By Kentaro Sato. Released in Japan as “Mahou Shoujo Of The End” by Akita Shoten, serialized in the magazine Bessatsu Shonen Champion. Released in North America by Seven Seas.
Those who know my usual reviewing patterns and preferences may be surprised to see that I’m reviewing this title at all, and you’re mostly right. I picked this one up expecting that it wasn’t going to be my cup of tea, but wondering if it was some sort of magical girl deconstruction along the lines of Madoka Magica (which, ironically, I also don’t like). Unfortunately, at least in this volume, the ‘magical girl’ part is mostly irrelevant. The monsters here could be demons, angels, or clowns for all that it matters. They are a massive force of death and gore, who just happen to be magical girls. They certainly do bring the apocalypse, though. That said, I did want to review this title, as it’s a classic example of a title that I personally dislike but where I recognize its good qualities that other readers will greatly appreciate.
The buildup to said apocalypse is short, only taking up the first few pages. Our hero, Kii, is (sigh) an average everyday high school student, who wants to get through his school days peacefully. Sometimes this means ogling the class beauty from afar, sometimes it means turning away when his childhood friend is getting viciously bullied in a nearby bathroom. As he takes a test, he looks outside and notices his teacher stopping a young girl who is dressed quite oddly. That’s her on the cover. The girl then proceeds to blow his head off with her ‘wand’, then goes after the rest of the school. As the slaughter commences, it turns out that the entire world is being invaded by so-called magical girls, who are also able to reanimate the dead to do their bidding.
That last sentence is the most telling. This is, at heart, a zombie manga. There’s a lot of lovingly detailed horror and gore, and much of the second half involves escaping the school and winnowing down our already small cast. Our hero survives, of course, along with his bullied childhood friend (they would appear to have the closest thing this title has to a possible romance) and a busty upperclassman. They make it out into the city, and find that it’s no better out there. Is there anything to do besides wait for everyone to die?
The author certainly has a sense of style in the way he depicts the mass slaughter. The gore is almost artistic in places, as well as finding new levels of sadism, especially in the scene where a magical girl crumples up about 200 people into a living ball, hefts them high into the air, then lets them drop to their death. The combination of gore and fanservice (busty upperclassman is VERY busty, and we’re not allowed to forget it) makes this a fantastic series for young men who would be reading anything in Shonen Champion, the magazine where this runs. Indeed, in some ways it reminds me of a less silly version of Franken Fran, the cult horror manga from the same publisher.
It’s totally not a series I’ll be continuing, but don’t let that stop you. If you like survival manga, zombie manga, horror manga, or just lovingly detailed depictions of cute high school kids getting their heads blown off, this title will not disappoint you, as it does all those things very well.