Fairy Ranmaru Series Review – And I Thought Magical Girls Had Some Terrible Outfits

Fairy Ranmaru Series Review

Timing is a very curious thing because just a few weeks ago I updated my series of posts about magical girl anime and I left off that series with a comment about a lack of an equivalent magical boy genre. Pretty much the same day those posts were scheduled for reposting and I came across Fairy Ranmaru on Crunchyroll, realised it had aired in the Spring 2021 season and had literally just come to a conclusion.

The boys from Fairy Ranmaru
What is this and why didn’t I know about it?

With an open weekend ahead of me and a fierce desire to do as little as humanly possible and to recharge, a binge watch of this action/slice of life/magic anime (as described on MAL) seemed to be in order.

Fairy Ranmaru: Anata no Kokoro Otasuke Shimasu is kind of a hot mess.

I found it interesting in re-reading the tags on Fairy Ranmaru that it isn’t described as a comedy or parody which made me wonder if I was meant to be taking this story seriously. I kind of hope I wasn’t because as a flipped take on magical girls and the over-sexualised transformation sequences and costumes these boys had taking it seriously was more or less out of the question.

And then the plot threw itself off a cliff in the final act. Without specific spoilers I’m just going to point out that somehow everything just ends up being forgiven and they all go back to following rules that make no sense given the reason they were created and nobody actually really seems to have progressed or changed…

Potential antagonist in Fairy Ranmaru - too little screen time to have much impact.
This felt like it needed a lot more build up to have any impact.

So if the purpose was to take this story seriously, then this anime was a mis-fire because the narrative is full of holes and there’s little satisfaction in seeing it play out.

However, in terms of just being engaging, bewildering, over-the-top, sparkly, intriguing, and a nostalgia trip all kind of blended into one less than stellar package, Fairy Ranmaru actually succeeds.

To put it bluntly, it is a fun watch but not a good one.

Of course, the fun factor really only exists for those who are tolerant of the standard magical girl tropes because this anime is going to pack in a lot of them.

Fairy Ranmaru - the fairies before their queen.
Image cropped but yes, they were naked.

We have a group of 5 fairy boys all from a different fairy clan with their own colour and weaponry. There’s some clashing personalities within the group but when push comes to shove they all come together and let the power of friendship/love do its thing. It is very Sailor Moon-esque (and like every other magical girl series ever) but they weren’t really content with just that.

The boys essentially just kind of wander around, go to school, hang out at their bar, until they come across someone who is feeling a bit sad or down and then they more or less tell them to give them their hearts, go through a magic door leading to an over-the-top transformation sequence before we end up in kind of a Madoka Magica-esque witch realm which I guess is reflective of the heart of the person causing the distress.

Advertisements

Any of these ‘clients’ or problems could have been interesting but largely they just kind of happen, escalate within about two scenes and then the client is either crying or attempting suicide before we jump into the transformation sequence. Fairy Ranmaru then follows this with a repeated animation of the focus boy of the week running and singing before we get to the magic door thing (there’s a lot of down time in these episodes which is reminiscent of 1990’s anime but we’re in 2021).

The realms they fight in are visually very cool and each one has a distinct style. In terms of visuals, these areas were probably the strongest parts of each episode.

There’s an attempt at character development by usually linking the fairy boy’s own personal history and trauma but again too little time is spent on this outside of Uruu and Homura (the water and fire fairies) and for the most part ends up being pretty shallow.

We then get another repeated animation after the fight where the fairy boy summons a key and unlocks the villain of the week’s heart and then breaks it somehow collecting ‘attachment’ in the process.

The whole key hole and unlocking people’s hearts gave me a direct flashback to Shugo Chara but it made infinitely more sense there.

I mean sure, the characters all kind of peering through key holes in to the fight sequence and the humans who were at the centre of the conflict being mere spectators was interesting, but there were just so many questions. Like why they ended up collecting ‘attachment’ from the villain and not the victim who was potentially the one with the warm fuzzy feelings? Are they really trying to rebuild the fairy kingdom using the emotions of basic human scum?

4 Fairies peering through a key hole.
Image from Fairy Ranmaru.
The key-holes were nice they just didn’t quite feel purposeful enough.

Oh yeah, I forget, the reason they are doing all this in Fairy Ranmaru is apparently there was some cataclysmic event that destroyed the fairy kingdom, or nearly destroyed it. And it had something to do with every single character’s father’s issues, except for the characters who were apparently alive and more or less the same age when it all went down… I guess they are fairies but they really don’t explain all that.

We do of course, because it is using the magical girl tropes, have a Queen of the fairies that the boys are serving and her supporting staff member who basically provide commentary and ominous warnings throughout the series before the point at which the plot ceases making any sense. Honestly, these two characters did nothing for me and I’m pretty sure you could hack their scenes out of this anime and it would still mostly make as much sense as it does.



We also have a kind of villain character who is either spectating the downfall of various humans or causing it (unclear), but he’s certainly hindering the other fairies at times before making ominous statements and disappearing. That’s kind of his M.O. until we get to near the end of Fairy Ranmaru and suddenly he decides to stick around.

The villain?
Image from Fairy Ranmaru.
Good question?

However, I’m pretty sure anyone who watched the first episode knows that the plot of this story isn’t going to be its strength. Nor should we expect our characters to really get deep and meaningful. What we have here are 5 different pretty boys who each have some issues to overcome and in the process this anime is going to stuff them into super-tight outfits, show off their six packs and other assets, and really just try to be some very solid eye-candy with a little bit of romance thrown in for the fun.

That said, we now have some more anime characters with wings for the list.

If that is what you are wanting to see, Fairy Ranmaru gets fan service just right (or at least pretty explicitly). Cue endless sparkles, and a nice slow panning camera over those rippling muscles from head to chest to toes before we see each arm, leg and then the rest of the body encased in an outfit that is pretty suggestive anyway.

And in case there was any confusion about what they were doing here we also get a nice slow-motion pose as they transition from running to flying that most definitely makes sure you know this isn’t just coincidence, they are putting these boys on display.

Which is something magical girl anime have been doing to young female characters for a very long time and it passes almost without notice because its just part of the genre. Fairy Ranmaru kind of reminded me of that meme that went around a fair few years back that had all the male super-heroes from Marvel or whatever posed in the same way female super-heroes are posed.

That said, I’m not entirely sure they were doing this so much as commentary as for comedic exaggeration or maybe the team behind this really just had a muscle fetish and were trying to appeal to that audience.

Like with everything else in Fairy Ranmaru there’s just not enough substance or consistency to really know what they were trying to get at. There’s lots of ideas and lots of things that happen. Some of it looks like it wants to lead to a point and various ideas emerge but nothing really sticks. And by the time the story limps to a conclusion any basic messages have been lost in the confusion of trying to figure out what any of the characters were thinking when they made their final choices.

Villain with incomprehensible motive - Fairy Ranmaru has you covered.
Life goals.

Honestly, I did enjoy binge watching this. I wanted more from Ranmaru as a main character. I wanted the plot to make more sense. I wanted some deeper explorations into the various character’s personalities and issues. I wanted the final conflict to actually feel satisfying and I really wanted a better resolution. But… I didn’t ever feel like turning this off.

Maybe it is just nostalgia for classic magical girl stories and the curiosity of the gender swap or maybe it was because that while these boys don’t get enough time to really be fleshed out they are still fun to spend time with, but I had fun.

And sometimes, fun is enough.

That said, if you find the first episode of Fairy Ranmaru painful or end up staring at your screen incredulously, walk away. This series will not get any better or worse from start to finish. It just is.

As always, I’d love to know your thoughts on Fairy Ranmaru so feel free to leave us a comment below.

Images from: Fairy Ranmaru: Anata no Kokoro Otasuke Shimasu. Dir. M Hishida + K Kobayashi. Studio Comet. 2021


Thank-you for reading 100 Word Anime.
Join the discussion in the comments.
Karandi James


RobiHachi Review Episode 9

robi9e

Stealing Childhood Memories

robi9e

RobiHachi Episode 9

Revisionist history, flash backs and forced memory retrieval… okay, this episode got more interesting than I originally expected. Instead of our usual opening we had a story about the first moon landing and alien contact, though this was an interesting portrayal of those events. Then Robi and Hachi land on an industrial planet where Robi’s ship apparently came from so they can get repairs.

robi9b

What follows is that Robi learns quite a bit about his family, or seems to actually bother to think about them and realises a few things, and then he goes to the anime fan club that exists on the planet for the anime his grandfather apparently directed. Which seems fine until the crazy fans realise that Robi actually has seen the lost episode and they decide to forcibly extract it from his memory. That comes with a handful of side-effects but no problem.

robi9d

As usual, this episode doesn’t take itself particularly seriously and despite the shady dealings going on it is difficult to imagine any real danger to anyone. The pursuit of a missing anime episode is a suitably ridiculous goal and the lengths the characters are going to suitably exaggerated. All and all it just kind of works even while it is pretty ridiculous.

robi9c

Affiliate Link
	THE SUPER DIMENSION FORTRESS MACROSS 1/100 SCALE MODEL KIT: VF-1 [A / J / S] BATTROID MULTIPLEX

Also as usual, now that Robi and Hachi have visited the world they are blasting off on the next leg of their journey. I wonder if they will ever reach their destination or if Robi will ever actually pay off his debt? Though, honestly that would most definitely be the end of the adventure if it happened. I did start wondering what happened to Hachi’s storyline though. The characters that were pursuing him vanished and have been completely forgotten but I wonder if they’ll turn up before the end.


Thank-you for reading 100 Word Anime.
Join the discussion in the comments.
Karandi James


RobiHachi Review Episodes 7 + 8

robi7c

Amusement Parks and Robot Wars

RobiHachi episode 7 - The amusement park

RobiHachi Episode 7

Imagine a planet filled with bright, cute, lovely, happy things that obnoxiously shoved themselves into your face and then they banned any form of complaint speech? That sounds like my idea of a horrible place to spend time and clearly Robi agrees with me even if Hachi ends up skipping with joy. Yep, our characters land on a world that is more or less an amusement park full of singing and dancing flower people, rides, popcorn, and even a parade.

robi7a
Oh no.

As usual, it is enjoyable to see Hachi take everything new in his stride. Whether he actually likes what is happening or whether he simply likes the novelty of something new to experience is still undetermined, but he throws himself into each experience with reckless abandon and the end result is usually entertaining. When contrasting Hachi’s you only live once attitude with Robi’s more jaded view, and the robot’s absolute frustration and you get an amusing situation where the characters bounce off each other nicely.

Hachi - Enjoying the amusement park - RobiHachi

They do take a moment to dive into a bit of Hachi’s past but like with most of the characterisation in this anime, it is a shallow dive. Mostly we see him playing alone and looking pretty miserable. It is kind of fun to see him so lost and alone when separated from Robi and how genuinely happy he is when Robi decides to just enjoy the parade with him.

robi7d

Of course, we do need the silly chase sequence of the episode and Yang shows up during the parade chasing the two up to the castle. It is all just silliness and par for the course but again, fun enough. As is the robot letting off some steam once they get off the planet as he realises that he can complain again.

Affiliate Link
FINAL FANTASY PIANO SOLO ALBUM

RobiHachi Episode 8

From the amusement park to a planet run by mecha who enslave and look down on humans. RobiHachi continues to take us from planet to planet exploring the weird and wonderful (or bizarre and terrifying) features of the galaxy.

Robi and Hachi dancing in towels - RobiHachi

After facing discrimination in their human forms, Robi and Hachi board their transforming robot in order to get a delicious meal of clams. As usually happens, one thing leads to another and they end up recruited by a robot king to fight in a robot war, inspire the human slaves into a rebellion, before running away with an advanced payment to boot.

robi8c

Throw Yang into the mix, riding a robot version of his own head and still trying to find Robi before he joins in the rebellion, and you have a colourful and entertaining episode of silliness to enjoy. While it seems at first like we might be getting a heavy handed anti-discrimination message, the story mostly reinforces that Robi learned practically nothing from the entire experience, and maybe that’s a message in itself.

robi8b

The fights are incredibly over the top this week and the visuals are quite interesting particularly during the war. Otherwise, this is another average episode of an anime that remains entertaining but not great.


Thank-you for reading 100 Word Anime.
Join the discussion in the comments.
Karandi James


RobiHachi Review Episode 6

robi6b

Eels in Space

robi6b

Episode 6

We’re continuing our space tourism trip and this time Robi and Hachi find themselves on a planet that’s about to have an eel festival. However, for the first time Yang and the others chasing Robi for his debt will actually be on the planet at the same time. Expect lots of food made from eel parts, various tourist activities and ultimately that Robi and Hachi are going to run away.

robi6c

Hachi continues to be good value in this show as he embraces more or less whatever comes his way. Whether it is being chased by a giant eel, trying eel jelly, or taking a bath with an electric eel, it is very hard to bring him down. While episode 6 of RobiHachi chooses not to get into his choice not to access his money it remains a persistent plot point as Robi ends up entering an eel race in order to earn money for the next leg of the journey. Still, it will be interesting when the story finally does decide to deal with that issue.

robi6e

On the other hand, Robi remains as straightforward as ever with his obsession with girls and having a good time and absolutely no plan for the future. As he’s chased by the debt collector he repeatedly says he will settle up on his return to earth but nothing he’s done in this series indicates he has any actual plan for accomplishing this. Just one hopeless dream that will probably fail as miserably as all of his past get-rich-quick schemes which are the reason he’s landed himself in this mess in the first place.

robi6d

Affiliate Link
	KILL LA KILL COMPLETE SOUNDTRACK

Still, while the plot of this anime is pretty sparse, the overall episode remained entertaining with us jumping from one event to the next and enough of the jokes landing to keep it feeling light. It is all over the top and silly but the bright colours, fun back ground music, and entertaining characters are keeping this one floating along relatively well even if it isn’t doing anything particularly amazing.


Thank-you for reading 100 Word Anime.
Join the discussion in the comments.
Karandi James


RobiHachi Review Episodes 4 + 5

robi4d

There’s something fishy about the pacing here.

Hachi excited over fish - RobiHachi

Episode 4

Robi and Hachi’s journey this week was a little on the shallow side and I think they knew that. Interspersed with their journey we kept flashing back to the debt collector and his assistants getting a bit of backstory on Robi’s debt and how the other two came to work for the debt collector. The end result is workable but not exceptional.

robi4a

There were two noteworthy character points revealed by the events this week. The first, is that the feeling that the debt collector was personally interested in Robi is firmly reinforced through the first flashback. We see the guileless Robi requesting yet another loan for an investment that is sure to payoff but before leaving he gifts the debt collector with a snack food. It’s a small moment but works quite well and just kind of confirms what was fairly clear about the debt collector’s intense focus on following Robi.

robi4c

The other moment comes from Hachi. He seems to be operating as normal but his reaction when he finds out they are being followed is a little peculiar and once they arrive on the next planet he avoids paying for their food and takes on work instead. It seems he is aware that someone is tracking him through his purchases and he’s resolved to be a little more discreet. Whether that will make any difference in the long run is another story and we’re still not sure who it is that is following him (though I would strongly suspect it would be his family).

robi4e

However, the episode as a whole was a little flatter than previous ones and the silliness of the fishing sequence and the attempt to use the robot to go underwater didn’t exactly land its mark. While I still enjoy the cast here and the colourful show is hardly boring, this episode wasn’t exactly the fun ride the previous three managed. Hopefully this isn’t a sign for where the rest of this series will go.

Affiliate Link
FIGMA NO. 439 SAGA OF TANYA THE EVIL - THE MOVIE: TANYA DEGURECHAFF

Episode 5

Episode 5 of RobiHachi dove us straight into the absurd as they attempt the next leg of their journey only to be told they need travel permits. The only way to get a permit is to return to earth which neither one of them feels is acceptable and so they hang out in the hot springs while considering their next move.

robi5b

I’m not entirely sure that the resolution at the end is satisfying but watching the two in the hot springs and tracking down the leader of the underworld to somehow get permits was entertaining enough.

robi5c

One thing I do enjoy about this series is the heavy focus on food. Hachi not only reads food reviews and chooses restaurants that have ‘specialties’ he really just enjoys the act of eating. While Robi compares his style of travel to that of a girl, I don’t know that I necessarily agree, but I do think it would be pretty fun to travel with Hachi.

robi5a

If anything was missing this episode it was probably the sense that these boys are being pursued given other than a brief scene at the beginning we don’t see the debt collector or the mysterious group following Hachi.


Thank-you for reading 100 Word Anime.
Join the discussion in the comments.
Karandi James


RobiHachi Review Episodes 2 + 3

robi2d

Ground Roots Space Tourism?

robi2d

Episode 2

Want a giant robot that doesn’t have real weapons and then a visit to Mars where the people are octopuses only maybe they aren’t? This anime continues to be weirdly amusing even if the main conflict ended up being resolved by an incredibly heavy handed parody of the standard ‘be yourself’ message. I mean, they pushed that hard enough it almost went straight past parody and into the realm of not knowing whether or not they were actually being half serious.

robi2a

Alright, so we pick up from last week with Robi and Hachi inside the transformed robot and bickering about who is the lower and who is the upper half. Somehow or another they escape, though when they tried to fire their weapon it just made a really bright light which seems a bit odd but is explained by the end of the episode. Then they run away but because of fuel issues they land on Mars which works in their favour.

robi2f

The debt collector is really obsessed with getting Robi and is prepared to chase him to the ends of the galaxy and kind of figures where Robi intends to head and goes to head him off. What the debt collector didn’t count on was Robi having to make a stop so the end result is that for now at least Robi and Hachi have a bit of breathing room. I do find it interesting though that Hachi intends to follow through on his job of collecting the money from Robi even if he doesn’t appear to be in any rush to do that.

robi2c

This one is really just easy, if bizarre, watching as Robi and Hachi do the tourist thing on Mars and weirdness follows. Hachi ends up arrested because he learns the secret about the octopus people and Robi goes on a date that takes a turn for the strange. Ultimately they meet back up and the episode ends with them heading off for what I guess will be their next random adventure and if the episode title is anything to go by we’ll end up on Pluto.

Affiliate Link
	DEFORMATION SERIES LULUMEKU CELLS AT WORK!: PLATELET

Episode 3

Alright, from Mars to Pluto with the debt collectors a whole leg of the journey behind in RobiHachi this week. Now, neither Robi nor Hachi want to be on Pluto, however apparently they were so successful at helping out Mars tourism, the representatives of Pluto decided that forcing them to help with their PR was a great idea.

robi3c

There’s a lot of silliness here involving old-time mascots, Robi’s general gullibility when it comes to girls and breasts, as well as a giant robot battle that essentially amounts to kids in a playground shouting their super-secret moves and counters at one another because no one is actually game to fight. As stupid as it all sounds, it actually works and ends up being pretty funny.

robi3b

The favourite moment of the episode though has to go to the inhabitants of Pluto fiercely objecting to having Pluto downgraded from a planet to a planetoid and their argument that a day of the week should not be named after a moon but rather after Pluto. Either that or listening to the representative and his daughter try and list the actual appeals of Pluto which amount to not very much given it is a frozen hunk of space rock and in this case inhabited by the ugliest Penguin you ever did see.

robi3e

What I do like is that despite the skit like nature of this anime where so far each episode has kind of had its set up and then finished it off, they keep making it clear where the journey is going next. At the end of this episode Robi and Hachi are about to leave the solar system and it turns out someone other than Robi’s debt collectors are tracking them. I’m betting it has something to do with Hachi given they were tracking his credit and we know Robi doesn’t have any, but I guess we’ll have to wait and find out who else is after them and why.


Thank-you for reading 100 Word Anime.
Join the discussion in the comments.
Karandi James


RobiHachi Review Episode 1

robi1f

What did I just watch?

robi1f

Episode 1

Why hadn’t I heard about this anime? I mean, seriously, I had no idea this existed and I still don’t really have a clue what it is about despite watching the first episode but I know I want more of it. Even the MAL synopsis doesn’t really help in this case because it mostly just summarises the events that occur in episode 1.

robi1b

However, what I do know is that despite being about a guy who is clearly naïve, gullible and completely reckless (so the kind of character I normally dislike immensely), I found Robi pretty charming as the lead. And then, pairing him off with Hachi, the straight character who finds life boring and predictable but wants to find something interesting, just works beautifully in this episode.

robi1d

I do want to point out that visually this one is really striking and bright. It  isn’t beautiful by any means, but the bright colours and solid look to the whole thing just works for the kind of story being told. The character designs are interesting as well, though they might be pushing Hachi’s lack of interesting things a little too far with his look. On the other end of the spectrum the debt collector is probably incredibly over-designed to scream knock-off villain.

robi1c

Affiliate Link
	FIGMA NO.427 OVERWATCH: MERCY

Really though, I just had fun with this. Comedy isn’t usually something I get into but episode one of RobiHachi left me smiling and wanting more. There were a couple of moments where I just had to stare at it and wonder if they had just done something, particularly at the end where the two fighter jets (that kind of come from nowhere) merge into a giant robot like a 1980’s cartoon. It was just so ludicrous and yet at that point you kind of expected something along those lines because it just felt like that kind of show.

robi1g

So, fun characters, good pace in the episode, no clue at all where it plans to go, but so far entertaining, while I had no expectations going in, literally didn’t have a clue what I was about to watch, this one is going onto my watch list.


Thank-you for reading 100 Word Anime.
Join the discussion in the comments.
Karandi James