Magical Girl Ore – Anime Preview
Synopsis: “Love makes a girl stronger.” Saki Uno is working hard as part of the new idol unit, Magical Twin. The one she admires most is Mohiro Mikage, who’s the older brother of her idol unit partner Sakuyo, and he’s also a member of the top idol unit STAR☆PRINCE. She would be willing to do anything for him, and one day, those feelings brought on a miracle. Saki ended up turning into a magical girl when she strongly wished to protect someone… But what she turned into wasn’t exactly what she was expecting… (Official Crunchyroll Synopsis)
1st & 2nd Episode Review (Warning: Minor Spoilers to Follow):
Tom: Magical Girl Ore already feels like it’s a low-budget production. To pad out the first episode to full length the series resorts to two ‘full’ dance and song routines, yet reuses animation both times, repeating shots and sequences we literally just saw moments ago, only reorganized. It doesn’t help that when action occurs, even if this is just a comedy, the framing is tight, as if the series is trying to limit the amount of animation required.
Linny: More importantly Magical Girl Ore gives away its ‘gimmick’ right from the start through the promotional material, a quick shot, and even the mid-episode eye catch commercial breaks. This takes away the bite of the twist. Ore might have better benefited from a more discreet take on introducing the reveal, at least for the first episode, then again on the other hand, maybe it works to grab the attention of those who may have never given this show a chance had they assumed it was just another generic magical girl property.
Tom: I’m going to come down hard on the side that spoiling its twist was a bad call, damaging the shock and surprise of the big reveal. If you somehow have managed to stay ignorant of it you might want to avoid my next couple sentences, and the rest of the review.
The entire concept of magical girl transformations turning heroines into buff and tough masculine figures is a fun one, and what makes the show as good as it can be at times.To spoil that on multiple occasions takes away from the end of episode one, where her transformation is revealed in all its glory, or would be, if the eye-catch flash card hadn’t already spoiled it.
Moving on, while our lead Saki Uno is a pretty standard anime lead, hardly feeling like her own, unique, character, it actually works here as she helps to call attention to the subversion of more traditional expectations for the magical girl concept. That said, most every other character currently exists as a gag themselves, or hasn’t been given the screen time to better divine how they factor into the story. It’s understandable, as Magical Girl Ore requires two episodes just to establish its premise, although I can imagine a more efficient version that would’ve got it done in one.
Linny: Another major struggle is how Magical Girl Ore’s comedy is uneven. Gags are at their best when exploiting Ore’s comedic twist but wane when it comes to most other elements. It breaks the fourth wall very early on but then abandons that approach. A lot of the humour is about subverting expectations or putting a twist on popular anime gags such as the ‘late for school, toast in mouth.’ However, if you’re a big comedy fan, you’ll probably have seen other anime that have done a better job of putting their own spin on much the same gags. The show also tries to have more ‘subtle’ comedy such as our lead girl not having the best singing voice as an idol which is never addressed directly but demonstrated very clearly in episode one. That said, the majority of jokes so far are loud, in your face and even in danger of already outstaying their welcome due to their overly repetitious nature.
Tom: The show really doesn’t land its comedy. Whenever it’s performing gags based around the magical girl angle, it works, and quite well at times. But its other, more general anime humor, is extremely hit or miss, suffering largely from poor execution (Ex: poor comedic timing, lack of flair, or lacking a more punchy presentation/delivery.) The music, sound and voice work are other aspects that don’t always help the writing, never quite crafting a presentation that really impresses and leaves a strong mark on the viewer.
Linny: Going back to something Tom touched on, viewers may notice that Magical Girl Ore already feels ‘filler-ish’ thanks to the first episodes lengthy idol performances, namely with one by an idol group that ISN’T even our leads’ failed idol duo. The performance also uses repeated and recycled shots looped during that very same sequence. Combine that with animation that isn’t top notch and concerns arise as to the budget, quality and pacing for the rest of Ore’s run.
Tom: Despite my heavy criticisms I’m still curious about where Magical Girl Ore will go. There’s promise here, and if the series can find its footing, and deliver tighter, stronger, more punchy comedy I can see it really improving. While I can’t recommended the series, I still think it’s one worth keeping an eye on should it improve over time.
Linny: Magical Girl Ore’s biggest and most promising strength is its twist gimmick. The jokes it cracks using that gag help to make the show feel fresh and unique and the comedy in those sequences or related to that twist land better than any of its other content. Given the popularity of magical girl anime, it’s definitely appealing to see a show take all of the popular tropes of that genre and turn them upside down. As long as you go in expecting uneven comedy and uneven animation quality, you may just end up getting hooked for the long run.
Magical Girl Ore is available for streaming via Crunchyroll.