Let me start out by saying that Magical Girl Apocalypse is not for everyone. It is gruesome and involves a lot of sensitive topics. Just wanted to give a heads up for anyone is squeamish to such topics (like dismemberment, sexual assault, and torture). This series only gets worse (in terms of gore and violence) as the volumes progress. Naturally, I was drawn to this manga when I went to bookstore, the front cover kind of conveys this notion of horror in an unlikely style and this series definitely delivers on that. Since this is a more mature manga, I will treat this review as such. I will talk in detail about the volume which means if you don’t want spoilers past chapter 1, I suggest you stop reading this. Let’s get started.
Magical Girl Apocalypse is a manga series written by Kentaro Sato with 6 volumes translated in english with the 7th volume coming out in two weeks. I am unsure but there are probably at least 12 volumes out in Japan currently.
The story starts off like any shitty school, slice of life manga with the protagonist, Kii Kogami starting his day at school. He is walking through the halls to his class. On his way to class, he walks by his obvious crush, her name doesn’t matter, she dies in the first chapter once the shit hits the fan, but more on that shortly. After completely getting embarrassed he continues to class. He then sees in the girls bathroom that his childhood friend, Fukumoto Tsukune, being given the classic swirly with a little extra umph to it. He just looks on without giving it much thought, once he is noticed by the bullies and Tsukune, he leaves without helping his old friend. Like the piece of shit he is. He makes the excuse that him and Tsukune are no longer close and doesn’t want any more stress, but that is a pathetic way to look at it when you see an old friend of yours being back alley busted by two submissive bitches in the bathroom. Also… I’ve made the conscious decision to crown Tsukune as best girl and I don’t care what anyone says.
Once in class, he does what any anime protagonist does… look out the fucking window and not listen to the teacher. But this time looking out the window actually advances the plot. He looks out the window and sees his gym teacher heckling this little girl. Although once he raises his voice to her, he gets his head caved in by her massive ball mallet. Once this happens, shit goes south. The girl who killed the gym teacher, says nothing but “magical” so I’m just gonna call her magical girl. Magical girl shoots up into his classroom, which Kii isn’t in anymore since he went to the bathroom. Once he hears the crash of the glass he races back and sees a traumatic site. All his friends and classmates being brutally ripped apart and dismembered. The only thing that would have made this scene any better was if Hammer smashed face by Cannibal Corpse was playing in the background (for those who’ve never heard the song, look it up. It’s great). The only people left alive in this blood orgy was Kii and Tsukune (she was hiding in the supplies locker).
We learn that once your killed by the magical girl, you come back to life as a zombie. Also saying “magical” all the time and just wreaking havoc. So Kii and Tsukune get the fuck out of dodge and make a break for the hallway and are saved by another student who takes them to a temporary safe room inside the school. There are 5 student held up in this room. This is where you meet the cast of students that will be with the main duo Kii and Tsukune for, judging by how many characters have come and gone already, a couple chapters (or a couple pages). The band of school kids jump out the window and head for a car that one of the students had the key for. The car is a compact car that won’t be able to hold 7 people. Ironically two more characters get killed conveniently making room for Kii and Tsukune who are running towards the car. They make their way away from the school only to see that the city, no the whole country is in complete disarray and chaos. There is a giant pentagram hanging above the city that is dropping these crazy demon magical girls.
While the crew exchange names, you learn a little about what is happening. One of the students call the magical girls “originals” and the people they kill take on the appearance and characteristics of the original they were killed by. Eventually they meet a block in the road and decide to continue on foot. They enter this super thick fog, immediately upon entering, two more students get killed. Kii, Tsukune, and the only surviving member of the original group make it out of the fog. They then meet up with the two bullies that were harassing Tsukune in the bathroom that day (I hope they die painfully and gruesomely BTW).
Before ending the volume, the new group consisting of Kii, Tsukune, the original group member from school, and the two bullies manage to open this overhead door to what looks like the mall and safely close themselves off from the magical girls. Right before the to be continued page, one of the bullies says “magical” even though she is not dead. Which leads me to believe that this “thing” or whatever is happening could be spreading pathologically or that the magical girls are disguising themselves or their zombies more covertly.
This manga series is like playing in traffic on HWY I-94. You need to be on your toes and alert because this series does not slow down. The pacing is exceptionally fast. The whole volume covers probably four hours in the manga. So many people die that is was pointless to waste time writing their names, or remembering them for that matter. The pacing is so fast you forget to ask yourself why this is happening or how this ties into social norms in Japan. You can easily see that this is a gruesome cock slap in the face of moe, magical girl anime. This manga is intentionally gruesome, is basically on the opposite spectrum of the magical girl genre.
Personally I think it is fantastic. There are not a lot of mangakas (authors) who would challenge the status quo of the magical girl genre like this. I also think that is why it is so popular in Japan as well. What I like about this series is that it shows that true nature of people. How disgusting and pathetic humans truly can become if they are pushed enough. I don’t know if that is what the mangaka was going for but that’s one thing I saw in this volume. Another big thing is the power of adrenaline, adrenaline will make you do crazy things, like jumping out of 3 story window.
The art style is very conflicting… and in a good way. See, the art is on the cute side, with the rounder body types and pudgier faces. But at the same time, there is murder happening everywhere and the facial expression of someone being ripped into two is very different and cool. When someone gets their head and spinal column ripped out of their body, it’s not so cute but it’s pretty fucking metal. I like the art style.
There is not much to talk about in terms of story, we know virtually nothing about why this happened, who started it, or if there is an end to it. For right now, I’m alright with that. I want the story and character development to progress a little more before the origins of all this is dived into.
Not much to talk about in terms of characters either. Almost everyone who has been introduced has died. So I’ll quick talk about Kii and Tsukune (and how they are meant for each other and need to become a couple). Kii is a high school kid with no backbone to speak of until the magical girls showed up. I’m still a little confused why he saved Tsukune when she was in trouble with the magical girls and not from the bullies. Call it cowardice, call it regret, call it what you want but I’m happy he saved her. Tsukune is a wonderful girl who has said like 5 sentences the entire volume but I can tell you right now that she will be pivotal soon. I predict that she will have the most development out of all the characters.
This was probably the longest post I’ve written so far. It’s also one of the funnest as well. Being able to turn off my filter is nice. It won’t happen very often here but fun nevertheless. The story all and all is alright. The characters are rough around the edges, but I like the low levels of plot armor. The art works well with the story and characters. Right now I would give this series a 7 out of 10. Obviously this is the first volume so that is subject to change. The volume itself is an 8 out of 10 for me. I love the fast pace and the gruesome plot is right up my alley.
I hope you all enjoyed! Have a wonderful day!