|Overall||Art||Animation||Character Design||Music||Series Story||Episode Story||Reviewer|
Mahou no Stage Fancy Lala
This is certainly different from many mahou shoujo offerings. From what I've researched, Fancy Lala was the very first mahou shoujo anime that distanced from the "fighting evil" or "collecting items" plot formulas and instead featured our female lead (Miho) using her magical abilities to become a successful pop idol. Those who have seen Full Moon wo Sagashite will likely recognize the premise for this series, only Fancy Lala came out four years before Full Moon first aired. This series is mostly focused on everyday events with Miho as she juggles her everyday life with family and school, as well as her growing pop idol career as 15-year old alter-ego Fancy Lala. The series does believably explore elements to both aspects of its storytelling as Miho goes through some of the troubles faced by kids of her age and Lala faces some of the challenges involved in the pop idol industry. Unlike Full Moon, Lala's rise to stardom isn't instant as she does have to work her way up in the idol industry and face some hurdles along the way such as the paparazzi and rival stars. The series also looks into some touchy subjects for a children's show such as divorce and unrequited love. The down-to-earth and gentle mood for the series, despite it's mahou shoujo premise, makes it an engaging watch for the most part throughout its run.|
If there is one element to the series I feel is lacking heavily, it would be any focus on its magical elements. You don't get to learn much about Miho's dinosaur pals and residential cuddly mascots, Pigu and Mogu, beyond the two being mischievous troublemakers and starting Miho's experience as Lala off. The mystery man introduced also doesn't get much focus and screen time, despite the series passing off enough implications that he has some sort of connection to Pigu and Mogu thus leaving him as, the name implies, a complete mystery for a character. Episodes that featured Miho in some sort of strange predicament involving her magical abilities also seemed out-of-place with the mundane elements that many episodes of Fancy Lala delivered with their characters.
Still though, Fancy Lala is a worthwhile watch for younger viewers or mahou shoujo fans as the series offers a unique premise that sticks out from many within the magical girl genre thanks to its down-to-earth focus on Miho's life and believably exploring the challenges of rising in fame in the idol industry.
EDIT: Looking back, seems I was off quite a bit on learning about the earliest magical girl anime where the girl in question dabbles into music, as that honor goes to Mahō no Tenshi Creamy Mami. Still though, would at least recommend checking this hidden 90s anime gem out if you're looking for something a bit different outside of the typical magical girl formulas with collecting stuff or battling evil.
Last updated Sunday, December 15 2019. Created Saturday, April 27 2013.
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Mahou no Stage Fancy Lala
Even if you've seen plenty of magical girl shows before, you'll still find this one refreshing. It's a show without a villain, let alone villain-of-the-week. The storyline revolves around Miho's double life, the challenges of keeping her secret from her family and friends, and sometimes the uses to which she puts her magical gifts. Miho's family is well-characterized, and her two magical-creature friends Pigu and Mogu are adorably hilarious troublemakers. The overall mood is low-key and utterly charming. |
The character designs by Takada Akemi, who also designed Kimagure Orange Road, deserve special mention. The music is also fun and hummable.
Bottom line: A gentle "pre-coming-of-age" story with humor, good characters, and attractive artwork.
Last updated Monday, February 28 2005. Created Monday, February 28 2005.
|Hitoshi Doi's online encyclopedia page||http://www.tcp.com/~doi/lala/|
|Includes a character guide, episode guide, seiyuu information, and more!|