Aliens in This World

An ordinary Catholic and a science fiction and fantasy fan.

Tuesday, April 20, 2004

Anime Recommendation: Someday's Dreamers



From the classy folks at Pioneer Animation...I mean, Geneon... comes the 12-episode show Someday's Dreamers (aka Mahou Tsukai na Taisetsu ni Mono: Someday's Dreamers). It's a sweet, simple story set in a world just like our own, but with mages scattered among the population. This is Japan, so of course all certified mages are part of the Bureau of Mage Labor, acting only on duly filed and approved citizen requests. Of course there are exams that young mages must pass or give up magic. So, just like thousands of Japanese high school juniors, Yume (the name means dream) must leave her family's farm for Tokyo during her summer vacation, to go cram like a maniac. (Many, like Tenchi in Tenchi in Tokyo, even move to Tokyo for the last few years of high school to get a better chance of passing the college exams or do special study.) But Yume's teacher is a quiet, sober Class B Master Mage who also owns the salsa bar downstairs. (And how the show manages that subplot while remaining quiet and dignified itself...'s amazing.) As Yume's warm and impulsive heart keeps getting the country girl in trouble, Mr. Oyamada's patience and judgement is a lesson in itself. But Yume also learns that she can change things for the better, and that she doesn't even need her magic to do it.



Interestingly, this show actually features a Christian character, albeit a foreigner. Angela Brooks is a young mage from England who's come to Japan to be trained by Japan's enigmatic Chief Mage Ginpun. Angela wears a cross necklace all the time and uses an angel-winged cross as her heraldic badge. (All mages register a badge in this world; it helps ID their magic.) But there's really nothing more to it than the look -- though we'll see how Volume 3 works out. (Some think the way Angela's played is a parody of Witch Hunter Robin.)



There's absolutely nothing in this show to cause a parent a moment's anxiety, and yet it's got enough meat in it to satisfy older kids. There is a certain amount of joking in this show about other anime series; for example, the first few shows counter all the cleavage shots elsewhere with shots of men's bare chests, there's several characters designed like bishonen, and one woman who can't get a date with Mr. Oyamada decides he's gay. (Mr. Oyamada is actually still grieving for his wife, who passed away several years ago.) I haven't watched the dub yet, though it's pretty good from what I hear. It gets a bit annoying, though, to have "mahou" constantly translated as "Special Power", when everywhere else it's translated as "magic". Is everybody afraid of Rowling's lawyers?



The show itself is visually beautiful and has a sweet soundtrack using classical piano and contemporary Celtic music to good advantage. (The soundtrack is available in a US edition including an 18 page insert with lyrics and everything. Go, Pioneer!...er, Geneon!) Each episode is chock-full of the details that make up a Tokyo summer. Also, Yume speaks with a Tohoku accent (though I have trouble picking out what's so different about it).



All in all, it's a lovely series you may come to love.



Other reviews from Anime Academy (with pictures), Sci-Fi Channel, DVD Verdict, and animeondvd.com.

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