FUNNY ANIMALS AND MORE
January 22, 2017 posted by

Forgotten Anime #53: “The Girl from Phantasia” (1993)

16921lThe Girl from Phantasia, directed by Jun Kamiya. 30 minutes. November 26, 1993.

This half-hour one-shot OAV seems so short and vapid that you have to wonder why it was made. The Girl from Phantasia is a very poor imitation of the plot of Urusei Yatsura/Those Obnoxious Aliens without any of its charm. Oversexed teenage boy – Akihiro Ōtsuki is no Ataru Moroboshi. The episodes of Urusei Yatsura used clever situations to keep Ataru and Lum from going all the way together. Akihiro just seems too stupid for a wannabe teen lecher to take advantage of an ideal setup when one falls into his lap. Teenage girl with magic powers – Malon is such an extreme example of the beautiful and totally willing airhead that she comes across more as an offensive stereotype of femininity than an attractive character. “Hi. Me Malon. Malon love Akihiro. Wanna have sex with Malon?” Her Japanese babytalk dialogue makes her look more stupid than cute, especially after the other two girls from Phantasia show up and talk in normal Japanese, making Malon look especially retarded. And she’s the Knight Sentry of Phantasia? I’d ask how she ever came to be entrusted with such an important position, until when she finally uses her magic at the climax. Okay, she’s really powerful; but as plot development, it’s much too late. And does the villain, Roll, have any real motivation besides extreme revenge? His grandfather was banished from Phantasia, so he’s going to kill everybody from there and blow up the whole dimension. That sounds both super-violent and super-shallow.

The Girl from Phantasia is most notable today as an example of the early animation of major Japanese studio Production I.G, back when it was just I.G. Tatsunoko, a subdivision of Tatsunoko Productions. Technically it’s the first title of the new Production I.G since it became a separate company in September 1993, two months earlier, but almost all of Phantasia’s production had been finished under its connection to Tatsunoko.

phantasia1The Girl from Phantasia begins with a voiceover coming from an Oriental-looking magic carpet, although later dialogue identifies the Phantasians as Brownies rather than genies. Apparently the Phantasians have all been hiding from humans because they consider all humans to have forgotten the emotions of compassion and love. One Phantasian, Malon, is sure that they have learned compassion again, and she’s going to Earth to prove it.

On Earth, high-school student Akihiro Ōtsuki is chortling that he’s finally gotten a date that evening with Miyuki Tanaka, the school’s “hottest” babe, and he plans to seduce her. His head is so much in the clouds that he trips over a rolled-up carpet among the street trash. The carpet is perfectly good, so he imagines taking it home and using it to impress Miyuki. “…and when Miyuki gets here, I’ll lay more than carpet…”

phantasia2Malon emerges from the carpet and proclaims her love for Akihiro. (An aside introduces Roll, who has come to our world “looking for Phantasia”.) Akihiro naturally wants to know where she came from, which leads to her explanation of the carpet and its being the magical doorway to Phantasia. “Long ago, when man first turned dark and selfish, the Brownie Wizards created it as a retreat and sanctuary.” Does this mean that Malon is also a wizard? She demonstrates that she is by using her magic to make Akihiro’s mother think that she is his sweet, innocent cousin who is staying with them. (Akihiro’s panic-stricken reaction to his mother’s discovering them seems inconsistent with his dreams of seducing Miyuki in his room, which wouldn’t have been less noisy.) His demands that Malon grant his wishes lead to a lot of puns. Miyuki arrives and is immediately jealous of Malon, creating the traditional triangle preventing the boy from having any sex with either girl.

Akihiro orders Malon out of his life, which she interprets as an order to stop using her magic. As soon as she leaves, Roll arrives. “My father’s father was The Great Éclair, banished many long years ago from Phantasia…” “Oh, swell, another fruitcake in my bedroom! What makes today so special?” Roll is going to destroy all Phantasia, but not until he defeats Malon, the Guardian Sentry, who has run off. He pursues her, leaving Akihiro to wonder, “Now what was that all about?”

phantasia3Roll’s running pursuit of Malon, throwing thunderbolts at her, destroys the neighborhood. Malon’s friends Monbran and sexpot Short arrive in Akihiro’s bedroom looking for her. Short stomps Akihiro for driving Malon away and forbidding her from using her magic to defend herself from Roll. Akihiro finally understands that Malon is half-human and he’s put her into danger, which is enough for him to join them in looking for her. Akihiro tells Malon that it’s okay to use her magic, and she blows Roll into orbit. She later uses her magic to make herself a student in his high-school, perpetuating the Akihiro-Malon-Miyuki triangle.

Look for the names of Mitsuhisa Ishikawa and Takayuki Goto, the I and G of Production I.G, in the credits. Ishikawa is a producer, and Goto is an “Original Drawing” artist. The English subtitles, which are particularly good, are by Matt Greenfield of A.D. Vision, the American licensor.

Next week: Forgotten OAVs #54

2 Comments

  • I remember this one, which I watched years prior to discovering Urusei Yatsura and I don’t recall ever considering it worth watching more than once. And after watching Rumiko Takahashi’s seminal work, one can only conclude that this really is an uninspired anime. I haven’t actually read the manga from which the OVA is based on, but it doesn’t seem to be particularly groundbreaking either. Both the OVA and manga are nothing more than imitators of Urusei Yatsura, and not very good ones, it seems. There are many similar Japanese productions since the advent of Urusei Yatsura and I’m surprised that this particular manga got animated at all, even more when the OVA was released months after the manga ended. As Patten points out, the most interesting aspect of the OVA is its historic value as Production I.G first “independent” production from Tatsunoko. Another interesting thing is that this OVA was one of the early A.D. Vision releases. I don’t know what compelled them to release this one. Perhaps the licensing was very cheap? I would image that there would’ve been better OVA at the time.

    • I’m sure there was, but perhaps A.D. Vision was playing it safe at the time.

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