by Maria M. Rider
Swanoguchi Sae and her friends cast their spell on the WoWoW cable television waves with a new series based off of the OAV series. Maho Tsukai Tai! (I Wanna Learn Magic!) continues the adventures of Sae, Nanaka, Akane, Takeo, and Ayanojou at Kitanohashi High School. The Kitanohashi Magic Club continues to "save" the earth from the polite, yet, mysterious alien invaders, which landed on earth one day and destroyed the whole UN army that came to battle them.
The TV series takes place right after the end of the OAV series as a start of another school year at Kitanohashi High School opens to the first meeting of the Kitanohashi Magic Club. As Sae and Nanaka arrive at the Magic Club meeting room, they find Ayanojou and Takeo in a risqué position. As usual, Akane is out doing something else even though she is part of the Magic Club and doesn't make an appearance at school. Instead, Akane models and hangs out with guys in sports cars while the Magic Club takes care of business. The show still retains that ecchi aspect as in the OAV series with Takeo daydreaming ecchi thoughts about Sae, Nanaka, and Akane at inopportune times. The Magic Club decides to rid the area of the mammoth cherry tree, which is located in the center of the city.
Sae's magic affects the cherry tree in a weird way as it appears to be alive and moving its way through the area on its own. The UN Forces are puzzled at the sudden movement of cherry tree and close in to investigate. Mizuha, Takeo's rival, jiggles in and rants on the news about the possible cause of the cherry tree's sudden animation. The Magic Club continues to figure out a way to stop the cherry tree from moving as the UN Forces continue to become a threat.
Using their magic, the Magic Club manages to stop the cherry tree from moving haphazardly through the series. They move the tree to a more adequate spot outside the city and leave the scene. As they leave though, Sae senses something , but is called away before she can investigate. A mysterious girl wearing a poncho floats in the air smiling as Sae runs off...who is she? What is she doing there?
All the original seiyuu have reprised their roles in the TV series and do a stupendous job. The klutsy Swanoguchi Sae is played by Konishi Hiroko (Nanohana Jiyuu in Juubei-chan and Nene in Bubblegum Crisis 2040 TV), who does justice to her ditzy role. Sae's best friend Nakatomi Nanaka is played by Iizuka Mayumi (Kasumi in Pocket Monsters). She plays the reluctant friend and Magic Club member very well to the enthusiastic Sae. Aikawa Akane played by Iwao Junko (Key in Key the Metal Idol and Tomoyo in Card Captor Sakura) plays the slacky, yet beautiful Akane like her Tomoyo role in Card Captor Sakura. Playing the effeminate Aburatsubo Ayanojou wonderfully is Koyasu Takehito (Hotohori in Fushigi Yuugi and Mosquiton in Master of Mosquiton). He always voices those bishonen types because of his very smooth voice that makes girls melt.
The music, especially the background music, takes a lot from the original OAV series. The opening song, "I Wanna Do More" is a lively song, which has the series characters' singing along makes it very catchy. The ending song, "Should I Do" is much like the opening song, but it is slower paced. Both songs are sung by Ozaki Ami. There is also an image song, "Over the Rainbow" which sung nicely as the girls get into a sticky situation. The art and animation is definitely up to par of that of the OAV series as it seems nothing has been sacrificed with the TV series production.
Slated for release on LD and DVD starting on 10/25 for a multi-volume series it currently shows on the WoWoW cable television station at 7:00 pm. This wacky series definitely has potential as the quality has not faltered with its transition to television. The author enjoyed the original OAV series and looks forward to seeing more of the TV series. One can only hope there will be a movie one day for those Maho Tsukai Tai fans, but if not the TV series will keep a lot of people happy.