Maburaho: Bewitched and Bewildered
The Most Powerful Magician in the World has a problem. Actually, he has three problems. One is blond and lusty. One is pink-haired and “the perfect wife.” And the third dresses like a samurai and wants to kill him. Also, he is a terrible student and, even though he is the most powerful magician in the world, he can only use magic eight times before he turns into dust. So make that: The Most Powerful Magician in the World has a LOT of problems.
Maburaho is the story of that magician, named Kazuki, and his misadventures at an elite school of magic, a tony, upscale sort of place where your worth is measured in your power and the number of times you can cast your spells. His poor study habits leave him with low grades, and only being able to cast eight spells makes him one of the lowest students. Things change when the students find out his family is extremely powerful and, while he can only cast 8 spells, his family is due to have a great and powerful magician in its line. Kazuki isn’t that important but, as you will find out, the word “genes” is repeated every few minutes because everyone wants his genes. Having a powerful magician in the family would be a tremendous prestiege boost. Naturally, the three girls are out to bring him in, whether he’s willing or not.
Episode One, called “I Showed Up…” sets up the situation, introduces Kazuki and lets us know that while he might be powerful, he’s also a really bad student. Things begin to go awry the day he returns to his dorm room and finds he has a wife, even though he’s too young to marry. Things barrel from awry to crazy when two more girls decide to lay their claim to him, excepting the one who wants to kill him for being such a slacker and kind of a jerk. The boys at school are annoyed at the attention he’s getting and, once the other girls find out about him, the boys get even more annoyed.
“It Fell” is the second episode and while it contains no major plot twists, it continues the school of magic routine with Kazuki continually getting in trouble and annoying his three would-be wives, as the school conspires to get one of them away from him. The teachers are no less prone to troublemaking than their students, indeed, Kazuki’s homeroom teacher can’t even keep the walls from exploding outward every few minutes.
If there’s anything to ding it on, it’s that Maburaho is a little too self-consciously wacky. There’s a lot of humor to be milked from the situation, to be sure, but there’s a bit of trying too hard surrounding some of the situations. There’s zany, madcap humor, and then there’s shoving your way along with a sign that says “Zany, madcap humor” taped to your back.
I did enjoy the series, it’s very slapstick and silly a lot of the time, and there’s an undeniable appeal to hot anime babes. The setup is interesting enough, and Kazuki’s tendancy to use his magic when he only has eight casts is bound to lead to trouble down the road, but it’s not particularly deep yet. While it may change down the road, right now Maburaho’s a silly little anime, good for a break between more serious fare.
Extras: Translator Notes, The Art of Maburaho, Original Japanese Promos, The Magic Times “Newspaper”Insert, Clean Open/Clean Close