Weekly Anime Round-Up (May 30th – June 6th): The capitalist metaphor of Madoka Magica and Reviews of Dorohedoro and Jujutsu Kaisen

Dorohedoro is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Q Hayashida. It tells the story of Caiman, a victim of a magic attack, resulting in Caiman being left with a lizard head. I reviewed the series and considered it one of the best anime series in the last decade. Chris Joynson over at Never Argue with a Fish reviews Dorohedoro and loves the series “creativity.” He says that:

Sometimes I just have to marvel at anime. I mean there are many, many reasons why I’ve been watching it for the majority of my life now, but one of the main ones is the sheer breadth and creativity of its stories. Where else am I going to come across a show that opens with a man with a lizard head biting down some other dude’s head, only for another head to work its way up the lizard man’s throat and start talking?

Chris Joynson

Irina review Jujutsu Kaisen

Jujutsu Kaisen has been a massive hit and has become one of the best received and most successful manga/anime series in years. Like Dorohedoro, I reviewed the first anime season. Irina reviewed the series and was captivated by the animation from MAPPA, “I’m pretty impressed by Mappa lately. . . they certainly know how to create some eye-catching animation.” Overall, Irina concludes what most fans of Jujutsu Kaisen have, the series is a great action shonen;

Season 1 of Jujutsu Kaisen is a strong start to what could become a future classic of action shonen anime. It’s not breaking any molds but it’s a prime example of its genre

Irina

Madoka Magica and the capitalist metaphor

Puella Magi Madoka Magica is one of those highly regarded anime you hear about from time to time. I always intend to watch it but can’t seem to find the time. Anyway, Audrey Dubois explores how Madoka Magica can be seen as a metaphor for capitalism. Using an “economic lens,” Dubois discusses how Kyubey exploits the magical girls employing them as “freelancers,” into deadly work without “protection.” Kyubey’s manipulations result in isolation, conflict, and ultimately the magical girl’s destruction.

Kyubey’s character is truly a masterclass in labor exploitation. He conditions his magical girls to view potential allies as rivals and targets the most vulnerable candidates to continue his profit machine. His exaggerated evil might help viewers recognize those manipulative tactics when they arise in real life.

Dubois

Top 5 Magical Girl series

Kill la Kill

Technically Kill La Kill isn’t a magical girl series, however, it does feature some elements from the genre. The series debuted in fall 0f 2013 and was produced by Studio Trigger. Ryuuko Matoi is a young girl seeking revenge for her father’s murder. Armed with half of a scissor blade she battles the student council at Honnouji Academy. Kill La Kill is most notable for its fanservice, displayed during the character’s transformation. 

Puella Magi Madoka Magica

A middle school girl named Madoka Kaname meets a transfer student named Homura. Elsewhere, a war between creatures called “witches” and magical girls. A cat-like creature named Kyubey offers Madoka a chance to save the world but things aren’t as they seem. Magical girl series are generally happy affairs will young girls and bright colors. Puella Magi Madoka Magica takes the magical girl series and twists it into a dark tale, focusing on topics like hope, despair, and entropy. The magical girls are put through psychological trauma. Puella Magi is considered to be in the deconstructive sub-genre of the Magical Girl Warrior genre. 

Pretty Cure

Pretty Cure is one of the longest-running magical girl series with over 600 episodes. Considered within the Action Hero sub-genre of the Magical Girl Warrior genre, Pretty Cure emphasizes action. Aimed at teenage and adult males, Pretty Cure features fanservice and focuses on the “power of friendship.” Toei Animation has produced a season since 2004, with the latest series premiering during the summer of 2020. 

Cardcaptor Sakura

Also within the Magical Girl Warrior genre, Cardcaptor Sakura is a neo-classical sub-genre. An old school magical girl comes of age in the modern age. One of the most famous Magical Girl series, Cardcaptor Sakura was created and written by CLAMP. Following a young girl named Sakura Kinomoto, who releases the tarot-like cards with magical powers. She is tasked with recovering those cards with the aid of her friends Tomoyo and Kerberos. 

Sailor Moon

If there’s a pioneer for the Magical Girl genre, Sailor Moon is it. Beginning as a manga series in the early 1990s, Sailor Moon follows the life of clumsy, whiny school girl Usagi Tsukino. When she learns that she was the Reincarnation of an “ancient lunar warrior from the Moon Kingdom,” Usagi is tasked with saving the Earth. Usagi is joined by her mentor, Luna, and fellow Sailor scouts, Sailor Mars, Mercury, Venus, and Jupiter. Sailor Moon remains one of the most popular anime and manga series, as well as being one of the series that started America’s love of anime.