One sunny day invaders came from space. They weren't little green men or funny girls wearing school uniforms, though. They were ugly robots which defeated the UN forces in seconds. After that the invaders (known as "eyeballs") roamed around and observed human society. In fact, they were peaceful unless attacked. They were polite and followed all the traffic laws, too. Still, they were aliens and the people of Earth wanted them to go home. The Kitanohashi High School Magic Club took it on themselves to defeat these foul robots and free the world.
I'm glad I had the chance to watch this when I was visiting a friend. I had always meant to see it--it's been a staple of anime canon for ages--but just had never gotten around to it.
This is one of the few anime with a Petite Ditz as the main character where I did not spend most of the show wanting said ditz to choke. Sae is genuinely adorable and lovable, everything most anime heroines aspire to be. Her over-the-top klutziness is endearing as opposed to hackneyed and grating. She pulls off the old school "Love Conquers All" magical girl beautifully. She seems GENUINE.
a short OVA that devotes a lot of its time to slapstick, I was pleased with the subtlety of character development and interactions. It really is a character story, in the end, all magic wands and hats aside, and that adds something special. By the end of six episodes I really did care about these characters and wonder about their welfare in the future (to be answered in the TV series), and that is the emotional tie every writer aspires to create between the characters and the reader.
"Mahou Tsukai Tai" is not without flaw, of course. Some of the episodes drag with filler, and sometimes the slice-of-life aspects become dull. This slower pace is truly a relic of 80's and 90's anime, almost unseen in modern shows, and in that I find a nostalgic value.
This aside, if you don't require your anime to feature guns, vampires, or giant robots to enjoy it, and if you are not adverse to overwhelming helpings of cute, I recommend giving this show a try.
Teenagers with magical powers that go to a normal style school to learn it, what a concept eh?
Mahou Tsukai Tai (Magical Users Club) is a 6 episode OVA about a group of school members that also study magic, yet oddly enough it is provided by the school itself, in the form of a club! I am not sure if it could truly be considered a "magical girl" title (at least not in the traditional sense anyway) since there are no transformations or any kind of staple magical attack.
As far as the story goes, it centers around a mysterious giant bell that has oddly appeared from
space one day. Mankind was no match for it, and thus people now have to live with the fact that this immense object looms over head. To sum it up, about half of the title will contain action sequences with the girls fighting off a monster from the bell, while the other half will usually be about life in school or at home. Sometimes I started to get the feeling that some of the episodes were leaning a bit on the "filler" side, that some parts of the story seemed just a bit pointless to the overall plot. But I think it did a pretty good job of developing the over all story and concept, and they do wrap things up in the end. What makes the story enjoyable, is not the plot itself--but the characters, they really know how to interact with one another well. You also get a pretty decent variety in this, such as: magic, slice of life, comedy, and lite romance themes. My only disappointment is that none of the character relations were resolved, though as anime fans it sadly something we have to get use to in a lot of series in general. I know...I hate it when it ends like that too!
The characters are all fleshed out quite nicely in this anime, yet at the same time nothing new; Sae is your typical girl who doesn’t have the confidence in herself, Nanka has the spunky spirit of the group, and Akane flakes any chance she gets. (yet surprisingly there really is no true moe character in this) With that in mind however, none of the girl’s personalities ever come out as annoying, in fact the only character that ever kind of annoyed me was a boy named "Takeo." He rarely ever acts serious when the time calls for it, and falls more in the category of "goofy" than anything else. Not that there is anything wrong with that, I just felt he tended to over do it at times. Oh and the character Ayanojyo? He will most likely crack you up with his hilarious pick up lines on Takeo. The homosexual tension between the two is used as a running gag throughout the series, due to the fact that Takeo is straight. Sae is the one that stole the show for me though, she is the kinda character you just can’t help but root for despite her self consciousness. They are overall a very endearing and lovable cast!
The clarity of the anime definitely shows its age when compared to now-a-days anime (1996 title), but just because its an older title doesn’t mean it can’t stand up against some of the other magic series out there, the character design is what stands out the most as far as art goes, all of them have a good sense of style and appeal...and not to mention color. The backgrounds and environments were pretty decent to look at too, though it was kind of a hit and miss at some points, not all were as detailed as others. The only bummer about the art is the lack of stylized magical attacks. The characters do display some, but they are not very flashy or interesting to look at.
The soundtrack to this title is also quite charming. Both the opening and closing have a nice catchy beat...as does the main BG theme that plays throughout, even though I would say only one was actually memorable. The soundtrack is by no means the best out there in this genera, but it does the anime justice! Surprisingly both the dub and sub form were quite good, both seemed to match the characters pretty nicely. I would give a slight nug to the sub version though, since I found a few of the dub actors a bit standard compared to them.
Overall "Mahou Tsukai Tai" is an endearing overlooked series, and deserves much more attention than it gets. It doesn’t do anything to really stand out among the other magical girl series out there though, and does contain a few filler style episodes. But if you’re looking for a new solid and fun magical series, I recommend trying this one out. I think you will find it a good anime to invest your time in!
Mahoutsukai Tai was released as an OVA in '96 & '97 from Production Reed. The OVA spawned a whole bunch of follow up media including manga and a thirteen episode anime. The good news is that this is the same studio that brought us Nuku Nuku. The bad news is they also brought us Nuku Nuku Dash. So, I have no idea how this one is going to turn out.
Our story begins with invaders from space. They declare themselves in charge and defeat the forces sent against them. They proceed to hang around, doing nothing unless provoked and just kind of observing. They even obey traffic
laws. Well, that's a convenient invading force. They don't care if we keep governing ourselves and going about things as normal. They just want to hang around. Our protagonists are part of a High School magic club and they accidentally draw the aliens' attention when they're going to attack their Bell-like base because their leader wants to impress the girls in the club.
I could poke into all the dumb elements of the plot, but the OVA is ostensibly a comedy. So, the dumb stuff is pretty much by design for comedic effect. What I will criticise the OVA for is that the humour is fairly lacklustre. This is one of those comedies where the best it gets is being "kind of funny" with the potential to be funnier if there was a stronger build up. Take, for example, Akane decide to inflate a dude because he's, supposedly, being creepy. That's kind of funny. If they had more set up where we could see what this guy did to deserve being inflated like a balloon, it might have very well been funnier.
And that's when the jokes are at the high level of "kind of funny." A lot of the time, they're just not funny. There are a lot of "jokes" that basically boil down to Takeo acting pervy towards the girls or Ayanojou making unwanted advances towards Takeo. Basically, a lot of shit that's a bit uncomfortable. At least they don't delve into full gay joke territory, though they border on it at times.
The characters are pretty one note archetypal. Which would be fine since you don't need incredibly deep or complex characters in a comedy. You just need characters with strong comedic interactions. Which doesn't happen in this series. The dynamics are just generally trite and kind of boring.
The artwork is basically passable. It can be overly crass with the fan-service at times and the alien designs are boring. They're just a lot of circles, mechanical tentacles with eyes at the end of them and vaguely humanoid androids. Other than that, it's functional.
They got some really good actors like Koyasu Takehito or Iizuka Mayumi but the performances are pretty mediocre. Probably because this is one of those comedies where they try to compensate for the lack of strong jokes with a lot of exaggeration. Oshima Michiru's music is decent enough. It's a bit more standard than her tracks usually are, but it's better than the soundtrack for Kaze no Tairiku, at least.
There's all the stuff with Ayanojou flirting with Takeo. It's very clear that it's one-sided though.
Areas of Improvement:
Stop the fan-service with adolescent girls. Somewhere, some dude named Donald who never bathes, is in his forties and on a government watch list is into that. But it's still tawdry. Plus, it does limit your audience when you get really fan-servicey with teenage girls. Teenagers may get excited for it. Donald is into it. For the rest of us, it's just trashy.
Better set ups for the jokes. Having Sae decide she's going to be less clumsy only to immediately fall over isn't all that funny. Having her decide she was going to be less clumsy, last a while and then fall over when she's feeling proud of herself would be funnier. Either way, it's obvious that she's going to fail. The second method just gives some build up to it instead of an immediate pay off because they think the people watching this will forget the set up if the joke stemming from it isn't immediate.
Take more advantage of the magic. For a work with magic as a central element, they don't do much with it in terms of the comedy. About the furthest they go is Takeo accidentally shrinking himself. And even then they barely do anything with him being shrunk. You could do all sorts of crazy comedic stuff with magic as a tool. And I feel that's where this OVA could have shined, if they'd done a better job taking advantage of it.
This is another one I can't really call bad. It has a lot of problems. It's certainly not good. But it does have its kind of funny moments and it is only six episodes long. So, if you like the idea of aliens fighting wizards, you might enjoy it. For myself, it was sub-par. I'm giving it a 4/10.
So this was one of those anime I'd often see recommended back when I first got into anime in the late 90s and early 2000s, but for whatever reason, I never got around to watching it at the time. But now that I finally found it on Nozomi Entertainment's YouTube channel, what I found was a product of its time that's aged rather poorly. Or maybe I've just grown too far out of the target demographic.
I'd heard that this was a magical girl series going in, and while that's technically not wrong, it's pretty clear that it expects its audience to identify more
with the pervy guy who runs the club than any of the girls. At least it never quite hits harem territory, even if it's about a nerdy guy, the hot young women that surround him, and a gay guy whose only character trait for 90% of the series is to "humorously" hit on that nerdy guy (I don't think I've ever seen an anime filled with as many gay panic jokes as this one, and it's exactly as uncomfortable as it sounds). The main girl still has a lot of screentime and a character arc, but it's nothing deep or that interesting. Sae's whole thing is that she's clumsy and doesn't believe in herself, which she feels the need to tell everyone around her over and over again, until she finally learns to believe in herself. It's the same kind of thing you've seen plenty of times, usually done better than this.
That isn't to say that everything about it fails. The alien threat is interesting in that it actually manages to feel alien and isn't like anything I've seen in a magical girl series before. I liked the gag early on where two of the girls treat being part of a group of magic users trying to get into a big fight with aliens as boring and worth blowing off.
The nerdy guy's absurd pervy fantasies managed to make me laugh once, even if they failed more often than not. And there was one small story arc between the gay guy and one of the girls that ended up being kind of sad and sweet. I just wish the rest of the show could have had an emotional core like that.
This probably still makes it sound like I disliked the show more than I did. It's hardly awful, and I don't regret my time watching it. I feel like I would have been really into it if I'd seen it at around age 14, but in my early 30s, I don't feel like there's a whole lot for me here.