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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Sasami - Magical Girls Club: Season 2
Sasami - Magical Girls Club: Season 2
FUNimation // Unrated // November 25, 2008
List Price: $39.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by John Sinnott | posted December 5, 2008 | E-mail the Author
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The Series:

When I screened the first season of Sasami - Magical Girls Club, I was pretty underwhelmed.  It wasn't a bad show, but it wasn't much different from all the other Magical Girl anime out there and aside from the names, it didn't tie into the various Tenchi series like I was hoping it would.  The second season still suffers from those flaws, but it's a bit better over all.  There's more continuity and the stories have a bit more drama to them, which is nice. If you enjoyed the first season, you'll definitely want to check out this one.

Series Background:

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, and eventually travels to the Magic World.  There they compete in a magical tournament and come to the notice of some powerful mages known as the Sparkle Team.

This season:

While the first season spent a lot of time introducing the characters and examining their (fairly stereotypical) personalities, in this season the show grows up a bit.  After their performance at the tournament, the girls receive invitations to attend a magic summer camp in another realm.  Washu doesn't like the idea at all, but the girls go anyway.  They have a good time and learn a lot about their powers, but Misao especially starts to feel at home in this other world.

Worried that the girls are in danger, Washu and Ryo-Ohki, along with some support staff, travel across the dimension to find the group and convince them to come home.  She's successful, but Misao isn't nearly as happy back on Earth.  She still feels like an outsider and starts to think that Sasami and the others aren't giving her enough credit and haven't noticed how much she's improved.  When Chief Sorceress sends a team to Earth to bring the Magic Club back to her world, Misao goes willingly and becomes part of the Sparkle Team.  Meanwhile Sasami and her friends are puzzled by Misao's actions and aren't sure what they should do.

While this is still a cute and sweet magical girl show, the program has evolved and has a touch of darkness to it in this season.  Misao is truly unhappy and doesn't cheer up at the end of a show, and she has some real gripes.  I appreciated this season much more than the first due to the more complex storyline and more mature themes.  While this is still very suited for the youngest viewers, it's a show that has grown nicely over its two seasons.

Having said that, many of the comments that I made about the show's first season still apply.  This show uses the names and looks of several Tenchi characters, but that just makes the program 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.

This season isn't all doom and gloom either.   There are still 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.

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, just some trailers.

Final Thoughts:

While this still comes across as a fairly generic magic girl show, this second season creates some slightly more mature themes for the girls to overcome and that's a great improvement.  If you enjoyed season one, be sure to pick this one up to.  Recommended.
 
 

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