Asagiri Aya is a young girl who has fallen victim to bullies at her school. Looking for a way to escape her troubles, she looks to the internet for distraction, when a mysterious website called “Magical Girl Site” appears. Simply viewing the page is all it takes to hurtle Aya headlong into the deadly world of the Magical Girl Apocalypse. There, it’s fight or die, against a seemingly endless array of savagely adorable, frilly-skirted killing machines, each armed with magical powers and an unquenchable thirst for blood and chaos.
Source: Seven Seas
I really tried to not write a review for this manga but it's been on my mind of too long. Trigger Warning: mention of rape, self-harm, death, abuse, bullying, and plot holes. Magical Girl Site (aka Mahou Shoujo Site) is a dark fantasy story about a girl named Asagiri Aya. She's the victim of a lot of miserable happenings such as being bullied at school, abused at home, and not having any friends. One day a website opens up on her computer which is called "Magical Girl Site". A person's face is viewed on the display and the word "unfortunate" rings through the room. The next day Aya finds a so-called "stick" in her shoe locker, this item looks like a gun and gives her the ability to teleport the person she shoots it with. Using the stick also drains the life of the user, so using it too much means that you can die. Story "Every day, all I ever think about is dying." is one of the first lines the reader comes across. Asagiri Aya is a person who suffers from the things I mentioned above, and those things aren't to be taken lightly. She takes care of an abandoned kitten on her way to school, which leaves a good impression on us since we see that she's nice and caring. At school, her bullies have placed razor blades in her shoes inside her shoe locker. She gets hurt on them and we see her bullies laughing at her from farther away. Another character, Tsuyuno Yatsumura, witnesses the event. (This is a long one but stay with me.) In class, her seat has been drenched in glue and her desk has been vandalized with insults and harsh words. Not daring to say anything she takes a seat in silence. After class, she's being hurt by the bullies in the restroom, having her head being kicked and pushed into the toilet. They leave her there when they're done and she asks herself: "Why am I the only one who gets treated like this...?" Later, she's interacting with the kitten we saw earlier, finding comfort that they're the same and that she isn't alone. At home, her brother (Kaname) is hitting her. He has tied her up to refrain her from escaping. Kaname verbally abuses and hurts Aya due to his own frustrations because of their father's expectations of him. After he's done with her, the Magical Girl Site boots up on her screen. The next day, on her way to school, she discovers that the kitten was run over by a train and is now dead. She cries as she hurries off to school and in her shoe locker she finds her stick. In the next scene, her bullies are hurting her again and it's revealed that it's their fault what happened to the kitten. A strange man enters and is pulling down his zipper. This is as surprising to me as it is to you. Aya manages to escape and runs away. But as she's hiding, the man and one of the bullies find her. Being panicked, Aya uses her stick she got earlier and shoots the two. Screams are heard, and we see the ability of her stick; it teleports people it's used on, and the people she teleported ended up where the kitten did. This was the first chapter. And I have several issues with it. First off, Asagiri Aya is unmistakably supposed to be a character that we have sympathy for. We're supposed to feel bad for her and think she doesn't deserve what happened to her (I don't think anyone deserves it). To make a character more sympathetic, the author usually chooses to make the character do good things and be on the "good" side. Aya takes care of a kitten which is a clear but still good way to show that she's kind even though she doesn't have much to give herself. I have seen this before, but it's still a good way. Another way to create a sympathetic character is to have bad things happening to them. Usually, it is something the reader can relate to, like the loss of a loved one or an accident. It's preferred to be used sparingly, however. In this case, it's too overwhelming. Aya is meant to be a character that is unfortunate and that is suffering and all of this has caused her thoughts of wanting to die. But to introduce the kitten, the razor blades, the glue, the toilet scene, the abuse of her brother, and her almost getting raped in chapter one is literally screaming at the reader: "FEEL BAD FOR HER!" And I did feel bad for her because I hate the actions the other characters took. But the realism really suffered from this. It was like chapter one went through a checklist of what awful things Aya had to experience to make her as miserable as possible, and it really shows. If I could give advice on this, I'd say you could keep the events that happened but to spread them out over the course of more chapters instead of throwing every single thing into the reader's face. A heavy one, but now we're moving on! Art The art style is like any other manga, it improves over time. This one did as well. In the beginning, it looks off with the proportions but the characters are easy to tell apart. Expressions are usually played with a lot and I appreciate that, even though some of the expressions make the art style look very different (Kaname is usually a victim of this, going from a typical manga style and then to a seemingly semi-realistic style). At times, the expressions really fit well with the theme and don't disturb the artistic flow. Character designs look nice and there's a good amount of variety among the cast, I enjoyed that characters looked different even if they had a different amount of "screen time". Characters Aya grows a lot and I enjoyed seeing her journey. I enjoyed Sarina's growth more though since I prefer the villain-to-hero more than weakling-to-hero growth. I dislike what happened to Kosame's character and how she was executed. This is because her stick was a box cutter, and if she cut herself she could use her blood to heal others. I hate this. I hate this because the toxic habit of self-harm is used as a superpower. Kiyoharu's character is pretty unclear, while it's clear to some that she's trans, others refer to her as a man (some people usually don't understand what trans is and I suppose that's the reason). But I enjoyed seeing a trans character without them being ridiculed for it (or referred to as a trap), so I'll give a bonus point there. On another note, I'm sad to say that most characters are forgettable. The "evil" characters are unrealistically cruel and really challenge my suspense of disbelief. A lot of characters are introduced during the story and it's hard to keep track of who's important and not. A male character, in the beginning, was seen a lot and he didn't make an appearance again until much later when I had forgotten about him, but the story behaved as if the reader would have remembered. Characters from Sato Kentaro's other manga Mahou Shoujo Apocalypse make an appearance and ties the two stories together. Why is this an issue? Because it relies on the reader having read his previous work, which we find out near the ned, and it leaves the one who hasn't read it in the dark. I read both of these series and even I was at a loss about what the heck happened at the end of Mahou Shoujo Site. In the middle of the story, an important character's identity is revealed and we're told to read a prequel. No, no, if I'm required to have read it, then you should have told me that from the beginning. (But I still read it and all I got confirmed is that there probably isn't a plotline the author is following.) Conclusion I began reading Mahou Shoujo Site while it was still ongoing. I read Mahou Shoujo Apocalypse before it and even though that story had its flaws, I enjoyed it. So I gave Mahou Shoujo Site a chance. Shortly put, my time was wasted on this one. If there's something I've gained from reading this, then it's what not to do while I'm writing my own stories. The ending has Deus ex Machina after Deus ex Machina and things are just happening. There was a lot of potential when they were fighting against the site admins and I liked that part, but as the whole world was ending and only a few people were left to fight against the Tempest (a threat early introduced as the BIG showdown), I began to stop caring. They're fighting an evil being called the King. Characters we had been introduced to, both briefly and more in-depth, got together to fight this being. Men using sticks apparently did damage to the King and women using them made the King stronger (which confuses me since Kiyoharu is trans, I wonder what laws apply here?). Aya pulls another Deus ex Machina and travels back in time to convince one of the site admins to stop with the whole unfortunate girl scheme, obviously they refuse. She gathers versions of herself from different timelines to get stronger and save the world from future unfortunate events. And let me be honest, the last chapter was a big slap to the face. It wasn't rewarding, it wasn't satisfying, it was a "Well, that's that. Bye." I have a hard time with stories that act like they're deep instead of just showing the message they want to show. Both MGS and MSA have very complex storylines and I personally think those are the biggest flaws, they're both missing clear structures which leaves the impression that Sato Kentaro just made up things as he wrote. I'm sure my summary was confusing, I was confused myself. If you like dark fantasy, if you like the magical girl genre, or if you want to see unfortunate girls... Watch Madoka Magica instead. Or read Mahou Shoujo Apocalypse (it's a lot of gore but it's an interesting read). Well, that's my take on it. If you happened to like it, good for you. :)
Review written after reading both the prequel (Magical Girl Apocalypse) and sequel (Mahou Shoujo Site Sept) to Mahou Shoujo Site AKA Magical Girl Site. While definitely more plot linear than the previous M.G. Apocalypse manga, M.G. Site still ended up being rather convoluted story-wise towards the end. There was a reappearance of characters from the prequel that was just...not explained? There were definitely some plot holes, and some questions I have about the ending. It also appears that the author has a thing for unconsentual sexual molesters teaming up as part of the protagonist team, but it's definitely more graphic and just generally messed up in M.G. Site, and then they push it even farther in the short 10 chapter series of M.G.S. Sept (although they don't become a part of the protagonist group). Which can leave a bad taste in your mouth, as basically (almost) none of them recieve any type of punishment for the actual crimes they commit. There are also some light incest incantations in this one, so heads up if that's a, well, deal breaker for you. Other than that though, the character development is much stronger in this one, as the entire cast gets a bit of it instead of just the selected "main team". There's actually A LOT of character development, which is really great to see in a Magical Girl manga, because a lot of them don't build up their female leads at all. While there's definitely some questionable magical girls in the series, they do build up trust in each other, and themselves, which is nice. They grow as individuals, and as a unit. I also appreciate that some of them are honestly just bad people, instead of being perfect happy heroines. There's also some 'good' people in the series who do 'bad' things fueled by revenge, or necessity. If it's not already tagged as a psychological manga, it deserves to be. It's a bit like Puella Magi Madoka Magica in the regards that there is a LOT of tragic aspects to the series. The author definitely noteably improved in this series. It's definitely worth a read if you can forgive the plot structure towards the end, and are a fan of magical girl series with a darker twist. If you've read M.G. Apocalypse, do yourself the favor of continuing the series with M.G.Site.
Give this manga a 10/10 because I am extremely satisfied after reading. Some of it towards the end was a bit confusing so yeah there were some issuesss but in contrast to how well done the character development was done I DONT EVEN CARE. I am a very forgiving reader, a hole here and there does not bother me. If you seek the perfect manga then buddy I don't know what to recommend you. The way that Asagiri Aya grew both herself and her power blewww me away. You always want to see the heroine succeed in her own right but by god did they develop her into more than I could have dreamed, she's incredible, and after seeing her suffer so much, it's so dang satisfying to see. I LOVED this manga!! Read it in a day. Highly recommend. ❤️
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