi’s interrogations are also prime examples of this series trying to be more mature than it really is and therefore becoming over-the-top. Not only does Kurumi physically torture her captives by doing things like cutting off their limbs, she sexually tortures them too.

Her interrogations are more like BDSM roleplay than interrogations since she doesn’t even ask her victims any questions to start. It’s so disconnected from the rest of the series, and yet taken so seriously by the characters that it detracts from the experience.

I’m not going to link it here because this site is generally family friendly, but I’d recommend looking up some of those scenes on YouTube for the full effect.

Conclusion

Overall, Magical Girl Spec-Ops Asuka is a 1/10. It doesn’t really have any redeemable qualities, and yet I saw someone who actually rated it as a 9. If that’s you, please go watch some better anime.

At least the songs for the OP and ED were pretty good. The ED was by GARNiDELiA if I remember correctly, and I really like their music so I never skipped the ED. I don’t know who the OP was by, but it was still good too.

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