ADV Films // 2003 // 100 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Mitchell Hattaway (Retired) // June 9th, 2005
Harry never had it this hard!
Kuzuki Shikimori is a dorky high-school student who can't get a girl to give him the time of day (duh -- this is an anime series we're talking about here). Kuzuki attends the prestigious Aoi High School, a campus for students with magical abilities. Most people in Kuzuki's day and age are able to use magic, but their specific abilities differ, as does the number of times any particular person can cast a spell. The average number of spells for an Aoi student is 8,000. Kuzuki, on the other hand, can only use his talents eight times -- after that he becomes a pile of ash. Thing is, many of Kuzuki's ancestors were powerful magicians, which means their cumulative abilities have been channeled into a latent magical power that now resides within Kuzuki's genes; when word of this gets out, every girl in school suddenly wants a chance to get into his pants.
The first four episodes of Maburaho are included on this release. Here's a brief rundown:
* Episode 1: "I Showed Up"
Kuzuki does his best to avoid the latest battery of magical ability physical exams; he's well aware of the number of times he can use magic and sees no reason to subject himself to another round of humiliation. Feigning illness, Kuzuki flees to his dorm room, only to find a half-naked girl waiting for him. She says her name is Yuna, that she is a newly arrived transfer student, and that she is going to marry him. Kuzuki panics, runs out into the hallway, and slams right into Kuriko, the big-breasted Big Girl on Campus. Kuriko knocks Kuzuki to the floor and tries to rip off his clothes. Yuna attempts to stop Kuriko, only to be startled by the arrival of Rin, the school's resident tough chick. Rin draws her sword and threatens the other girls. Kuzuki runs back to his classroom, only to find Yuna introducing herself to the class as his wife; Rin and Kuriko don't take too kindly to this and start another row. Dr. Akai, the school's resident physician, comes in and explains Kuzuki's background and latent talents. Kuzuki suddenly finds himself the most popular guy in school -- at least with the female students.
* Episode 2: "It Fell"
Kuzuki has nightmares about his three new paramours chasing him. He later begins to understand why the girls have taken a sudden interest in him. Yuna, Kuriko, and Rin all belong to families whose influence in the magical realm is slowly dwindling away, and it's believed that Kuzuki's offspring will help restore their families' stature. Kuzuki heads for his class, only to find himself trapped in a sealed room with the other boys from the school. Seems they don't appreciate all of the attention Kuzuki is getting and want him to stay away from the female population. Rin, Yuna, and Kuriko break in, a fight breaks out, and the classroom is destroyed. The school's administration later rules that any girl is welcome to pursue Kuzuki, but precautions must be taken in order to assure no one becomes pregnant. Kuzuki later learns exactly why Yuna is so adamant about marrying him.
* Episode 3: "It Appeared"
Yuna begins moving her things into Kuzuki's room, although he isn't so sure it's a good idea (he's afraid someone will beat him senseless when it's discovered he's living with a hot girl). Kuzuki attempts to find Yuna a room of her own, but the only available room on campus is occupied by a ghost who refuses to leave. Yuna and Kuzuki offer to help the ghost, whose name is Elizabeth, return to her previous home, a mansion on the school's campus. The mansion is scheduled to be demolished by the real-estate company that now owns it -- a company owned by Kuriko's family. Kuriko agrees to halt the demolition and allow Elizabeth to return to the house, but only if she can have first shot at Kuzuki. Yuna and Kuzuki refuse the offer and must then find another way to help Elizabeth.
* Episode 4: "I Saw It"
Kuzuki has dreams about being attacked by a large monster. Dr. Akai tells him these dreams are actually visions of the future. Overhearing the conversation, Kuriko decides to hunt down Kuzuki's dream creature, which she believes to be roaming around the campus. Kuzuki, Kuriko, Rin, and Yuna scour the school for the creature but have no luck. Kuriko then confronts Akai about the monster, which she believes he has locked in a room in the nurse's station. Turns out Akai does have a monster locked in a room in the nurse's station, but there's yet another creature roaming the school, as Yuna discovers when she foolishly opens a locker in a storage room.
Maburaho kept me entertained while I was watching it, but I stopped thinking about it the moment it was over. It's not a bad show, but it's not particularly distinguished, either. There's nothing really original about the characters or the situations. That being said, it's reasonably fast paced, doesn't take itself seriously, and, for those who are into this sort of thing, showcases a large number of well-endowed young women in various stages of undress (fan service is quite possibly this show's primary reason for being). There's just one thing I don't get: Kuzuki has all of these women throwing themselves at him, but he spends a lot of time running away from them. What's wrong with him? I don't see what the problem is. What's so bad about a bunch of hot young women who want to make the beast with two backs? Better yet, imagine all of the money he could make offering stud services. Ah, maybe it's a cultural thing.
ADV's presentation here is quite nice. The transfer is extremely fine -- it's clean and clear, with bright, bold colors. The Japanese stereo track is pretty much anchored to the screen, with very little in the way of channel separation. The 5.1 English track (which contains some very misguided dubbing) won't blow you away, although it does a nice job of opening up the sound. Extras include some production sketches, Japanese promo spots for the show's original broadcast, previews for other ADV releases, and an interview with Richard Kim, the man responsible for the show's English translation (this is a pretty interesting little feature, even if Kim does have a tendency to ramble). You also get an insert designed to resemble an issue of Aoi High's school newspaper (which isn't so interesting).
Maburaho is a marginally entertaining show, but I doubt it will ever grow beyond its status as a pleasant enough time waster. I can't recommend an outright purchase, but a rental wouldn't be out of the question. Be warned: I'd advise that anyone interested in the series take the episodes one at a time; there doesn't appear to be any sort of arc to the stories, so watching them in one sitting can be a little tedious.
Review content copyright © 2005 Mitchell Hattaway; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2013 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: ADV Films
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (Japanese)
Running Time: 100 Minutes
Release Year: 2003
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* "Translator Notes" Featurette
* The Art of Maburaho
* Original Japanese Promos
* The Magic Times Newspaper Insert
* Clean Opening/Closing Animation
* Volume 2 Preview
* ADV Previews
* Anime News Network Page
* Official Site