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Anime / Spellbound! Magical Princess Lil'Pri

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Fairyland is in trouble. Its princesses and their respective worlds are disappearing, causing a ripple effect on Earth where their stories are popular. In order to save Fairyland, the Queen sends three "mapets" (magic animals), Sei, Dai, and Ryoku, to Earth with magic gems to find three girls who can become the "Super Miracle Idols," the princesses Snow White, Cinderella, and Kaguya-hime. Those "princesses" end up being three very ordinary little girls: Yukimori Ringo, Takashiro Leila, and Sasahara Natsuki. The gems transform them into older singing superstars, and after their accidental debut at their favorite singer Wish's concert, they become known as "Little Princesses," or "LilPri" for short. Now they must use their songs to draw and collect Happiness Tones from humans in order to restore Fairyland.


The anime is based on Sega's trading card arcade game Lilpri - Yubi Puru Hime Chen!, which lets players customize their own idol and sing, dance, and cast spells. On May 29, 2010, Crunchyroll began streaming the series under the title Spellbound! Magical Princess Lil'Pri. There is also a manga that began running in February 2009 called simply "Lilpri", written by Mai Jinna, the game's character designer.

Not to be confused with Hime-chan no Ribon.


This show provides examples of:

  • Adaptation Dye-Job: Towards the original "Snow White" story. This may be the only anime besides Prétear where you can find a pink-haired Snow White.
  • All Just a Dream: Episode 22, where the girls and their friend Momoka dream about being Tokusatsu superheroes.
  • Alpha Bitch: The shoe designer Mio Ikari from episode 16 acts like one, complete with Noblewoman's Laugh.
  • Anachronism Stew: There's not only episode 17's "Ningyaru Hime" (see Canon Discontinuity below), but in episode 24 we see pictures of some of Kaguya-hime's suitors facing a pterosaurus, a flying saucer and an army of mummies.
  • The Anime of the Game
  • Bag of Holding: Vivi's top hat.
  • Beach Episode: episode 17
  • Big Eater: All three of the mapets. In particular Dai.
  • Bishie Sparkle: Used quite often with Wish. Episode 24 also had a few scenes like that with Natsuki.
  • Bishōnen: Wish, no wonder why he has so many fangirls in-universe.
  • Bland-Name Product: In episode 25, there's a reporter who wears a watch made by "Soiko" (a pun on Seiko).
  • But Not Too Foreign: Leila is half-Japanese, half-Italian.
  • By the Power of Grayskull!: Both the game and the anime use the more traditional "magic words" method (PRIPAL PREPAL PLILIN PUCCHI!).
  • Canon Discontinuity: Even Japan knows that "Ningyo Hime" isn't supposed to be "Ningyaru Hime" (In-universe, even Fairyland would know that). One would think she would magically change back to normal by the end. Nope, she's still a "ganguro" when our intrepid magical idol singers read the picture book.
  • Canon Foreigner: Partly invoked by the anime. "Wish" was created for the show, but "Chris" comes from the game. In the anime, they're portrayed as the same character.
  • Comically Missing the Point: One-shot character Youichi in episode 33 misunderstands what Sayaka (another one shot character) means when she says she would like them to be "good friends".
  • Cowardly Lion: Mimiko in episode 19. Subverted at first; it ultimately takes Lilpri to help her realize there's nothing to be afraid of.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Again, Mimiko in episode 19.
  • Cute Clumsy Girl: Leila.
  • Dancing Theme: Not exactly an Ending Theme, but every time the girls become Lilpri, there's an accompanying 3D-rendered dance and song sequence. They are Idol Singers, after all.
  • Diegetic Soundtrack Usage: LilPri's debut song is the show's theme song; also a bit funny because their magic mics make them sing it.
  • Easy Amnesia: The main plot of episode 20.
  • Emotionless Boy: Wish, as pointed out in episode 6.
  • Enslaved Tongue: Episode 35. Whatever a clingy magic card attaches itself to is forced to lie or act against what they say.
  • Exposition Fairy: Chris in the arcade game.
  • Expy: There's not only Chris/Wish (who looks like the White Rabbit in rabbit form and like Zero in human form) and Natsuki (essentially Kagami with darker hair and a different eye color), but in episode 19 we also get Nadeko Sengoku look-alike Mimiko and a doll resembling Lilie from Princess Tutu.
    • Speaking of Princess Tutu, in episode 24 one of Natsuki's suitors, Narushi Kizaki, clearly looks like he could be Femio's long lost little brother, complete with the purple hair and the rose.
  • Faceless Masses: This show seriously abuses this trope.
  • Fire-Breathing Diner: In episode 19, Atsui-sensei's wife's curry turns everyone into one of these. Ryoku is the first to try it, and the girls and Saotome mistake his flame for a Will-o'-the-Wisp.
  • For Halloween, I Am Going as Myself: Played with in episode 31. Ringo, Leila, and Natsuki cosplay Lilpri (in their trademark outfits, the Princess Fairytale ones) for a costume contest. Of course, no one suspects they really are Lilpri since any fan of the group might cosplay them.
  • Girlish Pigtails: Natsuki
  • Gratuitous English: Most of the Lilpri costume names are in English. Oh, and Uisshuuuu~
  • Gratuitous Italian: Leila's father Marco and his assistant Tomaso in episode 18.
  • Gyaru Girl: The girls meet a mermaid in episode seventeen named Lili, who gets dropped into the human world. She sees some "gyaru" and immediately adopts the style, even returning to Fairyland in it.
  • Henohenomoheji: The janitor's face in one of the ghost stories Saotome tells in episode 19.
    • Episode 25 has it on the "Leila" part of the mapets' disguise.
  • Homage: to the tokusatsu superhero genre in episode 22. The change card for this episode ("Petit Ranger") was even inspired by the Super Sentai series.
  • Insistent Terminology
    Dai: I'm not a squirrel. I'm a dormouse!
  • Is It Something You Eat?: The (amnesiac) mapets ask this about Lilpri in episode 20. It's also present in episode 32, where the girls think the "song's soul" is a kind of dumpling.
  • Joshikousei: The change card Lilpri uses in episode 33, Cherry Sailor, is inspired by these.
  • Lethal Chef: In episode two, to make up for eating all the apple pies Ringo's parents had made to sell the next day, the mapets try to bake some replacements. To describe the result, the customers say it's like your tongue explodes.
  • Limited Wardrobe: Both played straight and subverted. As themselves, the girls wear the same clothes constantly (only changing for summertime), but as Lilpri, they get a new outfit every time they transform.
  • The Little Shop That Wasn't There Yesterday: On episode 23.
  • MacGuffin: The Ultimate Shine
  • Magical Girl
  • Magic Idol Singer
  • Meaningful Name: Each of the girls' names allude to the princess they are.
    • Yukimori means "snow forest;" ringo means "apple", referring to the poisoned apple Snow White ate.
    • Takashiro, Leila's surname, means "tall castle", something Cinderella is sometimes associated with.
    • Sasahara means "bamboo field," a reference to the bamboo forest where Kaguya-hime was found on Earth, and the "tsuki" in Natsuki's name means "moon" (Kaguya-hime came from the moon).
  • Moon Rabbit: Chris got to play this part in episode 24.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: In episode six, Sei has hired for the girls a dance teacher named Michael, who sounds, acts, looks, and dances (a bit) like the beloved late pop star, his body and what he is wearing however are based on someone else.
  • Non-Human Sidekick: The mapets Sei, Dai, and Ryoku, and White Rabbit Expy Chris/Wish.
  • One-Hit Wonder: While Lilpri gets to sing various songs in-show, poor Wish only sings the same song everytime he's seen performing.
  • The Other Lilpri: This is actually what the anime versions are. In the original game, Ringo, Leila and Natsuki were voiced by Chihiro Ishiguro, Satomi Sato, and Shiori Mikami, respectively (who of course, also sing the songs).
  • Plot Pants: Glaringly obvious inversion. Ringo, Leila, and Natsuki wear the exact same outfits every single day apparently, whether in school or not, rain or shine but when they transform into Lilpri they get a different outfit every time. The only exception being the Princess Fairytale card which they like well enough to use 5 or 6 times and their halloween costumes which are ... you guessed it, their Princess Fairytale card outfits.
  • Portmanteau Series Nickname: Right in the title (which is also the name of the original game) — "LilPri" for "Little Princesses."
  • Public Domain Soundtrack: In the game, one of their songs is a techno-infused rendition of "Usagi no Dance" (The Rabbit Dance), a traditional Japanese nursery rhyme. A rendition by the Hello! Project version of Lilpri is later heard in episode 24.
  • Pun-Based Title: Hime Chen is probably a pun on imechen (イメチェン), meaning "image change" or "makeover"
  • Shout-Out / Brand X: In episode 28, Vivi finds a group of kids playing Yu-Gi-Oh!, except the back of the cards is green instead of brown and the design is slightly different. And in episode 34, Leila imagines Natsuki wearing an outfit reminiscent of Sapphire's.
  • Show Within a Show: Let's see... There's the comedy show and Close-Up Idol from episode 6, as well as all the shows introduced in episode 32 such as Mr. Monkeys, Herahera, Star Trick, Easy Meals...
  • Single-Minded Septuplets: Ringo's seven little brothers.
  • Single-Target Sexuality: Vivi is apparently Chris-sexual.
  • Spell My Name with an S: Although "Leila" is the official English spelling of her name (which is also used on Crunchyroll's subs), there have been people who have referred to her as either "Reira" (based on the reading of her name in katakana), or "Layla". This page for a Japanese Lilpri magazine shows "Leila" as being how her name is officially written in English.
    • The first fansub group also misspelled Ryoku's name as "Ryouku" for some reason, and Crunchyroll once spelled Natsuki's last name as "Takahara".
  • Status Quo Is God: In episode 25, three "junior detectives" deduce that Ringo, Leila and Natsuki are in fact Lil' Pri (one of them even figures they use magic to transform, though he gets called out on it). Eventually however, their secret is safe thanks to a disguise used by the mapets while the girls (as Lil' Pri) make it to their concert.
    • This is later lampshaded in episode 26 when the girls teach the queen of Fairy Land to do the pose. She even has her own version ("OHHHHH, KURISUUUUUUUUUU!!!", referring to Chris, who turns out to be the prince of Fairy Land and thus her son)
  • Temporal Theme Naming: Ringo's seven identical little brothers are named Getsu, Ka, Sui, Moku, Kin, Dou, and Nichi. Add youbi to each of those, and you've got the days of the week.
  • This Is Unforgivable!: Sei's response to the girls making fun of Snow White in episode 6.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Ringo loves apple pie (she even sings about it in the opening theme), her seven little brothers love fried egg (as revealed in episode 7), Leila loves pumpkin soup and Natsuki loves pudding. Also, it's revealed later on that Chris/Wish loves omelet rice, though it's a plot point unlike the other examples.
  • Transformation Sequence: Surprisingly short and not very detailed for a Magical Girl series.
  • True Companions: To the point where they never transform without each other.
  • Tsundere: Vivi, the cat-like ma-pet, as revealed in episode 28.
  • Verbal Tic: Dai ends his sentences with the oh-so-traditional "desu", while Sei ends his with "desu zo" and Vivi ends hers with "de chi". Also, each episode title ends with the princesses saying "pri".
  • Visual Pun:
    • An unintentional example in episode 11. When Atsui-sensei mentions that his bride is a very big woman, Sei, Dai and Ryoku imagine a fire-breathing Godzilla-esque Kaiju wearing a wedding veil, lipstick, and carrying a bouquet. In other words, a Bridezilla.
    • Another example, this time very intentional, occurs in episode 38. At one point, Mr. Santarou says the number 9 ("ku"), refers to Dai as a squirrel ("risu"), and holds up a box ("masu"), to form "kurisumasu" (the Japanese pronounciation of the word "Christmas").
  • Whole-Plot Reference: Episode 24, a Natsuki-centered episode, is one towards The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter (otherwise known as Kaguya-hime, which is the "fairy tale princess" Natsuki represents).
  • Wonder Triplet Powers: A "Secret Lilpri" segment in episode 37 reveals that the girls have to transform together (otherwise, it won't work), resulting in this trope.
    • Inverted in the original arcade game, where they only transform individually; it will always be the one the player selects at the start of the game.
  • World's Most Beautiful Woman: The girls are said to be this after transforming by several magic mirrors.
  • Year Inside, Hour Outside / Narnia Time: In episode fourteen, the Queen brings the girls to Fairyland, and it's not until late that night that they realize no one back home knows where they are. They're promptly told by their tour guide, a fairy named Roo, that when they get back it'll be the same time they left.

Alternative Title(s): Lilpri, Hime Chen Otogi Chikku Idol Lilpri