What’s the show? Magical Girl Spec-Ops Asuka, Episode 3.
So how’s this episode? After the recap of last week’s events we have a wonderful opening scene with Mia Cyrus a.k.a ‘Just Cause Mia’ and American Magical Girl taking down a drug cartel in Mexico. And is it just me or is there something really cool about an anime that has scenes taking place outside of Japan? Don’t get me wrong, I love Japan but there’s something broader about the scope of an anime when it can just plonk down into a new country. Anyway, Mia’s a total badass and because she’s American of course her magical weapon of choice is a shape-shifting gun, she blows through her enemies until they come to a torture victim in a room on the verge of death. But before they can do much a cube of light forms around him and begins crushing his body by shrinking in size. As he’s being crushed he mutters something about “the babel brigade” and “a more terrible war” before ending up a shoe-box sized bloody cube on the floor.
And I take it that’s important? I don’t know. Probably, I imagine it’ll be to do with the “illegal” magical girl faction and their plans going forward. But I just wanted to relay just how cool this opening scene was–that and Mia saying “crushing these fuckers is our job” was absolutely amazing. I could watch a whole series just about Mia taking down drug cartels and organised crime with her ridiculously overpowered magical gun and spouting one-liners.
Right. And the rest of the episode then? I won’t go into too much detail as a lot happens but Kurumi transfers to their school and she’s hesitant about Asuka’s school friends and their connection. And turns out things are more complicated for Kurumi too as we learn she was horribly bullied as a child by her classmates and that being able to transform into a magical girl is the only thing that makes her life tolerable–that she has that escape. Still Asuka is reluctant to the point of combativeness to take up the old-life despite Kurumi’s very valid point that “having people you care about is a reason to fight for them”.
Sounds like the series’ overall maturity on delicate subject matter retains in tact. That’s good to hear. Also they all go to a pool because Nozomi wants to ogle all the girls in their swimwear (the girl is so gay)!
*sigh* of course they do… Okay to be fair this scene excuses its fan service by giving Sayako some great character development. She climbs to the highest diving platform in the pool (despite never having dived before) and stares the terror in the face and she jumps and in doing so regains some of the control over her life that she had lost from getting caught up in a near-death experience. This show handles its subject matter with a mature and deft touch that I absolutely appreciate.
And then what happens? Well unfortunately for my best girl Nozomi something I feared was going to happen came to pass. She is kidnapped by the “illegal” magical girls and as they do so the villainous henchmen name check her father–who we learned in Episode 2 is a torturer for a special division of the Metropolitan Police. So I guess we know what that means, Nozomi’s probably going to end up getting tortured for something her father did and I’m going to get ~triggered~ and drop the show.
Wait, what?! Okay, I don’t actually know that that’s going to happen, and I wouldn’t drop a show as good as this because it did something that narratively absolutely makes sense for it to happen. But I’m not going to be happy about it all the same!
I see… well then, overall thoughts on the episode? The show continues to build on its strengths established in previous episodes and remains an entertaining and compelling series. It juggles the gritty action of its magical girl escapades with its humble (but still well-written) slice of life-esque school shenanigans with ease. I eagerly await–and somewhat apprehensively dread–the next episode!
Previous ‘Magical Girl Spec-Ops Asuka’ Reviews:
The Fight Never Ends – Episode 1 Review
Surviving Takes Its Toll – Episode 2 Review
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