The idea of an experienced, post-war character was appealing, we've seen so many dealing with the build up to the great fight, but not many covering the aftermath, and it's why this "Magical Girls" anime made it into the queue.
Our protagonist was introduced as an older, jaded and traumatized young woman, trying to live a normal life and leave the brutality of war behind her. From there we see her struggle with fitting into high school, trying to relate to the trivial concerns of her classmates and failing. Even with the domestic challenges before her, living alone and almost friendless, the protagonist stays true to her chosen path turning down the repeated invitations from the government to rejoin the fight and use the powers gifted to all of the "Magical Girls".
Of course before long she's forced to choose between letting one of her few friends die or reclaim her powers......
From there the story starts to play out predictably, secondary characters put in harms way repeatedly, the protagonist forced to confront the past, etc. At this only major story element the anime includes is the continued trauma, including PTSD suffered by the survivors of magical encounters, trauma significant enough that survivors are terrified of their saviors.
However as it introduces this often overlooked and unavoidable mental health issue it also jams in a number of things that detract from the story, including torture, abuse and even flirts with rape in a couple episodes, most of which was done poorly. Don't get me wrong, all of these would fit in a darker, grittier "Magical Girls" animie, but the story elements were either taken just a little to far, or skirted around enough they failed to have any real emotional impact. Add in unneeded Ecchi and a fair amount of cheese the show starts to take away from the quality of each episode.
Issues aside, overall this Magical Girls "drama" was entertaining and giving it the benefit of the doubt for trying to tackle issues often overlooked or glossed over in anime's focused on the shiny, bright side of the stor, I'd say it's worth a watch.
- Attempts to tackle overlooked issues that would face the world.
- Gives us a protagonist that actually has good reasons for being jaded and the reluctant hero.
- Closure / completed story arc.
- Good English dubbing.
- Excessive Ecchi moments that seem forced in "Fan-Service".
- Cheese heavy at times.
- Some of the violence either borders on "gore porn" or is trivialized, cheapening the scene.
- Many if the support characters are flat and one dimensional.
- Several episodes include "recaps" at the beginning that seem to be "filler".