Magical Stage Fancy Lala

Magical Stage Fancy LalaType: TV Series
Episode Count: 26
Genre: Slice Of Life / Fantasy
Vintage: 1998

Version reviewed: Japanese Subtitled
Date of Review: 25 Oct 2007

Grade: B

A charming series which blends a couple of genres and results in a great story.

Plot Summary
Eight year old Miho Shinohara is an aspiring manga artist and typical third grade girl. One day, she discovers two small dinosaur fairies who give her a magic pen and pad of paper. With these tools she gains the magic power of being able to transform into a fifteen year old version of herself. One day while Miho is out in Harajuku in her older form, which she has named Lala, she gets scouted by a talent agency. This agency – Lyrical Productions – just happens to be the same one for which Miho’s mother works. Now, Miho must find a way to juggle her life between her eight year old self and Lala’s new career.

The Review
Magical Stage Fancy Lala (from here on referred to simply as Fancy Lala) blends the purest form of the Magical Girl genre with the Aspiring Idol story type, and the result is a surprisingly well done series that features some great writing.

Fancy Lala is a magical girl show, but not in the Sailor Moon or Cardcaptor Sakura sense. When Miho transforms into Lala, she isn’t doing so to save the world from some sort of threat. Initially, she just does it for the sake of doing it. Getting scouted while transformed is merely a happy accident that adds another layer to the story and really makes it what it is.

Now, no magical girl series would be complete without talking animal mascots, and Fancy Lala is no exception. The dinosaur fairies Miho meets in the first episode, named Mogu and Pigu, are an endless source of amusement. Pigu (the boy) in particular is fun to watch since he is always hungry and after Miho to get him snacks. Mogu (the girl) puts up with Pigu’s antics and usually puts him in his place. These two dinosaur fairies give Miho a magical pen and pad of paper. For Miho to use her magic, she must first draw the clothes that Lala is to wear with this pen and paper. She then says the magic word “dabu-dabu”, and the clothes pop out of the pad, ready to wear. Miho then closes the pen while saying an incantation which transforms her into Lala.

When Miho is Lala, this is where the story hits its full stride. Miho has to balance her two lives, and there are times when Miho’s life experiences as an eight year old do not match what she encounters as fifteen year old Lala. Also, the secondary story of Lala being scouted and starting down the path of an aspiring Idol star is engaging in its own right. A series could easily have been made based around this concept alone (such as things like Chance Pop Session), but making it the life that Miho leads in secret adds a layer of unpredictability to the story.

In all, Fancy Lala is simply a charming series that gets just about everything right. It’s relaxed, it’s funny, it’s dramatic, and there is some surprisingly good writing to be found here, with more than a few episodes that possess excellently written endings. Something of a sleeper series, this is a great example of a show that proves that not all magical girls have to save the world.

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