First Impression: Magical Destroyers

A dozen armed thugs, unwashed and sickly of complexion, are huddled in a transport vehicle of some sort when the announcement is made that they’ve reached their destination. The scrawny bespectacled leader takes his place at the cargo door and prepares to launch the assault when suddenly, a twin-tailed red-haired girl oozing punk rocker vibes interrupts and leaps out first, determined to kick things off with style. Except, she forgets her parachute. As she plummets toward the night-dark Tokyo asphalt, she utters a cry—not of defeat, but of command: “It’s time to TRANSFORM!” Is she a magical girl?! Flashback to a sunny day and the nerdy guy is no leader yet—just a regular otaku in high spirits, singing to himself on his way to pick up the latest limited edition Blu-ray. Only, when he gets to the store in Akihabara, a crowd has gathered and is staring aghast at…empty shelves! There is one copy remaining, however, and our guy races toward it, only to be taken out by…a smiling robot? It’s the police, and today is the day the government launches its otaku protection order, rounding up all collectibles and the ones who collect them, and carting them off to a glorified internment camp, all in the name of preserving world-renown otaku culture (from what, it is not said). The rest of the country seems fine with it, but our glasses-wearing geek is not about to take this quietly. He knows what his people need: they need Otaku Hero! And it works, for a little while. But when Pink and Blue are both captured, and the only magical girl remaining is the foul-mouthed raging rocker Anarchy-chan, Otaku Hero calls it a day. He’s done being leader. Is it all over for the otaku? Will Anarchy-chan step up to the plate? And can they rescue Blue?

What did I just watch? I’m not quite sure, but I do know one thing: I want the next episode. Like, right now, please! Wow, that was a ride. Covering enough material for a 90-minute film, this opening episode was a little all over the place at times, and the chronology was not always crystal clear, but it did come together in the end to set up what is going to be one zany, manic, completely unpredictable, madcap rabbit hole-diving, off the wall, blast of a show. I think. The premise is pretty much the same as Rumble Garanndoll, and the idea of the persecution of otaku is by no means new. But everything else about this episode exudes a kind of crazed creativity—from the rocking soundtrack, to the at times abrasive linework, the snarling dialogue, and the relentless pacing—that promises to keep things interesting, even if not always comprehensible. It’s quite reminiscent of FLCL, but with an adult cast, and like that series, the humor is not always for children, so be warned. It has that same chaotic energy to it too, but ramped up a notch, what with the revolutionary war, internment camp imagery, and exploding cans of Oden noodles and all. It’s certainly not your typical magical girl/mahou shoujo, or even your typical dark mahou shoujo, and it won’t be to everyone’s taste. But for my part, I am ready to buckle in and see where this madness takes us! Especially if the ED has anything to say about it—that is one fine bit of closing animation!

Magical Destroyers is streaming on Crunchyroll.

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