“Keeping It Ghastly” is a bi weekly article on Japanese horror comics which have English print editions. Some are from famous authors, others are from unknowns and underground artist circles. Either way, it’s going to be to a terrifying/awesome ride to keep horror manga on our bookshelves!
The tag line reads, “Not your mommy’s magical girls”. Oh boy is that the truth. This time on “Keeping It Ghastly” we’ll be taking a look at the seinen zombie-magical girl mashup series – Magical Girl Apocalypse vol 1.
Magical Girl Apocalypse is an action-horror series from Kentaro Sato. Currently licensed under Seven Seas Entertainment, this is one f-ed up manga. It’s gory, it’s exploitative, it’s like Puella Magi Madoka Magica on crack. Kii Kogami, middle schooler and generally apathetic teenager, is sick of the hypocrisy and pettiness of his all too normal existence. He has many superficial friends, passable grades, but little connection to the rest of humanity aside from his crush on the popular girl in his class and a former friendship with the quiet, bullied girl Tsukune Fukumoto. That changes when he witnesses the murder of a teacher at the hands of a small gothic lolita girl. With a single tap of her “wand” the teacher’s head is vaporized! Unable to process what he saw, Kii excuses himself from class and takes a short break to catch his breath. When he returns to the classroom the very same lolita girl is murdering everyone in sight. From there things begin to get weird. Those who have died are rising up and attacking the living and more “magical girls” are emerging across the sky to bathe the city in blood and bodies.
First thing you may notice about this manga is the weird mix of cute and gore. Women are drawn with huge eyes (even for manga standards), tiny hands and bodies, and panty shots abound. It’s disturbing to see so much sexuality attributed to young girls, especially as their heads explode. It’s definitely a seinen series due to the violence, but still. I mean… wow. Magical Girl Apocalypse is not for everyone, but it does have a lot going for it in terms of uniqueness of plot. No one is as they seem, and each character has a developed background that is explored in later volumes. If you can get beyond the initial shock value, it’s definitely a series worth checking out. It wouldn’t be surprising to see an anime come out of this title in the near future given the fandom that is developing in North America and Japan. What can I say. Zombies are still as popular now as they have been during the last decade.
The artist and writer of the series, Kentaro Sato, is an unknown entity in North America before this title. Magical Girl Apocalypse was his breakout series in Japan through the publisher Akita Shoten’s “Weekly Shonen Champion” magazine in July 2012 with the first volume hitting shelves in February 2013. Lauded for its unique take on the magical girl genre, a 2 part crossover with Katsutoshi Murase’s Karada Sagashi manga from Shonen Jump+ was released in July 2015. Seven Seas Entertainment picked up the series in October 2014 and at present has published 8 of the series’ current 12 volumes. In February 2017 we will even be able to find the spin off series Magical Girl Site in North American bookstores. If you can handle to blood, boobs, panties, and just… everything else that makes this series far out there then by all means check it out!