Friday, August 03, 2012

Magical Pokaan – review

Director: Kenichi Yatani

First aired: 2006

Contains spoilers

Magical Pokaan (or Renkin 3-kyū Magical? Pokān) was an anime that followed the misadventures of four princesses from the netherworld. These were Uma (Momoko Saitō) the Witch, Pachira (Aya Hirano) the Vampire, Liru (Hitomi Nabatame) the Werewolf, and Aiko (Satomi Akesaka) the Android. Also with them, but not often appearing in the series was their chaperone, the invisible Keimie (Nomico).

In many respects this was the Japanese equivalent of the classic Universal monster mash. Obviously there was Pachira as the vampire and Liru as the werewolf (although she tended to turn into a cute dog rather than a wolf). Keimie took the place of the invisible man and it became clear that Aiko was the updating of the Frankenstein Monster (in a later episode we see a picture of the monster).

the princesses
The series defied convention in that the opening credits were in a style associated with a more serious, drama type anime but, in fact, this was just a pure comedy with no overarching story. The girls live in a treehouse and each episode (bar the 3 OVAs found on the DVD release) is split into two parts – often with disparate storylines. More sketches than story (though a couple did run over more than one segment. There was a reliance on fan service, which often seemed a little inappropriate.

a generic vampire
As well as the girls the, main recurring character was the mad scientist Super Doctor K-Ko (Shōko Tsuda) and her diminutive sidekick Hongo (Kishō Taniyama). However they only appeared in a few segments – the doctor wished to expose the princesses for scientific glory, though when this is achieved it doesn’t go the way she imagined… that is until Uma exposes a lot more than planned on TV. Santa also appears in a couple of episodes – or at least a homeless man that the girls mistake for Santa.

snow people feed on lives
As mentioned Pachira is the vampire character. Before we look at her I should mention a segment where aliens are draining blood from people (they are baby aliens and their mother is injured) – something Pachira is blamed for. We also come across two snow people who freeze the girls so that they can feed on their lives – this doesn’t go to plan thanks to Aiko. Pachira herself is not particularly with it during the day and, if she goes out in the sun, she wears a big coat and a box on her head (or carries an umbrella) – except when on the beach, when she smothered herself in sunblock.

not appearing on camera
She drinks blood (or more often tomato juice) but she also gives blood in one episode – when she fell for the male nurse at the blood van. She can sprout claws, bat wings and has bats in her hair ties and her slippers. She is particularly obsessed with her small breast size. Pachira does not show up on camera – but can be seen with an infrared camera. Other than that there is little to say about the vampiric aspect of the show.

The animation was ok, nothing special but not shabby either. The lack of a cohesive storyline was missed but, in bite sized chunks (as it was designed to be watched) the show was amusing enough. All in all 5 out of 10.

The imdb page is here.

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