Magic User’s Club TV – episodes 1 to 7

February 6, 2005 on 1:46 pm | In Magic Users' Club | Comments Off on Magic User’s Club TV – episodes 1 to 7

Seven episodes into Magic User’s Club TV, I realised that the problems with it are not the series’ fault itself: they are the fault of the OVA. Magic User’s Club was close to perfection of the OVA form, so the follow up can’t help but be underwhelming by comparison.

This TV series starts exactly where the OVA ended, despite being produced three years afterwards. The giant cherry tree chokes the city, raining its blossoms everywhere and causing a general nuisance. The Magic Users’ Club bands together to remove the tree from harm’s way – and apparently, when they successfully relocate the tree, they awaken some sort of spirit from within. That’s just the first episode – and out of these seven, the only one that contributes to any major story.
The rest of the episodes are about the characters and various mischiefs they get up to, while the mysterious tree spirit hangs around in the background being infuriatingly unforthcoming about its meaning.

These episodes follow the various members of the club in their daily lives, not doing much really but allegedly learning big and important lessons. While there’s a lot of boob-cam from Miyama to be appreciated, there is very little on offer. The first episode gives the impression that important things might happen, but from then on we’re treated to clothed baths, and a disturbingly large amount of urination jokes. There’s even an episode that shows the shape of dreams that seems to last forever – and this episode did have some nice moments in it that established a little bit of continuity. That, and Sae’s distance from her sister are two of the best things about this series.

Magis User’s Club TV was made three years after the OVA, and in the last half of the nineties a lot of things happened to the structure of the anime industry. The animation shifted from cellwork to digital, which is the biggest problem with this series. The OVA had beautifully rendered background detail and the characters gelled. The characters now look like they don’t inhabit their world, but rather sit on top of it. The scenery is now mostly overly simple work, which makes this series nothing special to look at. The progress of four years may have made production cheaper, but in this case it certainly did not make it any better – about the only thing done totally right is that Miyama literally radiates boobs.

That said, this series boasts a stupidly catchy OP (“I wanna do more!”) and its one concession to impressive visuals is the ED, which is animated entirely with clay. That is not the sort of thing you see very often, especially in Japanese programs.
The entire cast of the original returns but some of the members sound different. Iwao Junko’s Akane sounds much more like her Tomoyo than she did in 1996, and Konishi Hiroko (before being drummed out of the industry) hasn’t put quite so much thought into her role. Onosaka Masaya and Koyasu Takehito (who can even make breathing sound gay) are still excellent, however, as is Iizuka Mayumi.

The DVD is random, with only about half of the Japanese text translated, many, many spelling errors and some highly dubious translations, such as “I used to be a fan of The Smurfs” – admittedly, I don’t know what the Japanese for Smurfs is, but it sounds wrong … and there is also flat out the worst translation of sumimasen ever. It’s not enough to destroy the series, but it is an unwelcome distraction on the whole.

Unfortunately, at the halfway point of Magic User’s Club TV the series feels largely useless. The episodes are light, and there’s no overall idea of what’s going on. With only six episodes left, it will be interesting to see if this series has a goal or direction.

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