Another magic show, this one takes a different approach to things as we are not interested in levitation or flying a broom, but justice, justice for all.
“Wizard Barristers” takes place in an alternate universe. It is 2018, in Tokyo. Wizards are an established fact, now and in the past. We have humans and wizards trying to live together. Police continue to protect order in society, but wizards (known as Wud, but that is never made clear WHY they are called that) are tried according to magical law through the Magic Prohibition Law, in special courts, defended by wizard barristers via the Court for Magic.
Wizards (and I am not going to call them WUD; that’s the sound 1960s Batman made when he hit criminals) are prohibited from using their magic and barred from certain public positions (and if you wish to draw any real-life analogies to this discrimination, take your pick).
Into this mix comes Cecil Sudo. At age seventeen, this half-Japanese, half-Canadian lass has just become the youngest wizard barrister, after passing the bar exam at age fifteen, and begins work at the Butterfly Law Offices. She has a secret agenda: she wants to find enough evidence to get a retrial for her mother, who was unjustly convicted of murder and sits on Death Row. Now, the agency she works for is stocked with the oddest collection of people ever.
Ageha Chono and Seseri Chono run the firm and I cannot imagine any time in the history of the world when those outfits could ever be considered ‘in fashion’. And Seseri looks like a refugee from the Disco Movement. Or perhaps there was a sale too stunning to be believed and he grabbed whatever he could. Thank God the Fashion Police don’t come after him. Plus, there are times that his hair reacts to how he feels. The other members of their firm (Natsuna Hotaru, Mitsuhisa Hachiya, Moyo Tento, Tsunomi Kabutohara and Koromo Sasori) are just as wacky. There are two others, but it would just add to the strangeness that is already strange.
Then you have the cops (you can’t have law without order). Erari Quinn is the hard-nosed veteran and Ekusou Shizumi is like her rookie partner, but he does things that appear reckless and it almost comes off that he is protecting Cecil. This is never more true when her metamoloid appears. Think of it as a combination of Gundam, Transformer and Lego. It is a type of giant fighting robot, but it is constructed from the metal that is in the area. The transformation scenes are executed well, although one wonders why it is rather primitive and inelegant in constructing this beastie.
The problem with this show is that it telegraphs a lot far too soon and you seem to know something is amiss well before the others do. I want to talk about Sameoka Kiba and Kujira Shibuk. They work for a rival agency, Shark Knight Law. It’s just that in one episode, the Butterfly go to Boston and allow Cecil to see her father in a part of Canada that is 800 miles away, so you have already flown 6800 miles and add another 400 and stop at a roadside diner where YOU MEET BOTH OF THEM THERE! And no one thinks it’s odd?
Another annoyance is their familiar. Every WUD has a familiar, which is a caliber of chibi animal. Cecil’s is Nana Genie, a talking frog who is a Class-A chef and a Class-A pervert, as he is always trying to look up her skirt or catch her is some state of undress. It’s just that the caliber of comic relief is badly timed and doesn’t do much to advance the show. And when all the familiars get together, it becomes a dishing contest, as to who has the worst wizard.
One thing I will give chops to this show for is the brightness. We have gone all out with the color saturation so everything is lively and sharp, even when we are in the murky Hall of Justice’s Court of Magic. That place is dark and dismal and depressing, but things aren’t hidden. You see things quite well.
The actual story does move along well, as the Secret Agency comes to the forefront in the latter parts of the show, but the whole sense of ‘justice’ seems badly skewed, like it always is, favoring the rich, the powerful and the important at the expense of the poor, the meek and the powerless. And since it really is Judge, Jury & Executioner, it gives a terrifying example of ‘swift justice’.
But I am going to suggest you see this show. Not only do you get a different take on the whole magical genre, but also to revel in the compelling artwork (even though they go over the top a few times). The ending guarantees a second season.
On a scale of 1 to 10:
Artwork 9 (Marvelous selection of colors)
Plot 7 (Good retelling of a standard plot)
Pacing 7 (Picks up near the end)
Effectiveness 7 (Some unanswered questions)
Conclusion 7 (It reaches a ‘coupler’, but doesn’t really end)
Fan Service 4 (A similar show would be “Gurren Lagaan”)
Overall 7 (Telegraphed plot points)
And remember, it’s first run until you’ve seen it. She has a metamoloid?