The seal that for hundreds of years had confined the demon king Giri has worn off. A young boy named Nike is chosen (against his will) as the hero. Together with Kukuri, a girl who is the lone survivor of the tribe that had used black magic to seal Giri, they set off to save the world, RPG style.
From the promotional art of this show it looked like it wouldn't be more than a boring kid's show, however, after seeing the (2017) besides the title, meaning this is a remake and the original is probably quite polular in Japan and after seeing it's rated PG 13 and after reading the synopsis of the manga I decided to give it a try.
What I expected, as the synopsis suggested, was a cute and somewhat fun show about video game tropes. However, what I got was a show that was far less focused of video game tropes or being cute and much more on comedy...good comedy.
This show is absolutely hilarious! In the beginning of the show the parents of MC tell him to become a hero and, when the boy refuses, shoot him of with a giant slingshot! Who thinks of this stuff? This show is comedic gold!
The show mostly advertises itself as a show about RPG-tropes, but you don't actually need to have any interest in this subject. Sure, being into old jRPGs helps, but the meat of the story is the personality driven comedy. Old RPGs aren't the subject matter, but the theme. It can be fully enjoyed as a comedy show or even a fantasy show, without caring about RPGs.
The two main characters are a young boy and a young girl around his age (I thinks they're like 12 or something). The boy is lazy and easily seduced, but seems to at least have the heart of the traditional hero. The girl is a typical girl of around her age who is very concerned with her image and who is infatuated with the boy in a very endearing manner. The two are absolutely adorable together. Also, a lot of the comedy around these characters is based on the contrast between them being normal teenagers and the fact that it is expected of them to be capable warriors, ready to take on the big bad and any of his henchmen (which they are not).
One of the first things you'll notice about the show is the artstyle. The character designs look very young, which will turn a lot of people off, but if you take the time to look at it you will realize they are actually very nice to look at and incredibly cute. The backgounds are fantastic and especially the landscapes are incredibly nice to look at.
Despite all that, the show is still a comedy show and the main appeal of the show is this comedy. If you watch one episode of the show and you didn't like the comedy you'll probably not like the show at all. If you do find it funny, then you'll love the show as it just gets funnier and funnier and according to watchers of the original show it stays funny troughout.
So, going into this show I didn't really know what to think. The artstyle looked retro and when I looked it up and found the 90s-show first, I partly knew why.
Mahoujin GuruGuru is a parody of old RPGs like Dragonquest and Final Fantasy. It openly mocks its tropes and plays around with them in ways you won't expect. The more interesting thing about it is, however, that it serves a totally different purpose nowadays than it did back in the day.
In 1994, when the first version came out, the type of game this is spoofing was still relevant in the exact way this show is
spoofing them. But like everything, RPGs have also changed with time. Therefore, this 2017 version is more of a nostalgia trip for those of us who have played those games or at least know their tropes, so we can fully appreciate every gag they're throwing at us.
What makes this even better for me, personally, is a Youtuber called "Lennyficate" (german). He made a video series about illogical things in the Pokemon universe / games and a lot of those things are very much present in GuruGuru in a similar way.
Anyway: As you may see from my score: I find this show highly enjoyable. Most of the jokes land very well, the characters are interesting and fun, as they should be, and the parody elements aren't forced in any way. You can genuinely feel the love the creators have to have had for old RPGs to revamp this 1994 show and leave its artstyle completely untouched.
Textboxes are popping up from time to time, and even though I can't enjoy them as much as the japanese can (because I still have to read the subtitles and it's hard to also read text that is on top of the screen, since the textboxes are indeed written in japanese), but I can at least appreciate the humour they're trying to create with it. It's like the old "It's very effective" joke from Pokemon.
All in all: A great nostalgia trip back to the 90s and parody in more ways than one.
This show can be summarized in two words: "Pure euphoria". There's really nothing else which needs to be said. I haven't had this much fun watching something since a short portion of my nichijou viewing.
Story: The stories fine. I mean, there are plot holes, contrivances and a complete lack of dramatic stakes but who the fuck cares. This doesn't need a coherent story, and I am a firm believer in judging a show on what makes it great, not what it lacks. The story is fine and doesn't hinder the fun.
Art: There are lines and colours which move.
Sound: There are noises
Characters: This show
has some amazing characterization! While the side characters aren't the best, the main duo is characterized in a manner which made me care for them even when I know this is a show of no stakes. Furthermore, THERE IS CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT. I've long since had enough of shows which spend 12 or 24 episodes waiting for the characters to accomplish literally nothing.
Enjoyment: This was very fun. Very, very, very fun.
I cannot recommend this enough, it's so great to watch after spending part of my week dealing with the horror of the comically edgy characters of 'classroom of the elite'. This is such a refreshing change of pace where the tone is kept consistent and there is an actual sense of progression. Of the summer 2017 season (At a point where Mahoutuskai yome and violet evergarden are yet to actually air), the must watch shows are definitely Made in Abyss, Princess Principal and This.
I wasn't really expecting anything from a show that looked to be from the wrong side of the 90s, but boy was I wrong.
Mahoujin Guruguru is perhaps a more "appropriate" version of Konosuba. While I don't necessarily believe that fans of one will be won over by the other, they feature many similarities. Both shows feature a reluctant hero thrown into a world of idiots. Often times the main character can't be bothered to put in any effort and just gets lucky. Every obstacle scares him , and he's obsessed with the heroine's butt.
Most of the gags land very well, and the
animation is impeccable. Though the art style is very basic, there is always tons of fluid movement on screen. Effects also look particularly good.
At 24 episodes, the only way I see this show deserving less than a 9 is if the plot goes nowhere. Luckily after 5, the story doesn't seem like it will be derailed. I'll update this review when the show finishes airing.