Saber Marionette J

Title:Saber Marionette J
Chica Marioneta J (in Spanish)
Keywords: , , , , , , , , , , ,
Notables: AKAHORI Satoru
INOUE Kikuko
KOYASU Takehito
R1 License - Bandai (Defunct)
300 years ago, a group terraformers traveling on the Earth spaceship "Mesopotamia" had a problem and were forced to crash on a barren planet. Only seven survive, all male. Bummer! Over the next 300 years the survivors managed to procreate through cloning and build 7 city-states, though they cannot clone females. Thus, in an homage to the human female, they build humanoid labor units called marionettes.
These Marionettes are mainly used for warfare (because they are stronger and more intelligent than the humans, except maybe Lime)and perform the homework. They cook, clean and make nice lap-pillows, but they have no emotions. Enter Otaru, a teenager who accidentally awakens 3 marionettes who are different because they have the otome-kairo or the virgin circuit (Bandai translated this as "maiden circuit" which is also a correct translation), so these marionettes have the ability to 'feel'. Events great and small happen from this point as the marionettes battle to save their country from the terrible ruler of Germany, Faust, and his three virgin circuit marionettes, and for the affections of Otaru.
[25 TV episodes based on the stories by AKAHORI Satoru]

Read the translated manga online at MangaFox.

1:02min English Language Trailer - ANN Trailer
[edit] The ↗Saber Marionette franchise:

Main story: Same setting (200 years later):
Episode Details 
1, 2, 3
OverallArtAnimationCharacter Design MusicSeries StoryEpisode StoryReviewer
Buy 8 7 8 7 8 8 Ggultra2764 [series:21#1552]
I've seen plenty of variations of both the "robotic girlfriend" and harem genres for romantic comedies and dramas. Enter Saber Marionette J, a series which blurs those genres together in a world populated only by men and the female marionette robots who serve them. The show's main focus is on Otaru Mamiya and his bond to the three "maiden circuit" marionettes of Cherry, Lime, and Bloodberry. The show mixes around Otaru's everyday interactions with the marionettes and dealing with Gartland's goals of dominating Terra II led by its dictator, Faust.

SMJ's main highlights are focused on its drama and action. Much of the drama is focused on the growing bond Otaru has with the marionettes and the personalities of each of the marionettes. Their personalities are each focused on different personality aspects of women which add a mix of charm and humor to their actions seeing as Lime represents the naivette and innocence of childhood, Cherry the devoted housewife, and Bloodberry the aggressive side of a woman. Otaru's acceptance and treatment of the girls as human equals instead of personal property help provide their increasing growth in emotions and comprehension of human behavior. Lime gets a great deal of depth as focus is brought upon her emotional development thanks to childish naivette, especially in later episodes as several events that occur test her character growth.

In contrast to Otaru, Faust's treatment of his Saber Dolls are focused upon. He regards them as his tools and nothingmore towards his apparent goals of dominance on Terra II. Because of his treatment and abuse of the Saber Dolls, their relationship felt like a master-slave relationship which negatively affects their character growth. As the series progresses though, there is more depth given to Faust's motivations and character proving the guy isn't completely heartless when it comes to his goals and is a victim of his own cloned lineage. One aspect of this depth also involves Tiger, the only Saber Doll who bonded with Faust as a child. Her servitude to Faust gets the most focus out of the Sabers as she holds the belief that successfully fulfilling Faust's goals will return him to the boy she used to love as a child.

Saber Marionette's glaring problems though come from some of its elements of comedy. The first half of the series features a number of comedy fillers revolving around the affections of Otaru's marionettes towards him. These episodes tend to fall into typical elements of harem comedy on occasion as the three girls do bicker over trying to gain Otaru's affections which can get irritating. They do little to nothing to advance the development of the plot and characters. Perhaps the biggest comedy problem comes in the form of Hanagata, Otaru's gay next door neighbor with a crush on the guy. Most of the time I see this guy, he tries smothering himself on Otaru only to get pummeled by either Otaru or one of his marionettes. He wasn't as irritating for me to deal with like Mahoromatic's Saori Shikijou. But, his attempts to win Otaru's affections did become increasingly irritating as the series wears on.

Despite some of my issues with the comedy, Saber Marionette J made for a fun and interesting watch for me. Having some charming characters and an emphasis on the bonds between marionettes and their owners make this a worthwhile harem comedy-drama to check out.

Last updated Tuesday, October 21 2008. Created Tuesday, October 21 2008.
Buy Forbin [series:21#1573]
Drama : Med
Comedy : High
Action : High
SciFi : High
Ecchi : Med

When I first watched this I was well it's pretty funny. Then the 2nd arc comes up and I go, well the action is pretty good. The 3rd arc starts and I was wow, the story was well done. Then Lorielie (I know I spelled that wrong) started to speak and I was WTF! Who was she sleeping with to get the part. It was very good with only that one little part making a bad mark on an otherwise good English Dub.

Last updated Wednesday, July 13 2005. Created Wednesday, July 13 2005.
Rent 8 8 9 8 7 8 Strider [series:21#1434]
Ahh brilliant at times. I am a devout Saber Marionette J fan but mainly for specific points that I like about it. First off, Megumi shines as a truly gifted voice actor in this and I couldn't have possibly laughed more over Hanagata (Takehito Koyasu) as well as adoring the opening theme. This anime, however has it's share of ups and downs. The illustrator of this was obviously a little bit lazy, however, he tends to make up for it in his quantity over quality in battle scenes. Saber Marionette J, unlike it's two sequels, tends to have a very streaming plot like most animes should with a main villain and a main goal. Unfortunatly, by the time it reached 'Saber Marionette J Again', the producer appears to have taken his audience for granted and lacks a few quality skills and A PLOT!' After episode 15 the series is almost mocked! Sure, it still has a few character charms and a variety of new characters introduced, however, the moment you see Lorelei as a new character is the moment you see the series fall to pieces on itself. At times on the series itself, it can be a little painful to watch as, up until the Marionettes give Otaru hell unwillingly in 'Saber Marionette J to X' (episode 20ish) he is painful to watch bring up the marionettes with almost deluded affection that goes only by his terms (he only realises this in the second last episode) and treats them all like children and never attempts to find a solution or resolution to their difficulties fighting over him or even tell them he loves them until 'Saber Marionette J again.' I adore the series however up until 'Saber Marionette J again' and only so-so adore it afterwards with its dragged on plot. It's great at parts with good humour and the characters shining that you love, however at other times you just wonder how this became such a hit anime without people with extreme patience. The only reason I like this series is because of the patience I had for it and it's specific points that shined and possibly because of it's replay value. In other words, you wouldn't show this at an anime screening. And the one other little hiccup is that the producer acted like he was making the plot up as he went along. At one moment Lime could lift a building taking the role of humorously strong but naive and at the next she is the innocent bystander.
I perhaps have changed my opinion a tad through here but this series has tons of aspects. I suppose, in a nutshell, the producer didn't think his work through before producing it, however still made a seriously good anime.

Last updated Tuesday, June 15 2004. Created Tuesday, June 15 2004.
Buy 7 7 7 8 9 7 Ka-chan [series:21#1100]
Well, SMJ has Hayashibara Megumi as Lime. There is a reason why she is considered the top Seiyu. The series does use some historical character names. The shogun has the name of the first shogun of Japan who brought 200 years of peace after the age of civil war (Inuyasha's time). This male only world of SMJ, even Otaru thinks it is odd that he cares so much for the female shaped androids; Lime, Cherry, and Bloodberry. One way to look at Lime, Cherry, and Bloodberry are that they are the child, mother, woman sides of LorilyThe series story doesn't really finish until the end of SM J to X but it does hold up. The anime has some mature stories within it as dicussions about prejudice in it's varies forms. Didn't see it? It's there. The series is fun, dumb and poignant as in the Risu episode.

Last updated Friday, December 12 2003. Created Friday, December 12 2003.
Rent 7 8 8 7 7 7 AstroNerdBoy [series:21#436]

Stretch hit it with the character designs being like The Slayers. Plus, if you watch this in Japanese, Lime is played by none other than my girl Hayashibara Megumi! But to add frosting on the cake, my other girl Orikasa Ai plays Baiko, one of the royal marionette guards. So with my two favorite sieyuu in this, how can it go wrong? But then it gets better the 3rd of my favorite seiyuu Inoue Kikuko plays one of the bad guy marionettes as well. This was interesting, especially since she usually plays the nice girl (ie: Belldandy from Oh My Goddess).

The first half of the series is rather uninspired to me. Sure, it was humorous at times and I looked forward to seeing new episodes, but I can't say that it completely gripped me. While a few hints were dropped at things to come, the first half is just filler. I don't have a problem with filler, but in this case, it wasn't the best filler. It turns fairly quickly into a harem series and the three Saber Marionettes often bicker over loving Otaru. I love harem comedies, but in this case, it made the Saber Dolls seem weaker.

Ah, but then there's the second half when we finally start getting to the story. There's still filler in this half, but the filler serves a purpose and thus is more enjoyable. So it gets better with time and by the end, I was emotionally attached to these three charming marionettes -- Lime, Cherry, and Bloodberry. Lime is my favorite simply because of the way she's brought to life by Hayashibara Megumi. Man, is she a great seiyuu.

Not only that, but I really liked the Japoness saber doll royal guards Tamasaburo and Baiko (voiced by Orikasa Ai). When they first appear on screen, they made a big splash with me. They are just below Otaru's saber dolls since neither royal guard has a "maiden circuit" but more advanced than any other saber doll.

On the downside, there's Hanagata. He's the typical gay guy who's friends with the lead (Otaru) and who can't understand why the heterosexual lead would want 3 hot FEMALE marionettes when his butt could be on the receiving end of a game of jackhammer. Ugh! I just hate that. Yet the character served his purpose I suppose. The marionettes see him as a troublemaker and often punish him. I got a certain satisfaction from that. And while Otaru tries to be nice, he really gets irritated at Hanagata's constant come-on's. But I disagree with Christina Ross's statement that he's the most flaming queer in anime. I think that belongs to Aburatsubo from Mahou Tsukai Tai!.

Bottom line: An enjoyable romp for sure and another title in a long list of hot android babes searching for love. I look forward to catching the OAV Saber Marionette J Again to see where they go from here.

Last updated Monday, July 26 2004. Created Friday, October 24 2003.
Rent Stretch [series:21#628]
I had heard the title of this show before, but with a word like "saber" in it, I assumed it was some sort of highly violent action show. When I realised that this was not the case, I gave it a try. Something, perhaps the charachter designs, reminded me right off of Slayers (though when I first saw Otaru I was sure it was Jim Hawking from Outlaw Star). However, I was pleasantly surprised to find that this show had a sense of humor somewhat more to my liking than that of Slayers--SMJ is more genuinely funny, I think, than the "dumb fun" that was common in that series. There are so many clever lines in SMJ that I had an agonizing time choosing my favorite! I loved it when the "shoe kick" tactic was employed in a brawl--I used to do that! The wild, crazy maneouvering of marionettes was amusing, too. Episode 9 featured an animated fight between Bloodberry and one of the Gartlant Sabers, and it was so cool I found myself exclaiming "whoa!". Of course the very next episode included a fight scene in which the same film clips (actually stills) were used twice. Just when I was starting to think the series was becoming a little dull came a scene in which Otaru and the marionettes attempt to sabotage a supercomputer--it was hilarious, and they didn't use the trick I was sure they would. Another favorite episode involves Otaru becoming a celebrity overnight. Perhaps another simularity between this series and Slayers would be that it was a "filler" episode which seemed to be the most fun. Don't let the people who have translated the dialogue into English hide the fact that Hanagata is quite gay! (critic Christina Ross describes him as "THE most flaming queer in the history of anime"). Indeed, I think he's my favorite charachter--Oh my God, what have I just said?! Please pretend you never read that. With the benefit of hindsight, it doesn't seem that all that much use was made of the potentially humorous attitudes of a society composed of men who have never met a real live woman. Near the end of the series the story seemed to shift into high gear, as if it's makers realised that they were running out of time and needed to pull off a conclusion which would make sense of SMJ as a whole. Though it seemed a bit rushed, they did a satisfactory job--the ending felt poignant, at least until it seemed to take a U-turn in the last minute or two. My feeling was that this might have been done to clear the way for a sequel, but it's no big deal since it had more of a confusing effect than a spoiling one. I enjoyed SMJ most near the beginning, but the final episode left me feeling good, and I don't regret buying it in it's entirety. My rating is "Rent" because I bought cheap, used VHS tapes, and haven't felt inclined to rewatch the series as a whole. One final comparison to Slayers--when I finished watching the 26 episodes of Slayers, I seem to remember my attitude was that it had been OK, but I was glad to be free to try something new, which would hopefully be better. When I watched the last episode of SMJ, I felt that I wouldn't mind if there were more episodes to come, since it was unlikely that whatever I was going to watch next would be as good.

My favorite line: "Dear God, if it's not asking too much, please offer Otaru salvation from the seductions of those marionette she-devils. Amen!" --Hanagata

Also: "It's #94, 'Die an agonizing death'. That's bad luck!" --Boy

10/03 #82

Last updated Sunday, March 16 2008. Created Tuesday, October 21 2003.
Buy 9 10 10 8 9 8 MrSparkle [series:21#734]
Another Love & Comedy anime, with love triangles like many previous classics.
I got into Saber Marionette straight away (dont do what the coyote did ;]) and I bought a box set of ebay for a nice 35 bucks, english dub included. I often tend to prefer watching animes with the japanese audio, as the english dub seems naff in comparison.
I loved this anime. It had its good times and bad times, unlike evangelion, which I found to hav more bad and good, hell even the world ended in that anime.
I've always been a fan of megumi hayashibara, she brings a extra level it seems to Lime, also she performed the music for the opening and ending, which I also found was "catchy" to say the least.
I would've liked to see more development in Lime, my only negative point about the anime, and the other characters, and their future with otaru, but maybe that will leave space for a later saga (hopefully anyway).
To sum up, a light cheerful, while containing dark sections, anime, which will capture your hearts and take you to another world

Last updated Friday, May 30 2003. Created Friday, May 30 2003.
Buy 8 7 10 8 10 Jack Walrath [series:21#375]
I like this show. First of all it is not as cloyingly annoying as other guy surrounded by girls stories.The overall story is enjoyable even if the series does not have the best of animation. Lime and Hanagata are especially funny and it is nice to see Otaru have a backbone unlike say Tenchi or Makoto. Also, let me let you on a little secret. If you want to know how the original syndicated story ended (it was not a manga, but a story with pictures) check out the Saber Marionette site that is run Hanami. The origingal ending is a lot more interesting.

Last updated Wednesday, September 25 2002. Created Wednesday, September 25 2002.
Buy 6 7 7 6 8 The Coyote [series:21#64]
I Started my Saber Marionette experiance with Saber marionett agian Big Mistake. Don't do that Trust me. I hated Lime in that one but in this i really liked her and the rest And I love Tiger! The only reason to watch Saber marionette agian is to watch her finally get accepted by faust (that idiot) Sorry I really liked Tiger Almost as much as Ryoko... ok not that much. Any way A great series just don't stop watching when the credits roll of course if you know your anime you know better than that anyway.

Last updated Saturday, June 29 2002. Created Saturday, June 29 2002.
Buy 8 6 9 9 9 8 Johan Gustafsson [series:21#195]
I loved this series from the beginning. Lots of slapstick and very emotional and dramatic. The mix really works. The animation could have been better, but the character designs are nice. (GO LIME!!) The voice actors (particularly Megumi Hayashibara as Lime and Takehito Koyasu as Hanagata) are doing a fantastic job. The male protagonist Otaru can be a bit annoying sometimes though. `nuff said: BUY!!!

Last updated Wednesday, July 04 2001. Created Wednesday, July 04 2001.
Rent 5 6 7 4 8 8 Mark Clifton [series:21#126]
It's time for a little History lesson! Several of the character's names were done on purpose, mostly the German ones.
To start off Lorelei, the only surviving female imprisoned on Mesopotamia, is also a name for a siren on the Rhine River (in Germany) whose singing lures sailors to there death. Faust, the leader of Germania, is also the name of a magician of German legend who made a compact with the Devil. Then finally Dr. Hess, Faust's henchman, is also the name of Hitler's deputy in WW2.
Now, reading that you can probably guess half the story: Faust makes a deal with Dr. Hess who helps him maintain his power. All the while using everything to reach Lorelei, which has caused suffering and death for his previous clones. At least the current Faust went with the rulebook on world domination: when in doubt... Always invade France! ^_^
Now, as for the Anime itself, it is pretty good if you like stories where every girl falls in love with one the main character, Otaru. But it also gives you an idea of what would happen if there was no females... I thought it was unique and funny how people reacted in that type of world. Like most television series, it gets better near the end. I think people should at least rent it first before they consider on buying it.

Last updated Friday, May 11 2001. Created Friday, May 11 2001.
Buy 6 6 6 1 Dingle [series:21#35]
I like this show up to the end, other people can say more. Just don't watch though the credits and it will be fine.

Last updated Friday, August 04 2000. Created Friday, August 04 2000.
Buy 7 7 9 6 8 7 Cenit [series:21#45]
Well, for me this story is quite good and funny, it has a really good beginnig, introducing Otaru, Lime and Hanagata and the principal city of the series, Japones, from there the story is quite fun, especially because Lime is really naive and Otaru has to learn how to treat a woman. New characters appear like the other two marionettes with virgin circuit, Cherry and Bloodberry, his best friend Hanagata, the shogun of Japones, and of course the bad guys, represented by Faust the ruler of Germania and his three virgin circuit marionettes, Tiger, Panther and Lynx.
I just want to say that this story is awesome, once i start seeing it I couldnt stop till the end. Especially the character design is great, this must be one of my favorites manga TV series of all.
Also I think that the roles of Cherry and Bloodberry are essential to the series, (I wanted to put this here because in another review I found that they could have dropped Cherry and Bloodberry). Somewhere the bad guy Faust, says that each virgin circuit has an specific quality: Innocence, Maternity and Passion (is not exactly passion but I couldnt found a exactly English word for it).So, i think that everyone agree that Lime is Innocence, but that doesn´t make a full woman you need the Maternity(Cherry) and Passion(Bloodberry). During the story they get real close (i mean the three girls), I know that Lime is the main character, but the two others are also really cool girls, and i´d prefer this story with three girls that only with one.
Maybe what I liked the most is that the real history remains in the dark until the last 3 chapters, I mean the story is real nice, but only when you watch these chapters you can have a real view of the series, for example, like Evangelion.
My rank is buy, but i recommend to everyone to rent it first, some people might like it a lot and some others not.
If you want any other information about Saber Marionette J, you just have to e-mail me to , I´ll e-mail you back as soon as possible.

Last updated Wednesday, August 23 2000. Created Friday, June 09 2000.
Rent 7 6 8 7 6 5 Bryan [series:21#14]

This is the subbed version (is there a dub?). Anyone who would eschew Megumi H for some other actress needs to be boiled in oil.

We are all quite familiar with the anime triangle where three strange chicks from space (Tenchi Muyo), another dimension (Ah,My Goddess), or, in this case, of another physiology (toaster-oven), crash the life of some down-and-out but good-hearted looser. (sigh)

The thing about Tenchi and AMG is that all three female characters have very strong personalities and lend separate, but essential, elements to the story. In my humble opinion, SM-J could very well have dropped the latter two marionettes, Cherry and Bloodberry (makes me want an apple) and stuck with Lime and Otaru. Exploring the relationship between those two should be more than any series needs. Perhaps, like Urusei Yatsura, they could have had the occasional eccentric guest.

I mean in the first episode Lime throws a building (a little too much anime physics for my taste). So much for needing the saber-doll (hey, thier words, not mine) Bloodberry. And if you are an Andy my guess is you could hack with the best of them -- see-ya Cherry.

Still, I really like Lime. What a neat character. I couldn't get off the floor during the lumpy-pot scene. The character designs are a bit over the top (what are all those red balls anyway?), but not terrible. A lot of the comedy didn't work in my opinion. There is a place for SD, Video Girl Ai uses it to great effect, but to rely too much on it is a sign of weak writing.

I found the frame rates to be quite low in the fight scenes, to the point where you couldn't really follow what was going on. And a little more creativity would be nice, though the first ep where the problems and Otaru and Japoness meet was rather well done.

I've seen the first 16 eps at this point, rented from a local anime shop (I'd go nuts if this place didn't exist), so I have a fair idea where the show is going. However, and I have no idea what the manga did, I find that the story-line is profoundly goofy. When we first see a pan of Germania, the pretty much despicable city-state in the series, the citizens are going "heil Faust". Could we get anymore hackneyed? This series just doesn't have the brain-power to bring this world to life, and really, they don't much try.

I was really hoping this would be better. I guess the audience was just to young, though I do not liked being teased with a neat idea only to see it completely under explored. Admittedly I have not seen all of the series. I'm not in any hurry to go out and rent any more of it, but I so like Lime (Megumi!!!) that I will eventually, and my opinions might change (albeit slightly).

Musically, the opening and ending's are OK, not bad really, though not anything profound.

Last updated Friday, December 10 1999. Created Friday, December 10 1999.

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