Monday, April 11, 2005

Ultra Maniac

Genre: Romance, Shoujo
General Patronage
2003 Shin-ichi Masaki, Animax, Ashi Productions, Urumani Project

Ultra Maniac DVDs
Ultra Maniac Manga
Ultra Maniac Music
Ultra Maniac Toys, Accessories

Thundersenshi's Description:
Ayu Tateishi may be a popular campus figure, but life turns crazy when she becomes friends with Nina Sakura, a transfer student who is actually a witch studying magic! All she wanted was to impress Kaji of the baseball club, but now things have been given a definite twist! Ultramaniac is a romantic comedy that will surely make you laugh while pulling at your heartstrings.

(26 Episodes)

Sugary cute, modern day fairy tale. >>> by MarkPoa
Short anecdote: I remember that when I first heard the title "Ultramaniac", a shojo story was the last thing that I expected. It actually sounded more like a hentai title... or worse, an Ultraman spin-off.

But, no. It's a shoujo title through and through. Let's do a comparison with other magical girl stories:

  • There's the transformation sequence using recycled stock footage shown on every episode, check.
  • There's the quest for powerful objects, check.
  • There's the prerequisite cute animal characters, check.
  • There are the accessories-slash-marketable-merchandise-for-teenage-girls, check.
  • There're the love triangles, check.
  • There's the ill-fated they-can't-be-together-because-they're-from-different-worlds love angle, check.
  • There's even the requisite childhood friend who became your rival plot point, definite check.

It would have been easy to dismiss the show as just a cookie-cutter magical girl show with romance elements. But, there was just something about the show's main character, Nina Sakura, that I found strangely and attractively cute. Nina has a cute naiveté, yet strong presence and determination that won me over to this show and I ended up finishing the series.

Overall, it wasn't as bad as I thought. While there is a distinct shoujo feel to the whole series, the romance and mushy aspects are toned down. There are a lot of funny, quirky moments that had me grinning throughout the series... most of which resulting from Nina's ineptness in using magic.

The show's premise, execution, and end felt like a modern day fairy tale where good triumphs and love conquers all. It's fluffy and feel-good... but there are times when we need to watch something like this.

Don't expect anything too deep or life-changing from watching this story. Just sit back and enjoy.

Individual Rating: Art/Animation 7; Story 6; Characters 8; Sounds 7

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