English Dub Review: Magical Girl Spec-Ops Asuka “If This Battle Ever Ends”

More like, “If this anime never ends…”

Overview (Spoilers Below)

This episode tries to wrap up all the stories in an episode that is mostly exposition and dialogue. It starts with Asuka and Kurumi being decommissioned from their fight in the last few episodes and asking each other what they’re going to do once they go back to civilian life. No one really has an answer, but each of them goes back to their respective countries and reports to their superiors.

We see another, previously un-introduced magical girl, Lau Peipei, who’s off doing her own thing laying low, apparently. Meanwhile, Kurumi tortures Chisato, who was captured in the last episode and somehow convinces her to work as a maid in their little cafe that doubles as their home base.

After enjoying their day together, Asuka and Kurumi regroup with the other magical girls and spend an afternoon getting lunch with each other and having a good time. They bond, share their stories and reflect on what’s happened and what’s to come, remarking that though the war against the Gigas was won, the battles never really end.

Our Take:

It’s so strange when a series that runs for 12 episodes doesn’t know how to fill out its time. It’s pretty easy to tell a story that runs for only 12 episodes, as in the world of anime that’s actually a pretty short length of time. Yet, Magical Girl Spec-Ops Asuka, the grotesque, deformed black sheep of the season, has decided to end the season with what is basically a filler/recap episode. Typically, one would want their season to end with a bang or some kind of narrative closure; something that astounds and makes the viewer reel from the impact. But you’ll find none of that here, just a lot of endless, dull fish-lipped dialogue that explains the plot of a show which has nowhere else to go. This makes for an episode that, above all else, is boring. Oh, and there’s a torture scene thrown in there, too, just so we can add a few more “edgy” points to the show before this wretched season ends.

Once again, Asuka skirts the line between softcore pornography and a mature story by having Kurumi strip her victim down to her underwear and torture her. This stuff is pretty disgusting, and not in a fun way. Violence can be a compelling storytelling tool, but here it’s just gratuitous torture porn in a show that has as much subtlety as a Las Vegas bordello. I’ve already spoken at length about this before, so there isn’t much more to say, but it’s still frustrating to see.

Do you know what’s just splendid? When an anime introduces characters in the last episode of its season. That way, we don’t have to worry about such pesky things as “development” or “a reason to be in the show.” It’s a complete waste when a show does this, perhaps for some cheap points in scoring a second season. But because the story being told here has the maturity level of an angry adolescent fanfiction, I don’t think to play the “story” angle is going to work for this show.

This is a mess of a finale that’s all over the place and feels like a first draft written in an afternoon. In a way, it’s a fitting end for a disgusting waste of an anime that isn’t worth the ink that it’s drawn with. It’s completely off-focus, can’t hold my attention with its terrible dialogue, and keeps ruining whatever tone it has with awkward torture scenes and misplaced slice-of-life moments. Let’s all just try and forget that this ever happened, and hope that Funimation knows better than to push out the second season of this garbage.

Erich Hau

Erich is a northern California based writer on the front lines of the nerd frontier. When he's not burning the midnight oil he enjoys musicals, smooth jazz, and a good cup of dark roast. Cream and sugar not included.

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