Magic User's Club (Mahou Tsukai Tai!) is an anime directed by Junichi Sato. It tells the story of a plucky group of teenage Magical Students, and their quest to liberate the world from extra-terrestrial invaders. It was originally released as an OVA series in 1996, and was followed in the late 90s by a tv series that picked up the story where the OVA left off. It has since received both Manga and Light Novel adaptations. The anime series was licensed in North America by Media Blasters (via their Anime Works imprint), but is now licensed by Nozomi Entertainment.
One year ago, an alien spaceship known as "The Bell" invaded the earth, spreading a message to the humans of the world that it was here to take over. Though the planet's military forces fought desperately against the The Bell, they proved to be no match for the invaders' highly superior technology. All resistance was quickly wiped out, though the aliens seemed to be taking special care not to harm the human soldiers, and The Bell never made the first strike. Quickly realizing that the aliens would not attack without provocation, humanity quietly accepted defeat and sought to return to as normal a routine as possible.
Now, the people of earth have grown used to the The Bell, which has caused no further disruptions save for sending out probes to politely observe their day-to-day lives. Unwilling to accept the status quo, Takeo Takakura, the president of Kitanohashi High school's Magic Club, has declared that it is the duty of the club to single-handedly defeat the invaders and secure the freedom of all humans. Unfortunately, the Magic User's Club has only five members and of those, only he and his vice-president know how to use magic effectively! On top of that, the club president finds it to be a daily struggle to keep his perverted nature at bay long enough to focus on the task at hand.
But all hope is not lost, for Takeo finds an eager and energetic (though not quite able) student in new club member Sae Sawanoguchi. Seeking to overcome her clumsiness and low sense of self-worth, Sae declares that she will follow in the footsteps of Takeo, and become a powerful magic-user. Will Takeo, Sae, and the rest of the club learn to control their power and become the hope of humankind? Only time will tell, but one thing is certain: wherever the Magic Users Club goes, hilarity is bound to follow!
The TV series continues the story. The main plotline is about Sae and a mysterious androgynous waif.
There are also two different manga. One is a shounen manga and maintains the same light feel in the OVA. The other is shoujo, and is much darker and has several different characters as well.
This series contains examples of:
- 2D Visuals, 3D Effects: Makes some of the alien ships more... alien.
- Alliterative Name: Every. Single. Character.
- Amazingly Embarrassing Parents:
- Aburatsubo's mother, Akiko. He is absolutely horrified whenever she shows up at school.
- Nanaka's mother also is this for her, when she shows up to a parent-teacher conference still wearing her gardening gear. For bonus points, she was wearing her still muddy boots on her hands.
- Ambiguously Bi: Aburatsubo might return Nanaka's feelings towards the end of the series.
- Anime Hair: Akane has pink streaks in her long white hair, and Sae's hair looks like a bunch of tiny Raggedy Anne-esque squares.
- Anguished Declaration of Love: To Aburatsubo, from Nanaka. He rejects her feelings. In the kindest, sweetest way ever, doing what he can to not break her heart further. The frame doesn't change from a closeup on Nanaka's face while he gives her his reply. You can watch her emotional state shift from nervousness to surprise to sad realization to resignation.
- Apologises a Lot: Sae says it more often than most, on account of her lacking self confidence. In one scene, being stuck in a room and trying to teleport out, she continually says it for around two straight minutes as things teleport in, crowding up the room.
- Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: Happens to Akane on account of magic gone wrong and some emotional turmoil. Resolving the turmoil returns her to normal.
- Benevolent Alien Invasion: The aliens have invaded at some point before the story begins. They don't really do anything unless outright attacked at first, and even go so far as to obey traffic laws.
- Bishōnen: Aburatsubo.
- Actually, he's close enough to Dude Looks Like a Lady territory that the text notes on introduction have to actually point this out.
- Brilliant, but Lazy: Akane is one of the more gifted members of the club when it comes to magic, and, spin aside, her spells almost always go well. She is also the only one who is able to cast magic with only a picture of the magic wand that is required for said spells, even making her own in episode 2 of the TV series. The problem is she's a teenage girl who has her mind on things outside of the club most of the time.
- Broken Ace: Aburatsubo. At one point he tells Sawanaguchi that although he's good at everything, he doesn't enjoy much of anything, because there is little challenge."Does a fish think anything if it can swim?"
- Camp Gay: Aburatsubo is a mix of this and Straight Gay. On the one hand, he is a long-haired Bishōnen who flirts outrageously with Takeo. On the other, he's the school's star athlete and only acts camp around Takeo.
- Chivalrous Pervert:
- While Takeo may burst into perverted fantasies at the drop of a hat, he's very protective of his fellow club members, especially Sae, and tries his best to perform his duties as president.
- Also Aburatsubo, whose Single-Target Sexuality on Takeo doesn't deter him from being a reliable friend and magic club member.
- Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: The journalist, his photographer, and the teacher who tells his students 'education is love,' are completely absent from the TV series with no mention of them at all.
- Color-Coded for Your Convenience: The three main characters: red for Sae, blue for Akane, yellow for Nanaka. The only things keeping the Magic Club from being a full-blown Sentai are a repeated color in the team (both Takeo and Aburatsubo wear black), the lack of posing, and the fact that the Bell never really attack anyone (at least until towards the end).
- Cool Starship: The Bell.
- Covert Pervert: Club President Takeo Takakura tries to hide the lustful thoughts that spring up at even the most inopportune times, however the truth is obvious to pretty much everyone else except Sae.
- Credits Montage: The TV series combines clips from the current episode with clips from the next episode in the ending theme.
- Crossover: With Shamanic Princess for a one episode OVA.
- Cute Witch: Sae, Nanaka, and Akane dress this way, at least.
- Every Episode Ending: The opening verse of the Ending Theme "Mata Ashita" can be heard in the last moments before the credits in each of the OVA episodes.
- The Everyman: Nanaka serves as this for the group. She lacks Sae's raw magical potential, Akane and Aburatsubo's talent, Takeo's expertise, as well as any investment or motivation with the club outside of her friendship with Sae and her crush on Aburatsubo. Most of the time she simply wants to live life as an ordinary girl.
- Everything's Better with Spinning: Whenever Akane casts a spell on something or someone, the object/person will spin rapidly for a few seconds before the spell takes its intended effect. It's never explained why this happens, and she appears to have no control over it.
- Fanservice: From all of the main girls, and Miyama. And occasionally Aburatsubo.
- Gag Boobs: Mizuha Miyama. Complete with very heavy Gainaxing. Hilariously highlighted in the Beach Episode, wherein Miyama gets off the bus, then the rest of her gets off the bus. This is noticeably tuned down in the TV series, despite the fact that Miyama's TV school uniform seems to show more cleavage.
- Hilarious Outtakes: Seriously, check them out.
- Honest Axe: This fable is invoked in a bathroom scene, in which Takeo is asked if he was using the gold or the silver toilet paper.
- I Have Boobs, You Must Obey!: The weird part is that Mizuha isn't even trying to invoke this trope but Takeo is often too distracted to hold his own in an argument against her.Sae: "We have to help him get over those horrible memories!"
- Inept Mage: Sae Sawanoguchi, though not for a lack of trying. Her magic is by far the most powerful, if she can control it, and if it comes out in the first place. She slowly gets better over the course of the series.
- Instant Fan Club: Aburatsubo has this in the TV series, even though he's gayer than a Broadway musical. (Although, you never know, maybe that is why he has them...)
- Intrepid Reporter: A pair of them in journalist Mitsuru Minowa and his sidekick/photographer Yoshito Yoshimoto. They stumble upon the antics of the Magic club while trying to investigate The Bell.
- The Klutz: Sae Sawanoguchi, who not only manages to fail at nearly everything she tries, but often fails in the most spectacular way possible.
- Lethal Chef: Sae's big sister Saki. When asked why she is using red chili paste while making Tomato Stew, she responds: "... What's that?"
- Magic A Is Magic A: All it takes to do magic in the Magic User's Club universe is a weird looking wand, some Latin chanting concentration and self confidence. The main reasons for Sae's magical misfires are either from her lacking self confidence or her mind wandering.
- While the cast mostly use the wands Takeo has recreated, they seem to serve as a focus more than a hard requirement. Akane accomplishes some magic with makeshift wands that merely resemble the original (albeit with mixed results), and Sae learns to cast magic without a wand at all in the TV series.
- Magical Incantation: Most if not all the spells are cast with varying Latin chants. Among the most common is the spell for flying with a broom, "Izatai Abamehinam Etokafe Nan!"
- Magic Versus Science: The Sufficiently Advanced Aliens are nigh indestructible, with a scientific mastery of space travel and weapons that can disintegrate aircraft carriers. They are countered by high school kids who can fly on brooms and magically transform them into pillows. [[This is what gets the Bell to start searching out for the kids in the first place, in spite of previously being fine to simply follow societal rules.]]
- Mood Whiplash: The first OVA does a cold open of The Bell forcing its way through Earth's orbital defenses and effortlessly defeating utterly a US Navy taskforce in San Francisco Bay. Cue the peppy catchy opening theme!
- The Mothership: The unknown alien vessel that invades Earth is called "The Bell".
- Noblewoman's Laugh: Takakura's rival Mizuha Miyama is a constant user of this laugh, normally when she's finished knocking him down the only peg he has left.
- No Bisexuals: Slightly averted in that Aburatsubo seems to be having feelings for Nanaka towards the end, which, while not discussed with the rest of the cast, seem to confuse him.
- Nosebleed: Takeo should win some award for how many times this happens per episode.
- Ojou: Akane, who models in the TV series and appears to be independently wealthy.
- Only Sane Man: Nanaka isn't entirely sold on using the magic of the club to fight the Bell, for rather obvious reasons, and is often the one to reign in Sae from her less well thought out actions. However, her loyalty to her friends and her crush on Aburatsubo means she ends up going with it anyways.
- Potty Emergency: Sae has one in episode 3 while being Locked in a Room with Aburatsubo.
- Shapeshifting Excludes Clothing: In episode 5, Akane starts to hiccup, causing various strange things to happen. At one point, she shrinks down, leaving her clothes piled on the club room floor. The same happens to Takakura in episode 3, when he eats a magically-shrunken apple and inadvertently shrinks himself as a side-effect.
- Shout-Out: Quite a few to Kiki's Delivery Service.
- Space Is Noisy: Averted nicely in the OVA intro.
- Starfish Aliens: The Bell aliens. There is a brief insight into their thought process: the Bell apparently makes decisions with two 'leaders' (shown as a red light and a blue light) arguing over different logical courses of action until they are both in agreement.
- Unskilled, but Strong: Sae, on many occasions, shows herself to have the most raw power when it comes to magic and does incredible things with it. However, she lacks the skill and focus to tap into her full potential throughout most of the OVA and TV series.
- Wanton Cruelty to the Common Comma: Or rather, the common apostrophe; the title suggests that the club belongs to just one magic user. "Magic Users' Club" would be accurate in this case.
- Wild Magic: In the TV series Jurika, the mysterious person who appears and disappears, is revealed to be an anthropological manifestation of Sae's magic.
- Will They or Won't They?: Sae and Takeo. The TV series ends with a Love Confession from Takeo, at which Sae replies: "I love you too!" Then the rest of the Magic Club appears a minute later, and Sae tells them: "I love you all!" which leaves Takeo utterly confused about her response. In the end, it appears unresolved.
- World Tree: The giant cherry tree The Bell is transformed into certainly looks like one. Episode 1 of the TV series is spent trying to find a way to remove it from the city, since its massive shadow and endless flower petals are causing a significant inconvenience for the civilians.