Three hundred years ago, the demon king Giri was sealed away by a magician wielding a powerful summoning magic known as Guru Guru. Now the seal is beginning to break, and the only Guru Guru user left in the world is twelve year-old Kukuri, a naive girl whose magic tends to backfire a lot. The king sends out a proclamation offering a large sum of money for a hero to rise up and slay the demon king, and a lazy boy named Nike is forced to undertake the mission by his overzealous parents. He visits the local Magic Granny to get advice on how to begin his quest, only to have the bumbling Kukuri dumped on him as a travelling partner. Thus begins their journey filled with monsters, magic, and mayhem!
Departure! Boering Village!
Dance! North Town!
Battle! On Saw Mountain!
Off to the Training House!
Rescue! Dohgma Village!
A Rival Appears! Yondor Village!
Discovery! The Fairy Forest!
Reunion! Cattongue Valley!
Mystery! Ruins of the Migu Migu Clan!
Clearing the Endless Tower!
Apprenticeship! Copa's Forest!
Fight! Copahl Castle!
Someone who doesn’t know anything about Mahoujin Guruguru and watches the trailer or perhaps sees the poster and reads the synopsis will most likely think it’s a show for little kids like Dragon Quest. And someone who goes in blind will most likely expect it to be a run of the mill fantasy adventure ala King’s Raid. Well let me tell you this. It’s an anime made specifically for fans of old JRPGs, while at the same time it pokes at the clichés of the genre. And even then it’s not just a plotless parody, since it has an ongoing plot and a solid ending. You are not going to find many shows that manage to do all that. Let it be noted that I knew about this anime thanks to the previous version it had during the early 90s. I liked even that one, since it was one of the better anime to come out at a time when the industry was in trouble and was given reduced budgets. And guess what, even as a remake the newer version manages to be better than the previous one, something which is also very rare. The animation, despite no longer being hand drawn, looks way more polished, the pacing has been improved tremendously, some of the not so funny jokes got removed, and they bothered to actually complete the plot instead of leaving it incomplete because the money ran out. This is what good reboots are supposed to be all about. Taking something that is already good and improving it. Speaking about improvements, most modern anime fans will look at the first episode and, spoiled as they will be by Demon Slayer and Jujutsu Kaisen, they will think ‘How is this and improvement? How bad was the older one?’ The artwork is simplistic and the songs are silly, and yet they fit the type of a show it is. It has an easy going fairy tale-like atmosphere, it has a comedic tone, and it does occasionally change the animation style to something else for the heck of it, such as making it look like cut scenes from an NES game. Prettier colors wouldn’t add anything to it. It’s all about looking crude like an old sprite-based videogame. Now regarding the comedy, it’s not exactly the smartest thing around. It has crude slapstick and basic fan service jokes you have seen a lot of times already. It’s not trying to reinvent the wheel, since the main point was to make you laugh with JRPG stereotypes, such as crisping enemy monsters and helping people only for food and money. And I know a lot of people will not like the sexual jokes, because the characters are drawn to look like they are five year olds and it comes off as pedoshit in some regards. It’s not that bad, since it’s not ever-present or extreme, and especially for something that was originally made in the 90s it’s fairly tame. There are no rapist villains or fully exposed nude scenes, which is what actually aged very badly when it comes to fan service. It’s mostly juvenile panty jokes, okay? If it looks offending to some nowadays, it’s because people became so sensitive they threaten to murder the animators over five seconds of something they didn’t like.By the way, all I said thus far are not the best part of the show. It’s the attention to the plot and the lore. Although it’s not the most complex story out there, since it plays out like a generic fantasy JRPG, it has a decent amount of world-building, it has actual plot progression, and a solid ending. As I said, it is not a plotless slapstick comedy and it is not left incomplete. Same goes for the major characters. Although they don’t have super amazing character development, they do change in simple ways as the story goes on, so it’s not like everything is dumb fun with no actual end goal. There are even a few sad moments regarding the past of the witch and what happened to her people. Even the supporting characters are funny and memorable in their own silly little way, such as the exotic belly dancing old man and the poodle archmage.These are the reasons for why I consider Mahoujin Guruguru a far better series than Made in Abyss, which came out in the same year by the way. It feels like a complete show with actual world building and character progression. It’s not an incomplete tortureporn about a hole in the ground with no lore and with little naked kids constantly suffering because the mangaka is a sick pedo.
*spoiler-free review* Adorable losers fight evil and sometimes there's magic. That invisible anime you never knew or cared existed in summer 2017, amidst all the trash that year, was this remake of a 90's nippon anime, Magic Circle Guru Guru. The premise is simple but since it doesn't matter to watching the anime itself, I'll give the premise on what the anime actually is: Several writers attempt to cram as many fantasy RPG references and absurd humor into a pseudo-chibi gag anime as possible. And... to be honest, it kind of works, at least better than any other gag anime of that type I know. If I had to compare it to something it would probably be Assclass's Spinoff KoroQ, it's like KoroQ if it was funnier and had more reliable gags. Story: It's fun and as I said, simple. The enjoyment comes from the jokes but the story is what kinda strings the gags together. It uses a story that any fantasy RPG would use, hero and mage gets partners beats evil demon king, but makes sure to make fun of it at every turn. They take as many side-trips as possible to stretch it out into 24 full length episodes, but it's still solid at times. I'd say the story is the weakest aspect. Animation: The animation is actually suprisingly better than you'd think it would be, and it really fits. Some of the sequences actually look pretty damn good when needed, and for a series that relies on visual gags just as much as written ones it does it well. Some of them are subtle, some of them not so much, but the directing in animation is what makes it. Sound: Voice acting, music, OPs and EDs are all fantastically fitting and the sound direction never stands out as bad at any time. Characters: Gags, gags, gags. Every character besides the main two have about one or two gags to their name, the old man has his dance (every frickin episode), raid and his goofy-ass dark magic, and a dude who's only thing is he weilds three swords, one in his ass. It's a silly cast for a silly anime, some of them coming in handy at unexpected times. The show's subversion humor relies on these guys, some of them fall flat but some of them are actually pretty funny. Overall: Worth it for a casual watch and a laugh every now and then, but not amazing or great. It's a completely passable comedy, and probably the best of its kind that I've seen that makes use of these RPG tropes.
-Spoiler free, but playing JRPG's may make you see things coming- -TLDR- Incredibly charming, well animated and posseses a surprising amount of heart. This is a comedy take on the JRPG genre that makes you laugh and fall in love with its goofy comical world. Absolutely recommended, and my top Anime of 2017, which I do not say lightly. -Full review- An incredibly comfortable Anime whose story may seem familiar to anyone who loved classic turn based RPG's. Which is no surprise because Square published the original Manga in their serialized magazine, the manga was originally meant to parody Dragon Warrior style RPG's and Square Enix helped publish this latest adaptation. Lord Giri has returned to the world and unleashed his army of monsters onto the world and its up to Nike to take up the mantle of "Hero" and restore peace to the world. A task he's absolutely not interested in but begrudgingly goes along with it after his parents poison him and throw him out of his home by way of comically large slingshot. This introduces us to Kukuri, a young mage and the last Guru Guru user left alive. Guru Guru is magic from the heart and emotions/general whimsy of the user fuels it. And together these two kids make up an appealing double-act as they fight their way through the world. Well, while that happens quite a bit they're moreso either overreacting to various goofy things within the world or adding fuel to the veritable goofy-fire themselves. I mentioned at the start that Magical Circle Guru Guru parodies JRPG's and that means this series is a comedy with a capital C: Various characters act in nonsensical and stupid ways and in many towns Nike and Kukuri simply gawk and freak out at it before accepting whatever quests the town wants them to do. In addition theres a frequent reoccuring video-gamey text box to highlight either a character gaining something or feeling something, usually as a butt to another joke. Occasionally, and thankfully so, the artstyle shifts from an incredibly colorful chibi cartoon style to what, well I'm sure the Anime would love to call 8-bit style, but to me looks like the scene was drawn in MS paint. This is the clostest thing to a complaint I have because a lot of it looks pretty jank. Not to mention the opening of the first episode is done in this style and it lasts too damn long, just about long enough to make me considering dropping the show before it ended and the proper show started. This style gets used better as the show goes on, usually for amusing cutaway gags. Actually speaking of the style the show just drips with visual personality. Production I.G. were the ones who did this show and if they sound familiar it's because they also did the beautifully animated Ghost in the Shell series and the movies. I.G. worked hard to emulate the original Japanese-only anime of Guru Guru which gives this newer series a very old school and appealing look. And while you'll see every variant of "Japanese cartoon character is cartoonishly horrified or overwhelmed by something happening" ever, the pacing of the show is sublime and the jokes don't stick around long enough to overstay their welcome. Character is the heart of the Guru Guru experience. Despite how over the top everyone is they act in appealing ways and you fall in love with everyone. Juju-Sama, Old Man North-North, Toma, RunRun, Goedicke and Barkweiner. Yes really. It's that kind of show. Anyway they all awesome. If you've watched the show and wondered why the list is a little light on the girls of this show it's because theres too many awesome and cute girls to list without filling a paragraph. While I wished some of the side characters got a little more screentime and characterization, such as Toma-the kid who invents magic weapons, the Dark Magic Society and their dog president, Sly the thief and a group of fighting grandfathers called G-Fantasy they all add charm and funny jokes to an already funny comedy. But the stars of the show are Nike and Kukuri themselves. Save for maybe Old Man North-North they're always in a scene and they're always on, reacting to something crazy going on, fighting monsters, doing fun stuff themselves, they are always up to something and its a marvel how often they pull it off. I actually can't think offhand when theres a moment when these 2 kids aren't either funny or awesome, except an unnecessary scene towards the end where Nike makes note of how much Kukuri has grown by staring at her chest. Also as these things usually do, theres a romantic subplot where Kukuri harbors a powerfully strong crush on Nike that's obvious to just about everyone except Nike. At least thats how it looks at first. However as their relationship proceeds Nike admits he doesn't really know how to handle this since this is the first time in his young life he's known or recieved love from someone that isn't his parents. Now it's not that Nike is naive or innocent, whenever theres girls Nike will follow with gusto. But it shows a real character to the relationship that its easier for Nike to run to the end of his chain and bark like the dog he is than commit personally and wholly to this blossoming relationship. And both he and Kukuri make their feelings for each other known time and time again in a way thats incredibly sweet and heartfelt. At least until Gipple, their resident rectal Bag of Holding shows up and gags at the 2 until the moment is completely ruined. Overall that pretty much sums up how I feel about the show, overall. It's an irreverent piss take at the JRPG genre but one that encourages the audience to recognize the story tropes and laugh alone. A good parody after all invites the audience to laugh at something they love because the creators too love the thing being made fun of as well, rather than be spiteful and chillish to the medium being pointed at for laughter. But underlying the comedy setpieces is a real heartful core, made up by lovable characters. I wish there was more, and if Nike's mother is correct at the end then perhaps we'll get Doki Doki Mahojin Guru Guru. Which would be wonderful. The world needs far more comedies that were just as heartwarming and consistently funny as Magical Circle Guru Guru. If you've haven't watched it then don't skip over it again. Absolutely recommended as one of the best Anime of 2017.
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