Will she be able to complete her apprenticeship properly?
Someday's Dreamers is an anime series of the shojo genre aimed primarily toward young girls, directed by Masami Shimoda (Ai Yori Aoshi). A Japanese take on the Harry Potter series (with elements of Kiki's Delivery Service mixed in), Someday's Dreamers tells the coming of age story of a 17-year-old Mage named Yume as she begins her apprenticeship as a wizard-in-training. This being Japan, the series puts a bureaucratic spin on its depiction of wizards and magic; a Bureau of Mage Labor oversees all magic use in Japan, and mages work as public servants, using their powers to fulfill citizen requests. Yume, a shy country girl, feels completely out of place in the sprawling metropolis of Tokyo, and this first volume, Magical Dreamer, follows her gradual process of settling into city life and magical schooling.
What sets Someday's Dreamers apart from most anime series is its gentle tone. Unlike its more raucous, action-filled brethren, Someday's Dreamers offers quiet, character-based stories free of explosions and demons. While there is the requisite soap opera element, it's not presented in a madcap, melodramatic way. Watching this series gives one the sensation of falling onto a pile of feather pillows.
If that sounds boring, it's not. Someday's Dreamers does start out slowly, but it puts you right into Yume's shoes as she enters the maelstrom of the big city, and the series is effective in making you feel her loneliness and sense of strangeness. There are also many moments of humor and "cute" situations that instantly endear you to Yume and the people she encounters. And the storylines are clever enough that even viewers who aren't pre-teen girls can get hooked on the show.
Make no mistake, though—this is definitely a girl's anime series. Someday's Dreamers upturns the usual "fan service" routine by replacing panty shots with scenes of strapping, hunky guys baring their well-muscled limbs and chests. And young girls are almost duty-bound to swoon over Yume's studly instructor. Still, any anime fan who appreciates compelling storylines and well-written characters should take a look.
Someday's Dreamers is one of the most beautiful-looking anime titles I've seen in a while, drawn in a soft, pencil-like style, with lots of pastel colors and shimmering mist. That delicate look is translated perfectly to DVD in a flawless full frame transfer free of grain or compression defects. Colors are properly muted but rich. The audio track, too, is outstanding, with a lively and clear Dolby 2.0 Surround track in both the original Japanese and an English dub. The vocal performances on both tracks are outstanding.
Extras on the disc include textless opening and ending credit animations, a music video featuring The Indigo performing the Someday's Dreamers theme song, and a collection of Geneon trailers. The DVD case itself offers a nifty reversible cover, a nice little bonus I'd love to see included more often.
While the giant-robot crowd will certainly run screaming in horror from Someday's Dreamers, those looking for a breather from the typical anime series will find a peaceful haven in this sweet-tempered and entirely captivating series.
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• Opening (Creditless and Japanese)
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