Magical Girl Neil, as you can probably put together from the title, is the story of a young man who must fight dark and dangerous creatures…. As a Magical Girl, or if you wanna go full anime Mahou shoujo. Now I haven’t watched a lot of Magical Girl anime or read any manga, I believe that the ones I remember watching as a kid were Sailor Moon and Card Captor Sakura so my knowledge of that genre is a bit lacking, however, when it comes to stories of inheriting power and coming to terms with a whole new identity I have read quite a few.
As stated, Neil has inherited his powers, from his mother to be precise. They are actually from a long line of Magical Girls, the powers being passed from mother to daughter. Turns out there was actually an incredibly small chance that he would inherit these powers as well and his mother was hoping against all chances that he would be skipped over. Obviously, things don’t go as planned.
After a week of sleep deprivation, after his mother gives the entire explanation as best she can, Neil finally gives in and allows the powers he has been denying this entire time to manifest properly. A rough battle ensues, his mother is brought to the brink of sacrificing herself to save her loved ones, and Neil uses his head and defeats the monster in what I would call a very Hail Mary move. Thus begins the life of a very complex teenage life of our Hero/Heroine.
I’m no stranger to gender bend story lines, although most of the time these kinds of plots take place in video games where you can change your physical appearance easily. To have a main character who actually is more or less forced to change genders is something I haven’t come across all that often. Not to mention our main character has one of the worst kinds of personalities for being a superhero. He is stubborn, prefers to keep to himself, and hates interacting with people so you can imagine how troubling it is for him to have to start saving the day all of a sudden.
The story is fun and interesting, giving a clever twist on the Mahou Shoujo genre as well as gender bending. More often than not, in my own opinion at least, gender bending a character feels awkward and forced, it can work if done right, but I have only read a handful of stories that actually do. Magical Girl Neil I am happy to say indeed does it wonderfully.
The art, in the beginning, feels like they are trying to copy actual manga styles at first but as they get more practice in you can see they start to develop their own style and begin evolving their art process. I will say that the way the mother is drawn with her eyes closed kept bothering me at first, but that kind of detail bothers me in most things. After reading the comic and getting into it I found myself less bothered and more accepting of it as I am a sucker for good mother characters.
If you want a comic about Magical Girls that is a bit more unorthodox that what you are used to I highly recommend you give Magical Girl Neil a read.
And, as always, I hope you enjoy as much as I do.
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