Mahoujin Guru Guru (1994)
Centuries ago, a dark force (the Demon Lord Giri) tried to conquer the world, but was defeated by a member of the Migu Migu tribe, who used dark magic for the cause of good.
12-year-old Kukuri is the last member of that tribe, and she must go out to reseal the great evil now stalking the land. She is joined by Nike, an equally young "Hero" who is every bit as competent with his swordsmanship as she is with her magic skills. Which would be fine, except that both of them are Level 1 characters.
Did I forget to mention that Kukuri's "black magic" consists of drawing circles in the ground and summoning whatever weird things she can think of?
This is going to be one *long* journey.
Mahoujin Guru Guru is to console RPGs as Akazukin Chacha is to mythology and folklore. This series is rife with parodies of 8-bit classics like Dragon Warrior (Dragon Quest), what with the constant usage of windows denoting hit points and magic points for all the characters. At least once, Kukuri trips and smacks her nose, and a screen will pop up announcing she has lost three hit points! It's *that* silly.
But even past the initial premise, things get bizarro very quickly. We've got a loincloth-sporting ... *thing* (Gippuru) that doubles as a tent, an old man in a hula-skirt (the Kita Kita dancing guy), and fairies dancing on the screen yelling "Sappari! Sappari!" any time a character does something stupid (which happens *often*). It's a lot of slapstick, and more than a lot of strange, but it's pretty easy to get used to.
Remember, also, that this is a parody on older video games ... so *everyone* is drawn in a cutesy SD style that makes them looker even younger than they really are. Nike and Kukuri are young teens, but they look like they're grade-schoolers.
Like Akazukin Chacha, there are a whole lot of puns flying around, but *unlike* Akazukin Chacha, the puns aren't always so innocuous. For example, the sword trainer in one town is named Gochinko, which basically translates to "big weewee". Occasionally, Nike will be given to fits of lechery (he's a *teenager*) especially given the random bits of "fan service" (really, "Nike service") which look rather strange in the SD style of this series. This might put off some parents who aren't used to the concept of Crayon Shin-chan style humor as "kids' stuff", but it's really harmless, as nothing actually *happens*.
The animation is simple, yet charmingly done, and the writing is often rather funny, though there's a lot of narration going on, like in other children's shows. The music is cute, but nothing to write home about. Really, the focus is heavily on the humor, though the main characters are plenty cute.
And really, the characters are the strong part of this show. Kukuri is earnest and sweet, and daydreams often (watch out for the Sailor Moon parodies of her as a black mage of justice!), while Nike is just plain hapless, but still very funny. Even the enemies are often just plain silly, and it's all just an excuse for a whole lot of laughs.
Overall, this is a cute series that takes the tried and true role-playing tropes, adds in a lot of humor, and mixes it all furiously with a whole lot of weirdness as a spice. It's potentially a recipe for disaster, but it ends up being just about right, and I think you'll be cheering on Nike and Kukuri by the time you've gone through even a little bit of this series.
Fans of classic RPGs will get the jokes, and may want to add a star. Otherwise, it's a cute, silly, fun diversion that's worthwhile viewing. — Carlos Ross
Recommended Audience: Good for most children. The usage of "dark" magic may not sit well with ultra-conservative audiences, but it's about on par with the modern kiddiefied versions of fairy tales and shouldn't offend most people. A few toilet humor gags and some off-color humor here and there might startle Western parents, but overall, it should be fine for most grade-school children and up.
Version(s) Viewed: Prerelease fansub
Review Status: Partial (20/45)
Mahoujin Guru Guru (1994) © 1994 Eto Hiroyuki / Enix / ABC / Dentsu / Nippon Animation
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