Posted by psgels on 26 September 2009 with categories: Anime Reviews



Sometimes, these series appear that aren’t supposed to be good… and yet they are. Series as Asagiri no Miko and Wagaya no Oinarisama, who have the most generic premises, somehow end up being a very enjoyable ride from start to finish in their own way. The same goes with Yoku Wakaru Gendai Mahou. And this really isn’t one of my “pity”-reviews as with Sekirei or Strike Witches, in which I argued that they were pretty decent for a moe show. No, even if YWGM were to be compared to a regular series, it would still be pretty good.

But yeah, this series has a terrible first impression. The two lead characters have ridiculously coloured hair, voice actresses who try too hard to be moe, the series is yet another one of those series in which cute girls use magic, there’s lots of fanservice and at first sight the characters are nothing but moe stereotypes.

And yet especially that last part turns out to be interestingly wrong. The way this series excels is its characterization. Every single character here is surprisingly genuine, and unlike most other moe series I didn’t find any of them forced. Koyomi at first sight looks like yet another stupid high school girl, but yet she’s such a pure and innocent character that that gives her a bit of a different dimension. In the same way the rest of the cast is also surprisingly down to earth and enjoyable to watch. Especially because this series spends a lot of time on just slice of life, it’s nice enough to just see the characters interact due to the great chemistry they have between each other.

The idea of modern magic is also very nicely used in this series. You see, magic in this series isn’t the usual dull kind of magic in which you wave a wand and stuff happens, this series gives a bit of a modern touch to it, by allowing magic to be programmable. An excellent idea, which results in a lot of interesting applications for such magic.

Possibly the weirdest flaw in this series is its fanservice. It’s so incredibly strange that it often makes no sense (are you bullied? Why don’t you try to throw your pantie in the bully’s face? That will shut him up!), but on the other hand this series is also full of subtle jokes and tongue-in-cheek dialogue. You obviously don’t want to expect anything amazing here, but it’s an all-around enjoyable series if you’re looking for a light watch. This really is the perfect example of why a lot of moe doesn’t necessarily means a bad series.

Storytelling: 8/10
Characters: 9/10
Production-Values: 7/10
Setting: 8/10

5 Responses

  1. Solaris says:

    Are you sure? Is this really good? I tried to follow it but i dropped it halfway. Stereotypical and annoying chars, nonexistent direction, awful pacing. This serie doesn’t look to make anything the right way. I watched till after the time warp (well virtual time warp) arc and there was not even a start of a plot. Chars don’t know what to do for the most part of the show. Koyomi is the main char but she’s so useless at the end. They let you forsee great development for her, but yet she’s stuck t summon basins and nothing all. Why this great power, used in a strange way? I suspect we even won’t know at the end of the show.
    But if you say it’s really nice i could give it another try and finish it. Maybe the last 5 episode or such that i miss could make me change idea.

  2. Wyrdwad says:

    Hmmm… this is kind of apropos of nothing, but your mentioning of moe and fanservice reminded me of other things you’ve said in the past you generally don’t like… and it got me thinking, you know what anime I’d be REALLY curious to see you review? “Ghost Stories”. NOT Gakkou no Kaidan, mind you, but the English-dubbed version of it, which was released on DVD as Ghost Stories.

    I make this distinction because it really is a VERY different show. Gakkou no Kaidan… is pretty crappy. Generic, uninteresting, and poorly-written. But when they released it in the U.S., they dubbed it into a different show altogether… they made it into a pure comedy, and a VERY wrong one. Suddenly, three of the characters are a bible-thumper, a horny Jewish boy, and a mentally challenged kid whose dialogue is largely incoherent. Pop culture references are dropped left and right, sexual innuendo (and blatant sexual dialogue) is EVERYWHERE, and absolutely nothing is sacred.

    It may not sound good, but as far as I’m concerned, the localizers turned a really poor show into an absolutely BRILLIANT comedy, where no one and nothing is off-limits. Here’s a clip that I think exemplifies this:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bWB1rVLAoFc

    Given your general dislike for fanservice, as well as a certain sense of “translation purity” that I know you exhibit, I’d be REALLY interested to see your take on this show… because I’m willing to bet that no matter how much you TRY to dislike it, you’ll end up loving it. (:

    -Tom

  3. psgels psgels says:

    Solaris: well, this series is indeed not about the plot, but rather the chemistry between the characters, which does get better in the second half,yeah. It’s a series you obviously need to take with a grain of salt, but I enjoyed it.

    Wyrdwad: I actually tried watching the Japanese version of Gakkou no Kaidan once, and yeah, it was pretty crappy. Still, you’ve got me interested in that dub…

  4. Seinime says:

    It got so confusing because of the episodes that I dropped it. But hmm, maybe I should’ve waited till the end.

  5. Solaris says:

    You found in Wakaru blabla magic (or whatevah it is called) something that was worth watching that i missed. I think this is the same situation i experienced with kanamemo or fight ippatsu pee pee chan. I enjoyed those show (well except juudenchan’s waterworks, of course) when i knew they weren’t near valuable watching.
    But the weird chars kanamemo has and the simple story of juuden won over me. It’s true sometimes we all need brainless nice shows to watch to relax.

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  • K-Off
    (Sunday, Jun 26. 2016 09:11 PM)
    But I agree with Bam in that the show has lots of moments where it shines, namely in the action and the entertaining character interactions. If I was interested more so in a character story rather than an overall plot, I’m sure I’d like Eva a lot more. Certain shows work really well purely off that principle like Phantasia, but by the time I got to Eva I’d gotten relatively desensitized to those character tropes. Shinji didn’t help much either.
  • K-Off
    (Sunday, Jun 26. 2016 09:07 PM)
    There’s no narrative thrusts throughout the show, it’s just scenes happening to get from one action set piece to the next all the while shoving blatant symbolism in your face. The little plot there is feels incredibly weak, aside from the world building there’s no clear objective besides a vague idea of defeating angels and something about Gendo that’s almost background noise with how little it affects the story.
  • K-Off
    (Sunday, Jun 26. 2016 09:03 PM)
    Having started watching anime only in the mid 2000s despite occasionally seeing them on TV during the 90s, I come from a school of thought that emphasizes coherence more than anything else, basically I want the story to have focus. And while Eva’s influence on character archetypes and animation cannot be argued, I still think the story in Eva is pretty bad.
  • AidanAK47
    (Sunday, Jun 26. 2016 07:56 PM)
    Judging purely visually I agree some leeway must be given due to the technical limitations of the time but all of my issues with the series is not visual related but story.
    I have admitted that I don’t hate Eva and I do like aspects of it. But do you really need me to give it praise? There is plenty giving it praise. I see no reason to join the choir.
  • AidanAK47
    (Sunday, Jun 26. 2016 07:51 PM)
    Now you are just flying off the hook.
    I understand Eva’s cultural significance, and it’s effect on the medium. I just deem it irrelevant when judging the anime itself. For you see dear boy, if you are going to place EVA above modern anime then you must judge it by modern standards. If it falls short you can’t just bring up historic significance to wave away it’s problems.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Jun 26. 2016 05:46 PM)
    I praised Fate/Zero for its story, pacing and charismatic protagonist. UBW I agreed to its superb battle animation and overall quality of first cour. Now when someone watches EoE or Eva Rebuild 2.2 and comments on nothing of quality, then who is the biased one here really?
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Jun 26. 2016 05:34 PM)
    If anything at least call Shinji a shitty annoying character- cuz even I won’t deny that.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Jun 26. 2016 05:25 PM)
    When I mean discussion I don’t mean a series of personal likes and dislikes- but judging objective elements: plot consistency, animation quality, restrain in fan-service and pandering, over reliance on tropes and cliches, etc. Otherwise we all have our different preferences.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Jun 26. 2016 05:20 PM)
    I agree with the cons of Eva, as well as its strengths. Same with Fate. Being pessimistic is a stance, not inherently a flaw. The setting of Eva predicates that tone. If anything I have a bias towards Berserk, and that’s mostly all out of nostalgia.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Jun 26. 2016 05:16 PM)
    Also what ladies? Even the “gentlemen” part is stretching it. It’s very easy for someone who didn’t follow anime 20 years ago to criticize one of its most historic moments. At least this Tenka Seiha fella doesn’t talk smack about what he doesn’t really understand.

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