Long, long ago, there existed a world of magic and science. God, afraid of man's potential, split the world in to the world of science, Elde, and the world of magic, Fandavale. One day in Fandavale, a terrible witch named Cendrillon (Cinderella) revives. Cendrillon plots to rule both worlds, and searches for the "key" which holds tremendous power.
A young boy from Elde by the name of Sōta meets a mysterious girl from Fandavale, Akazukin, and her talking wolf companion, Val. Sōta learns that he is the key Cendrillon is searching for. Now it is up to Akazukin, Val, and the other Fairy Musketeers to protect Sōta from Cendrillon and her Nightmarelians who wish to obtain the power he mysteriously possesses.
Most anime aimed at kids in Japan is for the sake of merchandising. Otogi-Jushi Akazukin is no exception, but it is also one of the few that surpass the commercial need and becomes something respectable in its own right.
Akazukin plays on one of the most familiar of story devices; fairy tales, and still manages to come out with a story all its own. At first, Akazukin gives off the presence of a magical girl show, and though it keeps that essence, its far heavier on the action than most; a factor that works in favor of the series rather than against it. Moreso, it abandons
the monster-of-the-week element by the halfway mark and becomes increasingly focused on the main plot, intensifying in suspense up to the climax. In addition, Akazukin provides a handful of unique twists, though it falters in giving them away too early. Still some of the revelations are pretty impressive to say the least.
As Akazukin revels in fairy tale lore, it should come as no surprise that almost every character is a relation to some famous story. Everyone from the fairy tale world holds some link to a fairy tale and the detail put into the backstory, design, and personality all reflect their archetypes or play on them. Unfortunately, there's no real genuine development. Characters change in sudden and jarring revelations rather than changing gradually, and some are just plain irritating without reason. I'm looking at you, Randagio. Moreso, some characters don't even change at all, so if you don't like someone at the start, be prepared to dislike them the rest of the series.
Animated by Madhouse, the animation is consistently enjoyable all the way through. Nothing is choppy, though there is a strong tendancy, especially around the middle, to fade into flashbacks. It is redeemed though by its pastel-perfect backgrounds and flashy but classically appealing character designs. Very pretty indeed.
Akazukin's sound is okay. It's not bad, but it sounds like every other generic anime soundtrack out there. It doesn't impede on anything, but it doesn't really stand out. The OPs are okay, but the EDs are pretty good, especially the last one.
A combination of magical girl and RPGs, Akazukin is a wonderful tale all its own. Though parts lag, it is ultimately fulfilling in the very end and leaves nothing lacking. Akazukin is a pleasant, if not wonderful, watch from beginning to end.
Overall, I give Otogi-Jushi Akazukin an 8 out of 10.
One of the few ‘weird’ titles in my list, this one. Me being both male and adult…completely the opposite of the target-audience for the show. I started this because I was interested in what is currently made for the little ones in Japan, and wondered whether it would make me feel nostalgic. Or if I would even consider it good. Fairy Musketeers was picked because it was (and is) legally available for streaming on ANN and looked childish, so yeah. There you have it.
Plot- and premise wise, Fairy Musketeers is pretty unoriginal (no surprise, and no complaint): Take a Fairytale Book from your average shelf
here in Europe, mix all the stories, add a LOT of über-cute à la Japan, put in an ‘our world’ in a separate dimension, an evil sorceress who wants to take over the world and make 3 classic heroines who originally have nothing to do with each other member of some order who act as a cute ‘special forces’ unit in service of a king.
Good things first: It is certainly watchable. It’s clearly not meant for me, but character interaction is good, morals and themes are where they should be and the tales are generally simple but effective (and still recognisable). Music-wise it’s repetitive, but joyful, cute and fitting. Also a big kudos for putting a human side to our evil sorceress, yet still make her dark enough, and not someone to reason with. Some quite good characters by the way (Gretel comes to mind). And I can really see 6 year old girls watching this without me raising a brow.
Still, when I said ‘some good characters’, much of the main cast fall outside that. They are quite bland, and some traits are really stupid and serve little purpose. Like our boy Souta’s talking to flowers for example. I guess they wanted to show a soft side, but he already is more that soft enough without it. Other examples include the constant (and irritating) yawing of our ‘Sleeping Beauty’ or the jealousy of Souta’s friend from school towards Snow-White’s advances on Souta. But maybe all this is negative because of my perspective. It’s all really harmless, both to the audience and to the story.
In short, Fairy Musketeers is a show for little girls that is morally sound, simple and over-cute. But there is nothing wrong with that. 5 or 6 on my rating scale for me, at least 7 for it’s target audience I would say.