English Dub Review: Magical Girl Spec-Ops Asuka “The Magical Girls and This Beautiful World”

It sucks to be disarmed in the heat of battle.

Overview (Spoilers Below)

Geiss and Chisato have infiltrated the base Kurumi and Asuka are trying to defend. Kurumi is facing off against Chisato, who has erected a magical barrier around the two of them, and Asuka is going toe-to-toe with Geiss the robot child. Kurumi fights with blood in her teeth, going it at with Chisato at full force when she makes an off-handed comment about Kurumi being her “Punching bag.” She is somehow able to knock Chisato out and end the fight once she gets serious with it.

Meanwhile, Asuka’s fight against Geiss goes pretty poorly. Asuka loses her arm to a powerful attack from Geiss and has to push through the pain to keep up the fight. Izuka comes in at the last minute though and helps Asuka defeat Geiss, rendering him as helpless as the disabled child he actually is. Once Geiss is knocked onto the ground, he confesses that the accident Chisato got it was actually orchestrated by the organization Geiss works for. Chisato has a mental breakdown but is soon apprehended by the base’s military forces.

Asuka’s friends are kept safe from attack by Mia, and all is well by the time the battle ends. However, as we see the penguin familiar accompanying Geiss returning to his true master, it seems that there was an ulterior motive to this fight other than attacking the general. Still, for the time being, the magical girls depart as friends and go back to their lives.

Our Take:

This is, to my knowledge, the penultimate episode of Magical Girl Spec-Ops Asuka, and it can’t come soon enough. This mess of an anime has gone on as long as I can possibly stand, and the sooner it ends, the sooner we can move in from this strange, perverted clusterfuck that calls itself a show. This is an action-heavy episode, to be certain, one that tries to pull out more of its animation budget and dazzle somewhat with special effects and shock value. This, as per usual, comes with middling success, especially because the rest of the episode outside of these scenes has huge issues with tone. All the same criticisms of prior episodes still apply here but are made worse by the embarrassing fight scenes that are supposed to be the centerpieces of the episode.

The Chisato vs. Kurumi fight tries to reach some kind of ethos by having Chisato echo the “punching bag” trauma that Kurumi endured as a child. Of course, all it does is create one of those cringe moments that seems like it would be better off in a teenager’s bad fanfiction. Cringe is the order of the day here on Magical Girl Asuka, the show that alternates between being disgustingly over-sexualized and ridiculously edgy. Chisato is a complete joke; the kind of character only a 12-year-old would find interesting, and Kurumi is no better. The awkward internal dialogues between the two of them don’t do much for the fight except provide a little bit of context to a fight that the show can’t properly explain with its visuals.

Since this is an episode bringing us to the conclusion of the season, it’s worth mentioning how insubstantial this episode is plot-wise for finishing up the series. With only Asuka and Kurumi having gotten any character development throughout the plot, they’re the only two we really care about, and their fights don’t offer much in the way of themes or character growth. These battles are only here to shock and grab attention. There’s no better metaphor for this than Asuka losing her arm mid-fight with Geiss. It’s a moment that’s supposed to be dramatic but comes off as just plain silly. It doesn’t help that Geiss decides that then is a great time to go into his “tragic backstory.” Sure, Asuka, just wait around while Geiss explains himself, it’s not like you’re bleeding out or anything.

What do you really expect from this show, at this point? The fact that this is only getting a 12 episode season tells me just how pointless it is, and reveals how little story it actually has to tell. There’s only one more episode left, so one that’s through, then this series can be buried into the ground where it belongs.

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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