Sunday, September 1, 2002

Mahou Tsukai Tai OAV (Magic User's Club)

Genre: Comedy, High School
General Audience
1996 Triangle Staff / WOWOW / Chiaki Konaka

Magic User's Club DVDs
Magic User's Club Art Books & Manga
Everything Magic User's Club

Kyubi Kitsune's Description:
They came, they saw, they conquered. well sorta. One day a massive cylindrical craft known as The Bell came to earth and announced its intentions to take over the world. It effortlessly repelled attack after attack without killing a single person. This well behaved invader found a spot off of the Japanese coast, and parked itself. A year passed and all it does is send out probes, which obey all traffic laws by the way. Yet an unforeseen threat to The Bell's plans arises, a dysfunctional high school magic club. In an attempt to impress the female club members, the club president decides to lead the club in an attempt to take care of the alien menace. What results is ultimate showdown between magic and technology. well kinda.

(6 episodes)

Simple yet elegant. >>> by Kyubi Kitsune

Mahou Tsukai Tai! is one of those shows were simplicity actually serves to makes it better. At its heart, Mahou Tsukai Tai is a fun, whimsical, and light-hearted send-up on magic, high school, and sci-fi anime. It's well paced and will leave most viewers wanting to see the next episode.

As mentioned the show's storyline is simple and mostly focuses on the club's encounters with the aliens and the interactions between the club members, but is nearly flawlessly done. Unless one wants to nitpick certain elements, the simplicity of the plot really works to the show's advantage and never detracts from its overall quality, and in fact, is really driven by the main characters as well as the supporting ones. Even though the plot appears to be simple, there is also a certain level of complexity to the story. This is especially so with its humor, which ranges from a lot of ecchi fantasy scenes the club president has to a lot of subtle satire. Astute Hayao Miyazaki fans should be able to spot a lot of references--lot of them quite funny--to his work.

Characters do drive this anime, and they are all well done. There is Takeo, the well meaning but prone to interpret most any situation as sexual president of the club. His vice-president is Aburatsubo, the token bishounen who constantly makes passes on him. The others members of the club include the perpetually clumsy Sae, her brutally honest and outspoken best friend Nanaka, and Akane, a very talented magician who always seems to skip club functions.

The animation is colorful, vibrant, and well done for an OAV. Mahou Tsukai Tai! has some of the best facial expressions I have seen in an anime. Character designs are nicely done. It is interesting to note that one of the Animation Directors for this series is Ikuko Itoh, who served as the Chief Animator for Sailor Moon S.

The music to Mahou Tsukai Tai is generally upbeat and pretty catchy stuff that centers around either jazz or orchestra pieces with the two obligatory, yet quite good, JPop style opening and ending songs.

Voice acting is well done with both the Japanese seiyuus and English voice actors. You really can't go wrong either track. If you pick up the Anime Work's release of the show on DVD, be sure to watch the dub outtakes on the second and third volumes.

If you want a fun series, This is the one to get.

Individual Rating: Art/Animation 10; Story 9; Characters 10; Sounds 10

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