Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Anime Review: Rental Magica

Another Nozomi show that has recently been streaming on youtube and this time they were streaming it in chronological order which actually made me interested. I read the reviews for the DVDs back when they came out and the general consensus was that there was no reason to watch the episodes out of order, unlike Baccano! or debatable-y The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzimaya where it added something to the story, and previously Nozomi had only streamed the show in the broadcast order. So it was October, I was looking for even more horror/magic shows to watch and this seemed like an alright choice.

Rental Magica

Summary: Itsuki Iba is the young new president of the company Astral, a company composed of mages who rent out their services to resolve various problems. The company itself has a few problems, they never get the big jobs, several of the characters have troubling pasts, and Itsuki has a magical eye that will one day kill him but overall they manage to stay upbeat no matter what comes their way.

The Good: Lately it seems like all the magic in anime is of the same kind (or at least compared with all the YA fiction I read where I am constantly surprised at how creative authors and characters can become) so it was nice to see a show put in some effort into having radically different types of magic. I especially liked the ghost girl's poltergeist magic, I'm sure supernatural experts would say that it's all wrong but it's so unusual to see a ghost character, much less one that does something more than just talk exposition, that I liked her. 

The Bad: The last episode in the show was an odd one to end on. It would have been a weakish filler episode but as a last episode it made no sense, why didn't they end just an episode earlier after a multi-episode arc? The opening credits also spoil that arc a bit for some unknown reason which is always frustrating, it kills any bit of suspense you might have about it. I also found the love triangle the series tried to develop very cliched (I've seen plenty of much more unlikeable male leads suddenly have girls fawning over him but that doesn't mean it never stops baffling me) and wish that had either been cut from the story all together or toned down. Finally, I wish there had been some more connection between all the different arcs (the single episode stories and the multi-episode arcs alike) since a story needs connections to feel cohesive and this anime just didn't have them.

The Audio: There were some episodes where the opening song was in English for some reason, I'm pretty sure it wasn't for the later broadcast episodes and I didn't think that those episodes were really special ones, and again the ending credit song is shown over a still image instead of the real end credits. There isn't a region 1 dub for this show (I honestly don't know if there's any English dub for it) and the Japanese voices were okay. No one's really stood out, it was all just solidly average just like everything else about the show.

The Visuals: This isn't a show you watch for the visuals. Sure the designs are consistent and there was some effort made to make all the different types of magic look different but there's nothing exciting or new about any of it. No odd color schemes, unique character designs or super detailed work to keep my attention, I even used the fight scenes as a chance to change my thread or grab more fabric for all the sewing projects I was working on which sums up the series as a whole, nice enough to have on in the background while I work but nothing that commanded my full attention.

Honestly more than anything else this show made me want to go back and re-watch Ghost Hunt (which has a vaguely similar premise) which is both a good thing (I really like Ghost Hunt) and a bad thing (apparently I liked it much more than this show). So not planning on buying this one anytime soon, sorry guys, it just didn't do enough for me. 

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