Posted by psgels on 5 January 2006 with categories: Anime Reviews, Mahou Shoujotai



This is it: probably one of the best anime ever. At first glance this is just your average fantasy story, but it’s so much more. The duration of one episode is, unlike most, just eight minutes, and still, in those eight minutes the creators manage to put something that other anime only can accomplish in three episodes. This anime really is the roller-coaster ride of the roller-coaster rides.

The story is also unique. Every one or two episodes, another plot twist gets revealed that only makes you more eager to watch it. Another amazing thing is that you will not be able to predict what is going to happen next. That’s the beauty of this anime. Even in the departments of character development, character design and character interaction this series delivers. Each one of the characters is unique and different, and shows a great and perfectly executed dose of character development.

In order to make this anime, the creators had to create a world in which it was going to happen, along with the rules that make the things flow. You will be amazed by the result: a highly creative magic system, a diversative world, which even make sense and still look good.

The art of the characters is different from most anime. It’s a bit messier and dirtier than most regular anime, and the hair of the characters doesn’t shine like most shows feature. I have to say that I like this style. It really gives a unique feeling to the show. The panoramas will also leave you gazing upon your screen. You also must listen to the music developed for this show. Everything sounds top notch.

The only negative piece of comment I have for this anime is that the ending felt a bit rushed.

Why you should watch this: Are you a human being? Then watch this!

26 Responses

  1. iwubanime says:

    i watched this a month or two ago and i agree it is a great series, the shocker was how much that was crammed into 8 minutes, and yet it didn’t feel like 8 minutes

    just heard that there will be a “second season” that is going to be 6 episodes long, i’m a little disappointed by the length, but i guess beggers can’t be choosers; no release date yet

    nice review :)

  2. Taisuke says:

    undoubtfully one of the most imaginative, epic, and beautiful animes ever made; it mixes sci-fi, fantasy, action and drama perfectly. It’ll be at the top my list for a long time.

  3. psgels psgels says:

    Great to see another Mahou Shoujotai-fan here. You’re totally right, in my opinion. ^_^

  4. Nick says:

    Hail, fellow Mahou Shoujo Tai fan. I know this is a pretty old post, but do you know that Media Blasters has aquired this series?

  5. Anime fan says:

    That’s weird, you call it one of the best anime ever, and I’ve never heard about it. Not that I know so many animes or anything, but I thought I heard the names of most popular ones. I guess this might be one of the overlooked series. You got me really interested so I’m going to search for this show.

  6. Mai Dawn says:

    Ok, so i admit to only watching this anime because of the rating you’ve given it. Since i started checking on the website i found we have lots of similarities towards anime styles so I usually trusted what you said about an anime but honestly I cannot find a good reason as to why this could be the greatest series ever.

    Im 20 episodes in, and not one episode poped out as excellent, most barely averaging “good”. Also, Alice can possibly the most hateful, annoying character in the story of anime, EVER. Im half through the series and she doesnt seemed to have developed at all, saying the same thing every episode, whinning and getting her party in trouble which always frustrate me.

    The plot twist are not intriguing at all, unimaginably boring and generic not to say predictable. Im gonna (suffer) watching the series to the end since I still believe the second half might have a much better impression on me (I truly hope to God) because not even its shorter and quicker plot development can save the uncountable flaws this series has already created.

  7. Hei says:

    Amazing…

  8. rfrost says:

    “Ok, so i admit to only watching this anime because of the rating you’ve given it. Since i started checking on the website i found we have lots of similarities towards anime styles so I usually trusted what you said about an anime but honestly I cannot find a good reason as to why this could be the greatest series ever.”

    LOL I agree! I am pretty disappointed with this anime. The anime didn’t live up with the excellent reviews.

  9. Alexandre says:

    Unfortunately Mai Drawn is perfectly correct and – I fear – got even more disappointed as the series moved toward the end: Alice doesn’t develop AT ALL: she keeps saying that magic is supposed to make people happy and so on. I suppose the series creators thought that it was an anime for little children, and so believed they had to deliver some sort of optimistic message. But Alice is utterly unfit to deal with reality. She only triumphs in the end because she’s a fictional character in a show where, instead of seeking for a minimum of verisimilitude the writers just kept pulling one ex machina after the other to help her succeed despite her astonishing blidness, inability to think ANYTHING through – as she herself admits – and really retarded optimism.
    I fully concur that wars are unbelievably stupid and people should help each other. But to just believe that you can change things by – as Sheila in the show so often points out to Alice – doing nothing and trying to help everyone at the same time will not get you anywhere.
    If it comes to try and save everyone, I much prefer Vash from Trigun. I mean, even Alice’s father is as naive as her – possibly he is the reason she is no naive. And the ending – so boringly predictable: after saving the world, the little heroine has to return to the “real” world – as if both worlds weren’t real in the storyline – to live a normal life and bring happiness here, thus sacrificially turning her back to her friends.
    Overall, very disappointing indeed. By the way, the best anime I’ve ever seen is still Haibane Renmei.

  10. AlexS says:

    Although I understand Mai and Alex criticisms, I think they are being quite unfair to the anime.

    It’s true that Alice always repeats more or less the same thing, but her position is totally understandable. Her role is comparable to that of a charismatic leader, political or religious. She has very strong beliefs, that are basically more important to her than herself. If she loses them, she’s worse than dead. People of this kind don’t easily weaver, even when their life is at stake (just think about the Christ on the cross, or Mandela in life sentence).
    Also, the fact that she constantly needs to repeat her message is logic: she’s the only person in that world to believe in it! A rational person would do the same if she lived in a place where superstition is the main belief system, or a person who despises slavery in a slave labor based society. Just watch political activist: they are untiring in carrying their message through, simply because the reality that surrounds them constantly rubs them the wrong way. Alice constantly sees around her something she can’t stand, and being loud-mouthed makes sure to make her displeasure known.

    Despite all that, she’s not totally inflexible. She does grow up, and has her times of weakness. Plus, the show clearly shows that sometimes she swallows her internal sadness to put an outward smiling face for the sake of her friends.

    Alice is clearly not my favorite character, and she suffers from the burden of the “savior” role, but she certainly is not as unidimensional as you put it. Plus, the other characters develop so much that it more than compensates the rigid position of Alice.

    As for myself I found the show amazing, mostly because of the incredible pacing and plot twists, but even more because of the characters, which are cute (without being moe and stupid) and full of life. My only quibble is the ending (I found the father unnecessary), but that’s very minor.

    I have to thank psgels for promoting this anime, otherwise I would not know about it. And although Mushishi is clearly my all time favorite anime series, both Mahou Shoujotai and Haibane Renmei are in my top ten favorites ^_^

  11. Dante says:

    You had some fairly qualitative reviews, so I thought I’d check out your number One.

    10 episodes in, I thought, maybe theres more to it. 20 episodes in, maybe theres an intense twist. 30 episodes in, I just told myself to finish it for the heck of it.

    Undoubtedly one of the worst series to spend time watching for me. Too much optimistic googoo, poor plot, etc, etc. Quite frankly, it was BORING. NOTHING that intrigued me at all, except maybe for the few sounds that sprites make.

    I completely agreed to your review of Birdy 2, which was a hell of a surprise series, blowing out any expectations whatsoever. Now with this fairy tale, I just cant possibly see how you can enjoy it so much. NOTHING, and I mean NOTHING, stuck with me, except for how horrifying it was to watch. No great characters, in fact, you begin to even hate on nearly all of them. You just can’t take the story seriously. No good music, nothing.

    Birdy 2 had, in my honest opinion, the BEST artwork and animations of any anime out there, with maybe the exception of some short scenes of some certain series/movies. It had an incredible plot, character development, MUSIC, and just outright badassness. Where else can you see such fluid movements of the body, with such momentum, power, feel, in a setting where there really feels like there’s gravity and physics? Animations aside, Birdy 2 was still a good series. You did well in that review, and I could concur with it.

    This one though…I don’t know what the hell to say.

  12. specracer says:

    Before I start I must say I agree with 95 percent of your reviews, and many other blogs have boasted this anime.

    So with that said I can’t find much to like about this. I have tried several times to finish this show, but I just can’t. By the time I get near the end I’m practically starved for some character development.

    I’m going to try to not rant here, but I HATE Alice. With the very FIRST thing she does when she gets in their world she rekindles a war, and her character development amounts to ZERO.

    The only good thing I can think of is the art is unique and they did a great cramming 30 minutes into 8.

    For me this is no where near the top at best a 75 out of 100

  13. Howling-kun says:

    What everyone above said, but I want to add even the animation was kind of inconsistent at times, and some things just look plain cheesy. The only thing truly enjoyable for me was the soundtrack.

    I pretty much loved everything else you high-rated except for this.

  14. Zodiac Casino says:

    I would like to thank you heartily for your blog. Without it, I would not have discovered a such a great series. Granted, it took some searching around to find subs (even longer to get fast seeds for it!) But I tell you, it was worth it.

    I feel I should also thank you for giving me some great inspiration for expanding my collection. One day I simply sat down and browsed your top picks, and just searched those that sounded interesting. Seeing as there is so much anime out there, having a nice consolidated list of opinions has been incredibly helpful. Although there are a couple shows that I would have rated differently, every title you had in the 90-100 range that I saw I agreed with 100%.

    Ok, enough brown-nosing from me. Just keep up the good work!

  15. reverse says:

    I would say this is indeed a very good anime, fairly deserve 90+ ranting.
    if you compare this show with noein I would say mahou shoujotai is definitely better in almost everything.however if with birdy2 I would say, mahou shoujotai has more epic story and longer, that the only thing mahou shoujotai were better than birdy2. other than that birdy2 win hand down.

    anyway Mahou Shoujotai is indeed a great choice your number one anime. most people who watch anime always put they top favorite anime either, a snail pace show with no real plot, a pure romance anime and gloomy anime. I’m glad this show doesn’t have any of that

    with this, I already view all your 92 to 100 anime ……… almost ( couple more left )

  16. josa qqq says:

    ugghh..this blogger has no taste at all. ugly series..bleh!

  17. Runekilla says:

    From a quick look at the comments, it looks like you either love or hate this anime. I thought the art work was quite unique but the story was lacking for me.

  18. mdv says:

    i didn’t like this series…
    his reviews right now are great though.
    psels is currently my number one source for what anime series i should watch.
    maybe he wasn’t very cynical when he watched the “older” anime. most of these commenters (including me, i am very judgmental when watching anime :D) are cynical..

  19. White Wolf says:

    I cannot fathom why this was rated so highly. I downloaded it after reading the review and must say I’m bitterly disappointed. This series is just downright boring. The different art style was interesting, but the characters are flat and at most 2 dimensional, the story is mediocre at best, and it just completely failed to hold my attention for more than 5 minutes at a time. Towards the end I had to force myself to keep watching simply because I’m proud of the fact I’ve never started and not finished an anime.

    Lets start with the main character. The only main character I have ever hated more than Alice was Naruto in the first few episodes of Naruto. She displays suspiciously little development or depth, and she’s just plain annoying.

    The plot. The whole way through this series, I found myself wondering if the story was actually going to go anywhere. It didn’t. Sure, it was original, but it just wasn’t interesting. I don’t know how you can take a story set in a magic realm and make it so uninteresting. All the wonderful things you mentioned in your review… I didn’t see one of them. Aside from the musical score was decent and the art was interesting.

    I’d give this series at most a 70/100

  20. gandalf8 says:

    Finally. After years ago where I first caught a few episodes of this on Animax and thought that it was a unique and quite interesting anime series, I’ve finally finished watching it. Sad to say, I just cannot agree with Psgels high rating of this series.

    Mahou Shoujo Tai Arusu is indeed an interesting series with one of the most unique and unconventional designs in anime that I’ve ever seen. The magical world, from the witch realm to the wizard kingdom look very unique and show a very imaginative and creative design. The numerous fairies are each distinctive and different from each other, while the magical spells and the warlocks technology are all lovingly portrayed, even if the animation is sometimes not up to par.

    The other good thing of note is also the soundtrack. The opener really gives a sense of adventure, while the ending song is a whimsical song that closes of each episode on a high. The background music is equally good, supporting each scene adequately, although without really standing out.

    Unfortunately, a unique design and wonderful soundtrack does not a good anime make. The main trio of Alice, Eva, and Sheila fit the three stereotype of the optimist, the timid girl, and the ever serious. As the story goes on, they undergo character development, with Sheila especially turning out into a very amazing character. Sadly, Alice is the main character. Initially a naive and idealistic kid who holds an almost blind belief in magic, by the end of the series she’s practically the same. Her belief that magic must only be used to make people happy without hurting anyone is admirable, but the way she held on to it in some instances really made me want to tear my hair out. The way she goes headlong into any trouble without thinking, and somehow just by bumbling along she somehow manages to do the right thing really infuriates me.

    Another bad aspect of the series are the gaping plot holes, with lots of leaps in logic, characters acting like idiots, and the deus ex machinas that litters this series. Like how those warlocks so easily kept infringing into the witches realm to catch fairies without the general population of witches seeming to give a care. Or how easily the warlocks got into the witches realm when they were searching for Alice because every witch was at the chapel, and not a single one is left on sentry duty? And even if Alice doesn’t want to use magic to hurt people, when fighting against those warlocks can’t she use a spell that won’t kill them, just maybe stun or stop them in their tracks? There were so many of these incidents, that I’m surprised my desk isn’t broken yet.

    The magic system is also underutilized and poorly fleshed out. If all that is needed to cast a magic spell is a piece of a fairy and the incantation, then why is it so hard to use magic? how can there be witches that can’t use magic? Is it so hard to remember a string of words? And why the heck does Jidan, a human, know so much about the so called ‘light magic’ than even the witches Grand Master?

    To conclude, I would like to say that I’m very disappointed with how it turned out. This series had a very creative and imaginative setting, that was underutilized thanks to the poor execution and messed up plot.

  21. Hogart says:

    Though I can’t say it’s my favorite anime, it was well worth the time investment compared to most of the stuff airing these days. Thanks for reminding me about it, psgels.

    My wife says it recalled the feeling of watching an old Don Bluth cartoon, and after watching a couple like Secret of NIMH, I kind of agree that it shares that whole “hope in the darkness” theme Bluth seems to have handled in his films (I’m going to have to watch some more of them).

    I could nit at the pacing and sometimes jarring editing in Mahou Shoujotai, but in the end I’m more glad that they didn’t dwell very long on the cliches and kept moving. More anime could stand to do that.

    Frankly, it feels like anyone overly criticizing this are doing so either because it’s an easy target, or because only people who like it have bothered reviewing it online.

    You could apply the same criticisms to far more popular anime (especially ones for older audiences) but they usually get a pass. Mahou Shoujotai doesn’t deserve to be associated with that double-standard.

  22. Pafiume says:

    Man oh man, people really hated this apparently! I watched the first half of this like three years ago and just ended up marathoning it the past two days.

    I agree I’m surprised that this got such a high rating, but I still really enjoyed it. It was a fun plot, until the last episode which I didn’t like, and an imaginative world. The setting fit me very well, I loved the feeling of such a fantasy world and I didn’t realize until I was watching the show that I’d been missing it. It kept me longing for something, and in the end I still didn’t get it, but still I really liked it.

    The art was great, I thought. I loved the character designs.

    The thing I didn’t like about Alice was that she just kind of assumed everything about the world. I’m probably being just too serious, but it bothered me that she would go into the witch world and just tell them they weren’t using magic correctly because they weren’t always doing it to make people happy. Yes that’s a very optimistic way to look at magic and all, but just coming into the magic world from a place where magic didn’t even actually exist it’s interesting that she didn’t really try to learn anything about it but just kept what she already assumed. I guess her dad had taught her what she knew of it, and her whole stubborn view of it was the point though. That just stuck out to me and I’m sure I’m just being no fun.

    The ending sucked, though. Friendship saves the day, woop woop. I expected it a couple episodes up to the end. You could tell some of the plot twists ahead of time, but that’s not always a bad thing. There were some really unexpected ones too! But that ending. It just felt very expected, and kind of generic, and like Psgels said, it was rushed. I may have to check out the OVA or whatever.

    The episodes were packed for how short they were, and I appreciated that. I’d say it’s a good series! I don’t know why people didn’t enjoy anything about it.

  23. Fluca says:

    I just finished this series and boy, it is nowhere near what I expected.

    Sure, it is epic in its scope, but one of the best animes ever? Not by a longshot.

    For instance, if one compares it to another epic anime like Now and Then, Here and There, this loses hands down. Just to cite one glaring difference, in the latter, even though the lead character is optimistic and never really lets go of his ideals (much like Arusu), his actions do have consequences, some of them quite bad and he grows as a result.

    Off the top of my head I can think of plenty animes that were in a league above Mahou Shoujotai, like: Haibane Renmei, Mushishi, Now and Then Here and There, Monster (oh my God, Monster!), Evangelion, Full Metal Alchemist, Last Exile, Natsume Yuujinchou, Cowboy Bebop etc.

    I haven’t really had the will to check which of these came after Mahou Shoujotai but since they do exist now, I think Psgels should revise down Mahou Shoujotai’s grade.

    I would give it an “good” grade, at most.

  24. Reso says:

    After reading about it here a few days ago, I did decide to finally try looking for a copy. And after watching the first two episodes, I’m quite intrigued by it. I do remember seeing this on Crunchyroll back when it was still free, but totally disregarded it because I thought the name Tweeny Witches was pretty stupid. I’ve grown up and now I am disappointed in myself, because I haven’t seen anime that have intrigued me with the first episode(s) in a while.

  25. David says:

    its rated 7.4/10 on MAL , so i think your rating it way too high

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  • AidanAK47
    (Monday, Oct 20. 2014 10:46 PM)
    @Hal, So to summarize. You want the reviews to be shorter so that you don’t have to read them and can take in whether a show is worth picking up? In that case your problem isn’t with the reviews. It’s that there’s not a rating at the bottom.
    If need be we can bring that back.
  • hal
    (Monday, Oct 20. 2014 09:11 PM)
    The thing is, aside from disliking reading long texts on screen, I looked over some texts about shows I didn’t watch sometimes, to see if they’re worth to pick up (That’s also the reason why I actually miss the rating system. I picked up some shows only because psgels rated one episode as fantastic and I got curious) I don’t know if other people do the same, but short reviews are easier to look through for interesting developments.
  • Bam
    (Monday, Oct 20. 2014 09:09 PM)
    @K-off: not sure how NTR works under incarceration, someone steals their prison-bitch I guess? lol
  • hal
    (Monday, Oct 20. 2014 09:08 PM)
    concerning the length discussion, it is true, that reading walls of text on the screen are a pain. As I said 500 words should be the absolute maximum for an episodic review. A full review on a series can be longer of course. You should also think about breaking the text down into smaller paragraphs of 4-7 lines each. It’s much easier to read longer texts that way.
  • k-off
    (Monday, Oct 20. 2014 08:53 PM)
    @Bam make that ntr for ninja.
  • Bam
    (Monday, Oct 20. 2014 08:45 PM)
    @K-off: oh lord, fanfic and SAO? You just named two of the best sources of intellectual nourishment. And I was operating under the impression that Kiroto has no ass; well … life is learning. Now off to write a fanfic about how the cast of SAO get thrown into prison where everyone wants a piece of dat “firm ass”.
  • k-off
    (Monday, Oct 20. 2014 08:38 PM)
    @Bam There was this SAO fanfic some dumbass posted a while ago, with the lines “Sinon looked at Kirito’s firm ass and felt excited” or some shit like that… Yeah, I’m not too fond of fanfic, good or bad.
  • Bam
    (Monday, Oct 20. 2014 08:30 PM)
    @Ninja: sure, why not :]
    Looking back I see that I forgot the most important part of a fanfic: some raunchy and completely unnecessary hentai bits.
  • ninjarealist
    (Monday, Oct 20. 2014 08:11 PM)
    @Emma Tenchi Universe is one of those classic cliche anime series like DBZ or Inuyasha, that was always on TV when I was a kid. The nostalgia factor is so powerful that I can’t help but remember it fondly.
  • Emma
    (Monday, Oct 20. 2014 08:02 PM)
    @Realist: A few volumes of the manga as well. I only ever glanced at the first tenchi for one episode. I had heard universe just wasn’t worth watching so I never bothered.

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