Monday, 01 May 2006 00:00

Renkin 3-kyū Magical? Pokān (TV, 2006)

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Overview

What do you get when you stick four princesses from the underworld into a big tree-house in the middle of a modern day world? Well... it's complicated, actually. That's because Renkin 3-kyuu Magical Pokan doesn't quite seem to be certain of what it wants to be, a serious story or corny childish entertainment. For instance, going by the OP sequence, I'd think that Magical Pokan was not only a serious story, but a thickly occult style series with a predisposition toward shojo-ai plot. On the other hand, I could look at the first half-episode, and think that it was a children's cartoon with some nicely bouncing bonuses for young adult males that happen to catch it.

Remarks

Magical Pokan is about four princesses of the underworld - Yuuma, a witch, Pachira, a vampire, Liru, a werewolf, and Aiko, an android - who come to the human world. At the start of the show, they've setup housekeeping in a huge tree, and have been in our world for about a week total. Unfortunately, they're pretty inexperienced in the ways of the world... Poor Liru keeps getting herself shot at with silver bullets, Pachira keeps forgetting that the sun turns her to ashes, Aiko's become obsessed with tech toys, and Yuuma... well, let's just say her magic produces something of a Marylin Monroe side effect. Yes, I mean that effect...

Now, as I mentioned, what the OP theme, a very kickass OP that's basically a sung summoning spell, suggests is that this story is going to have an occult tone to it, with some shojo-ai touches between the four main characters. The actual result is completely different, though, as the tale so far has mainly been 'Joe-Bob Goes to the Big City' style naivety in a two 'mini-episode' per episode format. Now, this isn't one hundred percent true - episode 2-1, which deals with Liru, bypassed the childishness in favor a passing attempt at a relationship story.

On the plus side, the animation is excellent, and the music is pretty good too, and I'll admit that the girls were starting to grow on me a bit by the end of the second episode. Liru especially seems to be developing, and certainly she's the most mature of the quartet. But the oddball situations that the characters have found themselves in thus far detract from what could have been a great setup.

Overall

Now, I'm not saying that the series is bad - the animation is excellent and the characters are funny... but it is simply not what it makes itself out to be. I'll be watching at least a couple more episodes to see if it develops itself into anything more than fairly basic, 'Oh gee, so THAT'S how human world does it!' stories. But I'm not sure I can recommend it on a general scale. There are redeeming qualities, but the mainstream fan would be better off skipping this series for now. Those that like cute would probably get some decent bang for their proverbial buck, and there's some decent fanservice, but... At best, an 'eh' anime.

Additional Info

  • Title: Renkin 3-kyū Magical? Pokān, Magipoka, 錬金3級 まじかる?ぽか~ん
  • Genre: Slice of Life, Magical Girl, Comedy
  • Director: Kenichi Yatani
  • Studio: GENCO
  • Format: Television
  • Episodes: 15
  • Animation: TOASTY! (+4)
  • Writing: Good (+2)
  • Pacing: Good (+2)
  • Voice Acting: Above Average (+1)
  • Soundtrack: Good (+2)

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