Mahou Shoujo Site (Magical Girl Site)
Welcome everyone to Mahou Mini a short review series Ill be putting out occasionally to talk about the newer magical girl series, Since the main Mahou Profile series is going to take approximately a hojillion years to reach the present day, I figured I should come up with away. I can talk about more recent shows sooner without cutting significantly into production time for Mahou Profile. For that reason, you won't see quite as much of my usual heavy editing style in these minisodes and I won't go into quite as much detail either since I want to save some stuff for the eventual full profiles of these shows (, even if they're gonna Be like ten years down the line, ) *sigh* Anyway I'll mainly just be giving my broad impressions in these and leaving the deeper analysis for later articles.
With that, out of the way, our first Mahou Mini is about a recently finished series called Mahou, Shoujo Site or Magical Girl, Site And hoo boy, what a doozy to start on Big warning right up front here, while I'll try to avoid showing anything in graphic detail. The subject matter of this show is very intense and may be tough to hear about for anyone who has experience with abuse, intense bullying, sexual assault, rape, self-harm, suicide, or other similarly traumatic experiences.
If you want my overall opinion on the series, without seeing or hearing about any of that stuff skip now to the timecode shown on-screen or written in the article description Ill, give you some time to skip Okay for the rest of you. Here we go
So there was a comment thread on the last Mahou Profile episode about the legacy of Puella Magi Madoka Magica, and the string of dark magical girl shows that have since come out in its wake. I've wanted to weigh in more on this discourse. But, to be honest, I really hadn't seen any of the most commonly accused imitators. Until now I haven't seen Yuki Yuna as a Hero. I haven't seen Magical Girl Raising Project and I hadn't been planning on reading Magical Girl Site, yet either
From the discussions, I had heard about Yuki, Yuna, and Magical Girl Raising Project in particular, I got the impression that these shows might not be quite as adept at handling the darker elements. They present as say shows like Madoka, Magica, or Revolutionary Girl. Utena is and that those elements might come across as crass and exploitative as a result. -- not exactly my cup of tea. If true
So I put off reading these shows for a while, not sure if I wanted to test the waters on them just yet, But seeing those recent comments made me think it was about time I actually gave one of these shows a chance.
At the very least, if I ended up hating it, I would be able to talk about how much I hated it from an informed position. I chose Magical Girl Site for my first foray into these shows because it's the most recent and thus the most likely to be representative of where this whole dark magical girl trend, is at right now. As of this writing, I just finished reading all twelve episodes of Magical Girl Site
And I think I feel sick Like physically. I want to throw up right now. Let me give you an idea of what we're dealing with Magical Girl Site is about a timid, high school girl named Aya Asagiri, who suffers intensive daily bullying at school and physical abuse by her older brother at home, and this makes her constantly think about killing herself To escape the pain One night at the lowest point of her despair, Aya discovers a mysterious website called the Magical Girl Site featuring a chalk-white figure with the creepiest face imaginable.
This figure Nana offers to make Aya a magical, girl and sure enough. Aya finds a heart-shaped gun in her locker at school. The next day She doesn't use it at first, but when her tormentors at school escalate their bullying to the level of attempted rape, Aya fires, the gun in desperation, instantly teleporting two of the bullies onto nearby train tracks, where they are killed in gruesome fashion. From this point on, Aya begins running into other magical girls, including a mysterious classmate named Tsuyuno Yatsumura, who quickly becomes very protective of her
The series mainly follows Aya and Tsuyuno, as they attempt to battle and ally with other magical girls, as well as solve the mystery of what the Magical Girl Site is, what its goals are and who runs it. This show is not good.
Yeah, let's not mince words about it. This is a bad show If the over-the-top shock value, content, weren't bad enough, the animation, quality, and art direction are pretty mediocre throughout
The character designs all feel pretty derivative too, Not for any particular commentating or deconstructive purpose either. I feel like -- they're, just these uninspired, moe archetypes and the 17-year-old version of edgy designs for the most part Character. Motivations are all over the place as well with the girls either progressing or regressing in their personal arcs, based more on what will best get the show to its next agonizing set-piece rather than on any meaningful character growth, Where the viewer's sympathy is supposed to lie. At any given moment is also very confused.
You would think that were supposed to sympathize with Aya and the other victimized magical girls first and foremost, but the show often seems to take active pleasure in their suffering. The camera tends to hold on to the girls, pain, and despair way longer than is necessary to establish it for the narrative and the framing of their suffering is uncomfortably voyeuristic at times as well. The show even goes so far as to make Ayas brothers abusiveness of her into a running gag in the next episode previews, Like haha He's, so annoyed that he can't tie up his little sister and punch her in the stomach so hard. She pukes anymore,
Hahaha, That's, so hilarious, Hashtag, relatable, amirite, Its pardon, my French f*cking disgusting and the tone problems with the brother throughout the series just get worse and worse with every episode.
Don't try to tell me its for the sake of making him a more hateable villain or something either
He certainly is that, but, given how funny the show seems to think he is, and just how much time is spent reveling in his sheer awfulness, pushes things far past the point of ``. Look A bad guy and straight into the heart of Please enjoy this psychopath and all the gruesome damage he causes to these innocent young, girl things And spoilers. Somehow even he gets the raw end of the stick by the last episode and not in a good way As much as he deserves to be punished for his actions. That punishment is served by means of another really awful trope. The predatory, gay
I think I don't have to say much more on that front.
Eugh The most frustrating thing about Magical Girl Site, though, Is that sometimes it's almost good. Whenever the series decides to take a break from performative, psychopathy, and voyeuristic torture scenes, there is kind of a heart to the dynamic that forms among the girls and especially between Aya and Tsuyuno.
Don't get me wrong. It's still undermined a lot by everything I just described, but it is there.
There is something hopeful to be found in reading Aya, find friends and allies amidst all the awful things in her life and slowly but surely deciding she does want to live, after all, As tangled up in wretchedly over-the-top plot points as it is the connection she finds With Tsuyuno feels genuine, And some of the other cast members have similarly genuine-feeling plights and connections as well, such as Kiyo, a transgender girl who is bullied at school and given the power of linking her mind directly with others -- an effective way to get across the Empathy and intelligence of her character - Surprisingly, the show does a pretty decent job of not questioning the validity of Kiyos gender, too
There are only a couple, mildly, dubious responses to her by the other magical girls at first, but then it quickly becomes a non-issue and for the rest of the show they treat her as they would any other girl.
Considering how little genuine trans representation there is in anime, the fact that the awful edgelord torture porn does a better job in this respect than most of its peers is well it's something anyway. I highly recommend reading ThePedanticRomantic's recent article on Magical Girl Site which talks about how the show focuses on the connections between people who have suffered trauma, especially as it relates to trans people. She demonstrates more clearly than anyone else, I've seen what actually works about the series. So, to sum up, personally, even with some more interesting and genuine elements present in the series, I think they're far from enough to beat out everything else that is utterly repugnant about it.
The inclusion of traumatic subject matter is usually more for shock value than an actual exploration of that subject matter. The character arcs are confused and often forced the art and animation are average at best and sometimes downright poor, and the show revels too much in its villains. Actions to claim that it's simply making them more hateable, I would not recommend Magical Girl Site unless you have a very strong stomach and areas morbidly curious about the current state of the dark magical girl trend. As I was