Judge Mitchell Hattaway invites you to insert your own anime cliché here.
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"
• Episode 2: "It Fell"
• Episode 3: "It Appeared"
• Episode 4: "I Saw It"
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.
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