Miracle Girls

There comes a point in a reviewer's life that everything you've ever watched starts to blend together in your head, and only the truly novel and unique shows you've seen actually stand out. The rest of the stuff you've watched just kind of drifts off into the ether. Unfortunately, Miracle Girls reminds me of plenty of other better shows, but these similarities just point out how plain this show actually is--it's nothing but a blur just a few hours after watching it. The series ran for the length of 1993, spawning 51 episodes, so it certainly had a following, and there are a couple of bright points in the first few episodes I had available. However, if you've seen even a reasonable amount of anime, you've seen most everything here before done much better.

Sisters Mikage and Tomomi are a couple of teenage girls dealing with chemistry--both the literal kind where science labs blow up, and the more subtle type that surrounds first loves. If that didn't cause enough problems, something in the girls' own chemistry gives them psychic powers that can be both a blessing and a curse. As the series starts, Mikage has to deal with the departure of her good friend Kurashige, who's headed for England to study. Mikage doesn't know if Kurashige really knows how she feels about him, so she's stressing over that. Tomomi tries to help, and she can even read some of Mikage's feelings, but she's not sure how to help. Meanwhile, there are hints that there's some secret conspiracy and a prophecy that the girls will eventually fulfill, yada yada yada. There's a lot of talk in this show, but not a whole lot actually happens.

The bright standout of the show is its title song, "Tears in the Middle of a Kiss". It's not particularly different from any other J-Pop you might hear, but I found it surprisingly catchy and watched the opening each time to catch it. (Skip the ending theme; it's pretty awful and includes an embarrassing live-action dance number.) The opening credit sequence is also nicely done and raised my expectations. Sadly, that's where the best stuff stops. The show looks quite a bit like a mix of Orange Road and Touch, but considering that this came from the early 90s, it was severely dated by that point, and the art is basic at best. I still like the design work a lot, actually, but the low budget is often obvious. The psychic power angle also brings back memories of Orange Road, though the powers get much more play in Miracle Girls--they actually mean quite a bit to the story. However, the fact that the girls use their powers openly, as if they were perfectly ordinary, strains credibility. The prophecy plotline that looks to be starting up has been used time and again, from Rayearth to Tenchi Muyo and everything inbetween. The show also breaks its own rules for convenience...in the first episode, distance appears to affect the girls' abilities, but in the next, they are able to teleport themselves several thousand miles onto a plane to help stop a hijacking. It just doesn't make logical sense. All of this could be forgiven if the character development was strong, but it's not. We really have no reason to care about what's going on; there's just not enough background.

However, I must give the show credit that it must have been intended for a much younger audience. The copy I had still had the original commercials, and they are aimed towards grade-school age children. Many of the issues I've brought up wouldn't make much of a difference to an eight-year-old, I'm sure. The show is actually cute in its own way, and I think that children might enjoy it quite a bit. Also, serious shoujo fans may give it more credibility than I do.

Overall, though, Miracle Girls in its opening episodes is completely derivative of countless other anime; since it hasn't been licensed in the English-speaking world, it won't be something you'll encounter any time soon. If the show gets better over the course of its run, it might be worth something, but I doubt many would stay with it long enough to get to that point. I really was hoping for something like Orange Road, since KOR is a seminal show in my mind. If that's what you're looking for, though, I suggest you just watch KOR again--there's really no miracle here.

Miracle Girls -- mild violence -- C