Originally released by ADV, Magikano began hitting American DVD shelves in 2007. This 13 episode series from 2006 didn't really make a huge splash though. It slipped under the radar of all but the most dedicated harem-comedy fans and didn't do much to separate itself from the rest of the crowd. In case you missed it the first time around, FUNimation has picked up the license and put it all together in a two-disc boxed set. The real question is though; is it worth picking up?
You know, when I made the statement that only the most dedicate harem-comedy fans knew of this show, that really rings through to the quality. There is nothing fresh here. It's a genre copy-and-paste that doesn't break any molds, introduce anything new, or think outside the box.
The whole premise of the show focuses on a guy named Haruo Yoshikawa, who always thought he was just an average bloke. There's nothing about him that really stands out. He goes to school, lives in a quiet neighborhood, has three sisters, and everything seems to be dreadfully normal. Unfortunately for Haruo, that's not really the case. You see, his three sisters, Maika, Chiaki, and Fuyuno, are actually witches (big shock), but their peaceful life of hiding their reality from Haruo is thrown into turmoil when another witch named Ayumi shows up. Ayumi is basically cursed to lose her powers, but my awakening the abilities in Haruo and turning him into a "real man", she'll be cured. From that point Haruo's world is turned upside down as Ayumi moves in with them and things get a little crazy around his otherwise dull household.
I think by this point you can figure out where things are going. Essentially Magikano gets its kicks by having Ayumi try to seduce Haruo into becoming a man while his sisters try to prevent that from happening. It's a straightforward concept that has been dealt with many times over. Bountiful amounts of fan service are applied here along with slapstick humor and other nonsensical material. There are references to other anime shows and even some gags that have been used many times before. Magikano does put its own spin on these elements, but I can't deny the fact that they don't have quite the same impact after seeing them so many times.
As the series progresses there are additional love interests and sub-characters introduced. You can't have Ayumi being the only one trying to get into Haruo's pants, so it's only natural that her younger sister is brought into the mix along with a few other girls. They flesh out the cast a little, but they do not offer much in the way of variety. Magikano just feels kind of flat because of this and it's safe to say that just about every personality in this show fits one anime stereotype or another.
The 13 episodes here are rather episodic in nature and there aren't really any major storylines apart from the one that sets up the whole show. These also fit into stereotypes of one variety or another. There's the bikini episode, Christmas episode, New Years episode, and hot tub episode. Considering there are only 13 episodes to work with that's four right off the bat that gobble up much of the run time. As painfully generic as the show can be, I must say there are some bits here that are genuinely hilarious and brilliant. Ayumi's sister is downright raunchy and evil, there's an episode where Ayumi puts on a pair of magic talking panties, and a very nice dream sequence that gives a nod to another popular anime.
The unfortunate part of Magikano is that these impressive and enjoyable moments are mixed in with so much blandness. Sure it's entertaining enough to be watchable, but it's not interesting enough to be memorable. That's really where this show falters quite a bit. It doesn't stand out quite enough to warrant a buying recommendation, though the series is definitely something harem fans should check out via a rental. There are some laughs here, but most of them are ones you've experienced before.
Presented with a full-frame aspect ratio Magikano is actually a nice looking show. The animation is fluid enough, the colors are bubbly and vibrant, and all around there's a certain pleasing look to everything (though some of the designs are a tad too generic). The picture quality is solid all around as well with no grain or compression artifacts to complain about. All in all the show looks pretty good, though there's nothing here that will blow you away or hold your attention for very long.
The Japanese dub comes with a 2.0 stereo presentation while the English receives a 5.1 Dolby surround sound. The overall quality of both is very decent and I have to say that the English cast seemed to have a lot of fun with the script. I didn't appreciate some of the hamming up but it certainly added a ton of energy to the show. The 5.1 English also provided a more robust experience though the sense of immersion wasn't quite as good as it could have been.
Some trailers and clean animation are all you're going to get out of this release for bonus features.
Magikano is a diversion for harem fans that are looking to bridge the gap from one genre staple to another. It's straightforward fan service from start to finish and though there are some laughs as well, there's nothing outstanding here. The concept is dated, the characters are one-dimensional, and most of the episodes are expected staples of the genre. There are a few glimmers of brilliance here and there, but it's not nearly enough to warrant running out and buying this set immediately. I'd say a rental would suffice.
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