「帰ってきた魔法少女」 (Kaette Kita Mahō Shoujo)
“The Magical Girl Comes Back”

Ah grimdark mahou shoujo, it’s been around the block of late. Every couple of seasons or so sees a new one to indulge our love of cutie breaking (don’t deny, you know like it) with a new mechanism by which to see the fun ensue. Sure the concept is getting a little worn out by now, but never say a little imagination cannot go a long way. Or at least that’s what Mahou Shoujo Tokushusen Asuka (or MSTA because long names are hard) believes because it’s certainly aiming to differentiate itself from the pack.

As mentioned in the always useful RC Preview (I should know, I helps write the things) MSTA takes a different approach to gritty magical girls. Rather than the usual story of girl meets magic and hilarity (read: endless suffering) ensues, this one flips the script, seeing instead what happens after all the cutie breaking is said and done. The threat MSTA’s mahou shoujo were went to deal with—i.e. the Dias—has largely been eradicated, beaten back by their spirit-infused powers, albeit at the cost of a few cute lives. It was certainly a vicious war if a few scenes are anything to go by, and definitely one helpfully reinforcing the trope that all cute mascots are evil and malicious. Because if there’s one thing you do it’s never trust the plush. Ever.

Such an aftermath setting though wouldn’t be complete without the concomitant character suffering, and it’s here where MSTA will likely make its biggest impact. Main girl Asuka (Suzaki Aya) for example, one of the remaining magical girls by all appearances, is pretty much the definition of suffering as she not only has textbook PTSD, but possesses one hell of an ability to lob limbs off via magical combat knife without a moment’s hesitation. She’s stuck in a kind of postwar purgatory, wanting to live the rest of her life in peace after the trauma, but not quite able to abandon that which made her who she is. There’s just too much in way of memories and societal demands for a life of peace (as many ex-soldiers can relate to), especially given Asuka looks set to see her past come back in two different ways. Old squad leader/guardian begging for her return to help keep the world safe? Please, we all know where the real impetus is. Conspicuous box and new friend death flags courtesy of modern day political realities—I think we all know exactly where this one is heading.

While unclear just how well MSTA will execute its premise going forward (never count your magical chickens before they hatch), considering the current setup and the lack of any egregious production issues so far this is one show which has gone up a notch in my books. Sure it may still all fall apart, it may turn into a glorious trainwreck, but I’ll be damned if I’ll turn my nose up at magical girls doing special ops. There’s a lot of cutie breaking fun to come in this one, and I’d be remiss to skip out on it all.


OP Sequence

OP: 「KODO」by nonoc



  1. Uh, this Setup got me curious. Just that here the Super Soldiers are magical Girls and the World do not turn into “Life long an happy”


    In the first Picture the AK-47 Modify Gun is a lot bigger then on the 2nd.. here is it not quite right

  2. https://randomc.net/image/Mahou%20Shoujo%20Tokushusen%20Asuka/Mahou%20Shoujo%20Tokushusen%20Asuka%20-%2001%20-%2024.jpg
    Using plush toys as dimensional demon-imps? That’s really taking the cake for Evil of the Month. Almost like the plot of the 3rd & 7th Doctor Who that had those plastic-indwelling aliens, so you had possessed mannequins and trash cans. And immediately going after the Magical Girls’ families? Also top Evil.

    https://randomc.net/image/Mahou%20Shoujo%20Tokushusen%20Asuka/Mahou%20Shoujo%20Tokushusen%20Asuka%20-%2001%20-%2016.jpg https://randomc.net/image/Mahou%20Shoujo%20Tokushusen%20Asuka/Mahou%20Shoujo%20Tokushusen%20Asuka%20-%2001%20-%2017.jpg
    It’s no wonder our main protagonist has PTSD. She started this new life in middle school, and had to become adult-like with the ability to both kill and save the hostages/bystanders very quickly. I’m a retired American soldier myself, but my deployments were rather tame. I can understand PTSD, especially how a certain picture, an event, a scent can cause flashbacks. The younger a person is, the less prepared they are for the true horrors of full-out war. It sounds like this “dimensional invasion by the plush toys” was one such type war.

      1. Agreed, there’s just something about a wholly stoic and unemotional creature harvesting energy without so much a second thought versus a bunch of murderous plushies who seem to have a thing against humanity. Killing is vanilla, utilitarianism? Now that’s dirty.

  3. Ok, it’s true, the premise is intriguing and fascinating. Dark deconstructions of magical girls where the cute toys are Evil with capital ‘E’ are not new, but a mgical girl with PTSD adapting to normal life after the main conflict is over? Count me interested.

    Also, very interested in the political landscape.

    From the look of it, there are magical girls from different countries. One is at least American or with the American military. And another one seemed Chinese to me, which could be important since the enemy right now is this East Asia United Front that has guys such as Commander Kim (AKA “Totally China but with a different name”). Series with a “Japan good, China evil” are not new in anime either.*

    *In an interesting comparison, in the first episode of Girly Airly Force (a show this season that panders to military aircraft lovers and has a “Japanese has the best military technology” plot) China appeared as the victim of heinous attacks, Japan has opened its doors to thousands of Chinese refugees, and the protagonist is a Japanese boy who grew up in China and has a Chinese childhood friend. Even Japanese viewers were surprised.

      1. Indeed, but it wouldn’t be the first time fiction uses “North Korea” to avoid saying “China”. Of course, I could be wrong, and this East Asia United Front is 100% North Korean and we may see China later as a different entity.

    1. The politics is what’s keeping me interested in this. If it plays out similar to how Watchmen did then I’m definitely in this for the long haul. Magical girls as weapons of the state, I’m already giddy with excitement 😛

      1. My thoughts exactly. That said, after Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei and other anime, I’m wary. The likelihood that the international politics may boil down to “Japan good, foreigners evil; we have to do whatever it takes to defend ourselves from them”.

        I mean, look at her last words. What are the odds that when Asuka says “international crime” and “indiscriminate terrorism” she means the world-famous yakuza and Japanese domestic terrorism instead of foreign conspiracies?

    2. The girl in the bikini is clearly blonde, so that rules out the Chinese and the Russian. The American looks like a field operative getting down and dirty, so it’s rather doubtful that it’s her. Still doesn’t rule out the possibility that they’d end up on opposing sides though.

  4. https://randomc.net/image/Mahou%20Shoujo%20Tokushusen%20Asuka/Mahou%20Shoujo%20Tokushusen%20Asuka%20-%2001%20-%20Large%2027.jpg
    I am starting to want to see more tanned girls in anime,
    This is the first, and only time, I will probably see Magical girls be used on plane terrorists.

    Anyway, if this anime has the same dark genre as the Mahou Shoujo Site, where bullying and neglectful teachers exists in a “peaceful” city then I expect the government to give those idiots a capital punishment for bullying the magical girls, the world is better off without trash.

    1. alone the blood gore is adult stuff. I think you will be right with Dark Age Magical Girls. This is not for children, is it more for Adults that grown up with Magical Girls being an Boy and still can cheer them on without feeling awkward

  5. While it’s been made clear that the alien / extra dimensional threat has largely been eliminated, it’s shown they’re still operating and given the way this is looking a bit like a mahou shoujo version of Release the Spyce to a degree, they’re probably working more covertly behind the scenes like possibly with that group at the end of the episode, as opposed to outright invasion like we saw in the prologue.

    I did have a little bit of emotional whiplash though at some points, like we go from this…


    …to this…


    …in barely a minute. x_x

    1. The Dias will certainly pop back up again (I think a few synopses I’ve read have indicated so as well), but I imagine it’ll be in a mercenary role similar to Asuka and friends. At this point they’re just weapons without a target, and plenty of power hungry people want badly to give them targets.

  6. The story’s going to have to carry this ’cause the animation is thoroughly meh. Not quite My Sister My Writer bad, but definitely flirting with that ballpark. Which is not promising for an opening episode.

  7. And of course she’s not into guys and has to go to any all girl school just because. Why do they keep adding Yuri to these show so much? Why is it so ” in” right now with mahou shojo? This Yuri thing is going to far now. women CAN be close and STILL like guys that is possible to do. Every time a new dark mahou shojo comes out I get excited but get let down because once again girlxgirl has to pushed some way.

    1. Pretty sure Asuka’s orientation hasn’t been revealed yet, but I doubt the series will go down the yuri route. Close friendship maybe, but this is going to be all about the suffering and nothing says suffering like breaking a cutie or three.

  8. https://randomc.net/image/Mahou%20Shoujo%20Tokushusen%20Asuka/Mahou%20Shoujo%20Tokushusen%20Asuka%20-%2001%20-%20Large%2013.jpg

    Being a mahou shoujo in a post Madoka era is full of suffering.

    I say it’s an interesting to see they bring mahou shoujo genre to contemporary issues like international crime, civil wars and terrorism. Though I think it’s not the first time.

    Plus its even more interesting to see what happens to mahou shoujo after the big bad evil has been defeated. Though I don’t think this is the first time as well.

    Henrietta Brix
  9. I like the unusual starting point for this magical girl series, and it got badass as fuck towards the end. It’s certainly not a high budget series… but then I still watch anime from the 80s so that really doesn’t matter to me, I’m just not burdened with that kind of aesthetic preciousness. It looks good in its own terms, the designs are nice and the art direction is fine.

  10. I get the feeling that this is one of those shows that’s going to end up being a lot dumber and more action-focused than the elevator pitch of its premise may seem to imply. Actually probably not a bad thing, since the Goblin Slayer-esque R-rated carnage that permeated this first episode was quite entertaining (and judging by the episode 2 preview, probably sustainable to some degree). Just means it’s likely subvert audience expectations, is all; excelling in ways inconsistent therewith. Or I could be dead wrong, which would be a pleasant surprise. Well, either way, I don’t think I’ll be disappointed…


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