Okay, first off; this review is waaaaay overdue. I’m sorry about that. The main reason why this (and my Gosick and Dragon Crisis! reviews) have been delayed so long is mainly these reasons:
Midterms, health problems, computer problems, more health problems.
It’s like the forces of nature are conspiring against me putting up new reviews. I’m still not feeling all that great, but a review doesn’t require too much energy so here is one. I will try my best to put up make-up reviews for Gosick and Dragon Crisis! this weekend–but I’m not making any promises at this point.
Oh yeah, spoilers since this is a very short net animation thing. (All four episodes would comprise one full episode of a regular anime.)
Subaru is a girl who loves to star-gaze. One night, while going to the (star) viewing room of her school, she unwittingly discovers a portal into another “dimension” of sorts, where the usual room has been replaced by a beautiful greenhouse with a fountain in its midst. While there, she makes the acquaintance of a strange boy with red hair, whose name is Minato.
A little later on, Subaru once again unwittingly stumbles into a secret room/dimension; this time the “clubhouse” of a group of magical girls. One of the magical girls is Subaru’s close friend, Aoi.
The group of magical girls have been seeking a fifth member, and so warmly welcome Subaru into their ranks by giving her a magical staff/wand/broomstick-type thing. Aoi vehemently objects Subaru’s joining, but there’s no time for arguments as a large star-shower streaks across the sky and the girls spring into action. The job of the magical girls is to capture star-shaped asteroid rocks, which they call “engine fragments.” The girls are gathering these fragments in order to help send the President (a weird blob-like alien creature) home, as the creature is supposedly a Pleiadesian.
With a fifth member aiding them, the girls are able to capture the engine fragment easily and quickly, but a strange young man soon appears on the scene, demanding the fragment for himself. After a short scuffle, the young man is able to steal the girls’ fragment and demands that they give him the rest that they have in three days time–or else he’ll take them all by force.
After that mini-battle, the girls all hold a meeting, where… Nanako (not too sure if that’s her name since they didn’t specify) explains why the President doesn’t want red-haired evil boy to get ahold of the fragments. The engine fragments are powerful enough that–if used improperly–they could bring doom to the world. Subaru wishes to join the team to help but her friend Aoi scolds her instead and says that she’d just bring trouble. This hurts Subaru’s feelings and causes a rift in their friendship, though it quickly gets mended a few days later when Subaru reveals how hard she’s been training because she loves Aoi so much.
The day of the showdown has finally come. Minato reveals his true powers, and starts destroying parts of the school in order to take the rest of the engine fragments.
Evil red-haired boy almost nukes Aoi in his attempt to get the fragments, but Subaru stops his meteor blast with DUEX EX MACHINA powers and hugs him, telling him that she knows he exists (wth?!) and its somehow revealed that Minato’s actually a star (wtf?!) and then he goes away saying that he’ll be back someday (uh… okay) and the day is saved and all that good stuff.
So… yeah. I don’t even…
Okay, a bit of background information on this mini-ONA (original net animation) series. This was a joint project between anime studio Gainax and car manufacturer Subaru. While such a partnership would make you think that any anime resulting from them would be full of ads and promotions for you to go out and buy a Subaru, such advertisements are surprisingly absent (but that’s a good thing).
What this ONA ends up becoming is a full-fledged magical girl anime, which; while brief, is still entertaining enough in its own right. The biggest draw is definitely its slick animation. Because of its short length, the animation quality was somewhat higher than for “normal” animes. The character designs are also rather lovely. Nothing unique, and the characters do fall into certain anime stereotypes/cliches; but they’re all interesting enough.
Probably the worst thing about this ONA is the plot–although that’s nothing to be ashamed of due to its short length. The plot is obviously very rushed but the story is coherent enough–until episode 4 (a.k.a. the final showdown) that is. That’s the point where my summary stops trying to be serious, because really, wtf? I really don’t quite understand what happened, but it was pretty to look at I guess…?
Because of the length of this ONA, I wasn’t expecting anything grand, but the series still impressed me in terms of animation and character design. These people put A LOT of work into these scenes and characters, despite it being only a 3o minute thing. Such effort is admirable, and is a thing rarely seen in most anime series nowadays.
Overall, a decent mini-series thing to watch in-between bigger series or if you just want something pretty and cutesy to calm down with. If you hate “traditional” mahou shoujo, then stay far, far away; because this ain’t Puella Magi Madoka Magica.
Out of five, I’d give this: