The story takes place in Tokyo in 2018, where normal humans and those who can use magic coexist. As a result, there are laws against using magic, and a "magic courtroom" exists to preside over lawsuits regarding magic use. In these cases, "Benmashi" or wizard barristers defend those who use magic. The anime follows Cecil, the youngest Benmashi in history, and her associates as they defend clients in these cases.
Wizard Barristers. Those are two words that might spark some curiosity in your head. We have the term ‘wizard’ that would automatically mark this series with magic themes and then, there’s barristers, a lesser familiar term. By definition standards, barrister deals with the law and essentially is a lawyer found in law jurisdictions. So combining those two terms would result in lawyers who can use magic. You’re not wrong if that’s the first thing that came to your mind. But there’s something else to take consider for our main female protagonist, Cecil Sudo. Starring her career as a wizard barrister, she is the youngest known
member in history at age 15. But in a world of crime and politics, there’s no such thing as young. Crime existed for centuries and for Cecil, it’s a world that she takes on as a wizard barrister.
Yasuomi Umetsu is involved with the show, who is known for his previous experience in working with action packed science fiction anime series such as Kite Liberator and the more recent Galilei Donna. Judging just by the premise alone would bring out curiosity especially for fans into fictional detective stories. Take it on the surface as Law & Order but with magic elements. There’s no such thing as being fair in the world but being a wizard barrister is more than just about bringing criminals to justice. It’s about dignity and bringing out the best of whom they are in their line of business in a world of despair.
With its standards, we get a futuristic setting taking place in 2018. Technology has developed efficiently in Tokyo to hire wizard barristers to represent the accused and guilty in the Court of Magic. It’s also noticeable that society has adapted the co-existence between human and wizards (aka Wud users) in their world. Rather than a revolution breaking out, the show adapts its standards by which individuals commit crimes with magic and having wizard barristers deal with them. Throughout the first half of the series, it follows an episodic format where each episode represents a different case focusing on different characters and the crimes they commit. One prominent feature is often revisited involving Cecil’s mother. It is the primary focus of Cecil to get her mother out of jail for an event that she sees a travesty of justice. But what motivates Cecil is more than just that. She wants to help people and protect society. In her mind, ‘justice’ is the law and everyone deserves a chance; well, the majority of them anyways.
Despite being accepted into society on conditional standards, there’s a sudden decree of prejudice against Wud users. Some of them are bullied while others are ostracized just for their abilities. Even inside the courtroom, there are remarks of discrimination against them that often or not result in outbursts. The judges themselves don’t seem to protect their rights on many occasions. Their purpose seems to rely on the safety of the public rather than society as a whole. Perhaps this is one of the reasons why Cecil’s mother is behind bars. There’s injustice and this show explores the rights and wrongs of such a world.
Representing the majority of the main cast are female characters. When you have to deal with Wuds who can use magic used to commit crimes, you’d have to be badass. That’s what describes the majority of the main characters such as Moyo, Ageha, Sasori, Quinn, among others. For Cecil, she comes off as a newbie in the business. She realizes that the world is not fair and there are faults in the justice system. In some episodes, Cecil finds out that some criminals may be beyond redemption by the crimes they have committed. More importantly is the fact that she has to so much to learn beyond just following the laws. There’s time when she has to make the decisions herself even if she has to do it alone. By taking on a more basic approach, Cecil is an easy-going girl who is able to make friends with just about anyone. Her honesty, self-less sacrifices, and courage makes her a character of admiration. However, there’s one character that seems to despise her for her attributes.
Enter Natsuna Hotaru, a young woman that also works as a wizard barrister. Unlike Cecil, she has a more stoic attitude and take her occupation as serious at it can be. Her relationship with Cecil is strained on most parts that is seemingly based on jealousy. In essence, Hotaru is an insecure girl and whether she likes it or not, there’s a gap between her and Cecil in their abilities. But relationship wise, the two does get more characterization after some events combining together that draws the duo closer. On a more general terms, most of Cecil’s co-workers adores her as a cute girl. Even her perverted frog seems to enjoy the company of messaging her back or whatnot. Still deep down, Cecil is a girl that has potential in her profession.
Through its approach, Wizard Barristers define itself as a more experimental anime, at first anyways. Each case presents a new challenge or some sort of morality that Cecil learns about her job. Despite feeling like a police story, there’s a somewhat realistic mood from each case as well. This is evidenced by Cecil and her book smarts because of her knowledge in the law. Surprisingly enough, it’s depicted accurately as being symmetrical to real world orders. By fantasy standards, it goes overboard with its magic tropes and points that doesn’t make sense. Then, there’s the main story itself that gets clustered with questions that invites confusion. With such a premise, the story should match up with its caliber but fails to do so with strange plot twists and asinine formulations.
Unfortunately, the show withers itself with its blend world building regarding its settings. Most of the cases takes place in Tokyo despite various law firms existing in other places in the world. This become a problem as there’s a lack of diversity in which viewers whom desires to see cases taking place in other locations. Not only is that but the setting this Tokyo represents hardly different than its modern standards. In essence, it doesn’t feel too futuristic or like a neo-Tokyo.
There’s also a lack of characterization in most of the other characters. Most of them just seems to be doing their jobs as a way of life. There’s a lack of exploration in their character background that makes us wonder their motivations of why they are wizard barristers in the first place. Furthermore, Cecil can hardly be taken serious on some occasions. Her co-workers just loves her and some of them tease her on borderline sexual levels with yuri-undertones. Unfortunately, most of it comes off as just teasing and can be repetitive to watch. If the show wants to imply actual relationships beyond a professional level, then it should make itself more prominent by presenting actual depth. And speaking of depth, the justice system is flawed and not everything is understood in the end with some cases. To sum it up short, there’s miscarriage the justice system for which the term ‘unfair’ is best to assess certain episodes. The show focuses less so on its justice system but more on the criminals.
Despite the serious concept of the premise, there are various levels of comedy throughout the series. Most of this is focused on Cecil that can be met with mixed results. There are running gags such as the way Cecil is dressed, sexual harassment teasing curtsey of Moyo, Nanajiinyi (the frog) being its outlandish self, among others. Surprisingly, fan service is minimal on most occasions despite the fact that studio ARMS is in charged with the production. Otherwise, the show has an odd mixture of its premise and humorous gags mixed with violence.
The artwork will persuade you to watch this show by a heartbeat at first. Studio Arms really sets the bar high with its glamorous world setting of 2018. Action is categorized by a mixture of police action, mecha-like movements, and magic. It’s presented with a solid flow and alluring appearance of its world. Some of the mecha-like action combines usage of CGI and movements that is also unorthodox. But be aware of one particular episode that for budget reasons omits any credibility to match its artwork style. It defiles it. Otherwise, the majority of the cast members are designed to look professional. Only Cecil stands out despite her moderately designed clothes that earns her some humorous remarks from her co-workers. If you’re familiar with Yasuomi Umetsu, then some of the designs will bring back some similarities. The nefarious criminals themselves also holds credibility that makes them look dangerous enough to be accepted as threats to society.
Music and soundtracks comes off as one of its lesser dynamic features. While the music itself is tolerable and has its style, not all of them stands out in any distinctive way. The voice cast does its job on most parts but some character voices can be irritating to listen to. Cecil has both a childish and mature voice mannerism mixed together. Other characters represents themselves with their personalities such as Moyo’s flirtiest voice, Nanajiinyi’s playfulness, or Seseri’s mentoring manners. On another note, the OP song holds degrees of its catchy tones.
Watching Wizard Barristers will feel like you’re on a journey of discovery although it’s not something to remember by heart. For Cecil, she discovers the laws of justice. With each episode, she experiments her occupation on various levels to explore her full potential. But taken for granted, this show is more like a police story with magic additions with moderate characterization. The story isn’t something you’ll praise well and neither are the laws that bound their world.
This series is somewhat of an enigma. The concept of Wizards defending Wizards in a Magic Court was a very unique idea and plot. Sudo Cecil is your lead character, who happens to be a "Wizard Barrister" working for Butterfly Law Office. She is looking for answers about her past and discovers not only the truth, but is thrown into many difficult, dangerous situations. The characters development in the series is extremely well done. As is the relationship development between them. You get a clear idea of the relationship each character has to each other. With a few exceptions of course. Each episode takes
you on its own journey, while keeping its own place in the main storyline. The characters were unique in design and animated extremely well. There was also instances of comedic perversion/fanservice that had me laughing on frequent occasions, but wasn't something that was being pushed on fans.
The negatives I have are why the overall rating isn't higher. First, the story tends to drift at times which causes some confusion, for me at least, at times. Also, though beautifully animated, a few episodes seemed to be very choppy and did not transition well between scenes. Finally, I feel as if there are more episodes (a 2nd season) there will be ample times for better closure and for the storyline to mature and develop much more.
This series has great potential, especially with the unique premise for the series. But, as it stands, it doesn't live up to that potential. At least not yet.
I haven’t done a review in almost a year. So, you would think Wizard Barristers: Benmashi Cecil is ‘that’ special. Let me tell you why it ‘almost’ was.
First, the concept. You could more likely compare Wizard Barristers into being a legal representative of Wuds (people who possess magical powers) in Tokyo Year 2018. Cecil Sudou, being the youngest ever Wizard Barrister, tries to make use of her knowledge to ‘defend’ Wuds and give them an unprejudiced trial.
However, being involved with strange people along the way, she discovers more about her past, and something about herself.
Don’t get me wrong. I would say that the
story is ‘quite’ original as I haven’t really watched a lot of animes that involved Law in them. Or, maybe because I haven’t encountered those kind of animes, so I don’t really have a standard.
A story combining law and magic? I mean, who wouldn’t love that? And they even made a separate law, called the Magic Probihition Law, which Wuds are subject to. That really got me, especially when the protagonists casually say it just to make a statement.
Now, I was thrilled as I typed those from above, and then I thought: What made Wizard Barristers suck? Easy. That would be the story in totality. I love the law-plus-magic idea as much as the next guy, but this was not implemented well with the whole series. The story gets you thinking, “Is this even going anywhere?” Sure, the story was fluid. Sure, the story had continuity. But, for what? For Wuds to have to have a fair trial? That doesn’t really apply when you could see there is already an over-complexity between the characters themselves, which makes a case insignificant all the way.
Then, a question again popped in my head. “What made Wizard Barristers TOTALLY suck?” That, my friend, would be the pace of the story. It goes from one scene to another, having no proper transition at all. And don’t even get me started on the eye-catches.
‘Colorful’ would be the first word to say of Wizard Barristers. The anime had vibrant colors that are such a sight. And the neon-glowing ‘circle’ thingies really add effect to the spells they use. And the CGI for the Metamoloids are relatively superb.
I think no one would disagree that the opening animation of the anime was splendid. But, like they say, you should never judge an anime with its opening animation (and theme). Really. Unfortunately, Sentai Filmworks did a terrible job with the animation itself. A lot of inconsistencies would be seen in it. Strange movements (and etc.) made the anime unpleasant to watch. I think it would’ve been better to just put your earphones on and just turn off the monitor.
There is also that one episode that looked like it was a Microsoft Powerpoint Slideshow of still pictures, with dialogue. What? The producers are getting lazy because they already knew that it sucked that they got tired of ‘actually’ doing the movements?
Also, maybe it’s just me, but it had that Saber Marionette J-type of feel.
For a reason that I don’t know, Lia’s themes strike me in the heart. Angel Beats! And Clannad would second that. That Lia opening was just amazing. The ending theme was also good. But the producer of the song Rui Tanabe sang didn’t get you that I-have-to-watch-the-next-episode-but-I-need-to-listen-to-this-first kind of feeling.
I think I should give praise to the soundtrack itself, as it gave suitable ambiance for most scenes, like when trials are about to start, or when the employees from Butterfly Law Offices are just slacking off. Voice actors were also good. Most notable would be Wataru Takagi, voice of Seseri Chono, which gave justice to the character himself.
Character development was good, but it wasn’t great at the same time. There were still characters that have the right to have more background stories. There were also no explanations to how one possesses magic, or how they got this specific type of power.
And although it wasn’t clear, at least these characters are likeable. Especially Cecil who, at the same time, was the center of humor in the entire show.
There were 2 major discrepancies on it though. Who is Moyo Tento? I certainly don’t want to end the anime without having to get to know her first. And the other: WHAT IS THE IMPORTANCE OF THOSE USELESS FAMILIARS?
Something to look forward to in this anime would be the action. As a fan of magic-related animes (like To Aru Majutsu No Index and Alice Academy), I definitely can’t get enough of those kind of action. They were spectacular. Too bad there wasn’t much of it. Even the trials, which are something that would interest a viewer, didn’t last long enough for it to actually be considered a ‘proper’ hearing.
They just weren’t enough. That aside, they were still awesome.
Should I recommend this to you, reader of my review?
If you want magic and action, combined with wacky (and some, cold) characters, with Law (just an amount) being the underplot, and Lia having an opening theme, then yes.
If you want to watch an anime that is fully detailed, does not miss facts and provides broad character development with great animation, I suggest you watch something else.
All in all, Wizard Barristers: Benmashi Cecil would have been a great anime. Really. Maybe it was just the number of episodes. Or, it just lacked that ‘total feel’ which most viewers would think so, too.
Well, this was wasted potential. On paper, Wizard Barristers had a potentially interesting premise with its law office perspective on a world where wizards face discrimination and get wrongly prosecuted for crimes due to a flawed and sometimes prejudiced judicial system. The show starts off as an episodic look at cases such as this where the Butterfly Law Office try to defend their clients on cases and the series exploring a number of the flaws that the judicial system in Wizard Barristers has when it comes to defending wizards, a major aspect of this shown through Cecil's efforts to try proving her mother's innocence for
a crime she was framed for. The second half of the series hints to a secret wizard cult desiring Cecil for mysterious reasons and the Butterfly Law Office getting entangled in things as they come to realize that events with Cecil and her family are connected to the cult's activities.
It is the second half of the series that leads to much of the show's downfall. While it does allow Cecil's character to be more fleshed out with her connections to the mentioned cult, this comes at the cost of the world exploration that the first half had with exploring human and wizard tensions through the judicial system of Wizard Barristers. The reasons that the cult have for needing Cecil are rather cliched (world domination for wizards -yawn-) and build up to a rather underwhelming and rushed conclusion that felt like somewhat of a cop-out when it looks like things are about to get worst for the good guys, yet conveniences in plot prevent things from getting too dire.
The second half developments aren't the only things that cripple Wizard Barristers. Beyond Cecil, most of the other characters get limited to no fleshing out of their characters that leave you little reason to care for any connection they have to Cecil. Also for a show that is supposed to seem serious with its premise, the comedy and random ecchi bits peppered in at points within the show felt really out of place for this series, notably scenes where Nanagenie attempts perverted acts on Cecil and a hostage episode where Cecil and one of her pals dress up in corny sentai hero costumes. Then again considering Studio Arms and Yasuomi Umetsu are involved in making this series, I should have expected these bits to be included with the series in some form.
About the only genuine praise I can give this series is for its visual presentation. It's easily among the best animated titles this season with highly detailed scenery shots and character designs, plus having plenty of fluid movement and nicely-rendered CG animation for the show's elaborate action sequences with wizards squaring off against one another with their magic, especially when they create giant robots (this I'm not kidding about) for a clash. Only sore point with visuals was the rather limited animation seen in a decent chunk of the televised airing of episode 11, though I imagine this will be improved on for the title's video release.
Praises aside for visuals though, Wizards Barristers had wasted potential as a series thanks to its focus shift in later episodes, out-of-place ecchi and comedy bits, underdeveloped characters and a sloppy resolution when everything is settled. This is certainly among one of the year's underwhelming titles that I've seen thus far.
A bento is a famous home-packed meal that can be seen very often in anime. It holds a special place in Japanese cuisine because it is prepared and arranged with love and care, therefore symbolizing an intimate connection. Let's take a look at 20 of the most delicious bento anime has to offer!