Magical Project S
10 year-old Kawai Sasami is chosen to become Magical Girl Pretty Sammy as a result of future queen of Jiralhelm, Tsunami. However, Ramia, second in line for the throne, isn't happy about this, and uses Sasami's best friend Misao against her. With the aid of her little brother Rumiya, Ramia turns shy, sweet Misao into loud, and slightly crazy, Pixy Misa. Now two best friends will become rivals in a battle of magical girls, all to decide the fate of a planet they've never even heard of!
Wow, that review almost makes it sound like a serious anime. Not.
If anything, Magical Project S is as goofy and silly as magical anime can get. Everything, from Pretty Sammy's incredibly tacky outfit, to her rival Pixy Misa's heavy usage of random English, to monsters of the day ranging from a tankoubon to a monster who fakes being sick, make even the weirdest monsters of Sailor Moon look tame in comparison.
Of course, humor likes this would be wasted if crappy characters were in this series. Thankfully, they're not. Sasami is a cute and likable 10 year-old, much in the same way of Kinomoto Sakura, only Sasami is much less clueless of the things around her than Sakura was in the Card Captor Sakura anime. Her animal partner, Ryo-Ohki, as well as her hilarious mother and father, round off the rest of the Kawai residence. When I first saw Sasami and her parents say one at a time "Happy!" outloud in English like at the beginning of a barbershop quartet song (you know.."Hello! Hello! Hello!"), that's when I realized how refreshing it was to have a heroine in a magical girl series whose parents are not dead, or far away, or pasted in and forgotten.
Then we have Amano Misao, Sasami's best friend. Timid and shy, she would be the last person you'd suspect to turn into a wild and crazy girl, but that's what happens when she turns into Pixy Misa. In fact, it's not until Pixy Misa's appearance does each episode really begin to pick up, unlike some magical girl series, where the quality of an episode actually goes DOWN when the villain comes in the episode (some later parts of Sailor Moon). As I mentioned before, one of the monsters of the day is a tankoubon. Others include a pile of jumping boxes, a giant robot with a baby bottle, a giant cheesecake, and even a cigarette butt. Even if you've seen the Pretty Sammy OAVs, you'll still be amused by the wide variety of enemies Pretty Sammy must face. Of course, like most magical girl anime, Pixy Misa isn't the villain for long...and this is touched upon VERY nicely in a much later part of the series. No spoilers for you, but episode 19 is a very important episode that will make you realize that comedy and drama, even in a magical girl parody, can be done well (much like in Fruits Basket).
Other Tenchi Muyo characters round out the rest of the cast. Washu is now a half-Japanese, half-American woman who becomes the science teacher in Sasami's class who wants to track down Pretty Sammy to find data on her. And of course, her trademark comedy from the Tenchi Muyo OAVs is still around in this series. We also have Mihoshi, Sasami's teacher (now 100% fan service free!), as well as Tenchi making ONE appearance in the series. Kiyone is here as well, and is virtually the same here as she was in Tenchi Universe, once again having to endure Mihoshi, who she likes and hates at the same time.
Where are Ryoko and Ayeka, you say? Oh, they're here, but not as Ryoko and Ayeka ... but their looks and seiyuu are still there, as well as the rest of the Tenchi cast's seiyuu. The new characters and seiyuu put on a decent performance as well (Kasahara Rumi is plain hilarious as Pixy Misa. It's a shame she isn't in many anime). There is also Sasami's classmates, who are fairly amusing and don't distract from the series, but also don't add much.
Art and animation are about the same level as every other AIC work, which means if you like their stuff, you'll like it here, too. Decent frame rates and cute character designs abound in Pretty Sammy, and it's one of the few series I know of that looks BETTER than its OAV counterpart. Music is nothing to write home about, but the opening and ending songs are good.
Magical Project S. For those who think the later parts of Sailor Moon were mediocre. Or just for those who love crazy, English-using, — Tim Jones
Recommended Audience: Silly cartoon violence. Much like Animaniacs, has a LOT of jokey innuendoes that younger audiences won't catch ... but will bring a shocked gasp from adults. Is actually good for kids and up, though only teenagers and above would understand the parody.
Version(s) Viewed: VHS, Japanese with English subtitles; R1 DVD
Review Status: Full (26/26)
Magical Project S © 1996 AIC / Pioneer LDC / TV Tokyo / Softx
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