Sunday, September 8, 2013

Anime Review No. 64-Magic Users Club TV

"Can dreams have sequels?"
MUC TV Review
Studio: Triangle Staff, Director-Junichi Sato
Writers: Chiaka J Nonaka, Sasayuki Murai and Michiko Yokote 

Well, now onto the TV Series. For details on Magic Users' Club, see my previous review as that information will help out in this review. So, Magic Users' Club OVA must have sold well as three years later in 1999 the series got a TV show, which ran from July 7th to October 6th that year. Junichi Sato returned as director along with Chiaka J. Nonaka doing series composition, which I suppose is a bit like being the head writer/script editor on at TV show. Production was handled by Triangle Staff with help by Bandai Visual.

So, what does this show do? Well, I see it as a very suitable sequel to an OVA that quite frankly is vastly under-rated. It continues the story of the Magic Users' Club, with a lot of earnest charm and fun. Of course, it does take some time to get going. One of the minor quips I have with the series is the first half, where it goes from 'let's wrap the events of the OVA as that is still a dangling plot thread' to 'oh, let's do slice of life stories'. Luckily, the writers decided to, you know, put some actual effort into stories that honestly could have been filler. In addition, some of the first few episodes have some rather interesting ideas when it comes to magic. Yeah, watching this actually makes me pine for more modern anime shows like that where more effort is put in. Granted, those kind of shows still exist, but they tend to be an exception rather then the rule.

Secondly, the characters certainly have grown and continue to do so, especially in the second half of the series. Episode 6 is more or less a turning point of the TV series, where the one-shot type format used in the first half is put aside in doing a definite story arc, sort of along the same line as the OVA. Sae, Nanaka, Akane, Aburatsubo and Takeo get developed to the point where by the end they seem complete. At the end, the message seems to be: be true to yourself.

But, here we hit a bump and that is the animation. The shift from the video/OVA to TV means one thing for most series: severe downgrade in animation quality. Magic Users' Club regrettably does not escape this, as there are several instances of animation slippage or lack of details. It looks a bit on the cheap side is what I'm saying. However, it doesn't deter too much from the charm and fun this series has.

It also doesn't hurt that same voice cast for the English dub returns for the TV series, but that's no surprise since both the OVA and TV Series were released within a year of each other here in the States. Well, for the most part, they somehow replaced the VA for Akane halfway through though the two sound so familiar that is practically a non-issue. Still, its an admirable effort by all involved to be sure.

Overall, Magic Users' Club is a fun and charming series that ought to get more recognition from the anime fandom at large. Great characters, good story, decent animation all sum up to fun time in watching this show. Magic Users' Club is readily available through RightStuf as a bundle with all 7 volumes or through the second hand market on Amazon and eBay. I wholeheartedly recommend this show.

Next time, well, I will take a look at Puella Magi Madoka Magica, and examine it through the lens of 'magnum opus'. This is a review that I have been looking forward to a lot, and for a series that I love very much.


The Eclectic Dude  

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