Wednesday, November 4, 2009

DVD Review: Magikano the Complete Series

It's been out for a while, but Magikano finally made its way into FUNimation's hands. This 13 episode harem series came out in 2006 and was originally an ADV title, though it didn't really hit the anime scene with a bang. It snuck under the radar of basically everyone who wasn't a rabid harem fan. Now that it's come back around the question remains, is it worth going gaga over?

The short answer to that question is "not really". In all fairness the show is about as appealing to its core audience as it can get. All the harem genre staples are here from the virtually useless male lead to a bevy of girls throwing themselves at him. I mean, the show features a girl who is perpetually dressed up as a maid and is trying to make the lead character a "real man", if you know what I mean. It's amusing at times and charming at other points, but through and through Magikano feels too old hat. It brings very little that is fresh to the table and never really thinks outside the box.

The series follows Mr. average high school student himself, Haruo Yoshikawa. He's about as bland as you can get, though we soon learn that his family has more to it than initially meets the eye. You see, his three sisters, Maika, Chiaki, and Fuyuno, are witches and magic runs through his family. Haruo is kind of oblivious to that fact, partly through his own ignorance and partly because his sisters are trying to protect him from the truth. Their intentions are good, but there is a latent ability inside Haruo just itching to get out. Looking to scratch that itch is a sexy, perky witch named Ayumi.

Right off the bat Ayumi rubs Haruo's sisters the wrong way. She hits the scene and moves in, attempting to do everything in her power to awaken his inner potential. Now, just what makes Haruo so special to Ayumi? Well, I won't get into some of it, but let's just say that she has been cursed and the only way she can get rid of that curse is to make Haruo a man. She can often be found in precarious positions, making moves on him, and fighting off other girls who also seem to have the hots for Haruo. Insert hilarious scene here. Okay, maybe not hil-arious, but to be fair there are quite a few chuckles in store for you, harem fan or not.

Magikano relies on the crutch of its set up far too often for its own good, though some of the content is quite inspired. I mean, the show features a pair of talking panties, Ayumi's sister is a horny little devil, and there is a nice dream sequence that pays homage to another popular anime. There are other little spots that stand out, but for the most part those were the best bits in my opinion. A majority of the content in the series also follows genre stereotypes such as the Christmas episode, New Years episode, hot springs episode, the bikini episode etc. It's really unfortunate that Magikano sticks so close to formula. I appreciated some of the characters here, there were some nice developments, and I did have a fair amount of laughs.
As far as the picture quality is concerned, Magikano hits DVD with a fullframe 1.33:1 aspect ratio. I can't say that I'm surprised, because the show had a seemingly small budget, but since it came out in 2006 you'd think it was more standard to be presented in widescreen. For what it's worth the series is bright and bubbly, and there's a lot of flash. The transfer also features very little grain and virtually no compression artifacts. The sound comes in the form of Japanese 2.0 and English 5.1. Both dubs are fine and the English track is a tad more robust, but in all fairness this isn't exactly a series that needed a 5.1 mix. Some clean animations and trailers are the only features you'll find here.

All in all Magikano could have been far worse, but it also could have been a lot better. The series is a very middle of the road harem entry that does little to separate itself from the rest of the crowd. Because of this only the most diehard harem fans need apply, and even then I'd say this is something that will fill the gap in between watching solid shows such as Love Hina, Tenchi, Negima, or even Maburaho. Magikano just can't even hold a candle to those series, though it is close in spirit to Maburaho. Whatever the case, don't get too excited about this one. It's just a mid-ranged Gonzo series.

Maki Rating:

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