Shows with unusual charm: Gen’ei Takeru Taikyou – magical girl squad meets Catcher in the Rye

Some shows embrace traditional stereotypes but manage to have at least a few truly fresh twists.

In the case of Gen’ei Takeru Taikyou, the angst is pretty well-written, both for the villain and the heroines. Aside from the angst it’s a pretty standard mass-marketed entertainment product.

First, let me praise the angsty villain. If he didn’t have any superpowers, he would be a pretty standard teenage rebel, channelling Holden Caulfield:

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I liked the villain. He made some tremendously valid points. He was so truthful that even the heroines agreed with him on most topics, although they did draw the line on a few issues and say, “No, even though humans suck, despair and self-hatred is not the answer, and also you’re being unfair.”

The villain would have been even better if he had been more idealistic – more like the kind of misguided anti-heroes that often cause trouble in Gintama. Villains in that show usually have excellent reasons for what they do.

In this show, however, the villain is only partially truthful. He’s truthful on big-picture issues, but he excuses himself far too much. For a much more chilling and well-written treatment of anti-heroes, see Psycho-PASS.

But the villain is not the only angsty one. The heroines are pretty emo throughout the show, and there is a special 14th episode prequel that gives some backstory to their individual wagon-loads of teenaged angst.

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I don’t want to over-sell this show. It drags a bit. It’s very good if you’re 12 years old and you haven’t seen a lot of mediocre television. If you’ve spent considerable time over-analyzing fiction writing, you’ll find it somewhat clunky. It’s still quite watchable. Come for the iconic visuals, stay for the angst.

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