First Look: Mahou Shoujo Magical Destroyers

Anime original by Bibury Animation Studios
Streaming on Crunchyroll

Premise

What if we ethnically cleansed otaku? No, what if we treated that as a *bad* thing though?

Zigg’s verdict: Incelebration of Otaku Culture

It’s never a particularly good sign when you’re waiting, nay pleading, for an anime to reveal the entire episode was a dream/delusion/hallucination, so bad was the content. And yet that’s exactly where I found myself with Magical Destroyers. Surely, I said to myself, nobody could be expected to take this seriously as the plot of an actual story? Except apparently we absolutely unironically are, despite how laughably unfunny and palpably desperate it is.

For a start, the entire premise of this show is that otaku are a persecuted minority that vaguely governmental forces are rounding up and throwing into prison camps. In theory this seems to want to be a joke, except there’s no punchline and pretty much no attempt to make the situation genuinely humorous, so it instead just comes off as a fairly straight use of a bunch of tropes which, to put it nicely, are way above the weight class of this show. There’s even a sad music montage for god’s sake. The entire thing feels like a deeply disturbing level of pandering to people who believe they’re special and unique because they buy hug pillows with teenage girls on them.

That feeling extends into the ‘characters’ such as they are, who are an incredibly tired parade of paper thin cliches. Our hero, who’s so generic he doesn’t even get an actual name, is at once a deeply committed nerd and yet also a heroic leader of men, the sole military genius who can rally the troops and defend the sacred territory of Akihabara (side note – it’s very funny that this show has to be set over a decade ago because everyone knows Akihabara these days is basically a hollow tourist trap). We find him grizzled and worn down, tired of the years of conflict, yet when the chips are down he still finds the heart to come back and take command because of his love for oh god kill me now.

Our other main character is Anarchy, the most basic possible template of angry tsundere magical girl, who berates our hero relentlessly and yet still crumbles the moment she has to take any responsibility at all, forcing her to be put in her proper place saved by our almighty hero. Ai Fairouz delivers a typically dedicated vocal performance that’s maybe the sole redeeming presentational quality, but the magical girl aspect is so peripheral and tossed off that they can’t even muster a decent transformation sequence.

Honestly, the show is so inept it’s kind of hard to be offended by it, but there’s still enough here for me to step slowly away while giving it extreme side-eyes. Bad shows are one thing, we see those all the time, but once you start dancing on the edge of the border to being kind of dangerous or suspect, that’s a whole new category of worth avoiding. Needless to say I don’t recommend this unless you have very low standards or a burning persecution complex.

Iro’s verdict: Rise Up Gamers

Magical Destroyers drinks deep from the same persecution complex that births much of the isekai genre, but without the veneer of narrative pretense, positing: what if otaku were oppressed, but like, for real? The unspoken implication is that all the normies totally¬†would lock us all up¬†if only they could get away with it. In good faith, it’s probably meant to be comedic and absurd, but it simply doesn’t push hard enough. Shows like Akiba Maid War and Birdie Wing understand that you need to really crank up the audacity of the premise so that the audience knows that it’s a joke, but Magical Destroyers simply takes the joke at face value, seemingly not understanding it’s meant to be funny. Intstead, the complete lack of self-awareness edges up to genuinely unsettling. This is the exact kind of show that makes a person want to say “go touch some grass”.

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