Magical Girl Ore is a lot of things. A magical girl pastiche. A send-up of the Magical Girl deconstructionist movement, with trope hat-tips to everything from Madoka Magica to Princess Tutu. But most of all… it’s just. Plain. Weird.
You’ll probably see a lot of very familiar moments in it, whether your heart belongs to magical girls or anime idols. But amongst the familiar tropes is an undercurrent of Absolute Strangeness. And we honestly can’t look away.
There’s something strangely enchanting about Magical Girl Ore‘s brand of weird, even compared to everything else already out there. While we can look at it and understand just how off-the-beam it is, it pulls you in and brings you home to stay far more than many other shows with the same mindset.
How does it do it? We’re kind of asking ourselves the same question.
I Guess We Live Here Now
It’s pretty much a trope of magical girl anime nowadays that new heroines adjust quickly to weird situations. Whether that means her powers, the revelation that she’s a princess from another dimension, or witnessing monsters that she never knew existed until just now, she adapts quickly.
Saki is no exception… Well, save for the fact that she adjusts to a lot of things extremely quickly.
Turning into a buff boy? Check. Having to figure out how to hide her identity from her crush? Check. Finding out that her idol group partner crushes on her? Check. Heck, she’s even ready to completely buy into her mother having a standing contract with the yakuza.
What would be occasional weirdness in other shows runs rampant all through Magical Girl Ore, not just in Saki’s transformation. But with our main character so willing to jump with both feet into whatever it is, we don’t have much time to be completely weirded out. We’re just along for the ride. Mafia mascots? Giant buff teddy bears with tentacles? This is your life now.
Down the Rabbit Hole
Gotten through the first episode? Got a handle on this weird world? Good, let’s get weirder.
Even with very few episodes so far, Magical Girl Ore wastes no time exceeding your expectations. The strangeness of a Mafia-boss mascot is compounded the following week, when he appears in “adorable” critter style (save for his head). The Demons seem to evolve on the regular, too. And even in the “normal world” of the series… if there can be said to be a “normal world”… Saki is chugging down a plate of pancakes on her run to school.
Not only is there no chance to adjust at the beginning — there’s really no point at which you’ll know what to expect. And that’s both bizarre and kind of wonderful.
A Perfectly Imperfect Heroine
We’re used to our magical girl leads being a little clumsy, right? Maybe she doesn’t have the best grades. Maybe she’s late for school a lot. Maybe she overeats, is a crybaby, or has a temper. But deep down she has a heart of gold.
And then there’s Saki: she’s hyperactive, she can’t sing to save her life, and she is largely motivated by an overactive crush on her singing partner’s brother. We’re not even entirely sure yet if that crush is heartfelt or just kind of freaky — we just know it’s enough to power her transformation into the series’s title hero.
But you know what? That’s amazing. There’s something wonderful about a female lead in anime getting to be strange, potentially a little disconcerting, over the top, and slapstick, and have her still be our hero. The fact that she’s allowed to go completely all out, singing bad Cutie Honey parodies as off key as she can go, is something really special. And for anyone who’s sad about a lack of new Pop Team Epic episodes, look no further than Saki for your over-the-top heroine.
The bottom line? Magical Girl Ore is fearless, unselfconscious, and ridiculous in the best ways. Plenty of shows get silly and go into the realm of parody, but there’s something extra special about the approach of this odd little magical girl show.
Or maybe it’s just gotten into our brains. At this point, we’re really not sure. But we love it even so.
Kara Dennison is responsible for multiple webcomics, and is half the creative team behind the OEL light novel series Owl’s Flower. She blogs at karadennison.com and tweets @RubyCosmos. Her work can currently be read in Stranger Tales of the City from Obverse Books.