Magical Girl Spec-Ops Asuka is a magical girl/military manga written by Makoto Fukami and illustrated by Seigo Tokiya. The series also has a military advisor: Naoya Tamura.
The manga began publication in manga magazine Monthly Big Gangan, published by Square Enix. The series is being published in English by Seven Seas Entertainment, with two volumes available at the time of writing.
This first volume contains three chapters – which are all fairly long, presumably due to being published on a monthly basis.Magical girls with big guns!
Three years ago, alien invaders ravaged the Earth – until they were defeated by a group of young women blessed with powers from a mysterious source. The girls went back to their normal lives after vanquishing the ghastly monsters, but that time of peace is about to end. The same malevolent creatures have resurfaced, which means it’s time for the Magical Girl Special Ops force to head back to the battlefront and defend mankind!
Unsurprisingly, the main character of Magical Girl Spec-Ops Asuka is Asuka Otori. She is a magical girl, but after that fateful battle three years prior to the events of the manga, she simply wants to return to having an ordinary life.
That fateful battle certainly had an impact on her – she pretty much suffers PTSD, which is why she is so keen to lead an ordinary life. She may be known as one of the Legendary Magical Five who brought the conflict against the aliens to an end, but that battle started with nine magical girls.
Their enemies – the Disas – are very nasty, and it becomes very easy to see why Asuka suffers PTSD as this volume reveals more about them.
0Of course, as these things tend to be, Asuka is soon asked to return to battle once more. She initially refuses the call, and just pursues an ordinary existence. She is even able to make friends, but then one of those friends ends up being threatened by a gun-wielding terrorist.
Asuka returns to being a magical girl, though this time her foes are more human than before.
This volume also introduces the second of the Legendary Magical Five: Kurumi Mugen. She plays the role of healer, and seems to have quite a close relationship with Asuka. Kurumi’s past is briefly touched upon, and it is very similar to Aya Asagiri’s past from Magical Girl Site.
There is also a third magical girl – Mia Cyrus. Her appearance in this first volume has her on a mission in Tijuana, and that leads to the hint that a far crueler war is about to take place.
I really liked this first volume of Magical Girls Spec-Ops Asuka. Sure, it may be another dark magical girl series, but I’ve never really seen them give us a character with PTSD from the start. Asuka is forced to balance her regular life with being a magical girl, and it seems that her enemies are planning to make a move that will force those two things together.
The action is pretty good, and when Asuka is forced to fight, she is more than capable. I particularly like her Magical Karambit – the curved knife she wields. That is a very powerful weapon that allows Asuka to pull off some impressive feats.
The character designs are great – Asuka looks good as both a normal human and a magical girl. The military are also involved with the plot of this one, and that ensures that the military advisor is put to good use.
This first volume is off to a very good start, and I am very eager to read more from the series.