Title: Mahoujin Guruguru
Genre: Fantasy, Adventure,
Format watched: .AVI
I can't believe I watched the whole thing!
I first heard about Mahoujin Guruguru a loooong time ago. It was apparently a popular manga in Japan that spoofed RPGs, all about a hero, a magic user and their spirit guide. I saw pictures, and it looked SD-cute. Unfortunately, as popular as it was in Japan, there was next to no information about it on the net. I just stuck it in the back of my mind, and forgot about it for a while.
Then Kenny suddenly showed me one of the pictures I'd seen, and said something about it (I forget what). I recognized it, and said I'd like to see it. Then Kenny found Anime-Keep's fansubs. You rock Kenny! According to my records I started watching the series on the 14th of September, 2004. This means I've been downloading and watching the 45 .avi fansubs for 7 months -- over half a year! Amazing... Anyway, let's begin...
First of all the characters. To start them off there's Nike (pronounced the Japanese way, aka 'Nee-kay'). He's one of the two main characters, and is the first to actually be in the story. He's 13 years old, and basically like every other boy his age. Except for the fact that his father's obsessed with him becoming a hero, of course. Nike has been through training pretty much since he was born, so he's actually somewhat skilled (although you wouldn't ever guess that). He's extremely lazy, somewhat perverted at times, and doesn't pay attention to what's going on. That said, he isn't the standard dumb-swordsman either.
Nike is the 'hero of legend', as everyone says. He's a 'Light Elemental', which means he uses the power of nature (while Dark Elementals use the power of the supernatural). Everyone calls Nike 'Yusha-sama', aka 'Mr Hero'. I don't think many people in the series call him Nike at all, to be honest.
In the first episode Nike meets the next major character, Kukuri. Kukuri is the last of the Migu Migu, a race of Dark Magic Users. She was given to the Witch in Nike's village by her father, who died soon afterwards. The Witch raised Kukuri, and used the spellbook left by her father to teach her 'Guruguru', the type of Dark Magic Migu Migu use. Unfortunately, Kukuri was more interested in becoming a princess (or something else ridiculous) than a magic user, and gave the Old Witch a lot of trouble.
Kukuri went through training though, and eventually learned some basic Guruguru. Guruguru magic involves drawing a magic circle on the ground, which is like an alternative to chanting spells. The magic circle contains symbols which act the same way the chant would, identifying where the power will be summoned from. Guruguru is dangerous, however, because if you put the wrong symbol in a circle, power will be summoned from...somewhere else. In other words, when a spell fails, you don't know what is going to appear. And unfortunately for Nike, Kukuri has a bad memory and often forgets the symbols...
The next 'main' character the two meet is 'Mr Udberg', but they always call him 'Kita Kita Oyaji' (aka the Kita Kita Dancer, Kita Kita Old Guy, or just Old Man). This old guy was once the mayor of one of the first towns Nike and Kukuri visit. This town was famous for the Kita Kita Dance, a dance performed by young girls wearing grass skirts and such. Unfortunately, a curse on their town stopped girls from being born, and eventually there was no one to do the dance. The crowds got restless...so being the responsible mayor Udberg was, he took it upon himself to keep the tradition of the dance alive. Yes... He donned the grass skirt...
As you can imagine, this caused some trouble. Would you want to see an old guy in a grass skirt wiggling his butt at you? I didn't think so. Plus, he has hairy old man legs! Despite all this, Kita Kita Oyaji actually does the dance perfectly, and put his heart and soul into learning and perfecting it. His purpose in the series is to find a successor, someone who will take up the dance after him. Unfortunately for him, the only girl in his village, Migu, absolutely refuses to watch him dance to learn herself. And so, Kita Kita Oyaji sets off on his journey -- somehow always ending up where Nike and Kukuri are, through some strange, Team Rocket style coincidence. "Please watch my dance! T-T!"
The final chacracter is Gipple. Gipple is a wind spirit, who guides Nike and Kukuri in their quest. Everyone thinks he looks pretty cute. That is, until his robe gets blown up, and you see the sumo-thong he insists on wearing. Gipple knows everything somehow (he's Navi, but less annoying). He can also transform into a tent for the party to sleep in, by expanding his robe. Of course, you get a horrible sight if you look up while inside...
Gipple is utterly useless in battle. Whenever danger appears, he poofs out. He'll re-appear sometime after the battle ends, usually. Gipple also hates mushy, corny, serious scenes. Whenever one happens, no matter where he is, he'll be blue faced and sweating. His most common quote is, 'someone please pass me the puke bucket!'
The story of Guruguru is incredibly simple. 300 years ago, an evil wizard called Giri tried to take over the world with his hordes of monsters. The kingdom Nike lives in stood up against him, and got their butts kicked. The king, in desperation, turned to the Migu Migu Tribe and their forbidden Dark Magic, Guruguru. Kukuri's ancestor used a powerful Guruguru spell to seal Giri away, and thus save the kingdom (who in my opinion are utterly ungrateful, as they outlaw Guruguru magic before the series starts). Unfortunately...the Guruguru spell used to seal Giri is only good for 300 years, and he has now returned. Because of this, the king calls for heroes to go defeat him -- hoping to find the legendary hero of...legend...
Nike and Kukuri visit the castle, and are somehow chosen out of all the heroes and magic users there. A special test involving manifest gas (a magic gas which can take the form of anything, like a solid illusion) proves that Nike is the hero of legend. Nike and Kukuri are given 500 rin (yay, money) and sent on their way. Of course, they blow all their money on stupid stuff as soon as they get outside. And so begins their journey to defeat Giri!
There are some 'to be continued' style episodes, especially early on and towards the end, but inbetween each episode is something like, 'Our town is plagued by monsters, please defeat them!'. Along the way Kukuri finds new Guruguru circles, hidden in pictures, flower arangements, pies, and other obscure places. Figuring out what these circles do is usually amusing. Nike also learns some new Light Elemental tricks along the way, such as the magical spirit sword 'Kira Kira' -- which is like a sword of light formed by a persons own energy, or the energy of something nearby. The funniest instance of this is where Nike accidentally formed a Kira Kira sword using Kita Kita Oyaji's spirit...
Guruguru was made in the mid 90s, but the style looks more like it was made in the 80s. The animation gets significantly better as the series progresses, but I think it was always pretty good. As I've said, all the characters are drawn in an SD style (making Nike and Kukuri look a lot younger than they actually are) -- although at moments when they're trying to be serious, they might be drawn normal. It's all very cute and colorful, with well designed fantasy settings.
I've only seen Guruguru in Japanese (which is probably a good thing), so I'll talk about their seiyuu. Nike and Kukuri each have very unique voices, unlike English dubs where voices are constantly re-used. Both suit them very well. The best voice in the whole series has to be Kita Kita Oyaji's, though. He can sound completely different depending on whether he's being serious or not. The other good voice is that of the narrator, who butts in now and then with random comments like, 'Yusha-sama was not paying attention'.
The music in Guruguru is quite simple at times, but very addictive in my opinion. I often find myself humming the background music. The first opening song, 'Magic of Love', was quite good too. However, the opening and closing themes change halfway through the series, and both the second opening and second ending are the best. I wish I could find them in .mp3 format!
In conclusion, as repetative as some of the jokes and plot lines are, Mahoujin Guruguru is one of my absolute favorite anime. RPG fans will most certainly love its whacky humor, and the way text boxes pop up now and then to explain a persons level, or what an item does. I won't give anything away, but, the ending isn't really an ending. It's very much like 'Oh well that's the end!' However, Guruguru is not over for me! There's still a 38 episode second series, which Anime-Keep should be fansubbing in the near future! Before that though, there is a short 30 minute long Guruguru movie, which I should be writing a review for soon.
Review Score: 8.2 out of 10