Here is one of my most anticipated shows of the winter season of anime, Magical Girl Spec-Ops Asuka. I’ve been collecting the manga, and have eagerly been awaiting this animated adaptation ever since it was announced. Naturally, this first episode serves as an introduction for our main character, Asuka Otori.
We kick off with an introduction to magical girls, with Magical Girl Rapture Asuka. Magical girls fight monsters known as Disas, which happen to look rather cuddly. Another world, the Spirit Realm, opposed the Disas as well, and as such formed a military alliance with Earth and created the Spirit Realm Treaty Organisation to aid humanity. That led to the creation of magical girls, but the battles they fought were brutal ones.
Magical Girls fought against the Disas, and it came down to one final battle against the king of the Disas, the Disas Beast. Nine of them entered the battle, but only five survived.
Three years later, Asuka has transferred into a new school, and her athletic prowess catches the attention of one of the other students. Asuka pretty much keeps to herself, and as she returns home we see that she suffers PTSD.
At school, there are two girls who befriend Asuka, particularly after an incident involving some guy throwing away a cigarette butt. They are Nozomi Makino and Sayoko Hata. Nozomi tries to convince Asuka to join the track club, whilst Sayoko extends an invitation for the literature club. Asuka reads books to keep her mind occupied; if she doesn’t, she’ll remember the bad things.
After school one day, Asuka finds Iizuka waiting for her. They go to a café, and Iizuka tells Asuka that they are forming a squad that will be focused on magical combat. He wants Asuka to go back to the battlefield as part of the M Squad, but Asuka feels that she has fought enough for one lifetime.
As for Asuka’s biological parents, well, the Disas got to them back when she was in middle school. Asuka was willing to make a deal to get them back, but the Disas intended on returning them regardless: one body part at a time. Asuka believes that the people close to her get killed when she kills, so she wants to leave behind the life of a magical girl. She refuses Iizuka’s offer.
The following day, Asuka tells Nozomi and Sayoko the man that she met with was her dad. Nozomi thought something suspect was going on, but is relieved when that turns out to not be the case. Asuka decides to try out both the athletics and literature clubs, and she enjoys herself. Being with Nozomi and Sayoko puts her at ease.
Asuka happens to see Sayoko when she is out and about, but can’t work up the nerve to say hello to her. The peace is soon shattered, however, when a terrorist escapes from police custody and starts gunning down innocent civilians to create chaos and make an esacpe. One of those innocent civilians he happens to point a gun it is Sayoko.
Asuka didn’t want to fight anymore, but she doesn’t have any intention of letting her friends get killed. She races over to Sayoko and protects her from Kim Kanth, before going on the offensive.
Asuka immobilises Kim Kanth by cutting his legs of, and she finishes off the rest of her opponents. Somewhere else, the battle is being observed.
The episode ends with Asuka cutting down the rest of the terrorists, whilst Sayoko watches on in awe.
This probably won’t come as a surprise, but episode 1 of Magical Girl Spec-Ops Asuka adapts chapter 1 of the manga. There are a couple of changes here and there, so I’ll go over them.
First up, the flashback to middle school Asuka encountering those two Disas monsters. In the manga, there was a plate that had a thumb, fingernail and tooth on before the Disas appeared. The severed hand in the box made into the adaptation, but this episode didn’t show what else Asuka received later on. It was a box that contained the severed heads of her parents.
The other scene that changed somewhat was the one with the woman that Abby called her ‘Queen’ observing Asuka. In the manga, she is alone, but here in the anime she is accompanied by a few others.
Everything else is faithful to the manga, though the order in which some events are told have been shifted around a bit. The formation of the Spirit Realm Treaty Organisation came shortly before the flashback showing the grisly fate of Asuka’s parents, rather than the beginning like here in the anime.
As for this first episode; I liked it. I can already tell that the soundtrack is going to be something I like a lot.
This served as a good introduction to Asuka; we know that she has suffered a lot during her time as a magical girl, and is still haunted by everything that happened. However, when push comes to shove she will fight to protect her friends.
Talking of her friends, I agree with Asuka when she says that Nozomi and Sayoko make a good pair.
It’s dark, it’s bloody, but I Magical Girl Spec-Ops Asuka is off to a great start. Having read the manga, I know what to expect but I am looking forward to seeing all of it regardless.