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Magical Play: Complete Collection (anime review)

Magical PlayTitle: Magical Play: Complete Collection

Director: Hiroki Hayashi

Studio: AIC / Magicaland Magic Union

U. S. Distributor: Sentia Filmworks / Section 23

U. S. Release Date: Dec. 3rd, 2013

Format: DVD / 5 Episodes / 150 minutes

Genre: Magical Girl, Comedy

Age Rating: TV 14

Overall Personal Rating: B+



Becoming a Magical Girl isn’t easy, but Padudu thinks she has most of the bases covered. She even has a magical pet and a magical cloak! Granted, her pet’s a talking fish that she wears as the cloak (and occasionally snacks on), but now all she SHOULD have to do is wander the countryside, fight in official Magical Battles and collect enough Hanamaru stamps to become an official Magical Girl.

But life isn’t always that simple, and when Padudu accidentally breaks a law, she ends up on the run and traveling with some really odd companions. There’s MyuMyu, who wears a pair of cats as a bikini; Pipin, who dresses like a rabbit and wears her magical pet bunny as a back pack; and the nefarious criminal Nonononn, who also wanted to be a Magical Girl, and has both a Hammerhead Shark and mysterious ties to the Queen (who’s nowhere near as nice as her PR would have you believe).



December was a month were strange off beet anime made a real showing. Magical Play is decently one of those strange anime that specializes in the absurd. From the very opening where we see a young girl dressed in a fish suit being dropped onto another unsuspecting magical girl to the final 3D episode, Magical Play throws one curve ball at you after another. This short series proves that sometimes less is really more. I have a feeling that if there were more than 5 episodes that the entire series would fall apart and become more of a nuisance that a comedy that should be seen to understand. This type of work was exemplified in, Fooly Cooly, another strange series that proved that some story need to remain short.

The humor in Magical Play is simplistic but at the same time odd enough to keep you slightly off balance. That is were is really shines. The fact that these girls clothing is alive makes it strange enough, but when that very same clothing becomes food is something very different indeed. I really enjoyed this odd rather quirky style and it made me laugh enough to keep the series fresh throughout all of the episodes.

The animation was rather fitting for the subject matter and AIC seemed to understand that this simple happy approach was best. On the other hand when the 3D was spotlighted much of the charm wore off and the humor was pushed to the background. The last episode is completely in 3D and with just a few exceptions I found it to be the least funny one of the collection.

Overall Grade: B+

With all of the quirks and odd humor that goes on in this short collection I found Magical Play to be very enjoyable. I laughed enough to keep it interesting and also loved the way the characters and their clothing interacted. I think that the real key to this series is the anime stylings and overall production quality. Keeping the satire solidly in the magical girl genre was the point and even though it is only 5 episodes this common thread was not lost. The final 3D episode was by far the weakest of all and even though it was made to not only satire the magical girl genre but also the 3D arena too, I found it to loose track and not be as effective as the other four episodes.

If you are looking for something that will keep you off balance and also keep you smiling then Magical Play is something you should check out. This one looks like it is perfect for younger audiences but some of the subject matter and humor might not be well suited for those under 10 or 11. I will keep this one close by just in case I need a laugh and don’t want to invest a lot of time or emotion in the series.