Well, I suppose we can consider this post to be something of a sister post to the one from last week. Last week, I talked about a slightly older Japanese property based around fairy tales that was aimed at boys. This time, I’m going to spotlight a slightly older Japanese fairy tale property for girls. First, some background information on the genre I’ll be talking about. It’s become something of a known fact that many young girls like entertainment that features girls with magical powers. Here in the
little slow to realize this, but I think most people figured it out when every
girl between the ages of 3 and 12 went absolutely crazy over Elsa from Disney’s
Frozen. However, in US , they’ve known this for a
long time. In fact, there’s even a whole
genre of manga and anime based around the idea called (quite fittingly) the
“magical girl genre”. Magical girl shows
and comics usually focus on a young girl or group of girls who have magical
powers that they use to fight monsters and protect the world and such. Some of them have transformations and love
story subplots. Some do not. In essence, they’re kind of like superhero
stories with a frillier, girlier edge.
Some examples of the genre include Sailor Moon, Tokyo Mew Mew, Cardcaptor Sakura and Princess Tutu. Now, does it come as any
surprise that someone would take this genre and adapt fairy tales to it? Of course not! This is where Fairy Musketeer Akazukin
comes in. Japan
Just to note, I am mixing both English and Japanese titles here, because that’s what the version of this anime I first saw did. Completely in Japanese, it would be Otogi Jushi Akazukin. Completely in English, it would be Fairy Musketeer Red Riding Hood. Also, I could not find any decent pictures that were free to use. However, to see all the pictures I cannot post, just click HERE.
The story focuses on a 14-year old boy named Souta as its viewpoint character. Souta is a bit of a kind, gentle dreamer who lives with his father. His mother disappeared long ago under mysterious circumstances. Before she disappeared though, she told Souta a fairy tale about a man who conquered the forces of both science and magic. As he became more powerful, he grew lazy and conceited. This caused God to get angry and split the man’s power and the whole world in two. Souta, along with the help of his childhood friend Ringo, has been searching for a copy of that story for as long as he can remember. One day, while searching for the story, Souta gets attacked by a monstrous spider. He’s then saved by a girl in a red helmet and her talking wolf friend. These are Akazukin (Red Riding Hood) and Val. Souta quickly learns that she comes from the world of magic Phandavale and that he is the key to the world of science called Erde. The key to Erde is needed by the evil witch Cendrillon (Cinderella) to reunite the worlds of science and magic. From there, the adventure begins. Other principle characters appear. Akazukin’s fellow “Fairy Musketeers” include Shirayukihime (Snow White) and Ibarahime (Briar Rose). They also find an ally in the Phandavale leaf knight
(The Pied Piper of Hamelin). On
Cendrillon’s side though, are Hansel, his sister Gretel, Randagio (kind of a
cross between Puss in Boots and the cat from The Bremen Town Musicians) and a
mysterious sorceress named Trude (based on the obscure Grimm tale “Frau Trude”). Hameln
Overall, the series is cute, fun, harmless and . . . strangely addictive. After I started watching it, I found I had to watch it all to the end. The series also picks up a lot when the group actually travels to Phandavale towards the second half of the series. Like I said regarding MAR, this show also embraces its share of anime tropes. There are the requisite weird monsters and girls calling magic out of the air with some sort of magical device (in this case, the “sweet phone”). However, it does keep the transformation scenes to a minimum, just due to the nature of the plot. In this one the magical girls don’t have to transform into something magical because they’re already from a world of magic. I also have to give them props for basing their villain on Cinderella. I’ve seen so many respun fairy tales that have made characters like Jack, Peter Pan or Prince Charming into villains. It’s nice to see someone spice it up (note: is it just me or does it seem more common to villainize the male characters than the female characters?). Also, I give them major respect for drawing on the ultra-obscure “Frau Trude”. That’s one I had to look up.
So, final analysis is that Fairy Musketeer Akazukin is nothing spectacular. Altogether, it’s just a harmless but fun kids’ anime. If you want to watch the series, you can find it at the online anime streaming site Crunchyroll. Just click HERE.