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cover of A Magical Girl Retires  Park Seolyeon, translated by Anton Hur  cover of A Magical Girl Retires  Park Seolyeon, translated by Anton Hur

A Magical Girl Retires by Park Seolyeon, translated by Anton Hur

We love a subverted genre over here, and A Magical Girl Retires looks at the magical girl genre through a decidedly depressed millennial lens. That is to say that the magical girl in Seolyeon’s tale starts off up to her eyeballs in debt after having lost her job during the pandemic. When she attempts suicide, she’s interrupted by Ah Roa, a girl in all white who is looking for the greatest magical girl of all time, and Seolyeon’s protagonist just might be her. Now that she has some hope for the future as a magical girl, the young woman charges forward but is met with the unpleasant surprises that come with magical girlhood. Turns out it’s a lot of work. Magical girls go to job fairs, need unions, and have to learn stuff in classes. On top of all that, your girl still has low self-esteem. And, in true millennial fashion, her magic wand is a credit card, and her big bad monster enemy is climate change.

I’m going to leave y’all with a direct line from the blurb for this one because it tickled my nostalgia: “A Magical Girl Retires reminds us that we are all magical girls — that fighting evil by moonlight and winning love by daylight can be anyone’s game.”

Very Sailor Moon-coded.

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