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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  • Ebod
    (Tuesday, Mar 3. 2015 08:22 PM)
    V for Vendetta for me has always been a more “literary” work than Watchmen, but Watchmen is spectacular because it’s a story that can only be told in full scope in the comic format. While I feel like many major themes and events from V for Vendetta could easily be adapted into, say, novel format, the same could not be said of Watchmen. Also, the racist whitewashing Hollywood does of Asian characters really has to stop.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Mar 3. 2015 06:30 AM)
    Watchmen was deemed ‘unadaptable’ for about thirty years, so just getting what Snyder got out of the material is a huge success; it is said that what he did was to write a book version of Ingmar’s Holy Mountain. Watchmen is the only graphic novel to ever win a Hugo award and is easily the most intricate and multilayered Alan Moore comic, so it’s no surprise that it continues to top ‘best comics of all time’ charts to this day.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Mar 3. 2015 06:20 AM)
    I beg to differ. Doctor Manhatten is the most intriguing character of Watchmen and the comic is a giant in ,not only in the comic world, but the history of literature itself. It is a deconstruction of superheros and Dr. M shows how afraid the world would really be when faced with a ‘superman’ and how a creature in such a higher realm of time and perception would show apathy toward humans and their foolish struggles.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Mar 3. 2015 06:15 AM)
    GitS just won’t work. Maybe in a world before the Matrix, but not now with so many elements of it borrowed liberally by so many franchises in various mediums. Scarlet Johansson is decent in roles that fit her. She was enjoyable in Lost In Translation, but race aside she has nothing in common with Kusanagi. This is a travesty and the franchise is dear to me so it especially burns my ass.
  • Emma
    (Tuesday, Mar 3. 2015 06:10 AM)
    While I am no fan of man of steel, Nolan and Snyder, just about anyone would have a hard time taking a difficult character like superman and making him work on screen.
  • Emma
    (Tuesday, Mar 3. 2015 06:08 AM)
    Apart from Veidt and Rorshach I could never get into the characters all that much in watchmen. I also found the film overly long and mediocre acted for the larger part. But to each there own. For Alan moores works I always preferred his Miracleman, swamp thing, V for Vendetta stories.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Mar 3. 2015 06:06 AM)
    Nolan can produce the action plus personal and dark story that Alita would need, and he also brings talent such as composer Hans Zimmer and Cinematographer Sally Pfister to the table. Him and Snyder have too much combined integrity to make a mockery out of Alita like Spielberg did with the GitS license.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Mar 3. 2015 06:03 AM)
    Well Snyder has respect for his source materials and that is key in anime-to-film adaptations. Hell I’m a big Watchmen fan and I thought his version was (almost painfully) close to the comic. You’re not going to get that anywhere else in Hollywood. Also the combination of Nolan/Snyder is quite different than them individually.
  • Emma
    (Tuesday, Mar 3. 2015 05:34 AM)
    And directed it as a co-production with America, using a Japanese cast.
    Yeah…this is impossible…
  • Emma
    (Tuesday, Mar 3. 2015 05:32 AM)
    The only way a live action ghost in the shell film would work is if Mamoru oshii directed it.

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