Sasami: Mahou Shoujo Club

Title:Sasami: Mahou Shoujo Club
Sasami ~Magical Girl Club~
砂沙美☆魔法少女クラブ
Overall:Buy
Keywords: , , , , , ,
Notables: Animation - AIC Spirits
FUNAYAMA Marin
HATANO Momoko
HIRAMATSU Akiko
KAWAKAMI Saharu
KOGURE Ema
OGAWA Mana
R1 License - FUNimation
SHIMURA Himeko
YOKOTE Kumiko (Hyousei)
In this world, there lived a group of people who call themselves "majo" (魔女) -- witches . They hid their powers so as to assimilate into the environment. They lived in harmony with humans for many years until the time came when humans became afraid of the majo. Thus, the majo and their human supporters, known as storytellers, left Earth for a world of their own. However, not all the majo left. Some married humans and produced children. IWAKURA Sasami is a descendant of such a union and as such, has certain special abilities to control movement of objects and change their composition -- a "mahou shoujo" (magical girl). However, her father has forbidden Sasami from using her powers due to the problems it could cause. However, with the introduction of the new teacher Washu and the awakening of other girls with their own powers, Sasami and her fellow magical girls must learn about their abilities and to deal with the problems of life.
[13 TV episodes. Child-seiyuu were hired to voice the characters of Sasami-chan, Misao-chan, and the other girls at school.]
[edit] The ↗Tenchi Muyou! franchise:

"↗Kajishima canon" stories: "↗Hasegawa canon" stories: "↗Negishi canon" stories: Non-canon Tenchi remake: Magical Girl Pretty Sammy (spin-off): Sasami (spin-off): Ai Tenchi Muyo (spin-off):
Episode Details 
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OverallArtAnimationCharacter Design MusicSeries StoryEpisode StoryReviewer
Rent 8 7 7 7 7 8 Ggultra2764 [series:1240#1552]
For a mahou shoujo series, the first season of Sasami's Mahou Shoujo Club was a decent romp offering some fresh takes on the genre. In particular, the girls start off as having their magical powers yet inexperienced at learning how to control them. The girls have their moments of emotional outbursts that result in their power surging out of control and leading to some funny or complicating moments. This brings in Washu who despite not having magic of her own, arrives at the school of Sasami and the girls with the knowledge of teaching them how to control their magic. Also much like Cardcaptor Sakura, the girls are made aware of their status as mahou shoujo where they dress in costumes instead of transforming into them and a few scenes feature Washu attempting to get the girls in the silly-looking poses you would find in formulaic mahou shoujo titles like Sailor Moon. Rather than the costumes enhancing their magic, the costumes serve to help keep it under restraint. There is also mention of a world of witches and prejudice against those with magic that I've seen or heard mentioned in one form or another in other mahou shoujo or fantasy-themed anime titles.

This season of the series is mostly character-driven to introduce Sasami and the girls by exploring their backgrounds and developing their characters, whether on an individual character or the group as a whole. They do find themselves dealing with some sort of dilemma in one form or another which includes first love, acceptance from others and personal loss which any kid at their age would experience in some form in real life. The girls are voiced by children seiyuu which helps to add credibility to their roles where they behave and naturally sound like children of their age instead of having adult seiyuu trying to sound high-pitched and cute with the characters. The only character I found myself turned off with was Anri and her strong, obsessive infatuation with Tsukasa typical of animated comedies which kills some of the believability of seeing the girls behave.

The biggest snag with the series for me though was that anything hinting to a plot was intentionally left unexplored for the show's second season. There are hints dropped of Sasami's love interest not being so normal and the actions of her father towards the end of the show hinting to something serious to come yet these are not elaborated on. I also found the toilet humor to be a bit hit or miss considering it was geared towards younger viewers of the show. In addition, this is another Tenchi spinoff series which might not appeal to the more hardcore fans of the franchise as only Sasami, Mihoshi, Ryo-ohki and Washu appear within it.

Getting past whatever issues I have, Sasami's Mahou Shoujo Club was a decent watch offering some original ideas with its mahou shoujo genre and believable roles with most of the younger characters. I find myself interested enough in this show where I do want to see the second season at some point to see what comes of the plot developments hinted upon during the developments of Sasami and her friends.

Last updated Wednesday, April 20 2011. Created Wednesday, April 20 2011.
Unevaluated Stretch [series:1240#628]
(One episode watched):

This show almost seems like it was designed for children, what with the way Sasami and Misao speak (there was the scene of Mihoshi losing her skirt, but this is Japan after all). The one thing I find most jarring is that Sasami doesn't act anything like I'm used to; she has lost her trademark mildly sarcastic attitude ala Mahou Shoujo Pretty Sammy (TV). Was there really any point to using her character instead of creating a new one? Washu, Mihoshi and Ryo-ohki are back as well; they haven't changed as much, perhaps because child VAs weren't employed for their roles. Character designs have a distinctly different style to them, but these old favorites remain recognizable. This show was mildly amusing (with no laugh-out-loud moments, to be sure); I'm uncertain whether it will be worth watching in it's entirety. It's hard to see how a Tenchi Muyo afficionado would feel obligated to watch this.

Last updated Monday, January 01 2007. Created Monday, January 01 2007.
Buy 9 7 8 7 8 8 AstroNerdBoy [series:1240#436]

Note: This is mostly a repost of my initial review on my blog, with a few tweaks and some DVD info cut. ^_^

Being a Tenchi fan as most of you know, I am glad that AIC is still putting out new Tenchi titles, even if non-canon spinoffs. In the latest spinoff, AIC returns to the magic girl (mahou shoujo) genre with Sasami - Magical Girls Club. The characters Sasami, Washu, Ryo-ohki, and Mihoshi are brought over from Tenchi while the character of Misao is brought over from the Pretty Sammy series. How does it work? Surprisingly well.

Since magic girl titles are a dime a dozen in Japan, the production team had differentiate themselves somewhat from the pack while still making use use of the common elements of the genre (baton's, magical creatures, a magic world, girls in magic girl costume). One thing missing from this series are the dreaded henshin (transformation) sequences. I hate how most magic girl shows waste a lot of time going through these transformation sequences, so I'm very happy this one passes on that cliché.

Another thing missing from this series is a plot, though the groundwork is set to have one in Sasami - Magical Girls Club 2. Instead of a plot, the stories are character driven. The first four episodes are dedicated to introducing the different magic girls and their coming into the club. Then, we are given a 2-part episode to introduce us to the magical (witch) world, which is nothing fancy at all (something the characters remark on as well). It is here that Sasami-chan meets Ami-chan, a mysterious older boy who appears to be focal for a plot that will happen in the 2nd series.

The remaining stories are still character driven, including the final 2-part episode with the Magical Girl Tournament. Sometimes, the stories might focus on the group or on an individual character. Because the girls are all voiced by real-life girls in the Japanese version, they bring a stark realism to their characters that I have not felt before from an anime (the boys are still voiced by adult women). As much as I like YOKOYAMA Chisa as Sasami-chan in all of the previous Tenchi titles, she could not have done what OGAWA Mana did (or the other girls) in bringing that true child emotion there. Chisa has done a great job playing Sasami-chan, but Mana takes the character to a new place. Normally angst bothers me, but this time, the voice acting changed all that for me in this series. As such, I actually felt for Sasami as she went through her first crush/love. I also felt for Misao as she dealt with her shyness.

The series, while geared to a younger female audience, has some surprising things for older folks as well. I was surprised at how many laughs I found in the series. The writers do delve into some toilet humor (which I admit to finding the funniest stuff, but then I'm a guy), but they by using the children seiyuu to deliver the jokes, the phrase "out of the mouth of babes" comes into play. Many of the jokes wouldn't have been as funny had real girls not been doing the Japanese voices.

The standout story for me is episode 10, which featured a very cute young girl who's parents are dead, causing her to live with her grandfather. That's sad enough as it is, but the production staff really brought home the emotion with their story. I admit that I had the sniffles by the time the episode was over. Having the loss of a parent or parents is not an uncommon anime or manga theme. Indeed, the character Tsukasa's mother has passed away. Normally, these things don't affect me, but the way this episode was presented really hit me. Maybe I'm just becoming a softy as I get older.

For those wondering about the new seiyuu doing the voices of Ryo-chan, Washu, and Mihoshi, they all do fine. I felt they captured some of the spirit of their predecessors without making it a pure copy presentation. I have never learned why AIC went with new seiyuu, but it isn't a problem here.

Bottom line: Ultimately, Sasami is a wonderful little anime that sucked me in and made me really enjoy my time in this fantasy world, enough that I can see myself visiting again and again. This is not because I'm a Tenchi fan (indeed, one does not have to have seen ANYTHING Tenchi or Pretty Sammy to completely enjoy this), but because we have a nicely-written, laugh out loud funny at times, touching at times, sweet and relaxing set of stories. For the kids, I think they will enjoy it for what it is and for the adults (especially those watching with their kids), I think the series will make you feel like a kid again, even if only for a moment. I know it did for me.

Last updated Sunday, July 27 2008. Created Monday, April 17 2006.


Other Sites
NameURL
Sasami ~Mahou Shoujo Club~ Official Site http://www.vap.co.jp/sasami-club/
In Japanese.

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