Thursday, January 1, 2004

Mahou Senshi Rui

Genre: Fantasy / Adventure / Comedy
General Audience
2001 Ryo Mizuno, Yoshitaka Koyama, WOWOW, JC Staff

Mahou Senshi Items
MarkPoa's Description:
What's three lovely adventurers (a priestess, a swordswoman, and a thief) to do when they find a problem that only magic can solve? Find a magician, of course! It doesn't have to be a powerful one, a competent one would suit them just fine. Preferably female.

Too bad. All they got was Rui...

(24 episodes)

NOTE: Some of the reviews were written sometime in 2004 and was recorded in the classic Otaku Fridge as ??.??.2004. Unfortunately the database would not accept non-numerical values, so this review is now dated January 01, 2004 by default.

Rui Pun-chi! >>> by MarkPoa (written ??.??.2004 posted 01.29.2005)

I was actually expecting a Slayers clone when I first saw Mahou Senshi Rui being shown in WOWOW. This is not the case, however. While Mahou Senshi Rui is also prone to slapstick humor and occasional forays into silliness, the series is played out more seriously. Action is more realistic and there is less emphasis on magic spells and special effects.

And that's basically the difference between Rui and Lina Inverse, Slayer's heroine. Rui might be a magician like Lina, but he's a magician who is more brawns than brains. More often than not, Rui has one solution to every problem: his fist. Still, he has a kind-hearted simplicity and fiercely stubborn determination that makes him likable despite his cockiness (and stupidity). Hey, he'll need it especially since he's more prone to bash his opponent on the head with a magic wand instead of casting a spell.

That said, Mahou Senshi Rui's strengths lie in its characters. With a largely female cast and one main male protagonist, one might even imagine hijinks similar to Tenchi Muyo! However, this is not the case. The other female characters are strong characters in their own rights and each have been given enough exposure in episodes to show their backgrounds and motivations.

The art and character designs are simply gorgeous. This is on par with other fantasy works such as Record of Lodoss War, though a little less realistic. I'm speaking less realistic in terms of the fanservice quotient sense, though, so it's all good.

The series' episodes are mostly episodic. After the first few episodes setting up the girls and Rui as a team, the succeeding episodes alternate between the adventures of the group as they try to find ways to increase their wealth and reputation and adventures that highlight the individual characters and their backgrounds. Through the series, though, there is a working conspiracy that is slowly revealed in snatches and comes to a head only around the last three episodes.

However, the episodes themselves are usually entertaining and enjoyable. Humor in Rui is not as frenetic as Excel Saga or Slayers. It's more similar to that of a situational comedy. Character quirks and fanservice are also played out for laughs.

Sounds and music don't have much special going for them. Both opening and ending songs, however, are upbeat and feature interesting visuals to accompany them. "Twinkle trick", the opening song, is pretty fun, while "Love and Pain", the ending song, brings to mind a good action series from its wailing lyrics.

Fantasy adventure and casual anime fans might want to give Mahou Senshi Rui a try. Don't expect anything deep or thought-provoking, though. Sometimes, it takes a simple-minded straight arrow like Rui to remind us that there are things in life that should just be enjoyed.

Individual Rating: Art/Animation 9; Story 7; Characters 8; Sounds 7

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