In defense of Magical Girl Site

Note: It probably goes without saying, but this post contains some spoilers for Magical Girl Site.

I suppose I should preface this post by saying that I’m going to be getting really personal with this one. In fact, I’d say that this is without a doubt the most personal post that I’ve ever written for this blog. I’ll be discussing some pretty upsetting things as a means of defending the series in question so if you’re not into that kind of stuff, personal or otherwise, this probably isn’t the post for you and I recommend giving this one a miss.

Still here? All good? Cool.

During the Spring Anime Season earlier this year there were a countless amount of shows released that caught the attention of the masses for various reasons. My Hero Academia Season 3 was extremely popular and well received, continuing to exceed the expectations of both fans and decriers of Shounen alike. Tokyo Ghoul: Re on the other hand continued to disappoint and anger fans of the Manga by skipping key chapters from the source material while also completely alienating and confusing Anime exclusive viewers who had no idea what was going on because lolstudiopierrot. And the Ashita no Joe Anniversary project in the form Megalo Box garnered a ton of positive attention due to its unique retro aesthetic and simple, but action packed, storyline.

But one show from this season received an entirely different form of attention. One that made the show stand out from everything else that was coming out at the time. A form of attention that went beyond the show simply being “good” or “bad” for X reason and that was instead focused on one single, negative emotion: That of genuine hatred.

And that show, was Magical Girl Site.

I can see the tears already

People didn’t just dislike this show because they thought it was bad or because it wasn’t their thing. People showcased a real hatred towards this show and everything that it stood for. From calling it the equivalent of a “2D snuff film” to claiming that people who liked the show supported bullying and were sadistic individuals with no moral compass, the community really had it out for this one and even more so for the people who didn’t hate it.

And while I can’t necessarily blame people for being so disgusted by Magical Girl Site and what it represents, I do feel the need to provide a defense for this show because I feel that my perspective has been less than provided for. I feel that, at the very least, I should try to shed some light on why someone might find this show appealing because, outside of people saying that they enjoyed it ironically, nobody seems to be doing so.

So I guess my stance on this show should be more than obvious. I like Magical Girl Site. Truth be told, I love it. So much so that it’s become my favourite series in the Magical Girl genre and it’s currently the only show I’ve watched from the many Anime series that have come out of this year that I’ve given a perfect score to. I already really liked this show back when it first premiered and I made no secret of that, which led to a lot of morally superior morons (some who were friends at the time) harassing me for my opinion and telling me that I “advocated” the terrible events that happened in this show, when honestly that couldn’t be further from the truth.

In fact, the whole reason I enjoyed Magical Girl Site as much as I did was because of how much I didn’t agree with the horrible things that happened in the series opening moments and how much of my past self I saw reflected in the shows protagonist, Aya.

Why? Because, as cliche as this sounds, in a lot of ways I was Aya when I was growing up.

Yes, I enjoyed the show because it had an engaging story and because it had some really cool ideas and was a unique, more tragic execution of the Magical Girl formula. But what I got most out of the show was how much it spoke to me on an extremely personal level.

Throughout my time in high school I was bullied relentlessly because I was a quiet, socially awkward teen who was an easy target and who didn’t know how to fight back. Just like Aya, because I chose to keep to myself and because I didn’t know how to properly interact with those around me due to severe anxiety issues I’d developed, most likely as a result of a pretty sheltered upbringing, I was subjected to years of near daily torment.

My friends did nothing. The school tried to intervene and ultimately did nothing. I couldn’t tell my family because I was an awkward idiot and I was afraid that they wouldn’t understand or that they’d just make the situation worse. I was afraid. I was alone. I had nobody to save me from my misery. I was literally terrified to go to school half the time. There were many nights where I couldn’t sleep. What little self-confidence I had left was completely shattered by my tormentors and I just couldn’t deal with it.

Magical Girl Site’s depiction of bullying is a lot more grim and far more devastating than anything I went through. I was never tortured by a sibling, I was never almost raped and my cat was never killed or anything crazy like that. But that doesn’t make any of the horrible things that happened to Aya or the feelings that she had about herself and her life as a result of her misfortunes any less of a parallel to what happened to me and the feelings that I felt myself back then.

A lot of people harshly criticised the opening episode of Magical Girl Site for how it depicted Aya’s bullying in a way that was overly graphic, sadistic and just plain disturbing. And while I can understand why this would trigger a lot of viewers and turn them away from the rest of the show, I also feel that the gruesome and almost cartoonishly evil nature of these scenes only helped to drive home the core message lurking behind them more effectively.

Because the reality is, bullying is not a nice thing. It’s horrible, it’s gruesome and it’s brutal. In the real world, bullying is often fairly graphic and sadistic and it’s something I wouldn’t wish on any person growing up. Call these scenes “edgy” if you want. Feel free to say that they’re “disturbing” if you so wish. But remember when you do that that’s what bullying is. Aya’s struggles and broken mental state as a result of them and her attackers grinning like supervillains as they belittle her in every way imaginable are exactly what comes with bullying in the real world.

Does that make it okay? Of course not. But it certainly elevates these scenes that were so unfairly criticised by so many people to a realm beyond “just edgy torture porn” or “a 2D snuff film”. In fact, I felt that the scenes did an excellent job in portraying just how far bullying can be taken and just how much it can mentally break a person. If that isn’t a meaningful message of some kind, then I don’t know what the fuck is.

Aya’s struggle with bullying and her shattered mental state as a result of it really resonated with me, and I’m sure it also spoke to many others who suffered a similar experience when they were growing up. Yes, it was gut wrenching and sickening but that’s the intention and that’s what makes it effective.

A lot of people have criticised Aya’s character as “lazily written” because she supposedly lacks a character at all, but that’s kind of the point, at least in the beginning. Aya lacks a character because it was taken away from her through months of daily beatings, name calling and abuse and literally turned her into a shell of a human being. This is pretty evident when we see her in a flashback before the bullying started and she actually had more of a personality, albeit a shy and awkward one. And as the series progresses, she starts to regain her humanity because she’s able to move past her issues.

And while we’re on that subject, I guess I should just jump straight into my next point since I have one more thing to talk about.

Once the show progressed beyond the opening episode, it began to relate to me in a whole other way that caused it to earn a place in my favourites list, due to one particular aspect.

Aya’s relationship with Tsuyuno.

You see, prior to meeting Tsuyuno, Aya had little to live for and even less things that made her happy. She was a weak, timid victim who was incapable of standing up for herself and who had so little confidence that she could barely function as a member of society. But once she met Tsuyuno that all began to change. Suddenly, Aya had a friend who was willing to protect her and embrace her awkwardness. Over time they became best friends who were willing to do anything for one another until their feelings eventually blossomed into a genuine love for one another. Through this love, Aya was given a new outlook on life and finally had a reason to rise above the negativity in her life. She even found a little bit of courage and confidence within herself that she wasn’t even aware was there and actually managed to stand up to one of the bullies from her past because of it.

And it’s this relationship that ended up being the best thing about the show for me because it’s pretty much what happened to me as well.

I too met someone who became my friend and ended up helping me work through my issues when nobody else was able to. She made me realise that I wasn’t as pitiful as I thought I was and taught me to believe in myself. She made me feel loved in a way that no one else was ever able to do before and she helped me find confidence where there previously was none and even helped me in my battle with social anxiety. And while my anxiety and lack of self-belief is still something I struggle with to this day, even during this exciting time in my life that is full of adventure and social interaction, that friend is still with me every day to remind me that I don’t have to be afraid and that I can do this. That friend of course, is none other than my wife who I love very much. She’s my Tsuyuno, and she always has my back. No matter what and no matter how little I think of myself.

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And that’s why Magical Girl Site is a 10 out of 10.

I can understand why someone might write this one off as “just another one of those dark and violent Magical Girl shows”, but the fact that the majority opinion seems to be “this show has no substance and is just gory edgelord material” just kinda rubs me the wrong the way because it’s so much more than that. At least to me.

As someone who struggled with many of the same issues as Aya, Magical Girl Site related to me in a way that very few shows ever have. Surely that must count for something. Right?

Or maybe I am just a terrible person after all.

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Naaaaaaaaaaah

What were your thoughts on Magical Girl Site? Did you enjoy it? Or was it just some edgy stuff to you?

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24 thoughts on “In defense of Magical Girl Site

  1. To say that liking a show means advocating for the events in the show is really quite a reach (unless of course every Avengers fan out there is actually advocating for the extinction of half the population). I ended up dropping Magical Girl Site because I dropped my subscription to Prime at the time when it was airing. I did find the events of episode one disturbing and a little extreme, but I was curious as to where the show would go with its ideas and whether the character would overcome that situation. While I get not everyone wants to be disturbed by what they are viewing and they would probably happily walk away, I think that any story that makes people think about something (like the impact of bullying) has some merit. More importantly, it isn’t for me to tell other people that they are wrong for liking something.
    Thanks for sharing your view on this particular story.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It really is, and I’ve always found those kinds of statements baffling. We’d all be advocating some kind of terrible action if that were the case.

      If you ever pick up Prime again, or have the chance to view it through some other legal means, I strongly recommend going further with the show. It really does improve itself and start to move beyond its rather disturbing first episode with some really interesting story developments and good conflicts.

      Glad to see you can see some merit here too!

      Thanks for reading. I’m glad you enjoyed the post!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Well, you know what I thought about it. It’s high up on my list. I just love Asagiri bro. I was quote tweeted (or is it tweet quoted 🤔) when it was airing. I had written something about how happy I was that bro was back and the guy/girl quoting me wrote that no matter how horrible you feel you will never be as horrible as this person [me]. That’s when I realized just how much people hated the show and us who actually like it. I didn’t take it to heart though but answered something like: if this is the worst you have seen then you haven’t seen much, honey.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes! I remember you being on my side at the time when this started airing which was super cool of you!

      Asagiri is quite the character. Best girl for sure!

      And wait, really? That’s insanely mean of them. Screw that guy. While I didn’t like the brother (for obvious reasons) I was very satisfied with how he was used in the story and the conflict he created was one of the best parts of the show. That’d make ANYONE who liked this show happy to see him come back.

      The hate really is unjustified and unfair, but like you said, it’s mostly from people who have absolutely no idea what they’re talking about and are overly sensitive and judgemental due to a childish sense of superior morality.

      Thank you for reading. I’m glad you enjoyed the post and the show!

      Like

  3. I personally liked this series as well! I have read FAR more graphic instances in books than I have seen in Magical Girl Site. For people who think this is bad they should pick up a Jason Myers book or read The Butterfly Garden by Dot Hutchison. NOW that is some graphic violence and brutality. Magical Girl Site was still pretty uncomfortable in the beginning and in other specific scenes, but I was still able to make it through the entire series without dying. Some people just need to build a bridge and get over it. Magical Girl Site is definitely one of the more unique and fresh anime series of the year. It deserves more attention and praise! Also I liked how both of our post kinda correlate with the topic of bullying this week. We did that Leth! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad that you enjoyed the series too Ayano!

      And it’s the same for me. I’ve read some really graphic and disturbing novels and manga over the years that make Magical Girl Site look really tame by comparison. One needs only look at Berserk and how it depicts monstrous levels of violence constantly for some truly horrifying and disturbing content. And that’s not even getting into the graphic depictions of sex and rape throughout the series.

      Some people definitely do. As I’ve said, I’ve literally lost friends over my opinion on the series and some of those feuds are still a thing TODAY. It’s kind of sad, really.

      It definitely is and I wish that more people would have realised that. Hopefully this post can help with that, even if my reach is smaller than most!

      And me too! That was a neat coincidence. We sure did, Ayano!

      Thanks for reading!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Really well written post here man, I enjoyed reading your thoughts on this show.

    While I never really saw a ton of hate for that show, I honestly don’t visit many anime communities outside the people I follow on Twitter and WordPress, but I can say that it was a show I rarely saw anyone talking about. Maybe it’s just because it was one Prime or whatever, but I guess I missed all the hate for it.

    As for the whole bullying aspect of the show and can’t say I ever experienced that while in school, but from stories I’ve heard bullying is truly a horrible and brutal thing kids go through. I’m sure there is truth in this show as to how far bullying can go, just to dismiss it all as some torture porn or something is a bit much. Like one of the above comments pointed out, it should bring to light just how bad and disturbing bullying is. Overall this show does a good job getting that point across.

    In the end I too ended up enjoying the show. It was one I looked forward to watching each week as the story really caught my attention and pulled me in. I wanted to see how things were going to unfold and how Aya and Tsuyuno were going to get through this mess. It’s honestly a shame so many people wrote this show off as some tryhard edge lord show only for people who have a sadistic sense of humor. Like you said, there is much more to this show that the dark and violent parts that shock and disgust people. If only people gave this show a chance and didn’t take everything at face value then they might get a lot more out of it.

    But I guess at the end of the day, everyone is entitled to their own opinion and are free to watch and like what they want. Going after others who like something you don’t is downright stupid and makes you look like a real idiot for trying to hard to get others to hate a show you hate.

    I’m off topic now, sorry I knew this would happen when I get started. Sorry!

    Great post man. Thanks for sharing how personal this show is for you.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you very much! I’m glad you enjoyed reading the post.

      You’re lucky to have missed it, as it was pretty darn intense back when Episode 1 came out. ANN in particular took a huge collective shit on it during their premiere guide and made some very unfair comments about the series. I believe one of them gave it a 0/5, claiming they’d never been so disgusted by an Anime in their life.

      That’s not even getting into the huge Twitter feud I got into with a friend (now no longer the case) who shall remain nameless. The guy still apparently takes potshots at me to this day (I can’t see them because blocking is wonderful).

      Anyhow! You’re lucky to have missed it!

      It really is a horrible thing, and while I never received the worst treatment in the world, it did have an impact on me for a very long time afterwards. I recovered though thankfully. I can understand that a message may not resonate with everyone, but you’re right. Dismissing something like that is just daft, especially when its intentions are more than clear.

      There’s definitely so many valuable things to be found in this show. Aya and Tsuyuno’s relationship was well developed and the silver lining to an otherwise tragic story. Many of the sticks powers were unique and they were often used very cleverly in the story. Giving the brother with a God complex the stick to control peoples minds created some of the most intense and dramatic moments in Anime this year. And the feels were just so high all the time, especially towards the end. It’s a shame so many people missed out on it all.

      But as you said, everyone is entitled to their own opinions also, and no one has the right to tell someone else what they should and shouldn’t watch. Going out of your to attempt to change someone else’s mind is just such a bizarre thing to me because it’ll never happen. Who are you to tell anyone what to do, y’know?

      And no worries, it happens! I do it all the time!

      Thank you again for reading and for leaving such a long comment. It means a lot to me!

      Glad you enjoyed the post!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. While I did not have too rough of a time growing up some of my own followers who dropped by and shared their own challenges could relate with Aya’s struggles, right down to having a…not so supportive family. Dunno about having a brother as horrible as the one I called “Garbage Boy” but terrible siblings, inhumane bullying at school and adult figures who did little to support the bullied…absolutely.

    Like Nick above me I don’t pay attention to what the anime community discusses, what’s trending, what’s the considered the worst etc. I calmly covered it on my own blog and whoever felt like dropping by to share their thought, without causing trouble of course, was free to do so. For the most part it was well received among the ones who visited. Again I don’t pay attention to what the majority thinks about seasonal anime. Not even mainstream sweethearts. I learned after years on the internet that it ain’t worth visiting forum sites or big time anime coverage sites like ANN.

    Again, even though I did not experience bullying as severe as Aya did (Some kids did pester me since I wasn’t the most social of kids I my school days. Thank goodness for the friends I made in high school) I most certainly felt for her and cheered her on as she grew stronger as a person thanks in due part to her beloved Tsuyuno. I admit that I enjoyed the show even more thanks to the surprise yuri development but even without it it was still a really good “Moepocalypse” show. One of my top 10 of 2018.

    Glad to hear the show helped you on an emotional level.

    Like

  6. I’ve had my share of social isolation. Never got that happy ending but always managed to survive. Now I have another anime on the endless list of anime I must try to see.

    Like

  7. I knew next to nothing about this anime, but I think I want to go check it out. Sure, I did get reminded of the last few episodes of Shadow Star Narutaru and some aspects of Bokurano (interestingly enough, they’re both from the same creator), but it does look fascinating.

    I’m terribly sorry to hear what you went through when it came to bullying. I was bullied severely in school and some of my jobs. People didn’t do anything, and I was bashed because of my hobbies (anime being one of them), being into independent music, and there were times where I dealt with racial stereotyping/prejudice given my ethnic heritage. I don’t even feel comfortable mentioning my thoughts at those moments when it came to being oppressed. Some of it has shown up in my fiction projects like having characters who are bullied or dealing with bigger and more morose topics such as having genocidal villains or ones who dealt with colonization for example. The darker stories when done right feel more cathartic to me.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I spent the entire Spring of 2018 defending this show on a weekly basis on my Blogspot blog (this WordPress account only exists to leave comments). I can’t call it my favorite of anything but I too feel it’s important to have a truly unsanitized depiction of bullying. And while I was nervous at first about how they’d handle the Trans character I ultimately feel Kiyo was good representation.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. there is a person that sees it the story about bulling and how it goes full circle like the brother is bulled by the father that hints that he had a bad past to so the son become a bully to the sister. this story is more on how the victims take there life back into there hands the site managers are like bullys that try to make the victims feel like there helping them but it’s the opposite and when a manager die they become what they where bulled girls. the managers think of themselves more then humans and better to hide that they are week like a bully.

    Like

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