Magic Users Club OVAs

There are some anime that are simply hard to define. What do you have when you've got a show that mixes science fiction, comedy, adventure, and romance while keeping a light touch? It's magic...and magic is actually what Magic Users Club is all about. This is simply a wonderful, goofy, smile-plastered-on-your face kind of show.

Sae is an insecure teenager with a habit of tripping over her own two feet, yet she dreams that she can be something more. Her pathway to finding that something is through the magic club at Kitanohashi High School, which she joins with her reluctant (and vocal) friend Nanaka. Led by Takeo, an earnest yet nerdy guy who wants to be a role model to Sae despite his occasionally lustful daydreams, the club is dedicated to attempting real magic, such as flying on brooms! Eventually, the club decides that their biggest calling is to eliminate The Bell. The Bell, a monolithic spaceship that recently landed in the ocean nearby, keeps sending out all sorts of weird mechanical devices, apparently to learn more about these strange humans that inhabit the planet. Although the aliens do nothing to harm anyone, it appears that it will only be a matter of time before an invasion will strike. Over the course of the six OVAs, we learn more about Sae and her companions, their lives and loves, and the mysterious Bell that seems perhaps destined to destroy the planet.

What's so great about Magic Users Club is that it is lighthearted fun, a romp that leaves you waiting for the next episode. It is a hoot, charming and even touching at times. The character designs are cute and suited to the antics going on, and the general tone is bright and colorful. The animation itself is not incredible, but certainly a bit better than your average television show. It's not really the animation here that's the main draw but the characters. Despite that there's often lots of action and comedy in the show, the characters develop well after only six episodes. What's even more surprising is that it's not just the main characters that get the attention, but supporting characters have their own time to shine as well. I'll admit that I'm a sucker for romance in anime, and this show is not an exception, but its all wrapped together in a great package.

If there were any hang-ups one might have about the show, they would be due to the subject matter covered. There's a bit of lechery in each episode--nothing's ever revealed, but when Takeo's mind wanders, he imagines some very "interesting" scenarios. There's also a prominent gay character in the show who is very forward about his inclinations. This adds a great deal of humor to the show, actually, but some may be uncomfortable with it. I err on the conservative side and I thought the character was a blast, but you may think otherwise. Just know that this show really is meant for teens and up.

It seems a little sad that I can often write pages on bad programs and not so much about great ones like Magic Users Club. Really, I think it comes from the desire not to spoil any of the fun you'll have getting to know these characters. Keep an eye out for this one--the license for the show has been purchased by AnimeWorks. Although there are plenty of fun anime out right now that are very worthy, such as Cowboy Bebop and Trigun, this show has something special where it counts: it's one that gets better the more you ruminate about it. It reminded me of why I watch anime in the first place...and if that's not magic, I don't know what is.

Magic Users Club OVAs -- lechery, adult situations, mild language and violence -- A