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"Maburaho": Magical Time Bomb

Welcome to a world where magic is commonplace. Everyone has a set number of spells they can cast in their life. Most have a couple of thousand and can use them liberally. But not Kazuki Shikimori—at the moment he has only eight spells to his name. That wouldn’t be such a problem if it didn’t mean that he will die once he has used them up. It turns out, though, that because he has such a small number, the power put into those spells is immeasurable. And the same would go for his offspring.

Enter the Harem.

Kuriko Kazetsubaki is an impossibly overendowed tramp/heiress to the massive Kazetsubaki company and fortune. She is only interested in Kazuki for the power his genes would bring to her family. Rin Kamishiro is a stoic samurai/chemistry student who would rather kill than wed Kazuki, but her family forces her into a betrothal so that she can produce a child who will let the Kamishiro family usurp the place of the Kazetsubakis. Yuuna Miyami, a sweet young girl (who dresses and behaves slightly younger than she actually is), has known Kazuki since they were children and is genuinely in love with him.

The mayhem begins when Yuuna shows up at Aoi Academy, claiming to be Kazuki’s bride to be. This freaks out him and all his fellow male students. That’s when the school medical practitioner, Dr. Akai, reveals to Kazuki (and his class) that his genes are to die for! Immediately all the females take note of him, but Yuuna will have none of it. So the boys are jealous that he has a cute young fiancée that no one else had a chance at, and the girls are all vying for a spot as Kazuki’s child-bearer. So how do you settle this? With an in-class trial! The Court (represented by the class’ apathetic teacher) rules that, out of fairness to the girls and boys, Kazuki cannot have Yuuna as a girlfriend and that she must move into the girl’s dorm.

As oh-so-wacky as this sounds, it gets even better (or worse, depending on your point of view). As Yuuna’s moving out of Shikimori’s dorm a young ghost decides she wants to move in. She eventually mistakes Kuriko (and her massive breasts) for her mother and decides she’s going to haunt the Kazetsubaki residence instead. Oh, and Kazuki uses a spell of his and ends up merging the two dorms into one, so Yuuna is now happy that she doesn’t have to travel far to see her beloved. He also makes it snow for her—that’s his special way of making her feel better. He’s down to six spells now.

Then a monster terrorizes Aoi Academy. It turns out to be a chimera illegally summoned by Dr. Akai, so Kazuki uses another spell to save Kuriko from the monster, causing her to develop actual feelings for him.

Now we run into a problem. In a show that has twenty-four episodes and a limit on spell usage, we’re only four episodes in and he’s used three of his eight spells already. This either means that Kazuki will be stingier with his spells, leading to a duller show, or he’ll blow through all of them and die. Either way I’m not terribly curious to see how it is handled. Since we’ve already been introduced to a ghost, perhaps Kazuki will die and return as one, but that would defeat the purpose of the harem chasing him for his genes. (The way the word is used really comes off in the dub as a euphemism for something ickier.) Regardless, the show failed to interest me enough to get me to want to see more. Except for the bored teacher, the ghost, and Dr. Akai, none of the main characters really meant anything to me. The harem aspect isn’t fleshed out since we really only have three girls and one of them obviously has no interest while another is clearly “the one.” Maburaho isn’t even much of a fanservice show, as it mostly revolves around Kuriko. Unless basketballs hanging off a woman’s chest gets your rocks off, there’s not much else there for cheap thrills. If you really want a good blend of comedy/fanservice/magic/school go read the Negima! manga instead.

The animation is nice and colorful, the music serviceable, and the dub voices are fine. Yuuna’s voice actually impressed me—the actress was able to sound cute without being chirpy and annoying. The disk includes the standard clean OP/Ends, the always appreciated character art, and a creative insert made to look like a school newspaper akin to the ones in ADV’s Abenobashi release.

The true gem amidst the extras, and the entire disk for that matter, is the interview with the Japanese-to-English translator. He explains the differences between the two languages, the challenges he faced translating language-specific gags, the difficulty in finding the proper way to translate “curse words,” and many other things. Hopefully, his input will allow some of the more adamant anime fans a little more insight into the fact that dubbers are not out to “mutilate their favorite show.”

Maburaho Vol 1: Bewitched and Bewildered is Rated TV 14 for Language, Sexual Situations, Implied Nudity and Slapstick/Magical Violence.

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