Review by: Ai Kano
Publisher: FUNimation Entertainment
Running Time: 320 minutes
Rating: TV PG
Release Date: November 25, 2008
Girl power to an even more dramatic and magical degree.
Fans of Tenchi Muyoi can tell you that the Sasami character has been reworked in a number of ways after the initial series ended. Even Sasami’s personality has changed from the various incarnations but it wasn’t until Magical Girls Club TV series that this cute girl with the cute voice was transformed into a bubbly fifth grader who still loves to cook and has an eye for magic.
If there’s one thing that can be said about Sasami: Magical Girls Club is that it’s never business as usual after each episode. The characters never have fun one moment, face a danger then go back to being their fun-loving self again until the next episode. In fact, the events they encounter seem to change them and force these grade school students to grow. While the first season was good fun, Season 2 of Sasami is the turning point in the lives of these adorably magical girls. This 2-disc collection covers episodes 14 through 26 and it’s already a step above the first season.
After having competed in a magical tournament, bubbly Sasami and her friends have made quite an impression on a powerful clan of witches that include the Sparkle Team. The Chief Sorceress was so impressed that she sent the girls a special invitation to attend a summer camp specifically gear towards young girls with an advanced knowledge of magic. Just about the only ones that don’t like the thought of the girls going to the Magic World is their feisty magic (and cooking) club advisor, Washu, and the loyal Daimon. There’s just something about the offer that doesn’t sit well with both of them.
Yet, against the wishes of their parents and Mrs. Washu, the five girls go to the other world anyway. It is there that they discover that their magic can do so much more and it is the often shy Misao who truly feels that she belongs among the number of magically gifted girls of this land. Meanwhile, Sasami’s father is in the very same land looking for the boy named Amitav he had befriended while roaming this land. Thinking the girls are in danger, Washu, Daimon and Washu’s loyal furry pet, Ryo-Ohki enter the Magical World in search of the girls.
Washu does manage to convince the girls to come back with her and thus sparking the fuse that would light a most interesting fire and set off a chain reaction of events that would change the girls’ lives. For starters, Misao felt that she was torn away from a place that felt comfortable for her. Since the start of the series, she was always sitting on the sidelines as Sasami was always receiving the bulk of the attention and even the admiration of the boy she had a crush on but only has eyes for Sasami. Secondly, she feels that nobody acknowledges her powerful magic that is visibly improving. The girl even becomes so depressed that she begins to withdraw from her circle of friends as well as the club.
Meanwhile, the Chief Sorceress felt she was cheating of having the girls in their realm that she plots to take them back … by force if necessary. She sends an ally to attack Washu and Daimon for interfering with her plans and traps the girls in the school building. When the girls mention that it might be the work of witches, it is Misao who refuses to believe it. In fact, she even runs away from her friends. It isn’t until Misao is visited by the young witches of the Sparkle Team that she considers their offer to join them back in the magical realm. She even lashes out at her friends when she comes to realize that the boy she likes will never see her the same way that he sees Sasami. Turning her back on her friends, Misao joins the Sparkle Team and takes off.
While Sasami and her friends are baffled by their friend’s disappearance, Misao becomes more powerful than she ever imagined. Her magic certainly has improved enough that she is appointed a very important role among the witches. She becomes a leader of witches even though she is still quite unsure of herself. Things get worst out there when the rumors of Sasami and the rest of the girls have come to the land in search of Misao.
While still keeping things very light and still overly sweet, there are some dark moments in this season and they’re mainly a result of Misao’s change that becomes more than just magical but also physical. Sasami even feels hurt to the point that she can’t believe something as pure as magic can cause so much pain. With a friendship at stake, Sasami pushes herself to try to understand the things that make no sense to her. In other words, Sasami and the girls grow up a little. Well, not enough that they don’t lose that overly sparkly, bubbly cuteness. Still, the confrontation between Misao and Sasami is definitely not sparkly.
Then there’s the business with Amitav. He helps the girls during the confrontation with the witches and it becomes clear that Sasami has a major crush on him. Amitav, on the other hand, feels a deeper connection with Sasami’s father, Ginji. Once again, the Chief Sorceress brings trouble to the human world where she brings in a final showdown.
The second season of Sasami is certainly a little darker in tone but it works well for the series that still remains overly cute and light when things slow down. It’s certainly good to see the characters grow with their magical abilities and Misao’s change strains their friendship but goes to show what the power of true friendship and loyalty is all about. For my money, Sasami: Magical Girls Club is still the best bet to introduce anime to young girls ready for something with a little more heart.
DVD REVIEW BREAKDOWN
Just when we were enjoying the tournament story arc, the second season brings a touch of darkness to an otherwise lighthearted season. The girls up their magical skills as well and shy Misao no longer wants to be overshadowed by Sasami.
VIDEO QUALITY: A
It’s always great to see the video quality this pristine and even more so when the animation is this cute.
AUDIO QUALITY: A
The soundtrack and the Japanese voices (as well as the English dub voice acting) is top notch so it’s good to see that the audio has that Dolby Digital treatment that comes through nicely. Magical Sweets performs the opening and closing themes and they’re not bad but not great either.
Trailers aplenty on the two DVDs but there’s very little else here in terms of extras. We would have loved audio commentary from the voice actors.
Season 2 of Sasami still proves that this is series continues to be one of the most entertaining and ultra cute anime shows to come along. Young girls can definitely enjoy the fun stories that make up this season and watching the magical girls really shine in this one makes this the best season of the series yet.