Fushigi no Kuni no Miyuki-chan is a two episode Madhouse OVA based off of a relatively short, comedic Clamp manga. I have talked about Clamp’s works quite a bit since I’ve also reviewed xxxholic, Blood-C, Cardcaptor Sakura & Magic Knight Rayearth. So far, only one of those has been largely negative. So, that’s not the worst record out there. But let’s see what happens with this one.
Our heroine, Miyuki, wakes up one morning after a nightmare we don’t get to see. She notices she’s running late and hurries to school with toast in her mouth. Which is a completely original gag that has never been used in anything else. A scantily clad bunny girl skateboards in front of her, muttering how she is also late. They both fall into a hole, the bunny girl likely regretting her lack of safety pads and a helmet but we don’t see her again. Miyuki gets pulled into the chest of a girl who is also a door and goes into Wonderland where scantily clad women all want a piece of her. Seriously, she has more women pursuing her than Inés, except non-consensually. The second episode is close to the same set up, except she gets pulled through the looking glass.
The biggest problem with the OVA is a very simple one. The comedy is shite. Miyuki basically moves from one awkward situation, where buxom, predatory lesbians try to grope her without her permission, to another and struggles to escape. That’s the entire joke of the entire OVA. Because it’s such a hilarious joke that this high school girl is being assaulted. Because when women do that to other women it magically becomes funny… because shiny umbreon has blue rings.
Even if the joke was conceptually funny instead of being blatantly terrible, it would be so heavily run into the ground that it would be melted from contact with the molten core. There’s a reason a good comedy will find new and unexpected things to do with its running gags because a comedy needs an element of the unexpected to really work. If you know exactly what’s going to happen as soon as the set up starts, the joke probably isn’t going to be funny. So, we face a situation where there’s one joke and it’s not even conceptually funny.
There’s no real sense of character in this. Every character Miyuki encounters is pretty much defined by being a predatory lesbian who will freeze to death the moment temperatures drop. Miyuki herself is just boring. No personality. No comedic quirks.
The artwork isn’t very good. It’s not so much that Clamp likes to give its characters awkwardly elongated limbs as it is the series emphasises skimpy outfits and other fan-service elements over anything that would be good. If we’re going to take a detour through worlds based off of Lewis Carroll’s classic stories, we should have some strange, whimsical scenery and objects to capture our attention but in this version, the scenery and backgrounds are pretty boring & low effort. Clearly, they thought your eyes would be somewhere else but my mum taught me not to stare at noodle-limbed ladies with awkward proportions.
The acting is pretty bad. I don’t blame the cast since Madhouse did get some skilled people including Kouda Mariko. I think it’s more that they have nothing to work with. Miyuki spends her time crying out or being startled. The rest of the characters might get one or two lines. Honda Toshiyuki’s soundtrack is pretty bad. Most of the series uses the same intense comedic music on loop. It might be an innocuous enough track if they played it a few times, but when it gets repeated over and over and over again for close to thirty minutes it makes you want to drop kick a baby.
The whole premise is based on predatory lesbians, so there’s a lot of groping.
Areas of Improvement:
- Make it funny. There’s so much potential for strong, quirky humour using Wonderland & the world through the looking glass as a backdrop. You just have to take advantage of the strangeness of the situation and actually make the characters funny and quirky instead of just molesty.
- Vary your music. Because using heavily repeated music to annoy your audience into dropkicking babies is not a good way to solve global overpopulation.
- Revamp the shoujo ai aspect. If you want to make a shoujou ai work based off of Alice in Wonderland, I think that’s great and I’m all for it. But making all your characters offensive predatory stereotypes is not the way to do it. You could have Miyuki meet a bunch of really homo-erotic girls with fleshed out personalities and funny character quirks. You could have her meet and travel with one and give the pair a budding romance. You could have her come to terms with her own sexuality after seeing new and wondrous things on her adventure. Any of those would have been much better.
Fushigi no Kuni no Miyuki-chan is complete crap. Horrible humour, artwork that’s only passable at being exploitative, a music loop that gets obnoxious quickly. At least it’s mercifully short. I’m giving it a 2/10.