The Evil Forces of Dark Joker are closing in on our planet after having destroyed the beautiful planet of Queen Earth. Now, 10 year old Moriya Ririka, with the help of her childhood friend Seiya and the mysterious Kanon, must transform into the Nurse Angel and find the elusive Flower of Life, the only way to defeat the evil forces. The Flower of Life, that once bloomed all over the Earth, is where no one thought it ever would be. And Ririka must make the hardest decision of her life in order to acquire it and rid the universe of evil once and for all.
It’s funny how fansubbing has changed over the years: series that were once distributed on tapes to enthusiastic fans all over the country are now all but forgotten. Nurse Angel Ririka SOS is one such anime. Then again, I can’t say I’m really surprised that the series has been lost in time – while it’s a solid little magical girl tale, it’s not really a something worth going out of your way to see.
Nurse Angel Ririka SOS stars, a ten-year-old girl who finds out she has the ability to transform into the legendary nurse angel and fight evil. She runs into trouble with villains, she
makes new allies and friends, and she has to live her normal life in the meantime. In other words, the series has the most utterly normal magical girl plot possible. If you’ve watched Sailor Moon or any of the myriad of series that it inspired, you know what’s going to happen in Nurse Angel Rirka SOS. Even the surprising mood change near the end, while effective, is not uncommon the genre. Granted, if you’re a magical girl fan that may be what you want, but keep in mind that nothing in the plot will surprise or impress you unless you’re utterly unfamiliar with magical girls.
The production values of the show are solid but forgettable. First off is the music: it’s nice. Really, that’s all that can be said. The opening and closing songs are cute and easy on the ears, but won’t be going on your mp3 player anytime soon. The background music generally goes well with whatever scene it’s playing in, but that’s about it. If music is an important component to your enjoyment of an anime, Nurse Angel Ririka SOS is not necessarily a series you’ll want to seek out.
The art is significantly better, but still fails to reach any real notability. Quite frankly, this series looks exactly like a 90s shoujo anime should through and through. Character designs are generally sweet and pleasant to look at and reflect the character’s personalities fairly well. At the same time, though, they’re rather bland. The series’ animation is nice, however; it’s easy to see that the animators had a decent budget to work with. Another factor in the series’ favor is the full use of cel animation – it has the typical warm, friendly feel that classic anime tend to have.
Characterization is about as interesting as character design, which is not very. You have the sweet little magical girl, her close male friend who drives her nuts, the fluffy little pet, the villain who turns out to have a heart of gold, the mysterious older guy, and the mystical princess who must be saved. While they serve their purposes to further the plot, no character in Nurse Angel Ririka SOS truly stand out as memorable.
While it embodies many of the traditions of 90s magical girls, Nurse Angel Ririka SOS simply doesn’t do enough things differently from other 90s magical girls. If you do enjoy the many troupes of the genre, the series is still one that you’ll enjoy, if only as a way to revisit some classic plotlines and character archetypes. If, however, fighting evil by moonlight is not your thing, Nurse Angel Rirka SOS simply does not have much to offer for you.
Note: Nurse Angel Rirka SOS was fully released on VHS fansubs a while ago, but only episodes 1-21 are currently available as digital fasubs. This reviewer watched 22-35 raw with the assistance of episode summaries.
During the early to mid nineties, Sailor Moon was sweeping the nation, being one of the first magical girl anime to make it big in the US, and becoming wildly popular in Japan, so much so that it trumped other shows airing around the same time, Nurse Angel Ririka SOS being one of them. I first discovered this on Anime News Network in the form of a Buried Treasure article. Naturally, I got interested, so I tracked down the first episode and watch it. Unfortunately, I didn't get into the habit of completing shows quite yet (it was around the time I was eating up
Shounen Onmyouji like a hungry wolf), so it took me a VERY long time to get back into this. Thankfully, two years ago I did, and I'm glad of it, as, while it starts off as rather cliche, it definitely stands out from other magical girl shows. It's sweet, charming, genuine, sincere, and when it comes to tear jerkers, it does NOT mess around.
Our main character, Ririka, is just a normal girl who goes to school and squabbles with her friend Seiya like cats and dogs. Her father works as a doctor, so she's familiar with lots of medical issues. One day, on her birthday, she receives a gift from the cutest, most popular guy in school, Kanou Nozomu. But the gift is a nurse's hat, and she isn't quite sure what it is until monsters begin attacking. When she puts on the nurse's cap, she becomes the Nurse Angel to fight them off. As it turns out, Nozomu's real name is Kanon, and he's from a planet called Queen Earth, which has been destroyed by the evil organization called Dark Joker, and now they're closing in on Earth. In order to defeat them, the Nurse Angel has to find the elusive Flower of Life. But she's having some trouble taking her duties seriously, but when things get serious, she steps up to the challenge.
The animation is your typical shoujo-y nineties look: big eyes, soft colors, elegant transformations, etc. It's not bad, though! Heck, I thought it looked a lot better than Sailor Moon at times! It does its job well, and I didn't see any corners that got cut. The soundtrack...eh. Do you ever come across a show/movie where the producers throw in music that's completely unfitting for certain scenes? Like, for example, playing happy, cheesy, and hopeful music during a really sad and tear jerking moment? Unfortunately, Nurse Angel Ririka SOS has fallen into this trap. Now don't get me wrong, the soundtrack for the series IS very good. It's composed by the guy who went on to do the soundtracks for Rozen Maiden and Yu-Gi-Oh. For the most part, the soundtrack fits the atmosphere well for low key scenes, but...for certain tear jerking scenes, they play the series' light and hopeful leitmotif, which I thought really dampened the scenes' emotional weight. I won't say which scenes due to spoilers. But be on the lookout, because it'll stick out like a sore thumb and be VERY hard to ignore.
The characters, understandably, start off rather cliche. We have the happy and energetic lead female (who, happily enough, ISN'T a ditz!), her childhood guy friend who she fights with a lot, the mysterious cute guy who gives her her powers, her two gal pals, the female arch enemy who's trying to win the mysterious cute guy's affection, the evil characters trying to take over the world, etc. But after a while, they really start to grow into genuine and likable characters, especially with the twists that the show pulls off. Even though they look and act cliche at first sight, they actually develop quite nicely, and even avert some of the common magical girl tropes. For example, Ririka's powers are dependent on a kind of liquid, and if she runs out, she can't use her powers, and even has to retreat at some points. I found that a really good use of magical girl items, as most of them usually just have an endless supply of magic and energy, and if the energy source is low, it creates more tension. Plus, I really liked the episode that developed the female clique leader who hates Ririka. The only characters I didn't really like are Mimina and her fairy friend whose name escapes me, but even they get better near the end.
The show itself is fun, nice, light-hearted, but still genuinely tasteful and full of heart. But do be warned, when things get serious, BY GOD do they ever! Especially the ending. I won't spoil it, but I will tell you this: if you watch it, everything you thought Nurse Angel Ririka SOS was gets torn to pieces and hacked at. No, the ending is NOT bad. It's actually extremely good! It's daring, it's bold, and doesn't give a rat's hat about any cliches or anything stupid like that! It's actually a really ballsy move, as most kids shows don't even DARE tread on this kind of territory! Not even to this day, and this is what sets Ririka apart from other magical girl anime, and it's MUCH better off for it! I love what it pulled! From what I hear, there were supposed to be three more episodes to really close off the series and resolve some plot threads, but apparently they never got aired due to low merchandise sales, which I can understand, considering Sailor Moon was still trumping every other show airing at the time. One thing that really bugged me though: Ririka's grandmother is voiced by a MAN. WHAT?! Why did they pick a man and not other old lady seiyuus at the time? Were there just not enough? Or was it due to executive meddling? Why couldn't they get someone like Taeko Nakanishi, who's pretty much THE go-to woman for old women at the time, to voice her? Whuuuut?
If you're looking for a fun and sweet magical girl anime to give you your magical girl fix, I wholly recommend this. But DAT ENDING! It will stomp your heart into the ground! VERY VERY HARD! Watch it anyway. It's more than worth it!
I never write reviews. But for this, I felt like I had to.
A little background:
I first watched Nurse Angel Ririka SOS when I was living in Korea, I must have been around 3-4 years old. I remember watching it and loving it!!!
Of course, being so young I had no idea what it was called because I didn't know how to read Korean at that age.
Years after, I somehow managed to find this! And I have to say, overall, I enjoyed it a lot! More than I should have, I think. I'm 18 years old now and I still love these kinds of anime ಥ⌣ಥ
Ririka SOS is basically one of those "transformation girl" anime. Similar to Sailor Moon and Wedding Peach :)
The art is fantastic! I love the art for older anime because it gives the show a more classic look. You know, the big eyes and small nose that you can barely see. Sometimes it's nice to take a break from the newer realistic anime and sit back and relax while watching this.