Written by Yousuke Kuroda, based on an original concept by Ken Okamatsu
Directed by Yoshiaki Iwasaki
Music by Takyuki Hattori
- Second part of director interview
Dindrane’s Anime Warnings:
- The pinkâ€¦ the pinkâ€¦
- More kawaii than you can vomit over and cover up
- Saccharine enough to satisfy an Osmond
- Abuse of cute aliens
Released by: Geneon
Rating: All Ages
Anamorphic: N/A; episodes appear in their original 1.33:1 format.
My Advice: Get it if you want to entertain a pre-pubescent girl-child (that you probably don’t like very much)
[ad#longpost]In the world of Mao-Chan, the Ground Defense Force is out of money but has a new threat to consider: a plague of inexplicably “cute aliens” (like kitties and bunnies and birdies) to contend with. So the chief of staff does what any chief of staff would do in his place: he deputizes his eight-year-old granddaughter and has her fight the cute dangers to Tokyo. No, really. Of course the air and ocean organizations want to get in on this action, and so Mao’s friends are tapped to form, with her, the Unified Defense Force. Together, the prevent a media disaster by being the ones to “bonk” cute aliens on the head and bring them in.
Why oh why can’t “cute” series also have some substance? At least Cardcaptor Sakura had lovable characters and a nifty magical system. This one will probably send today’s sophisticated eight-year-olds into a frenzy of sugar-induced vomiting. However, it does come from anime creator Ken (Love Hina) Akamatsu, so the visuals are at least interesting and attractive enough. The show, not unlike the Pokemon franchise, was specifically created to appeal to little girls, so the kawaii factor is off the charts and may appeal even to adults on a level they can’t explain, justify, or admit. If you’ve ever wanted to squee when you saw a baby kitten or a cute wittle wabbit, then give this one a shotâ€”you just might like it, and, hey, we won’t tell.
Incidentally, it will help to know what “yuru-yuru” means: wavering, as if through heat or water, leisurely, or slow.
The visuals are crisp and attractive, but the audio is truly quite bad. The Japanese voice actors are so high and screechy that dogs down the street will knock on your door and beg you to make it stop. The English makes use of annoying habits to demonstrate an odd voice pattern in the Japanese, and the result is, instead of distinctive or cute, instead just aggravating and badly done. I’m sure these actors were all capable of doing fine work, but this was not a good script to work with, and the director chose to go all out with the kawaii and leave things like skill and subtlety far, far behind. Good God, my head still hurts. As an aside, the ADR director for this release (and the voice of character Yuriko Ozora) is the quite talented voice actor, Wendee Lee. Let’s hope this does not end her career.
The discs include a generous six episodes, a mediocre and brief set of outtakes, and part two of a very short interview with the director. The interview has some interesting bits in it, but is just way too short (about five minutes) to be worth much. The whole interview should have been put on the second volume, and then a new interview done for this volume, such as with the voice actors or maybe Ken Akamatsu himself.
If you’re a girl between the ages of two and six or eight, you’ll probably love Mao-Chan, because it was created specifically to play upon your love of kawaii. Your parents won’t mind so much that you love it (unless you make them watch it with you, and really they should, so as to be involved in your life), because it’s harmless drivelâ€”er, entertainmentâ€”that should fail entirely to offend (or enlighten) anyone. If, on the other hand, you are not enslaved to the power of kawaii, the show will probably just irritate you more than it convinces you to love the kyoot.