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Magic User's Club OVA Vol. 1: I'll Follow You! (1995)

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Rating: Not Rated
Studio: Anime Works
Genre: Anime, Animation, Cel
Running Time: 60 min.
Languages: English, Japanese
Subtitles: English
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It was in another world, during a magical time full of mystery, wonder, and ancient power. It was a place known as high school.

When humanity was threatened by an alien force so powerful that all of Earth was left helpless, it became clear to anyone with any common sense at all that no one could ever stand against them. Luckily our brave Magic User's Club doesn't have much of that. Earnestly clueless Sae Sawanoguchi must challenge the most powerful force in the universe, keep up with her homework, and thwart the bouncing bust of the evil queen of girl's comic-books, Miyama. In addition, the life of a normal high school student could never be complete without an army of shiny, invulnerable alien robots with inscrutable goals and unlimited firepower. Luckily for earth, the Magic User's Club is on the job. They are armed with Sae's enthusiasm, Nanaka's knack of botching magic at the worst possible time, club president Takakura's uncanny ability to interpret every situation as sexual, and club vice-president Aburatsubo's love of prancing around his fellow male students in a pair of tight tennis shorts. With all of this, it would be no wonder if the aliens just turned and fled immediately.

GreenCine Member Reviews

The "M" in WMD stands for Magic by kiume April 3, 2004 - 3:12 PM PST
6 out of 6 members found this review helpful
Magic User's Club begins the way a lot of SF/Fantasy anime does: a giant, mysterious space ship descends on the planet, intentions unknown, vanquishing all attempts to defeat it. It doesn't bother to intone, "Resistance is futile!" because resistance so obviously is. Get used to it, is its message. World domination here we come!

(It throws you for a loop at first, but this initial scene is shown without a soundtrack. Why? Because sound doesn't travel in space. How many other science fiction productions have bothered with that bit of scientific accuracy?)

At this point, things take off on unexpected tangents.

In the first place, for once Tokyo doesn't get blown up. In the second, "The Bell" (because it resembles the great bells that hang in Buddhist temples) seems to be going out its way not too hurt anybody. It's got some sort of un-death ray that vaporizes the hardware and leaves the people intact. The anti-neutron bomb. Sort of like if UNESCO were in charge of the alien invasion in Independence Day.

After that they send in the, uh, arms inspectors (ultimately, the same plot as Signs, and Maho Tsukai Tai had a six year jump on M. Night Shyamalan). We never seen any aliens, unless the aliens are in fact the robot thingies that go floating around hassling people or melting holes in the sides of buildings when they get really curious about something. There are the top-shaped thingies, the helicopter-thingies, and the big, round "eye" thingies that remind you of the oversized beach balls in The Prisoner always chasing after Patrick McGoohan.

The thingies do a lot of inspecting, the way aliens are wont to go about inspecting and probing their human subjects. Nobody can do a thing about it. Nobody except the Kitanobashi High School Magic User's Club.

It's not their plan to. Nobody in the Magic Users Club has a plan. Well, no, they all have plans, just not very constructive plans, and not the same plans, or plans that have anything to do with a coordinated effort to save the Earth from . . . being peace-kept to death. Simply in order to get to class in the morning, Sae Sawanoguchi (our hero) must surmount such hurdles as: "Don't run into stationary objects" and "Don't trip when there's nothing to trip over."

Nanaka Nakatomi, Sae's best friend, has the immediate goal of quitting the stupid magic club. Akane Aikawa, who hardly ever shows up, has the most wizardly talents and the least interest. Club vice president (you need a vice president with five members?) Ayanojo Aburatsubo plays the straight man to the rest of them, while being thoroughly gay.

Meanwhile, club president Takeo Takakura has his hands full enough keeping what's left of Magic Users Club room from being taken over by the evil Manga Club. The Manga Club is led by the well-endowed Mizuha Miyama, the Cordelia Chase of Kitanobashi High. It's a Buffy gang, in other words, with about half the IQ and no sense of direction. They really need a Giles instead of some cute COSPLAY getups. (Very cute COSPLAY getups, though.)

So deliberately ticking off the Big Bell or the Peeping Tom Beach Balls is the least of Takeo's concerns. That is, until Sae, always having trouble with her broom (a nice homage to Kiki's Delivery Service; Sae is bold enough to ask, when you sit on broom all day, isn't your butt going to get sore?) practically runs smack into The Bell. In the act of rescuing her, the gang discovers that they possess a kind of weird, teen mojo that the alien gadgets can't handle.

The aliens take notice, too. You know all the old Star Trek episodes in which inscrutable human illogic defeats the dastardly mega-computer? This time it makes sense: teen hormones and pubescent kutziness as incalculable forces of nature. Meanwhile, reporter Mitsuru Minowa, doing his own bit of Big Bell investigating, happens to catch the incident on tape--and practically catches Sae when she falls on him (more problems with the broom flying business).

You see, the magical implements Takeo Takakura discovered as a kid are quite powerful, if they could only learn to use them as well as Akane can (and if Akane herself gave a darn), and then concern themselves with something other than the sorry state of their social lives. Takakura additionally suffers the distractions of his one-track mind, which derails at the barest suggestion of sex.

With infatuations swirling every which way, practically any situation will eventually prove in some way compromising to his, well, leadership qualities. Salacious moments therefore abound. But it's never meanly intentioned. The "super-deformed" style is used to perfection. Takakura in almost every instance is hoisted high on his own libidinous petard. Still, he's a decent guy trying his best to be as decent a guy as a guy can be in these circumstances

If there is a theme, that's it. Running through the story is a goodness of heart, made all the more poignant as the first notes of the closing theme, "Mata Ashita," play during each episodes's closing moments. It is, to be sure, a silly story, but silliness, like fantasy, by portraying human nature amidst the unnatural and improbable, keenly accentuates the human, and often serves to show us more of what we really are than the most "realistic" of dramas.

GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 7.19)
100 Votes
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