Night Wizard

Title:Night Wizard
ナイトウィザード The ANIMATION (Japanese)
Keywords: , , , , , , , , , ,
Notables: GOTO Yuko
Shihou Elis never got to know her parents; she grew up in an orphanage where she regularly received letters and white roses from some "oji-sama" who promised to protect her and meet her on her 17th birthday. Right after she transfered to her new high school, Kimei Academy, she's recruited by the Astronomy Club. Once there, she learns that both club members (and childhood friends) shrine maiden Akabane Kureha and sword fighter Renji Hiiragi-senpai (the latter being nicknamed "falling man"), are in fact powerful "Night Wizards". They work for an organization led by a girl named Anzelotto to protect the world against the Demon Lords' dark tribe, the Emulators (who are totally unaffected by human science). The strange bracelet Elis has owned since her childhood turns out to be the potential holder of seven magical gems and is said to enable its owner to open a gate to the demon world. This would allow the Night Wizards to counterattack them, and Elis turns out to be capable of locating the missing gems... if only things were that simple.

[TV series, 2007, 13 episodes, 24 min; Animation by Hal Film Maker. Image: Bell Zephyr (demon lord, back left), Anzelotto (world protector, back right); front row left to right are the wizards Himuro Akari, Shihou Elis, Renji Hiiragi, and Akabane Kureha.]
For images, see the Cute Girls with Guns wikipage.

1:30min Series Opening - YouTube Video
Episode Details 
Akar, Kure, Anze, Bell, Lion, Hiir, Elis, 99
OverallArtAnimationCharacter Design MusicSeries StoryEpisode StoryReviewer
Rent 8 9 7 8 9 9 Devil Doll [series:1693#752]
[Score: 81% = "Rent+"; recommended Supernatural Conflicts: Silent Mobius, Kannazuki no Miko, also recommended if you liked this one: sola]
  • Drama: Low/High (increasing drastically after episode 9)
  • Comedy: Med (the "falling man" is quite something)
  • Action: Med (there's a magical battle in almost each episode)
  • SciFi: High (almost everything depends on magical weapons and artifacts)
  • Ecchi: None/Low (one onsen and one shower scene)
A bunch of high-schoolers being chosen to protect the world against evil monsters by using their innate magical powers... how many other animes have the same scenario? While these action-game based animes usually trade story consistency and/or character depth for action elements we can't rule out the possibility of a positive surprise. And here we just got one: Shallow characters provide an unique combination of slapstick and despair (sic!) in an intriguing story with surprising twists, proving that even an average content in a great wrapping can make a decent show.

Art is probably today's standard for a game adaption, but the beautiful light effects during battles (i. e. no detailed violence) made me upgrade Animation to "very good". Rocking OP song, nice melodic ED song and a few decent melodies, good Music overall.

Characters is the weak aspect of this anime, kicking the show out of the "Buy" range. Each "opponent of the week" is stupid in Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon dimensions during the first half of the series; the leads aren't particularly interesting either and accept fundamental changes of their view of reality way too easily. Some characters do change later in the story but that's not really a development (even though it is the main source of surprise for this show).
The Story doesn't look that great either for quite some time (just collecting all those gems which appears to be easy as pie) but the last third takes you on a chilling ride into a surprisingly different (and much more gloomy) direction. And while the solution made use of an element I usually dislike, this made a lot of sense in this particular scenario. Also, the answering of all nearly important questions in the end (except for "who did write Lion Gunta's grimoire?") was a big plus for me.
But it's the surprising dose of slapstick humor (the "falling man" is a permanent source of amusement for the audience until the very end of the show, managing to do completely without embarrassing elements) that was the positive surprise of this series for me - this combination of high fantasy adventure and slapstick scenes is most refreshing. (This coming from someone who tends to hate comedies.)

All in all, somewhere along the lines of Mai-HiME, Aquarian Age, Kannazuki no Miko and Uta Kata this might not be the most substantial story but it's an interesting show for at least one watch, providing fun as well as as a consistent and plausible guessing game where a number of apparently insignificant events turns out to be important clues. Therefore you should skip the episode previews, these 40 seconds of content are way more than you want to know about the next episode during your first pass.

Last updated Tuesday, August 26 2008. Created Friday, August 22 2008.
Rent Stretch [series:1693#628]
(All episodes watched--twice):

This was a pleasant surprise. Going in, I was skeptical about a video game inspired series about magical warriors. After watching the first episode I wasn't sure exactly what to make of this series, but thinking back about it caused me to smirk, which isn't a bad sign by any means. Watching the opening scene had the WTF effect on me as a girl summoned what must have been a 75mm shell out of thin air and loaded it into some sort of high-tech hand cannon. The OP song and sequence were definitely exciting and lively. I was thinking this would all be taking place in some freaky alternate universe, and might be taking itself too seriously, but things returning to the here-and-now calmed me down. Hiiragi Renji only wants to attend school like an ordinary teenager. Unfortunately, he happens to be a Night Wizard, and is continually drafted by the magical Queen Anzelotto to perform missions in an alternate reality. Transfer student Shihou Elis has latent magical powers, which are recognized by Astronomy Club leader Akabane Kureha. The fansub's notes suggested that Night Wizard was based on an extensive gaming system, and sure enough there were far more internet websites dealing with the RPG than the anime; it seems to have been quite popular (it even had one in Turkish). The fights with "emulators" were kind of lame, but this show was actually pretty funny! Five or so episodes into the series the main plot wasn't particularly exciting me (though there had been hints that something more complex and intriguing was on the way). A hunt was on for seven magical jewels, but the hunt seemed to be going smoothly without any serious problems, and surely would be complete long before the end of the series. But I didn't particularly mind, because the characters were exceptionally fun and quirky, the jokes were good, and therefore I still found myself looking forward to new episodes. Then, a strange transformation took place: The comedy was virtually dropped, because an odd and intriguing twist altered the plot. The humor I enjoyed was gone but the drama became gripping, so I remained eager for new episodes--the changeover took place so smoothly that I hardly noticed it. Let's just say that (potential spoiler) a primary character becomes "possessed", forcing the Night Wizards to fight against each other--I definitely wasn't expecting such a clever plot device. Having become attached to the four principal characters makes the changeover all the more irresistibly entrancing. The lesson is, Night Wizard can handle either humor or drama well, it just gives priority to one or the other. The final episode left me with a distinct grin on my face and the all too rare feeling of having really enjoyed a series. The fact that the conclusion actually made some sense (again, all too rare) definitely helped out! Night Wizard is one of those series which I'll most certainly rewatch someday, and which leaves me seriously wishing for a second season.

P.S: I really have rewatched Night Wizard, and I enjoyed it as much or more the second time around as I did a number of brand new series which I was watching at the time. It wasn't quite as fun the second time around, but then I already knew about the surprising twists. Come to think of it, one significant question was left unanswered: what was Renji's embarassing secret that Kureha knew about?

My favorite line: "Dream" --Nightmare

A surprisingly fun and moving show, considering it's seemingly unoriginal premise

Catch Akari's montage at the Cute Girls with Guns page!

Last updated Tuesday, October 19 2010. Created Tuesday, October 09 2007.

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