…starts with one step. In the “A Thousand Miles” series, I’ll be taking a series each week that looks interesting to me and reviewing the first volume. Focused on, essentially, exposing myself to as many new series as possible, each will culminate in whether I think it’s worth continuing.
Magical Girl Apocalypse (Otherwise known as Mahou Shoujo of The End) is a 2012 supernatural horror manga by Sato Kentaro. It was serialized in the Bessatsu Shounen Champion magazine between June 2012 and August 2017. Seven Seas Entertainment picked up the series for its 16 volume run in the west. A spinoff series, Magical Girl Site, was started in 2013.
Gothic Lolita – My aesthetic gripes aside, there are four prominent Magical Girls in this volume. The one pictured on the cover here is the mad bomber that starts the mayhem at Kii’s school. She’s an extremely thin Goth Lolita themed doll covered in blood splatter with her eyes rolled back. The most striking part of her appearance, though would have to be what she’s holding. It’s an umbrella made of explosives. You’ve got sticks of dynamite around the handle with fuses that go to what I presume is some kind of LCD detonator. The ensemble is topped of with what can best be described as a cannon ball with two small rockets as fins. It’s a eye-catching design at least….
Kii has a regular high school life. Nothing all that amazing, but such is life. All of that changes the day a sentient Goth Lolita doll comes to his school and wreaks bloody havoc. Can Kii and his new friends escape the school, much less figure out what is taking a hold of the city?
– Due to the nature of this story/genre, character info is sparse and they’ve been grouped by affiliation
Kii Kogami – Our main protagonist. Notices the first magical girl before anyone else and is one of the only survivors of his class. Surprisingly competent at fighting back.
Tsukune Fukumoto – Bashful, short girl from Kii’s class. Easily flustered and doesn’t talk much
Kaede and Miki – Snobby girls from school. Introduced bullying Tsukune.
Yoruka Hanzawa, Godai & Kasai – The survivor group (or at least what’s left of them) hiding out in the Home Economics room. They assist Kii and Tsukune in the hallway and make a break for it from the school.
Hey Kids! Do you like blood and gore and watching people get ripped apart? Do you like magical girls? What about that dark wave that ran through the genre 8 years ago (thank you based Madoka), or just apocalyptic media in general? Yes? Well, have I got the property for you!
I’m just gonna be straight with you: this is a splatter film (splatter comic?) with magical girl aesthetics (and I’m using that term very sparingly) as garnish. Magical Girl Apocalypse is so straightforward in most areas I’m not quite sure what to say besides the fact that I feel a little lied to. I really must question if what I’m seeing are truly magical girls at all. They don’t seem to exhibit sentience, much less intelligence. They ARE, however, powerful and exhibit magical or reality warping abilities. Doesn’t feel like it’s enough to warrant the label. Since they’re practically indistinguishable from what other works would consider flat out monsters, why not call them that? “Witch” or “Ghoul” works just as well, if not better. I’d probably sweat such a detail less if the threatening entities that got the majority of the panel-time weren’t the mutilated populace that get necromanced, essentially making them zombies. I’m just not seeing the “Magical Girl” in “Magical Girl Apocalypse”. Considering all corrupted entities’ arc words are “Magical”, why not just drop the girl part and call the work “Magical Apocalypse” instead?
My lamentations about their prominence and titles aside, the magical girls do steal the show during the few brief moments we see them. There are four of importance (lacking official ones yet, names are mine): Goth Lolita Bomb, Angry Dog Lady, Mist Lady and Grav Maestro. Goth Lolita Bomb carries the explosive umbrella we talked about earlier, Angry Dog lady chases people with her fire breathing mutt, mist lady goes for close blade kills within her fog cloud and Grav Maestro can create localized gravity wells to pull things in. Revulsion is the name of the game and they all fit the bill. Everyone besides Mist Lady (even Dog Lady) take the appearance of demented dolls. This makes Mist Lady the odd one out as the most repulsive, taking the form of some kind of giant banshee with a eye in her mouth. Definitely a high point in design for this property and my favorite panel from this volume. The low point would have to be GLB’s bomb umbrella. The design is a strikingly different one, but in action, it functions like Haru’s Explosion sword and that feels underwhelming to me. A tap and a “tink” later, you’ve got yourself one exploded head. Its design really does look like some kind of ray gun, but instead you get a potato masher. A spring loaded flail whose impacts explode would’ve allowed for its use to carry more weight
and scratched that “wow this looks like a ranged weapon” itch as well.
Despite my gripes, I did kinda enjoy this. The story hasn’t taken off quite yet and I’m not sure how long that may take so we’re squarely in the “pure spectacle as selling point” phase. And the spectacle of Magical Girl Apocalypse is wonton death and mutilation. So if have no bile fascination for the former or a niggling curiosity about who survives (or perhaps your more interested in who dies, you little gremlin) and how this catastrophe works, then you best past this one up. I, on the other hand, am JUST interested enough to check back sometime in the future.