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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Sasami - Magical Girls Club: Season One
Sasami - Magical Girls Club: Season One
FUNimation // Unrated // August 12, 2008
List Price: $39.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by John Sinnott | posted August 14, 2008 | E-mail the Author
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The Series:

Though I had watched a few anime shows on TV as a kid, if I had to pinpoint the one show that turned me into an otaku it would have to be Tenchi Muyo.  Creative, funny, action filled, and with a fairly complex story, the original series is a classic.  It has been re-imagined a few times, and while some series are better than others, they all have a certain amount of charm.  The latest incarnation doesn't actually revolve around Tenchi, and isn't connected to the other series by anything other than the appearance and names of some of the characters.  Sasami - Magical Girls Club is more of a typical juvenile magical girl series than a Tenchi spin off.  It doesn't poke fun at itself the way Magical Girl Pretty Sasami did (which has no connections to this show) which is a shame.  While this isn't a bad series, it's not as entertaining as most Tenchi shows.

Sasami is a girl with a secret:  she can do magic.  Her parents forbid her to use her talents, and she obeys them more often than not, it's still irksome that she can't just cut loose.  Things change on the first day of fifth grade when she and her friend Miaso join the cooking club.  The teacher leading the club is the new, rather strange, school nurse, Washu Kozuka.  At the first meeting Washu makes the members of the club chase down her rabbit/cat pet Ryo-Ohki.  Sasami and Miaso are able to capture the creature, but only with the use of magic, which is just what Washu was hoping for.  It turns out that she's from the realm of witches, and her job is to track down girls with magical powers and make sure that they don't use them.

The girls decide to form a magic club, and soon they track down two more members, Makoto Hozumi a short girl who can shrink or enlarge herself whenever she wishes it, and Tsukasa Takamine, a rich girl who has the ability to control the wind.  After getting the group together, the club has some fun, light hearted adventures that are typical of magical girl shows.

Magical girl shows are a dime a dozen, and my biggest gripe with this one is that it didn't do enough to make the show stand out.  Yeah, they used the names and looks of several Tenchi characters, but that just makes the show feel like it's trying to cash in on the Tenchi franchise without doing the work necessary to make a good show.   Aside from the fact that this program (thankfully) does not have an extended transformation sequence, it plays out like any other generic magic show.  The girls all have a single power that they're not supposed to use in school, and every problem is tailor fit so that one of them will be able to get them out of the jam.

Having said that, this isn't a horrible program.   There are some laughs and Washu's constant torture of Ryo-Ohki is rather amusing.  While the show fails to capture the charm of most of the Tenchi shows, there are some good moments and Sasami is a fun girl, but most of the episodes are in the light weight category and easily forgotten after the disc is over.

The DVD:


Audio:

This disc offers both the original Japanese track and an English dub, both in stereo.  I viewed a couple of episodes with the English dub, but they consistently mispronounce the names (often accenting the wrong syllable) and that was irritating enough to stick to the original soundtrack.  They actually have young girls providing the voices for the girls in the show, and it sounded very good, though die-hard Tenchi fans will notice that it's a different voice cast.  As to the quality of the audio, there wasn't anything to complain about but there's nothing special either.  The voices stay centered on the screen, and the few audio effects aren't that impressive.

Video:

The 1.78:1 anamorphic image looks fine.  The show is filled with bright colors, as befits a magical girl show, and these are reproduced nicely.  The blacks are fine and the lines are fairly tight.  On the digital side of things the show also looks good.  Aliasing and blocking are absent, as are other common compression artifacts.

Extras:

Not much in the way of bonus features.  There's a clean opening and closing and some trailers.

Final Thoughts:

I had high hopes that this Tenchi related series would tie into the Tenchi universe a bit more than just stealing the names of some characters.  When all is said and done, it's a nice, if typical, magical girl show.  There is nothing really wrong with it, but nothing that sets it apart from all the other shows like it.  It's recommended for fans of the genre, but Tenchi fans would be best renting it first.
 

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