Clocking in at a mere four episodes and an OVA, “Magical Play” is another in a long line of Magic Girl shows (like “Sasami” and “The Familiar of Zero”), but we have dual stories going on (actually, we have several story lines, but they are all kept nicely apart), although, as with much in life, they cross and intersect.
The main story involves Padudu (that’s the one wearing the fish. It is not a fish costume, it is a fish, Uokichi, kind of like her familiar). She wants to become a real Magical Girl on Earth (she comes from the land Sea Heaven) and to this end, she needs to gather 20 Flower Stars. These are earned by doing tournament battles with other magical girls. When you get the 20 stars (and have filled up your card), you may then proceed to the next level.
Sadly, when you wear a fish, you are subject to all kind of problems, such as being grabbed by a large hungry eagle who wishes to dine on you, which is how the show opens. Padudu manages to break free, but then plummets to the town below.
In the town, a tournament is being held and Pipin (that is the one on the far left) has just defeated another magical girl. However, before she can claim her prize, Padudu crashes upon her, knocks her out and Padudu gets awarded the Flower Star. Pipin spends the rest of her time trying to wrest the star back from Padudu.
As they travel to the next town, they come across MyuMyu (the fetching one in the middle). That is not a cat costume, but actual flat cats (Lyka and Akyl), who are like ribbons and lie against her. That one has an inordinant amount of wardrobe malfunctions, as the cats gorge themsleves on food and fall off, or try and run away to check out a catnip booth, leaving her naked.
MyuMyu pretends to be a friend, but is devious, as she wants to be Queen of Sweetland (where this story takes place). She has 10 stars and is well on her way to the top. They decide to team up, as there is safety in numbers, but unaware of any machination that are put in their way.
The other main story involves Nonononn and Queen Purilun. Many years earlier, these two were friends and strove to be the best Magical Girl. But Purilun used fakery and deception to defeat Nonononn and became the Queen of her own planet. Nonononn is now a wanted criminal, accused of destroying towns. Nonononn wants nothing more than to take Purilun down, but Purilun will have nothing to do with her.
Instead, she sends out her minion, the totally worthless Zucchini, who tries and do in Nonononn as well as deal with the other magical girls who could threaten Purilun’s reign. Zucchini, a major league toady and big time suck-up, is known to atone for his trangressions with self-induced corporal punishment, as he has disappointed his queen. However, when he gets an eyeful of MyuMyu, he gets nosebleeds of epic proportions. Only Muttsilini from “Baka and Test” comes close to those efforts.
The shows themselves are broken up into segments that can stand alone, as everyone is put through their paces. To liven things up, we have a sidebar tale, Ketchup and Mustard, two police officers. Their main job is to arrest Nonononn, but they do other jobs as well. They do remind one of Mihoshi & Kiyone from “Tenchi Muyo”, as well as having all kinds of goofy problems befall them, many of them self-inflicted.
The stories are good, as we learn that becoming a magical girl is not all sunshine and lollipops, and not everyone out there is your friend, even those who pretend to be your best friend. You are eventually going to have to turn against those you like to get what you achieve (think of it like “Survivor”, but without Jeff Probst.)
I know if you look it up, it may say 24 episodes, but they are five-to-seven minutes each and have been cobbled into the four full shows, so it’s short run. The frustrating thing is that it ends. There is so much more story to tell and we just leave the show after Nonononn has a duel with Panpan.
I want to know what happens when Nonononn and Purilun finally meet. I want to know if Padudu ever gets her chance to be a real magical girl. I want to know what will happen to Pipin and her flower star. I want to see where MyuMyu loses her cats for good…uh….where she is going with her plans and how many can see through to her nudity…I mean, her true persona. I may have to do my own fanfic and resolve it to my satisfaction.
On a scale of 1 to 10:
Artwork 7 (Some hokey-looking folks)
Plot 7 (Still the ‘we’re gonna make it’ approach)
Pacing 9 (It gets rather crazed and wild)
Effectiveness 5 (The bail-out)
Conclusion 3 (It stops cold)
Fan Service 6 (A similar shows would be “Mahoromatic”)
Overall 8 (I had a good time with it)
And remember, it’s first run until you’ve seen it. And give me back my flower star!