Hein (fub) wrote,

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Finished series: Ultra Maniac

We finished watching Ultra Maniac today. There's also an OVA, which we checked out before the series.

The series is a shoujo highschool romance/adventure series. Main character is Sakura Nina, a young witch from the Magic Kingdom. Her magic grades were very bad, so she has dropped out of magic school and has been sent to the human world to study at a normal school. There she meets Tateishi Ayu, her classmate. Ayu helps her out when Nina came to earth, so Nina has revealed her identity to Ayu.
Nina desperately wants to help Ayu with all the real or imagined problems a schoolgirl experiences (mostly with Kaji, another classmate that she is in love with). Nina uses her magic a lot, but because she isn't very good at it, stuff often goes completely wrong. Add a few visitors from the Magic Kingdom in the mix, and you have a recipe for lots of funny situations.

However, the pace quickens when Nina's purpose for being in the human world is revealed: she is after the five Holy Stones. Whenever you manage to catch a Holy Stone, your magical powers are increased! However, a rival appears in the form of Orihara Maya, one of Nina's childhood friends who has since taken to dabbling in dark magic.
Lots of magical hijinx ensue, sometimes resulting in highly comical situations (where the characters get super-deformed too), but there's some serious character development going on. We get to know more about Ayu and Nina. Things heat up when the Holy Stones appear and their classmate Tsuijai Hiroki (Kaji's best friend) finds out about Nina being a witch.

Some episodes don't focus on the magic at all, but instead focus on, say, Ayu's feelings for Kaji and his real motives for being 'Mr. Perfect'. I think that's the appeal of the series: it's not only lots of slapstick, there are a lot of honest feelings mixed in.

Strong points:
- Humour. It is really funny at times;
- Not exclusively focussed on magic;
- Inventive use of 'magic' in the setting;
- Decent artwork.
Weak points:
- Plot is a bit thin -- but then again, it only serves to showcase the character's development;
- Might be too 'slapstick'-y for some people.

It's nothing deep or special, but it's just a load of fun. For that, it gets a 7.5.

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