Magic User's Club! OVA

Alt title: Mahoutsukai Tai! OVA

OVA (6 eps)
1996 - 1997
3.436 out of 5 from 880 votes
Rank #7,260

Without warning, a giant alien bell suddenly appeared over the skies of Tokyo. Its purpose, it broadcast, was to take over the Earth, a plan which so far has not been thwarted. Luckily for humanity, the Magic Users Club of Kitanohashi High School is here to save the day! Armed with 2 new recruits and a load of magical talent, Takakura, Aburatsubo, and the rest of the gang begin to train daily for the goal of defeating the bell, and finally earning the respect of the Mizuha Miyama manga club, their largest rival!

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The Bell, Takakura, and Flying Magic

Episode 1

The Bell, Takakura, and Flying Magic

The Giant Top, Mistress Mizuha, and Failed Magic

Episode 2

The Giant Top, Mistress Mizuha, and Failed Magic

The Whirligig, Akane, and Forbidden Magic

Episode 3

The Whirligig, Akane, and Forbidden Magic

The Sea, the Cave, and a Magic Party

Episode 4

The Sea, the Cave, and a Magic Party

Nanaka, Aburatsubo, and Confession Magic?

Episode 5

Nanaka, Aburatsubo, and Confession Magic?

Sae, Jeff, and the Big Spell

Episode 6

Sae, Jeff, and the Big Spell

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This anime is one of the best OVA series that I have seen as it is one that makes use of the timeframe and budget really effectively. As one would expect from an OVA, the animation is great and crisp. This series goes one further with this however as it also uses bright colours, minimum still frames and detailed design on both the characters and the background. The anime does have a shoujo look and feel with the big eyes, ditsy female protagonists and such - which means that everyone is prettily drawn and pleasing to the eye. The motion is another important part of the series as the characters tend to be in flight a fair bit and these scenes are animated well. The contrast between the mecha and shoujo backgrounds (bright park, detailed school yards and the likes) give the show a very appealing feel. It also invites an audience of both males and females because of it. The sound is very fitting for this anime as the music was appropriate to most scenes and the opening and closing songs are fun, fluffly and memorable pop songs. The voice acting was also well-executed (even in English) and the voices sounded right for most characters, though a couple here and there (including Akane and Nanaka) tend to sound like archetypes. This does not really affect the series in a bad way as the length (6 episodes) means that the characters do not get on your nerves. The story is surprisingly very well handled, the mixture of mecha and magic is fluid and interesting throughout and never seems out of place. The execution is to thank for that as everything was paced really well. From the humble beginnings of Sae to the dark and humourous ending, everything flowed really well. The characters are also to thank for this as the focus on them made the anime this much more relatable. They are interesting, fun and serve their purpose very well. AND there is even time to give the characters some depth. Be it in dealing with love, lust or friendship, the characters show multiple layers. A lot of the comedy falls on Takeo and Aburatsubo and those scenes are created with a lot of panache. The one to display the most depth is Nanaka in her dealing with her emotions for Aburatsubo and that is also done very successfully. This anime has great value because I have already seen this OVA series three times and I haven't grown tired of it yet. The amazing thing about this anime is that some situations seem funny enough as they happen on screen but they are even funnier in retrospect, which a lot of comedy series do not achieve. Magic Users Club shows that this is how a comedy should be made. There is also some depth here so if you like this kind of mixture and you think this series will appeal to you, it most probably will.


I really didn’t think I’d be writing a review of this, of all things. I came across a gif from this series on Sankaku Complex, what I was doing there I’ll leave to your imagination, and the character designs were instantly appealing. Little did I know, I was in store for a series where imagination had no limitations… up to a point. Coming off the back of Sailor Moon and Magical DoReMi (and before moving on to other projects like Princess Tutu and Aria), Junichi Sato founded and directed Magic User’s Club. With him, character designer and animation director Ikuko Itoh (Sailor Moon and Princess Tutu as well) came along to provide the magnificent art and designs. But does the impressive staff end there? No! After Serial Experiments Lain and before Texhnolyze and Digimon Tamers, did Chiaki Konaka also come on board as one of the leading writers. Michiru Oshima is also a pretty prestigious composer (Fullmetal Alchemist and Blast of Tempest being some of my favorites) and he made some tracks that really stand out here as well. With all that, you have a dream team at work. To make what? A 19 episode comedy about teenagers going on misadventures because they can use magic, that’s what. And yes, while most tracking websites (maybe even all) have this series broken down into its OVA and TV counterparts, just know they are two parts to one whole. The TV series is a second season that directly follows up on the ending of the OVAs. So for my review, as I watched it all back to back, I'll be discussing both seasons together. It’s rare that a comedy series strikes a chord with me and makes me laugh so much. Magic User’s Club is one of those “not-harems” in vein of the Tenchi Muyo and El Hazard era of shows. Main characters Takeo Takakura and Sae Sawanoguchi are in a romantic comedy of not being able to confess their feelings, meanwhile surrounded by Sae’s best friend Nanaka, the fashion model Akane, and Ayanojou who has an unrequited gay crush on Takeo. And these five misfits use their magical powers to fight aliens and spiritual beings, but more often, just trying cover for their own screw-ups. I really feel satisfied by how creative this show got with the powers. Scaring the military into action after making trees walk, cloning way too many cupcakes, and turning every door in an entire city into portals made for amusing hijinks as ignorant onlookers continually be amazed or confused by what’s really going on. Across both seasons, I’d say most of what’s here is well worth your time when you’re looking for something uplifting. It’s a small shame then that the ending feels so safe. Every show of this kind only does itself a disservice when it goes for a melodramatic final arc about whether or not the teenagers will ever confess. Romance is not this show’s strong suit, and hardly a satisfying note to end on when it had higher stakes already in previous episodes. I only bring this up because final impressions matter. But I’m sure if I turn on any other episode than the last one and a half, I’ll remember what I liked about this series so much. And while that’s true, I’ll admit there’s still something of a mixed bag here to unpack. Takeo is your typical anime loser to lead a harem show of the 90s. Ayanojou is surprisingly funny and a little bit more tame than usual for your eccentric gays in anime—emphasis on a little. However, he does have some weird relationship with his mother where she seems extremely possessive of him, but nothing comes of it and it’s weird that it ever gets brought up at all. Nanaka has this relatable teenage angst about her that was my favorite aspect about her character, but it gets pushed aside for the far less compelling crush she has on Ayanojou. What kills me about it too is that she confesses really early on in the series, and of course gets turned down. But she never gets over it in the entire show. There’s a lot to like about her, but it only gets harder with how often the show beats that dead horse into the ground. That leaves Sae and Akane as the two characters with any real arcs to explore in the series. Sae is the heart and soul of the series. Not very bright, a total goofball, and often the one making problems because her magic is so powerful despite her being an idiot. This is a great recipe for success, but she’s unfortunately at the center of the “melodrama” problem I brought up earlier. Her romantic feelings and how they relate to her magic simply ends up far too ineffective to be compelling. I have a soft spot for Akane though. When the series starts, she’s very misleading. She complains about perverted men, but at the same time will flaunt her sexuality to take advantage of them. This behavior lessens over the course of the series though as we get deeper looks into why she acts so rebellious, skips school, and can never decide on what she wants. As I said up top, she’s a model; and having her life controlled for so long has manifested into an immature and indecisive personality that her friends are willing to be patient with and help her work through. For a show so dumb, and for how often it fumbles on all other drama, it feels like a miracle it gets this aspect so right. I think most of this review is me complaining when not discussing Akane; but that’s honestly because I’m not fit to review comedy all that well. I cannot repeat enough that this show is funny. But its humor is in effective sight gags or line deliveries that the excellent dub nails as well. In my review for Tenchi in Tokyo, I tried to convey it was a great series that had its comedy and themes work effectively in tandem. Magic User’s Club is more like a series that’s funny despite how weak the story is. And you’re better off watching Akane getting chased by a robot and running past the stairs and to the elevator, than me telling you that happens. I’ve only been leaving out one last thing because I can’t think of anywhere else to put it, but this whole show also embodies how to do fanservice right. The camera is never obnoxious and the girls don’t get into situations far too unconvincing that it extends past enjoyable and into cringey egregiousness. This show simply banks on its girls being sexy, behaving and dressing in ways that are attractive but no less in character. I don’t dislike fanservice. I enjoy the body of a woman as much as the next guy. And this show, from my experience, is probably only rivaled by Banner of the Stars in how tastefully it delivers on displaying its arousing women. The second season also has far less fanservice despite being over twice the length. Most episodes are actually very wholesome. Magic User’s Club is free to watch on Nozomi’s YouTube channel and Retro Crush, or you can pay for Crunchyroll Premium; but YouTube is the way to go for the cheapest option with the least ads. You can’t beat that deal. I, for one, will still be adding this to my DVD collection anyway—no bluray remaster unfortunately. It’s the perfect show to turn on with friends for some great laughs.

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