Omishi Magical Theater: Risky Safety
A young girl, Katsuragi Moe, is caught in a depressive funk on a rainy day. An apprentice shinigami (death spirit) named Risky is assigned to take advantage of this and steal her soul. Unfortunately ... he's three inches tall, and his attempts to do his job meet with exclamations on how cute and funny he is. To make things worse for the punkish Risky, he is actually sharing his body with a near-sighted, well-meaning angel, named Safety. Risky and Safety essentially grapple over Moe's spirit, then over the souls of those around her. Moe's life has just become a good deal more complicated, but she certainly won't have to worry about being alone!
With a title like "Risky Safety", you'd expect some sort of hyperkinetic comedy show. However, this anime is far from that ... rather, it's the kind of gentle shoujo drama that focuses on realistic characters, with a cute fantasy take that is sort of a neat twist on the conflict of the angel / devil conscience.
And what are Risky and Safety but manifestations of the devil and the angel conscience that we've grown to accept as the metaphor for good and evil within ourselves. But, just as the humans in this show, both Risky and Safety are fully-fleshed, realistic personalities of their own. Though Risky is a god of death, ready to strike out and claim souls for the Devil, he's klutzy, goofy, more than a bit compassionate, and actually quite lonely. Whereas the well-meaning, but near-sighted Safety has her own quirks, being optimistic but not terribly competent. Of course, the fact that they share a body becomes a comedic point in itself quite frequently.
The main character, Katsuragi Moe, is quite an interesting one herself. Societal and scholastic pressures threaten to drown her in a constant state of despair, but she takes comfort in the relationships she has with those around her, including her friendship with the twin spirits.
It's a credit to the animators that they pay such close attention to detail. From the first episode, in which a scene from Moe's point of view is blurred until she dons glasses, to scenes of Risky and Safety summoning up magic spells, it's obvious that, while not flashy, the animation is very competent and expressive for a shoujo series.
Perhaps what prevents this from attaining that fifth star is the limited scope of the series, which is hampered by short (ten-minute) episodes, and distracting and slightly patronizing narration (which makes it obvious this was intended for 6-14 year old girls). It's also very slow-paced, which may turn off viewers with short attention spans, or those who are in the mood for a wild comedy or action series. Wild this is certainly not.
However, with well-done, if very understated music, and a beautiful theme song (unsurprising given the voice cast, which includes Sakamoto Maaya as Katsuragi Moe), and a wonderful cast and storyline, this sweet, slow-paced shoujo series is worthwhile viewing for fans of character-driven dramas. It's not quite like any other anime I've seen, and that's saying a lot.
And it's certainly not what I'd normally expect from Omishi Rei, the creator of Sorcerer Hunters!
ot big enough in scope to be the very best, but far better than most TV short series that have been released. — Carlos Ross
Recommended Audience: Risky's sharp scythe is less threatening than comical. In one episode, a character risks her life to save her father from a fire, but that's as exciting as it gets. The lead character does have a relationship with a rather younger male character, which may put off some viewers, but it's a very mild relationship (they don't even kiss). Probably best for older children and above due to emotional content, but there's nothing truly offensive here. Action fans should really move on and find another series for their fix.
Version(s) Viewed: Prerelease fansub
Review Status: Partial (8/24)
Omishi Magical Theater: Risky Safety © 1999 APPP / Pony Canyon
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