Tag Archives: parody

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.


Magical Play

Magical PlayType: Internet Shorts (TV Series)
Episode Count: 24 (4)
Genre: Surreal Magical Girl Parody
Vintage: 2001

Version reviewed: Japanese Subtitled
Date of Review: 21 Feb 2007
revised 10 Jan 2010

Grade: B

A bizarre trip into a twisted magical girl world.

Plot Summary
Padudu is a Magical Girl candidate from a land called Sea Heaven. She has come to Sweetland to embark on a quest for Hanamaru in order to become a magical girl. By completing various tasks, Padudu can earn Hanamaru in order to fill out a special card. Once the card is filled, she will be a full-fledged Magical Girl.

The Review
Magical Play was originally a series of animated shorts, each about 5 minutes in length, that were broadcast on the internet. These shorts were later put into four groups of six and aired on television. As a result, the series plays more like sketch comedy than a traditional television series.

The series follows Padudu and her companion/costume/food supply (yes, really) Uokichi on their travels through Sweetland in search of Hanamaru. Padudu is joined by two more Magical Girl candidates also on a quest for Hanamaru. Pipin is a girl with a carrot costume and a rabbit companion, and Myumyu is a girl whose companions double as her (only) clothing… two flat cats names Kyal and Lyka. They also meet Nonononn The Bully, who once upon a time was also a magical girl candidate. All of them are being watched from afar by Queen Purilun, who aims to control the entire world. Purilun sends her young lackey, a boy named Zucchini, in an effort to defeat her nemesis Nonononn.

In Sweetland, however, Magical Battles for Hanamaru are strictly controlled, and using magic in an unauthorized manner is frowned upon, which is why the police force of officers Mustard and Ketchup keep track of magic use.

With that cast, the stage is set for the random weird mayhem that makes up Magical Play. This is a series that is not meant to be taken seriously. The overall plot (such as there is) is unimportant; the point of watching Magical Play is to twist the magical girl cliché and poke fun at the genre. If you’re looking for something with a weird sense of humor in bite-sized pieces, Magical Play is a good choice.

Magical☆Shopping Arcade Abenobashi

Magical☆Shopping Arcade AbenobashiType: TV Series
Episode Count:
Genre: Episodic Genre Parody / Fantasy
Vintage: 2002

Version reviewed: Japanese Subtitled
Date of Review: 09 Jul 2006

Grade: B

In which Gainax unleashes another unexpected round of insanity and general weirdness onto unsuspecting viewers.

Plot Summary
Twelve-year-old lifelong friends Sasshi and Arumi are suddenly transported to one strange incarnation of their local shopping arcade after another following an unlikely twist of fate that they could never have prepared for. In order to make their way back to the real Abenobashi, they’ll have to learn why it is that these other worlds have appeared.

The Review
The Short Review: FLCL on sedatives.

Actually, Magical☆Shopping Arcade Abenobashi deserves a better explanation than that, and there is always the chance that there are those who have not seen FLCL and are thus unable to know what I mean by that. So here’s how it goes…

Magical☆Shopping Arcade Abenobashi takes no prisoners in its twisting of not only anime genres, but of movies as well. Most of the episodes take a style and run with it. In typical Gainax fashion, they don’t merely push the envelope, they tear right through it. This was one of those few shows that had me laughing out loud a few times. The more anime you’ve seen, the more you’ll get, as far as the spoofs are concerned.

Abenobashi isn’t entirely a series made for laughs at the expense of other genres. Running underneath all of the chaos is a clever coming-of-age tale. Also, out of the 13 episodes, there are three that aren’t a non-stop assault of jokes and visual gags. Episode one lays the groundwork for the series, and offers no indication of the craziness that lies ahead. In the middle of the series is a flashback episode to two generations previous that somehow links to Sasshi and Arumi’s experiences in the many Abenobashis. The final episode almost pulls an Evangelion, then brings everything to a close. Speaking of Evangelion, there are at least two shamelessly blatant (and hilarious) references to the sister Gainax series.

Overall, Magical☆Shopping Arcade Abenobashi is an unusual experience probably better suited for a more seasoned anime fan. The more references you are able to pick up, the funnier the show will be. I nearly fell on the floor during the Cardcaptor Sakura spoof. It may be mostly fun and games, but behind it all lies a good, and even touching, story about growing up.