Renkin San-kyuu Magical? Pokaan is a magical girl comedy from 2006. It was brought to us by Remic. Never heard of them? Well, they don’t have many credits to their name so that’s not a surprise. Let’s hope it gives as favourable first impression.
We follow four princesses from the Netherworld. The witch, Uma, the vampire, Pachira, the werewolf, Liru & the android, Aiko. One of these things is not like the others, not like the others, not like the others. The four of them are living in the human world and all kinds of shenanigans ensue. That’s the basic crux of the comedy in the series, the bizarre outsiders getting into strange situations.
The biggest weakness in the comedy is simply that the series sometimes puts its desire for more fan service over its humour. Its “jokes” that revolve around under garments or nudity tend to be the weakest. Sometimes they get a funny one out there, but they’re mostly just too predictable and not in the Space Balls, I can quote this by heart because it was just so memorable, way. No, it’s in the “this joke was obvious and really heavily telegraphed” way.
With that aside, this series does have a lot of funny moments. It melds the zany absurdism of a series like Galaxy Angel with the supernatural outsiders trying to engage with humanity aspect of Bottle Fairy and the two do mesh well. The whole “drinking game” episode is really funny. So is the sentai team parody episode. Actually, those two both remind me of episodes from the aforementioned Galaxy Angel but with completely different execution. The tanuki bit is one that involves some more ecchi elements, but still manages to be a surprise and pretty funny to boot. There are plenty of other funny bits as well.
The series has one of those casts that only works in a comedy. The characters are zany, a bit shallow and, fortunately, have a good amount of comedic potential to their interactions. Remic could do a good four series more of this and not exhaust the possibilities. Even the minor characters who show up once or twice tend to have enough moments to be memorable. The invisible girl being the prime example. Which effectively makes them a strong cast for a comedic work. Although Aiko’s desire to become human is a bit odd. It’s like they were inspired by the best series of Star Trek but couldn’t be bothered to put in the more substantial characterisation that makes that motivation make sense.
All of you who are familiar with my reviews know exactly what my complaint is in regards to the art. Yes, it’s our old nemesis, excessive fan-service again. At least in a totally not serious series like this the only way it detracts is just based on the general crassness rather than being detrimental to the tone or impractical. I also have to give them credit for trying to blend the fan-service with the humour to make it relevant, even if that is the weak point of the comedy. I kind of like the character designs (they might’ve overdone the invisible girl’s make up though) and the artistic direction is generally really good.
For our main cast we have Nabatame Hitomi (also Aida Mana), Hirano Aya (also Haruhi), Saitou Momoko (also Solty) & Akesaka Satomi (also Korokoro) as our main characters. The four of them give really good performances and work well together. Then we have the music. This is one of those series where the theme tune doesn’t remotely fit. Maybe Remic thought it would be a nice jape to put in a really serious looking theme tune, but it kind of doesn’t work when you use the same tune with every episode. It would be another thing completely if they kept changing it to other tunes that ran completely opposite to the tone but they never do. The ending theme tune changes regularly, but the opening is just the same overly serious thing every time and it just comes across as inept.
There’s a little bit here and there, but the series is always quick to remind you that all of these girls are looking for handsome boyfriends. Because, you know, it’s a comedy about a group of girls and if you didn’t remind people they were straight they’d be shipping them all together. Although, let’s be fair, it could have very well just been that they had some good jokes about their romantic misadventures. This series does have quite a few of those. What are they supposed to do, have the same kinds of jokes about them pursuing other girls? That sounds like something I’d write. (New comedy, Tuesdays after the case files of Detective Hildegard. Except not really.)
Magipoka, is a pretty solid comedy. Not the greatest one of all time, certainly, but it is quite good. If you enjoy zany absurdity, or the whole outsider trying to fit in types of comedy, give it a go. You’ll probably get some laughs out of it. My rating stands at a solid 7/10. Next week, So Ra No Wo To.