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AKA: Mahou Gakuen Lunar! Aoi Ryu no Himitsu, Magic School Lunar! Secret of the Blue Dragon
Genre: Slapstick comedy / magical girl
Length: OAV, 10 minutes
Distributor: Currently unlicensed in North America
Content Rating: Y7 (animated violence)
Related Series: N/A
Also Recommended: (video games) Lunar: Silver Star Story, Lunar: Eternal Blue
Notes: Based on the video game "Lunar: Magic School" for the Sega Saturn, itself a remake of an obscure Game Gear game called "Lunar: Walking School". Unlike the other Lunar games, neither the original nor the remake have ever been released outside of Japan.

This anime preceded Neon Genesis Evangelion: Death and Rebirth in Japanese theaters.
Rating: Three StarsThree StarsThree Stars

Magic School Lunar

Synopsis

All is not well at the Magic School. Barua, a member of the feared Vile Tribe, has kidnapped many students of the school with a ransom demanding the power of the Blue Dragon. Instead of sending the power of the dragon, the officials send Ellie, Rena, and Senia, who attend the school as well, to rescue the students from Barua and her leader, the giant headed Memphis.


Review

I owe an apology to not only the readers of my first review for this, but also to anyone and everyone who enjoyed this anime (and you know who you are). You see, after I wrote the first review, I did some internet surfing about the general opinion, and found that it was being praised more than mocked. At this point, and after thinking hard for three days and three nights, including a rewatching, I have come to the conclusion:

I made a big mistake in the previous review.

Now, the plot is fairly simple. As shown in the old review, the idea is that Barua kidnapped roughly all the not significant students and held them hostage with the misproportioned Memphis. The ransom note has one request: the power of the Blue Dragon. Instead of sending it (in fact, even the dean of the school was baffled as they didn't have this), the school sends Ellie, Rena, and Senia, which makes for fun interactions.

Now here is where I made my mistake: I took the plot WAY too seriously. While the idea of a plot this goofy and cliche isn't too appealing, the makers decided to take it towards a more light-hearted effort, while I was expecting a much more serious affair. After finding my mistake, I decided to once more watch the anime, this time with a sense of comic relief. My findings proved it. This anime is goofy and knows it, and thus plays it over the top. Simple, I know, but it works. Heck, I enjoyed a hearty laugh here and there. This realization requires me to rewrite this review and give it a better rating.

However, let's continue the review, this time with the characters. I've never played the game this was based on at all, so I have no clue how loyal the characters are. Ellie, Rena, and Senia are your three main characters and while going to save the students, have some funny dialogue and meet up with a Lunar Flying Cat(tm) during the trek. Staying at the school is the dean, who goes into a group of emotions in his screentime, some of which include confusion, shock, concentration, and seriousness. Spectral, this one. Among the villains are Barua, the kidnapper and, arguably, the most uncontrollable anime character of all time. Heck, Asuka Soryuu Langley was Belldandy compared to this girl. Barua will go into a mad frenzy with a whip in hand at a moment's notice, which seems to happen far too often. Memphis doesn't seem to mind, he's got his head set on the power of the Blue Dragon...and what a head it is. Seriously, Memphis's head is the third biggest object in the latter half of the feature. However, as we learned from Torgo from Manos: The Hands of Fate, big body part=comic material. The final two significant characters are a random yellow dude (don't ask me, I just calling them as I see them) who serves as both a character and, tempoararily, as our narrator. Also on the cast is apparently a cohort of the villains named Minotaurus...wait, a blue haired femme fetale with a dull witted minotaur sidekick named "Minotaurus"...where have I heard this before?

...yeah, it sounds like Puyo Puyo. Personally, I prefer Rulue over Barua...for the safety of my walls, thank you.

Finally, I touch on the artwork for reanalysis. Now that I viewed this anime openly, it looks pretty good for a mini-movie. It's no five star classic, but it's substantial for a ten-minute production. However, I can still say that the art for the characters is nowhere near good, but it's not the worst I've ever seen (go to Powerpuff Girls Z for that one). Sadly, while I can change my view on the art, I can't do the same for the animation, because the awkward pace does not help this at all, sadly. By comparison, the Pikachu shorts for Pokemon movies have decent animation and decent art, which is one-up from this. While I openly dislike the Pikachu shorts, I can't help but think of them as decent for a young audience or as a "warm-up", and I can say the same of this.

After debating with myself, I decided this deserves at least a three. No more, no less, but you can chalk down a couple stars if you prefer serious subject matters.Jake L Godek

Recommended Audience: Since there isn't much in the way of blood or heavy moments, this is an anime everyone can watch ... if you want to watch it, of course. The only noteworthy part is the animated violence.



Version(s) Viewed: Prerelease fansub
Review Status: Full (1/1)
Magic School Lunar © 1997 JC Staff / Kadokawa Shoten
 
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