Reviews: Pretty Sammy

An affectionate parody with more than meets the eye.

As this is the show that made me love the Magical Girl genre I might be a little biased here, so bear with me.

Despite being older than the hills, Magical Project S (as I'll call it to differentiate from the OVA) the animation is a little behind the times, but that shouldn't stop anyone from enjoying this classic. Those familiar with the Tenchi series should be pleasantly surprised to meet a new Sasami, who's not as much of a sickeningly sweet, polite and helpful angel. She's lazy, easy going and pretty much a normal kid here. So when she becomes the centerpiece in a Magical Girl Queenliness Test, which she's not even the queen-to-be in, you can imagine she's less than thrilled.

In stark contrast we have Sasami's best friend Misao. Her life is anything but the sunny world Sasami lives in. With a missing dad and a constantly working mom, Misao is constantly alone, depending on Sasami for what little confidence she can muster. Normally this has all the markings of a Victim Of The Week, but in Misao's case it ends up as much more... She becomes Pixy Misa. You Should Know This Already.

The show starts out as a silly, affectionate parody of the Magical Girl genre, calling attention to the cliches most notable from Sailor Moon, but as time goes on it's obvious that Sasami and her friends aren't just parody characters. One of the problems I had with the recent Puella Magi Madoka Magica was time. Time to get to know the characters, see what they're all about, and actually CARE when something bad happens to them. This show gives us that and more. So when tragedy strikes, it hits with precision at a point where you might expect it, but certainly weren't hoping for it. The highly emotional episode 20 made me cry more than anything PMMM could cook up did.

As you might have guessed the show doesn't stay goofy and silly forever. It turns out to have it's own serious myth arc, where everything comes together and Sasami proves that silly costumes and sparkles are fine, but when it comes down to it, a Magical Girl is about fighting for those you care for.

So in short, if you're someone who's skeptical of the Magical Girl genre, or are looking for a cute and silly series full of playful jabs at the genre, the Pretty Sammy TV series, known as Magical Project S in the US, is a must see.