What would you guess this anime is about, when the opening scenes show a gigantic spaceship blocking out the sun and sending squadrons of drones into the skies? An animated remake of the *snicker*... story from ID4? No, this production is from director Satou Jun'ichi (Sailor Moon series director) and character designer Itou Ikuko (Sailor Moon S), and they have too much artistic integrity to stoop as low as that. (Lest I be accused of misleading the reader, Satou was only the director of Sailor Moon R for a few episodes at the beginning. And Itou was not promoted to head character designer until the Sailor Moon S series.)
Unlike Sailor Moon, this anime is aimed at the older, OAV-buying audience. Does that mean that this is jam-packed with all the fan service missing in SM? Well, yes, but that's not what makes it so great. At its core, Mahou Tsukai Tai! is a romantic adventure comedy with themes of finding inner strength to overcome self-doubt and the courage and honesty required for love. The characters are appealing because they exhibit all the fears and insecurities that all of us have felt at one time or another. Who can truthfully say that they've never liked someone but didn't do anything about it for fear of finding that the person in question didn't like them back? (The poor slobs that attended all-boys schools don't count.) So enjoy this OAV and watch how the characters develop, except for you maladjusts who attended all-boys schools; you all report outside for hazing.
- One of the things that I love so much about the Japanese way of animation is the exacting level of detail applied to vehicles. The disappearing fighter jets in the opening are clearly F-16's. Akane's boyfriend's car is obviously a Mazda Miata (pre-1997 model). Ten CJAS style points go to the first person to name the exact model of Katsuragi Misato's electric-cell-converted sports car [from Eva].
- The cameraman on the boat complains about his boring job while "my friend is taking nude pictures of Suzuki Mai-chan." Suzuki Mai is most probably Shiina Mai, and there are many nude pictures of her. If you'd like copies, just contact James Kao. :)
- A convention used in anime and HK cinema is that a character's nose will start bleeding involuntarily when he is having, um... less than pure thoughts. For example, James Kao gets a nosebleed when looking at pictures of Suzuki Mai.
- The Japanese public education system splits up junior high and high school grades differently from the American system. Usually in Japan, junior high is three years long, from seventh to ninth grade. High school is another three years, from 10th to 12th grade. So while the translation of "1st year student" to freshman is correct, Akane would actually be a sophomore in America. Likewise, Sae and Nakata are in 11th grade. Doesn't seem so much like Minowa is cradle-robbing anymore, does it?