If lighthearted animes in the the vein of Card Captor Sakura are not your thing, stop reading. Otogi-Jushi Akazukin, also known as Fairy Musketeers is a 39 episode fun-for-all-ages anime that combines Magical Girl elements with Fairytale Motifs in a swords and sorcery adventure that's highly underrated. The plot is simple enough to understand: Two worlds, one of magic, one of science. Our world is the latter. In our world a special young boy is dubbed the "key of Elde" by the villains, who seek out the incredible power that dwells within him. It seems like an ordinary Take Over The World plot at first, but as the show goes on, and the villains' motives are uncovered, it gets pretty interesting. The characters are the show's strongest side. Each one brings their own unique quirks, from the prissy and vain Shirayuki to the Tsundere Team Mom Ringo. And yet at the same time, character development shows that there's more to these characters, some of their back-stories can be surprisingly tragic. Male lead Souta is a rare breed, as the Holy Child is usually a girl. The show boasts a some well known voice actors, ranging from Yukari Tamura as the leading Genki Girl, to Rie Kugumiya, predictably as the aforementioned Tsundere. The music is gorgeous, each tune perfectly suited for a cute and fun Magical Girl style anime. The lowest point in the series is the fighting. The characters tend to overcome most of the Monsters with ease, to the point that some fights seem to be but eye candy. I personally liked that the characters start out experienced in combat, rather than having to peel themselves off the floor each time, always winning by the skin of their teeth. However the fights could have been choreographed better. Woobie Dark Magical Girl Gretel gets the short end of the stick, as her weapon, a BFS, in kid friendly anime would never actually strike one of these girls. Of course not all the fights are like this, so it can come as surprising when things get really dangerous for them. Another problem is Akazukin's Transformation Sequence, obtained halfway in. This power-up outclasses her teammates, much like Goku in Dragon Ball Z, and is used frequently, abused as some would say. So if you're looking for a colorful, cheerful anime full of heartwarming moments, intriguing character development and some surprisingly dark moments, this one's a must.
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