by Rebecca Silverman,

Magical Girl Apocalypse

GN 1

Magical Girl Apocalypse GN 1
Kii Kogami is bored of his life. He lives in self-insulated apathy, blandly observing his childhood friend getting bullied, his crush, and his requisite slightly-pervy pals. He wishes that something, anything would happen to shake things up...until it does. One day he observes a creepy, doll-like Goth Loli girl appear at the school gates and kill the guidance counselor. Then she comes for the rest of the class. Then for him. Suddenly Kii is wishing for his old life again as he flees both the sadistic magical girls and the zombies they create in a world that seems to sum up the phrase, “be careful what you wish for.”

What if magical girls started the zombie apocalypse? That's probably not a question you've ever asked yourself, but it appears to have crossed the mind of Kentarō Satō, because essentially that's what Magical Girl Apocalypse is. One day mysterious doll-like girls fall from the sky and begin killing the Japanese population. The government dubs them “magical girls” because the only thing they say is a constant chant of “magical.” (Imagine it in a little girl monotone for the creepiest scenario.) Kii Kogami is one of the first to witness their arrival – he's sitting in class half-heartedly working on a test when he sees a Goth Loli girl come in the school gates and take out Genji-sen, the school counselor. And by “take out,” I mean “explode half of his head with her gun-wand.” Kii, in a state of shock, flees the classroom, and when he returns, the girl is there systematically killing his friends and classmates in the most gruesome way possible. When Kii and a group of other survivors escape the school, they find that thousands, if not millions, of these “magical girls” are falling from a giant pentagram in the sky, seemingly bent on wiping out the entire population of Japan.

As you can see, “apocalypse” is the word you ought to be paying attention to in the title. Magical Girl Apocalypse is pure horror, filled with blood, brains, and the absolute worst kind of zombie: anyone killed by a magical girl takes on her powers and none of them shuffle slowly towards their victims. To say that this book is gross might be understating it a little, and that gruesome quality is made somehow the worse for the inclusion of panty shots with a carefully drawn line showing us the vulvas of the girls in question...who may or may not have whole heads at the moment of fanservice. This mix of gore and fanservice isn't anything new within the genre, but if it isn't something you're used to or a fan of, it can be very off-putting beyond the parameters of “horror.” More amusingly, Sato apparently thinks that breasts can flap and fold as if they were bags of gel rather than part of the human body, making some of the attempted fanservice more laughable than anything.

Luckily for horror fans, other parts are handled much more adeptly. Kii, and by extension the readers, are constantly lulled into a false sense of knowing who the survivors are and will be – although the clever reader can spot hints – keeping everyone perpetually on edge. Deaths are vicious and sudden but not carried out with too much regularity so as to keep us on our toes. Each magical girl has a unique and creepy design, like a brutal (or brutalized) doll with rolling eyes, and each also has a specific power that she uses to kill. The death scenes are, as has been mentioned, gruesome, and Sato pays attention to each awful little detail, from the bulging of an exploding eyeball to the curl of intestines. Expressions of terror on the survivors are also quite detailed, although one is forced to question whether or not a girl wetting her pants is being played for a show of fear or audience titillation. (Could it be both?)

Perhaps the most interesting part of the story is the little hints we get about how these magical monster girls got to Japan in the first place. Underneath the horror is the idea that someone may have summoned them, and it seems very possible that it was Kii's childhood friend Tsukune. We first see her having her head held in a bucket of water by two bully girls while Kii walks by and says nothing. Later in a view of the classroom as the magical girl attacks, her face is left suspiciously blank. How she survives the massacre also raises questions, as do a few other small moments within the story, including the epilogue from an unknown character's point of view. Could Tsukune have called the Magical Girl Apocalypse down to get revenge? And if it was her, how will she punish Kii for not coming to her rescue in the beginning?

If you have the stomach for a lot of splatter and gross fanservice (or grossness and fanservice), Magical Girl Apocalypse's first volume is worth checking out. It revels in its horror while leaving hints of a larger plot, and if parts of it strain credulity even within the genre, it still holds your attention – no matter how much you may want to look away. As publisher Seven Seas says, these are not your mommy's magical girls. The only bright color they are likely to show you is the red of your own blood.

Overall : B+
Story : B+
Art : B

+ Gross and creepy with hints about why the magical girls have come. Nonstop action makes it hard to put down. Interesting take on magical girls.
May be too gross for some readers and the fanservice may rub some the wrong way. Sato has no idea how breasts work and draws feet too small to support his characters.

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Production Info:
Story & Art: Kentarō Satō

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Magical Girl of the End (manga)

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Magical Girl Apocalypse (GN 1)

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