Are you sick of magical girl shows where cute girls dress up in pretty costumes to fight monsters? Well, boy, do I have a show for you. Magical Girl Ore is a parody of the magical girl genre where the cute girl characters transform into burly men to fight stuffed-animal demons. If you’re a fan of the Scary Movie style of humor as well as magical girls, this might be the show for you.
In order to have any sort of meaningful discussion about a parody, we must first understand what it’s a parody of. On that note, let’s talk about magical girls as a genre. Sometimes you’ll see people ask “why aren’t there any magical boy anime?” or similar questions. I think that’s because these people have a fundamental misunderstanding of how magical girl stories work.
The magical girl story is first and foremost a coming of age story. They typically star and are marketed towards young girls who are in or just about to enter high school. There are shows like Tokyo Mew Mew or Cardcaptor Sakura, that star younger protagonists, but these shows still serve the same function as their counterparts. The important part is that the main characters are all entering a stage of life where they must figure out who they are and what their place in the world is. The way that magical girl shows deviate from other coming of age stories is how they answer these questions.
Being a teenage girl is hard. Not only do you have to deal with adolescence, but society hates you and everything you stand for. Wearing makeup is vain, but not wearing makeup is laziness. Liking what’s popular makes you vapid and shallow, but having interests outside the mainstream is pretentious or “trying too hard”. Do you like traditionally masculine or even nerdy things? No, you don’t! You’re just lying to get the attention of the boys who actually like them. You exist in this in-between state where everything you do is wrong and shameful.
But the magical girl genre provides an escape from these pressures. Where traditionally we’re socialized to shun our more girly habits or interests, magical girls celebrate it. Ribbons, makeup, the color pink, all that girly crap. Not only do the magical girls in these shows embrace these things; they weaponize them. Magical girls take the things about themselves that society tells them are childish or bad, and uses them to fight back against the evils of that same society as personified by the monster of the week.
It’s too early to tell if Magical Girl Ore will stay true to and examine the themes of the genre, or if it’ll merely make jokes about the superficial aspects of these shows without taking a critical look at the deeper meanings behind them.
This episode is mostly one long setup for the punchline at the end. It establishes a clear idea of what the main character, Saki, thinks a magical girl is with the dream sequence at the beginning, only to dash those hopes with the reality of her transformation at the ending.
The episode follows a day in Saki’s life. She wakes up late and has to run to her concert without any breakfast. While a normal show would have her run off with toast in her mouth, Magical Girl Ore has Saki run while eating something ridiculous. This is a gag that gets repeated in the second episode, and I hope again in following episodes. Upping the ante with more and more ridiculous meals every episode would make this show worth it on its own, in my opinion.
Saki is part of an unpopular idol duo with her best friend, Sakuyo. They give a concert to nobody and bemoan the fact that they’ll have to keep even more of their own CDs in their rooms. On the television is a different idol group having an interview. One of the members of said idol group is Sakuyo’s older brother and Saki’s crush, Mahiro. Honestly, I feel like the second musical number was a bit much. I started to get a little antsy during the song.
The song itself was fine, a little cheesy, but fine. The problem was that it didn’t move the plot forward in any meaningful way. They honestly made their point that the main love interest is a popular idol with the interview portion of this scene. Everything after that felt like padding. They couldn’t think of anything else to fill the time with, so they added in a quick musical number with a repetitive dance sequence that they didn’t have to spend much money animating.
On the way home from her failed concert, Saki comes home to find a yakuza thug shouting at her house and kicking the gate. He turns out to be her mother’s magical girl familiar. Her mother was injured during a recent battle, and can no longer carry on the good fight. So they try to foist the duty onto Saki.
After realizing that the boy she has a crush on is in danger, Saki agrees and rushes off to fight the monsters. She transforms for the first time into an extremely muscular man, and that’s where we end our episode.
Picking up where the last episode left off, Saki has transformed into a magical girl and must do battle with the buff demons. The reality of the life of a magical girl is comically brutal. Saki’s hairpins are hand grenades; her yakuza familiar offers her a magical handgun. Eventually, Saki settles on using a magic rod as her weapon. Instead of shooting out a magical beam, Saki must use it to beat the demons to death. Given how much blood is on her rod and clothes after, the beating must have been hilariously violent. I say must have been, because the show pans away from the scene until the beatdown has finished.
After the situation is dealt with and Mahiro is safely on his way home, Sakuyo and their manager reveal that they had witnessed the entire thing. Saki’s manager decides to manage Saki as a magical girl as well as an idol and gives her the name Magical Girl Ore, after the first person pronoun that she keeps using for herself.
If you don’t know about Japanese first-person pronouns, here’s a quick primer. There are a bunch, and which ones you choose to use depends on your gender. The most common is ‘watashi’ (私). Others include the more feminine ‘atashi’ (私), the more polite ‘boku’ (僕), and of course ore.
With the crisis dealt with, Saki tries to move on with her life. The following day begins with her rushing to meet Sakuyo outside her house and running into Mahiro instead. Mahiro is intentionally dull and uninteresting. I liked him better when he was in School Rumble. While he likes Magical Girl Ore, he seems to actively dislike Saki. Once Mahiro and his idol partner, Hyoue, leave Saki and Sakuyo talk about Saki’s crush. Sakuyo runs off crying just in time for Yakuza Familiar to fly over with news of another demon.
Saki rushes over to save Mahiro. There is an extremely uncomfortable tentacle rape scene, although Saki doesn’t seem overly troubled by it. Sakuyo rushes in to save her friend. She confesses her love for Saki and transforms into a magical girl. I’m curious to see how this develops.
Granted, the juxtaposition of the idea of a magical girl with the beefy beefcake reality is inherently humorous. I’m still a little wary of how this show is going to proceed. You see, anime historically hasn’t handled LGBT issues very well, particularly not where the T portion of that acronym is concerned. I’m more than a little concerned that this show will stray into transphobic territory.
Until it proves otherwise, this show seems like a mostly benign gag show. I’m not super into the toothless sort of parody it seems to be, but it made me laugh a couple of times. I will keep watching, although I’m afraid of how it’s going to go.