Desperate to find a club that won’t impact on his free time too much, a high school boy walks into the Magic Club which is run by a bubbly and enthusiastic magician with severe stage fright.
What did you watch?
I’m quickly becoming a fan of the shorter episode format for anime. Don’t worry, I still enjoy the regular length shows, but there is something awesome about being able to squeeze in a fifteen-minute-episode whenever I have a moment. This series is called Magical Sempai and each episode is broken down into four or five skits which keeps it flowing and ensures that there is at least one thing that makes you laugh, although usually, it’s much more than that. Prepare to be amazed… and also, be warned that there will be spoilers.
So, he joined the magic club, becoming the Assistant and soon after discovered that it’s not even a real club! But that’s not going to stop Sempai who puts in the paperwork to register it as a club now that it has two members. Unfortunately, that’s not enough, so he enlists in the chemistry club next door and splits his time. In reality, it’s just a nice way for him to fulfil his requirements to join a club and not have to do too much. What he hadn’t expected, however, was to get swept away by Sempai’s enthusiasm for magic and her larger than life… shall we say personality?!
Sempai loves magic and she’s actually good at it, but only when no one is watching. With an audience, she gets flustered and makes silly errors. Her clumsiness takes over and hilarity ensues. As the series goes on, Assistant starts to develop feelings for Sempai and who wouldn’t, sure she’s a bit of clutz and regularly screws up, but she sure is fun. They also get two new members in Saki and Masashi who were hoping to start a street performers club.
What did you think?
This series was hilarious and the short form worked wonders with it. Even cutting the already short episodes into a number of skits didn’t impact the series one bit. Sure, there were some segments that didn’t do quite as well as others, but the overall impression was great. Sempai is undoubtedly the star of the show, but Assitant was a great balance to her overexuberance. Then as the season went on, we met a couple more characters and they helped to lift it up and still maintain the absurdness we’d become accustomed to.
What was your favourite moment?
I think my favourite skit was when Masashi came to the class and informed Assitant and Saki that he had seen Sempai meeting up with a man out of school. Curious and a little jealous, Assistant decided to follow her and Masashi and Saki tagged along too. For the longest time, Sempai ate and drank alone, visited the bathroom on several occasions, but then she finally met this mysterious man.
This was when the skit really came to life. Masashi started to use his powers of deduction to profile the man. In the end, he decided that he was either an assassin or a porn director with a mini-van. Each of his predictions got wilder and funnier as the skit continued. Eventually, Assistant couldn’t take it anymore and stepped in. It turned out that he was Sempai’s brother-in-law who wanted some help picking out a present for Sempai’s sister. I’m not sure what the cucumber was for though…
What was your least favourite moment?
It’s tough, but mostly because there were so many different skits and there were several that didn’t quite hit the high notes. One, in particular, was when Sempai was showing Assistant some tricks and after a while, her sister, a teacher popped out of a box in the room and informed them that two people were not enough to form a club. It wasn’t a terrible moment but lacked the usual vigour of some of the skits.
Who was your favourite character?
Without a doubt, it’s Sempai. She was just such a fun and endearing character. You could feel her passion for her craft and genuinely felt sorry for her when she struggled. It was also great that she was prepared to do anything and everything for the trick and because this series uses fan-service for humour, most end up with her in a compromised position, tied up, or soaking wet. As normal, I enjoyed the sexy hijinx and felt like it helped to keep the series funny. You may not like fan-service but without it, this series would not have been anywhere near as funny.
Who was your least favourite character?
I would have liked to see Madara get more involved. She was the head of the chemistry club and let Assistant join so that he could fill his requirements. There were some nice scenes where she used science to do stuff that appeared to be magical, but it wasn’t until the last episode where she ended up going head-to-head with Sempai who was getting jealous of Assistant showing an interest in chemistry.
Would you like some more?
This is one of those shows where you feel like you’d love some more, but then there’s the question of how long they would be able to keep it going. There were already some skits that weren’t as funny and while some were hilarious, I think it’s a good time to end things. I would very much enjoy more shows like this one and with the wonderful over the top characters that we get from anime. This series reminded me of Chio’s School Road, which employed a similar method of breaking the episodes up and also made something mundane far more interesting. Basically, I want more funny shows.
What have you learnt?
I’m not sure what I can take away from this series. It was a lot of fun, so I’m not too worried. There is the potential to bundle a number of short stories from the same world with the same characters together, and that has been done before. The Last Wish by Andrzej Sapkowski does this wonderfully and has a thread that links them all together, so it can work. It would certainly limit the marketability as more often than not, readers are looking for longer stories and series that they can fully immerse themselves in. I love short fiction as much as I love anime, but it is harder to sell.