Nurse Witch Komugi R
Monsters invading the land of Fanta-C were turned into cards, but Princess Hime carelessly dropped the cards into a pool, and they somehow wound up in our world, where they can return to life by merging with inanimate objects. (Sound familiar?) A trio of guides/mascots from Fanta-C each pick a girl from our world to become a "Tombo-E" girl to defeat the monsters (and collect the cards, of course.)
I sure hope Grampa comes back soon.
It was HIS idea to watch this, you know. With a title like that, which touches on TWO anime clichés at once (and the series will add a few more), you think I would? But he said that since I was so depressed about some of the other titles I've lately reviewed, maybe we should look at something lighter, so we sat down and started this. And then HE started shouting and ran out of the room, and left me to finish the show, and the review, by myself. Well, I can keep my mind occupied best by writing the review, I suppose; I'll get back to what I think drove him berserk a bit later.
As best I can piece this together- with help from the Wiki article- Nurse Witch Komugi originally began as a five-episode OVA in 2002; the original version shared some characters with The Soul Taker, of all things. (The latter was reviewed on our site by Jeremy Beard.) It spawned a manga, a video game, and another OVA, a 2-parter called Nurse Witch Komugi-Chan Magikarte Z, in 2004. The new incarnation under review here seems to represent a radical re-thinking of the original; some characters from the original have been discarded or re-named, new ones have been added, and the whole thing redone as probably the most exact parody of Sailor Moon I've ever seen, though it's actually good enough to stand on its own; I found it genuinely funny, though as I've said somewhere else my taste in humor sometimes runs to the crude, and there's plenty of that here.
As the synopsis notes, instead of a group of girls under the guidance of one character, here each girl has her own guide, and the guides are in pretty fierce competition with each other for the monster cards. The three girls, by contrast, are actually close friends and aspiring "idol stars" working for the same talent agency. Our chief heroine, Komugi Yoshida, is pretty much at the back of the pack when it comes to success. The only music concerts she gives (except in her dreams) are promotions for a drugstore. (During the course of the show all the girls will be shown singing onstage- pretty forgettable J-pop, I admit- and for some reason all these musical numbers will be done in rather awkwardly-executed 3D CG; none of the rest of the show is done this way.) As for Komugi's aspirations as an actress, in the silly TV show she does with her other two girlfriends (and one guy- more on him later), Komugi is always relegated to playing a corpse. Toward the end of the series she does get three lines in a show, and it seems that when you DO give Komugi lines, they turn out to be more universally applicable than you might think. She's morbidly afraid of cockroaches (she can't even say the word.) She and the rest of her family live in part of the clinic that her dad runs, which gives her the medical connection I suppose. Her mascot/guide is a floating, vaguely spherical rabbitlike thing called "Usa-P" (of COURSE), who ends every one of his sentences with "-pyon". Komugi, with Usa-P's help, turns into "Magical Nurse". (We actually have a narrator here who spouts pseudoscientific, nonsensical "explanations" for all the transformations and attacks. I wasn't too thrilled about this device, and to tell the truth the show itself seems a bit ambivalent about it as well.)
Next we have Kokona Saionji, the blue-haired-girl-with-the-sweet-personality that we also might find a bit familiar. (Komugi's kid brother has a crush on Kokona, too, which further enhances the resemblance of course.) Kokona's transformed personality, "Magical Maid", is quite a bit different, though, having a thing for whips and making the bad guys grovel. Her floating, bulbous guide/mascot is "Tanu-P", who is supposed to resemble a tanuki and who ends all his sentences with "-poko".
The third member of our superheroine trio is my personal favorite. Tsukasa Kisaragi presents a public personality like a Sailor Uranus- a tall, short-haired blonde who dresses male- but her true personality is very feminine; she resides in a pink room, which she doesn't let even her friends see, filled with stuffed animals and figurines that she has "conversations" with. Komugi breaks one convention of Sailor Moon, for here it's not leading lady Komugi who has the romantic interest, but it's Tsukasa; she really likes Yuto Tachibana, another aspiring star in her agency. The problem is that thanks to her public persona everyone thinks Tsukasa's yuri, and that she's actually interested in Kokona; Yuto, unfortunately, shares this belief. Fortunately, Tsukasa's "transformed" self, Magical Sister, doesn't come with all this baggage, and so she's actually able to talk to Yuto as a "girly" girl. (The show observes the Sailor Moon convention that none of the girls in their transformations are recognizable as their "street" selves, even though they all look exactly the same to the viewer in both modes, with Tsukasa being the only, minor, exception- Magical Sister has longer hair than Tsukasa does.) I always favor romances for the supporting characters, so I was fairly pleased here. HER guide/mascot is catlike, named "Neko-P" (of course, again), and ends all HIS sentences with "-nyan".
A little more about the monsters, and the girls' battles. The monsters created here by the mergers of the cards with inanimate objects look less human than the Daimons of Sailor Moon S (which I guess would be the nearest equivalent.) Like the Sailor Moon monsters, some mostly just say their own names; some are more articulate than that; but all the Komugi monsters get to make some little quip as they are zapped out of existence, which is better than just shouting "Lovely!" in any case. The names of the attacks the girls use get more and more outrageous as the show progresses- "The No, No, But Actually Yes Beam" is a typical example- and this culminates in a memorably vulgar (and hilarious) attack by Tsukasa that just can't be an authentic translation of the original Japanese- can it??? (To be fair to what inspired all this, the attack names in Sailor Moon really didn't get THAT ridiculous until the Stars season, with the Starlights being the worst offenders.)
This show is more vulgar (though cheerfully so) and fanservicey than Sailor Moon in general- the first time we see one of the monsters, it's sitting on a toilet, and there's another episode where some middle-aged men arrange a swim meet with lots of teenage girls just to have "wardrobe malfunctions" occur (and they try to pressure poor Yuto into causing some.) I was somewhat annoyed by a quartet of girls who hang around our principal trio, and who seem to have no particular function except to misinterpret things; one in particular got under my skin- a blonde who affects an "urban" manner (she wears a scarf that's apparently meant to pass as a hoodie, and says "yo" at the end of all her sentences.) And I'm not sure if I'm that thrilled with Komugi's catch phrase- "Komugication!"
Oh, I was going to tell you about Grampa. There's an elderly man named Shozo in Komugi who's Komugi's biggest fanboy, and there's a scene early in the series in Komugi's dad's clinic, where her dad has her slap a gauze pad on Shozo-san's bare back, which sends him into ecstasy. It was at this point that Grampa bolted, and I can guess why- he finally understood his own place in the anime audience, and why a 60-year-old man would be watching a show featuring magical teenage girls in the first place. I bet he was horribly embarrassed and ashamed of himself, and - uh, just a minute, I think I hear the door-
Grampa! I was worried about you! Hey, where's your shirt? And who put all that gauze on you???
OK, I'm reclaiming my italics from Grampa, who clearly doesn't deserve to have them. In any case, I found Nurse Witch Komugi R to be light as a feather, but frequently cleverly written and sometimes pretty damn funny, and while it can be off-color it's not at all in hentai territory (as certain other infamous Sailor Moon parodies have been.) I certainly found the show much more fun overall than Wish Upon The Pleiades, and thought Komugi and Tsukasa each charming in their own way (and was fairly pleased with the latter's personal outcome.) It's as much homage as lampoon. — Allen Moody
Recommended Audience: Some swimmers (including one of the principals) lose their swimsuits, but no explicit nudity. Magical Maid has some tendencies recalling Mio Isurugi's from MM!, though the violence here is really pretty mild; the most violent character here is actually one of the teachers (and you'll cheer her at it, too.) 15 up should be fine.
Version(s) Viewed: Digital stream on Crunchyroll, Japanese with English subs.
Review Status: Full (12/12)
Nurse Witch Komugi R © 2016 Tatsunoko Productions/Nippon TV
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