Magical Girl Pretty Sammy

Magical Girl Pretty SammyType: TV Series
Episode Count: 26
Genre: Magical Girl Parody / Comedy
Vintage: 1996

Version reviewed: Japanese Subtitled
Date of Review: 31 Oct 2007

Grade: A

Though the original Japanese title for this series is Magical Girl Pretty Sammy, when Pioneer released it in the US, it was given the title Magical Project S. Presumably, a different title was chosen to avoid associations with their poorly selling release of the Magical Girl Pretty Sammy OVAs, which preceded the TV series.

It’s the TV adaptation of a spinoff series of OVAs from the Tenchi Muyo! franchise. It’s a Magical Girl parody. It transcends being both and becomes a series well done unto itself.

Plot Summary
As the distant planet of Juraihelm begins deliberations to select its next queen, their candidate Tsunami is chosen to be tested. In order to become queen, Tsunami must restore the balance of good and evil on Earth. She must do this by selecting an ordinary earthling girl and granting her the ability to transform into a magical girl. Tsunami travels to earth to meet her selected girl, third grader Sasami Kawai. Sasami, unfortunately, wants nothing to do with being a magical girl. Nevertheless, she accepts the job reluctantly, and gains the power to become Magical Girl Pretty Sammy. Meanwhile, back on Juraihelm, one of the other candidates, Ramia, is none too pleased that she wasn’t selected to be Queen. Ramia then goes to earth to find her own magical girl to do evil and keep Pretty Sammy from restoring the balance on Earth, thus denying Tsunami the right to ascend as Juraihelm’s next queen. Ramia chooses a shy girl named Misao Amano to become the evil Magical Girl Pixy Misa. As luck would have it, Misao is Sasami’s best friend.

The Review
For something so silly on the surface, the Pretty Sammy TV series is nothing short of amazing. If you happen to be a fan of the Tenchi franchise as well as the Magical Girl genre, this is a series that you need to check out, as it handily conquers any stigmas often associated with spinoffs or parodies. It’s a transcendent series, in its own twisted way.

As far as the parody aspect of the series is concerned, Pretty Sammy‘s crosshairs are aimed squarely at Sailor Moon, which of course was popular at the time this series was made. Every convention of the genre is mocked mercilessly, and self-referential humor abounds. If you ever wanted to know what would happen if you deconstructed a magical girl show and then reassembled it with a subversive bent, the Pretty Sammy TV series is one possible outcome.

As for the Tenchi Muyo! spinoff aspect of the show, Tenchi fans will surely get a kick out of how the characters are handled. Nearly every primary character from that series is in Pretty Sammy TV, though in some cases their names are changed. For example, Mihoshi is Sasami’s teacher in school, and Kiyone is the teacher of the classroom next door. Keep a look out for all of the cameos; none of them disappoint. Characters original to the series are fun as well, including Sasami’s classmates and parents. Of note is Sasami’s papa, who is Superdad if there ever was one.

And believe it or not, the storyline of Pretty Sammy is a pretty good one on its own, defying the odds of being a spinoff and parody at the same time. While those aspects are spot on, the story actually goes a bit beyond that to explore Sasami and Misao’s friendship. There is actually more to the series than a merciless twisting of the magical girl genre and throwing the Tenchi Muyo! characters into a completely new environment. Fans of both of these elements will likely find the Pretty Sammy TV series to be well worth their time, yet the series still rises above and becomes quite enjoyable in its own right.

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