028: Mahou Shoujo Site
AKA: Magical Girl Site
Aired: Spring 2018
Genres: Drama, Horror, Action, Supernatural
Date watched: Dec 28 2018 – Dec 29 2018
Series watched: Mahou Shoujo Site (12 ep x 24 mins)
Why I started watching: Smitten by Yuzu in Konohana Kitan, I looked up what other roles her seiyuu had played. Very little, it turned out, but she was one of the leads in this one. I hadn’t yet done any Magical Girl shows, nor had I done any horror-ish ones, so I decided to jump off the deep end and go explore a bit.
I was forewarned by MAL reviews that the anime was “edgy” and had a lot of questionable content. I also had more than one friend who couldn’t get through it, and mentioned apologetically that magical girl shows are usually “not like this”. It was a bit weird to have to explain to them and the rest of the Internet that I actually legitimately liked the show. Does that make me weird? Maybe, but then again trying to justify all that just sounds like I’m doing the reverse of them too.
Mahou Shoujo Site does contain unrealistic amounts of over-the-top bullying, as well as murders, animal abuse, suicide, attempted rape, varying amounts of sexual deviance and abuse, lots of blood, and other potentially uncomfortable things. This is especially true in the first episode, which the main character, Aya, gets into a whole ton of trouble. They do tone it down significantly after that, but that certainly seemed to have caused lots of people to drop the show. But I was able to accept that. For me it did the opposite, this show made me realize that I really like seeing the main female protagonist have to suffer (bullying, or worse) and then go through a nice redemption or revenge arc afterwards. The bullying/redemption cycle is one that I like a lot, if the character is female, and I believe that even though this was over the top, watching this helped strengthen the impact of 3-gatsu no Lion‘s arc even more when I hopped to that soon after.
Anyway, I think it was done on purpose, to set the audience’s mood and try to make us feel the sense of despair and desolation that the girls were feeling all the time. The sheer torrent of horrible things that happened helped me detach myself from the realism of the show’s world, and instead I understood that I was supposed to suspend my disbelief and just feel really bad for the girls and root for them. I especially found the seiyuu of Aya’s brother to do a good job of exaggerating his lines so as to keep the viewer on their toes in the end-of-episode monologues, as though warning us to stay away, or else something even worse would happen to her.
The show follows what I understand to be a magical girl trope – each one is given a magical item with a certain power and a number of charges that they can use it for. The girls get into so much trouble through the show that there was a subdued blanket of hopelessness over them, episode in and episode out, even when they occasionally try to de-stress a little and just enjoy being kids. Although they left a lot of plot threads loose due to the ongoing manga, I was still surprised at how they managed to write themselves out of holes, as they kept dangling the girls an inch away from certain death and doom throughout the story. However, the anime itself resolved one huge plot point by the end but left about five others hanging, so that was too bad.
Character-wise, it was interesting that the two main characters, Tsuyuno (leftmost in picture) and Aya (rightmost in picture), were drawn in a rather muted style compared to all the other supporting magical girls, which were drawn in a more “regular” anime way. They often straight up looked unexpressive or bored. Also, the show did introduce a transgendered character and treated her respectfully, which is a plus for me, since I usually see LGBT characters in anime treated really badly for comedic effect. It was really, really weird to hear the seiyuu that was playing sweet, gentle Yuzu from Konohana also play poor, abused Aya here, though, even though both characters were meek in their own sweet ways.
None of the OP/EDs were interesting to me, but you can’t win them all. I’m not certain this show will ever get a second season, and I have no interest in reading the manga, so it makes me grumpy as an anime-only consumer that I probably will never see the True Ending. I believe I did read that the anime’s ending diverged a little from the manga anyway though, which may have shot any chances for a second season.
Final Score: 8/10