In the magical kingdom Juraihelm, Tsunami is in line to be crowned queen but must complete a test first. She must choose someone to make the world a better place. Sasami is given the task of delivering a CD from her mother's store to a spooky mansion. When she gets there she is met by Tsunami who tells her she will become a magical girl. She endows Sasami with magical powers and sends Ryo-Okhi with her as a guide. Matters are not easy, however, as Tsunami's rival, Ramia, wants the crown and will do anything she can, including creating her own magical girl, Pixy Misa, to stop Tsunami from being crowned.
Mahou Shoujo Pretty Sammy is basically a spin-off of the Tenchi Muyu series, its just a shame that this alternate version couldn't have been as good as the latter.
Story: We basically follow little Sasami (a seemingly ordinary girl) who is destined to take on the identity of a super heroine called "Pretty Sammy." She is chosen by Tsunami, that if Pretty Sammy can do enough good deeds, then Tsunami will become the next Queen of their magical world known as Juraihelm. However there is also a rival candidate that makes her own magical girl called "Pixie Misa," who has the very same goal in mind.
Now I know that all this sounds nice, and really it is a good concept for a magical girl story. What brings Mahou Shoujo Pretty Sammy down so much, is its extremely corny content! It's a series that definitely doesn't take itself seriously. Sammy has all your standard magical girl attacks (known as the Codfish bomber, which come in the form of a magical heart style attack) and transformations, they don't really change throughout the series, but are pretty amusing to watch, so again there actual is a good formula here for the series. The kind of corny content that it suffers from as I mentioned however, are as followed: The monsters (which usually are pretty ridiculous to look at, such as a talking Karaoke Machine and a Cowboy Girl), character origins (such as a boy who turns into a bird) and many of its joke lines (such as Sammy singing a song while they show her briefly pick up a house with her bare hands). However, the one thing that does make this series worth a peek at, are the numerous Tenchi Muyu character cameos! All of the cast that you grew to love, or hate, during the Tenchi series all make an appearance here. With the exception of the new characters from the GPX series, since this spin-off came before that one. Most of the characters don't really stay long (Tenchi himself only makes a one episode appearance), so the majority staple characters from the series that you get are: Sasami, Ryo-Okhi, Tsunami and Washu--as they are the only real characters that remain from beginning to end. Ayeka does appear later under the name Romeo, to my recollection she was the only one that had her name changed for the series. So anyway, the bulk of the story has Pretty Sammy stopping Pixie Misa from doing harm to other people, which mostly happens by way of a monster being summoned. The more times she stops her, the more points Tsunami gets, which she needs to be queen. So from beginning to near end it revolves around that plot, all the while having over the top humor and jokes. Which can get very repetitive very fast! The storyline also feels very very blodded at times, like they could have snipped this series down to half as long and it wouldn't have made much difference. Near the end though:
a surprise guest appears that turns out to be the real enemy of the series.
And I do have to go on par to say that it does actually conclude at the end, so if you do decide to give it a chance, it's nice to know that you will be treated to one at the end.
There isn't too much as far as offensive material goes, though there is a scene or two where Sasami ends up taking a bath with her dad. It's done in a innocent way...but is still awkward none the less. So yeah he can be pretty creepy, and honestly--the dude makes me want to retreat into myself sometimes! Is that odd? Ahem...anyway...
Art: The art style from the Tenchi series remains here, so you will recognize all of the cast once they appear. The only odd thing I found is that this series was made around the same time as "Tenchi in Tokyo," yet the color clarity seems to have dropped compared to that one. Not really sure what happened here, its by no means bad--it just fails in comparison to the series that came before it. The character design is indeed the best part though, I mean they are the Tenchi characters after all.
Sound: I really liked the soundtrack, even if it was a bit campy at times. The character voices do sound alright, and you do get a catchy opening theme sung by "Yokoyama, Chisa." Who is the voice of Sasami herself. The ending theme changes twice throughout the series, both are quite enjoyable and varied. (one a soft late night theme, the other a Samba style theme) I think they got the right characters for the right job in each role. Though some (such as Sasami's dad and the monsters) come off as awfully exaggerated.
Characters: Well they are the Tenchi characters, so you can expect pretty much that, only this time them being a lot more over the top in their personalities. This is especially true with Washu, who seems to be even more of a wacky inventor now. I mean...there is an episode where she dresses up like Santa in order to help Sasami defeat the monster, yet it's not Christmas...need I say more??? I felt they got Tsunami's role down perfectly though, she retains her very quiet and mature nature. Sasami acts like she did in the Tenchi series, only now she is much more child-like in her personality. There really is no character development that takes place here, with exception of Sasami and a girl named Misao, they actually do grow closer to one another by the end.
Overall: Pretty Sammy is an interesting title to say the least, it may have simply been a desperate attempt to cash in on the Tenchi series, but I don't think it is quite as bad as others would see it as. Because it does have a good magical girl formula down here, it just suffers from its corny (and cheesy) approach in story. I recommend it to the hardcore Tenchi fans out there, or to viewers who are will to go in with lower expectations. I would consider sampling an episode or two, you'll know by then if it's your cup of tea or not.
When Sailor Moon first came out, every magical girl anime since then wanted to ride on its success and be just as popular as it. It got so bad that some companies wanted to take a jab at Sailor Moon's success. Thus, with intent to parody and call the heck out of those magical girl tropes that bordered on overused at the time, Magical Girl Pretty Sammy was born. Actually, this show is an AU spin-off of a popular harem/sci-fi OVA series called Tenchi Muyo, which I haven't seen nor do I ever intend to, as it doesn't seem to appeal to me. But some
people I knew said they liked Pretty Sammy and that I don't need to know anything about Tenchi Muyo to enjoy it. Since I was bored and didn't have much to watch, I decided to track it down and give it a watch. Surprisingly, it's one of the best comedies and parodies I've seen! Sure, it has a LOT of flaws that prevent it from being great, but it's a fun watch all the way through!
Seriously, this show parodies every magical girl trope you can imagine. Sasami Kawai is a normal ten-year-old girl who's perfectly happy with her life. She has loving parents, a great best friend in shy girl Misao Amano, enjoys school, and is pretty average...however, one day, a strange woman named Tsunami appears in her house, giving her a strange baton and asking her to become a magical girl named Pretty Sammy. Tsunami is a woman from a magical world called Juraihelm, and she is a candidate to become queen, but she is up against two other candidates, Romio and Ramia. As part of the succession rites, Tsunami has to find someone, a kindred spirit, on Earth to give magical powers to so she can restore Juraihelm's balance. Sasami is in no way happy about this sudden change in her life, and questions why she even has to do this when she's not even the queen-to-be. Things get complicated when another magical girl, Pixy Misa, keeps getting in her way and sending Love-Love Monsters after her. Seeing as there's no way out, Sasami has to deal with being a magical girl and all the baggage that comes with it.
For its time, the animations looks quite good. It looks smooth, the characters are well designed most of the time, and it does its job well. The fact that it goes out of its way to make its characters look zany and stupid, especially during the comedic moments in the show, also works for the show's benefit since this is a parody, and we can't have a parody without some humor, right? However, I do have some issues with the magical girl outfits that Sammy and Misa are forced to wear. Do their skirts REALLY have to be so ridiclously short and skimpy? And they're ten years old! Then again, I think the show is trying to make fun of how silly most magical girl outfits were at the time, and the good thing is the show doesn't make any attempts to use them for fanservice (panty shots, anyone?), so I can give it some plus points for that. The soundtrack isn't really particularly memorable. The opening theme...is admittedly very badly sung, like the singer is trying waaaaay too hard to sound cutesy and high pitched, and all it does is grate on my ears. But there are some fun BGMs that really get you in the moment when something's about to happen, and it uses a wide range of music genres like jazz, pop, orchestra, etc.
The characters are arguably a mixed bag. The two main characters, Sasami and Misao, are easily the best characters, as they receive the most development throughout the entire series, and the two are just a joy to watch. I wish I could tell you more about them but to do so would make way for spoilers. Sasami's parents are very good parents who love their daughter deeply and even when she gets bad grades, they don't make her feel bad about herself about it and actually spend time with her (Hear that, Sailor Moon?!), even if Sasami's dad, Ginji, is ridiculously overpowered and knows way more about stuff he shouldn't than he should. Washu and some of the other adult characters...I don't really care for. Washu was just overpowered and Mihoshi is a pretty poor excuse of a teacher with a really annoying voice who doesn't do much of anything, and DEAR GOD I hated those two girls Konoha and Eimi, the former because she's an annoying little brat who pesters the heck out of one of the boys (the show even points this out), bullies Misao for stupid reasons, and generally causes trouble for everyone, and Eimi is a stuck-up little prick who freaks out over the littlest things, claiming they're against school rules even when they have nothing to do with school. Every time they opened their mouths I wanted to deck'em! But the worst of them is Tsunami herself: she pretty much does NOTHING throughout the entire series. The whole thing is about her becoming queen of Juraihelm, but she doesn't even do anything to warrant becoming a queen, makes Sasami do everything for her where she could easily do those things herself had she not been put under the restriction not to leave Juraihelm, and is so dense and ditzy that you wonder if she's even aware of anything going on around her. You could replace her with another, much better character, and nothing would be lost. She's pretty much woefully useless, and it really says a lot when the villains are WAY more proactive than she is.
But bad supporting characters isn't the only major flaw Pretty Sammy has. When I first began watching it, one aspect almost turned me off to the show entirely: The ridiculously over-the-top voice acting! Some of the actresses try way too hard to make their voices go as high pitched as possible, amping them up to completely unlistenable levels, not only coming off as shrill, but ear-rum blastingly annoying. Sasami, Sasami's mother, Konoha, Eimi, and Mihoshi are the biggest offenders. Sasami's voice actress, Chisa Yokoyama, is trying WAY TOO HARD to sound cute, and when she shouts her transformation phrase, I always turned the volume lower because it was that annoying. It's a shame, because the voice she uses for Tsunami is just fine, and she can do better, more natural sounding voices without needing to go so over-the-top. Sasami's mother also has a thankfully not annoying high pitched voice, but she still sounds like a little girl even when she's a mom, Konoha and Eimi's voices are just shrill and annoying, especially when they yell, and Mihoshi...she has the worst voice of all! She sounds like she inhaled way too much helium, and when she cries and yells she comes off as even more shrill, almost to the point where my eardrums almost exploded! It's especially jarring because her voice actress, Yuko Mizutani, is capable of doing much more mature, natural sounding voices, even more so since this was three years before she got to voice Sora from Digimon, and it really says something when her voice for Sora is MUCH more mature and listenable than Mihoshi's could ever be!
There were also some concepts and even individual episodes that didn't make any sense, such as one episode where Sasami and her dad end up in a ninja village and they get into a fight with a Western cowboy faction. There was also one where some kid raises the monsters that Pixy Misa creates even though Pretty Sammy managed to defeat them. Also...Washu is confirmed to be 12 years old yet she's teaching at an elementary school. How does that many any sense whatsoever? And she can create a gigantic rocket controlled by robotic puppets of herself. I won't explain the context, as that would give away spoilers. So yeah, not even a parody series is safe from gigantic plot holes and inconsistencies.
Even so, I still really enjoyed this series. It has its flaws, yes, but I found myself invested in almost every episode, even the bad ones. I found most of the jokes and take thats to the genre genuinely funny (especially when the show asks when Sasami's parents will figure out that their daughter is the magical girl they see saving the world all the time), Sasami and Misao are a joy to watch, the battles were funny yet compelling, and...the final villain, who I won't name because of spoilers, is one of the best villains ever. (Red from Happiness Charge, you could learn a thing or two from this villain! Seriously!) Not only that, it does both comedy and drama really well, and because we get time to get to know the characters, we actually care about their plights when bad things happen, and when things get serious, boy, do they ever! Plus...this is the ONLY anime that has a school cultural festival that I actually liked AND cared about, and usually those episodes either bore me to death or annoy me with their flaws (As much as I hate to admit it, Go! Princess Pretty Cure is a pretty bad offender with this one). Not an easy feat to accomplish. So yeah, even if it does have major flaws that keep it from being perfect, I still enjoyed it, and given the choice, I'd watch it again! Seriously, as much as I like Sailor Moon, why couldn't THIS show be the most well known magical girl show of all time?! It doesn't even have an English dub, and it could really benefit from one if done right!
Not a perfect magical girl show, but a reasonably fun parody and a genuinely fun show to watch if you're ever bored or want to kill some time. Just jam some ear plugs in if you can't stand many of the annoying high pitched voices.
Mecha anime shows are awesome but it's a shame that so few are released nowadays. Fortunately, AIC is bringing back one of their classics for older and newer fans. Is a reboot of Megazone 23 exciting enough to secure a successful crowdfunding campaign?
According to TV Tropes, "spin-offs are when part of a successful show, usually characters, but sometimes a general concept, are taken and given a second show of their own." Fans enjoy revisiting beloved universes, so there have been many anime spin-offs over the years. Read on to learn more!