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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Magical Meow Meow Taruto Anime Legends Complete Collection
Magical Meow Meow Taruto Anime Legends Complete Collection
Bandai // G // April 1, 2008
List Price: $39.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Todd Douglass Jr. | posted May 14, 2008 | E-mail the Author
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The Show:

Cat-girls are popular right? I mean, how many shows have had some version of a cat-girl bouncing around whether they belonged or not? It seems kind of strange to say so but I've always felt that as appealing as these characters are they always seem out of place. They feel like random inclusions in most shows and a way to offer otaku something to ooh and ah over. In the case of Magical Meow Meow Taruto cat-girls take the center stage but ironically enough they fit naturally into the dynamic of the show.

Produced by Madhouse, Taruto is a twelve episode series that was originally released in 2001. Since its broadcast Bandai picked up the license and has run with it a few times going from the individual volume releases all the way to this second complete collection. The response from the anime community has been decent but I wouldn't call Taruto a breakout success. It has slowly gained in popularity over the years and after passing on the show for some time I figure it was time to see what the fuss was about.

As you may have figured out by looking at the cover this is a cutesy series designed with younger girls as its target audience. Well, actually it was designed with two audiences; young girls and people who can't get enough cat-girls. If you find yourself in either of those categories then your ship has come in. This series is without a doubt the cutest cat-girl fiesta you'll ever see and because of that it's almost sickening.

The world in Taruto is virtually identical to our own. The biggest difference here is that cats actually appear as cat-girls and possess some magical traits. This is the case because the titular star of this show, Taruto, is actually the long-lost heir to the throne of Ganache which is a magical cat kingdom in another dimension. As king, Taruto's father had many enemies. When they were coming down on the castle of Ganache he had his daughter ushered away in a basket downstream. This river lead Taruto into the loving home of Iori and Kinako and the rest as they say is history. Or is it?

Iori and Kinao are on the move and they are taking Taruto to a new home. In their new neighborhood Taruto meets some other cats, er, cat-girls, named Charlotte and Chitose. The three become friends kind of, though Taruto's country bumpkin nature separates her from the other two. When Taruto comes across a rodent-like thing named Kakipi she tries using magic to help the creature but winds up doing something completely different. Charlotte and Chitose are mesmerized by this magical ability and begin talking about the legendary kingdom of Ganache and a missing daughter of magic.

What transpires after this are mostly episodic tales involving Taruto's adventures in the human world with her friends. Once she determines that she's the rightful heir to the Ganache throne she spends her time trying to better herself and learn magic. Along the way she also meets other cat-girls and boys who either help or hinder her depending on their allegiances. For the most part though everyone takes a liking to Taruto and the adventure is kept painfully innocent.

Surprisingly enough there are some darker moments here that involve the death of some of Ganache's citizens and some opposing forces are out looking for Taruto. These moments are few and far between but they are impossible to avoid. With that being said this boxed set is rated 13+ which is probably setting the bar a little high in my opinion. I can't really picture many kids over the age of 9 or 10 being very interested in this show but an appreciation for cuteness is ageless I suppose.

Beyond the cute element there isn't much going for this series. The plot isn't very involved, the characters are mostly one-dimensional, and the appearance of cat-girls in our world isn't described satisfactorily. It's important to take into consideration the fact that this is a kid's show for all intents and purposes. The level of detail and amount of depth never gets too involved and everything remains cute and fluffy from start to finish. If you're okay with that then you will undoubtedly be tickled pink but if you look for a little "more" in your anime then you're probably going to be left wanting.

The DVD:

Video:

With a production date from almost nine years ago Magical Meow Meow Taruto shows its age somewhat. The full frame aspect ratio doesn't come as a surprise and the abundance of color in the palette is sure to please the young ones as well. The visuals in those do tend to pop but there is a defined softness to the image that gives it a worn appearance. Presumably this is how the show was designed but it's kind of disappointing that we don't receive nice crisp details. Some grain makes its way into what dark moments there are but otherwise there is very little in the way of digital defects on this release.

Audio:

As expected Taruto comes with 2.0 stereo selections for English and Japanese. The technical quality of these is predictable with a somewhat flat presence on the soundstage and an overall lack of directionality. It's a bit underwhelming in terms of presentation but you don't come to a show like this looking for a 5.1 surround option. The dubs are perfectly fine and suitable for the material.

Extras:

The bonus material for Taruto keeps the cuteness of the series going with a selection of music clips featuring the Japanese voice actors for the show dressing up and singing along. It's fluff to be sure but it's definitely a feature that's unique to this series. Otherwise you can expect some trailers and clean animations.

Final Thoughts:

Magical Meow Meow Taruto is a mildly charming kid's show that will entertain the younger crowd with an abundance of fluff and adorability. Older viewers may appreciate the design of the world and cat-girl motif but the lack of any real depth leaves the experience feeling hollow. I personally found the show lightly entertaining but there wasn't enough to keep me coming back or interested. This one is a rental unless you fit either of the aforementioned qualifications of cat-girl enthusiasm.


Check out more of my reviews here. Head on over to my anime blog as well for random musings and reviews of anime, manga, and stuff from Japan!

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