So…back with another anime review, man I missed writing these. I haven’t been keeping up with that many anime as of lately, mainly because none necessarily stood out to me. But this little one stood out to me and I decided to give it a shot, Nejima Senpai aka Magical Senpai was a smaller anime, almost buried under the slew of Isekai and other anime this season, but I’m very glad I found it, because this was certainly a fun anime.
(QUICK WARNING: There may be some slightly NSFW images included in this review, but I’ll be mainly including SFW.)
With this story, I was nearly certain this anime came from the same mind as the one behind Dagashi Kashi. This story…doesn’t exist, there is only a small semblance of cohesion in these episodes as they’re all just mini episodes wrapped into 12 minute compilations. In my Dagashi Kashi Season 2 Review, I talked about how I wasn’t a fan of the 12 minute episode time, but that was mainly because the previous series had full length 22 minute episodes and it clashed with the pacing a bit. But here it works since the style of the episodes, that being a cluster of 3-4 minute segments works better and means the scenes don’t overstay their welcome and it leaves it short but sweet. The comedy is also a mix of informative descriptions, character interaction and physical comedy, and it all blends together really nicely. These characters gel together like… gel I guess, and the jokes both verbal and physical really do lend themselves to the wacky and silly tone the series is trying to project. I like the way the show also teaches you about magic, akin to how Dagashi Kashi teaches you about candy, providing information on the backgrounds of magic as well as little snippets of tutorials. This anime really knows its stuff and a lot of care was put into translating the real world wonder of magic into a wonderfully funny anime with very little actual plot (not that kind of plot, it’s got plenty of that) and a nice blend of informative moments and great comedy.
(Quick note, if you’re immediately terrified by the fact that Magical Sempai herself isn’t in this bullet point list, she has her own dedicated paragraph up next, so sit tight, cos there’s gonna be a lot to unpack.)
Again, like the story, these characters convinced me they were from the same creator as Dagashi Kashi, largely due to their similarities in character tropes, personalities and general character arcs. Although character arcs aren’t necessarily something this anime utilises, many of the characters not really developing throughout the shows run. But enough lollygagging let’s get to the characters themselves.
- Assistant: The deuteragonist of the series alongside Sempai herself, Assistant-kun is a pretty funny character to follow this series of events through. His cynical and deadpan really works in tandem with Sempais explosive energy and enthusiasm. I also like how he is at times willing to give Sempai her moment and let her practice magic on him, even if it’s against his will other times. I do also like that he does grow to care about Sempai over time and actually shows signs of having feelings for her and wanting her to be safe, something I’m glad they included instead of leaving him deadpan and bored of her the whole way through. He’s nothing special, but that’s the plan, and his hilarious remarks about the ecchi moments as well as his general dialogue is just so funny.
- Saki: I started off not really liking Saki all that much. I found her ‘gyaru’ persona to be grating to start off and her weird lusting for her brother was something I was initially really thrown off by. But I found her pseudo rivalry with Sempai really funny, her own interest in street performance added another fun educational aspect to the show and in time I grew to really like her. She’s funny, full of attitude and despite her flaws really does have a lot of charm to her.
- Masashi: Much like his elder sister, Masashi started as a character I wasn’t too fond off, but as time went on I grew to find him a pretty enjoyable character. I particularly like his very deductive style and how he assesses a lot of aspects of his environment, and he even delivers a fair amount of deductive reasoning in a somewhat educational way with regards to psychology and general mental assessment. His interactions with Saki are also enjoyable, him flipping between putting up with her shenanigans to just straight up burying her in sand if he has enough, and their dynamic really is a fun one.
- Madara: One of the smaller characters in the show, Madara acts as the voice of reason alongside Assistant-Kun, Madara didn’t have much to do, but when she was on screen she was 100% cute. Her design really lends itself to a lot of cute facial expressions and her deadpan yet quirky personality really does make for some adorable interactions. I particularly like her relationship with Assistant-Kun and how she really does respect him yet also finds herself fearing Sempai for some reason which is an interesting angle since they both focus on the same things just different perspectives. One is all about deception and magic, one is about transparency and science, which also allows for some informative and fun lessons on some science topics. She’s weird, funny, adorable and frankly I wouldn’t have her any other way.
- Sister: I don’t have much to say about Sempai’s older sister. She’s fine, but not really impactful, she was pretty funny but ultimately fell on the sideline for the majority of the series. I like the interactions she has with Sempai but they go wasted as the series progresses.
Magical Senpai Herself
Here she is ladies and gentlemen, the waifu of the hour, or 10 minutes i guess depending on how long it takes to read this review…Anyway, Sempai was without a doubt the highlight of this entire anime. I know that was the intention, in fact the show is literally named after her, but I just can’t get over how much fun she is when on screen. Her blight of suffering stagefright is one you really want to see her get over, making her a really fun character to watch. Her constant stream of energy is infectious and she really does lighten up the room and brings a real positive vibe. Her knowledge of magic really does show she’s a smart person and does clue you into her true nature as a bright and well meaning person who’s really passionate about her hobby. I do wish we got to see more of her quest to overcome her stage fright, but her wonderful energy, mindless optimism and…visual design, all comes together in a charming, funny and delightfully silly character. She’s a definite 10/10.
This anime looks…alright. Not excellent but not exactly horrible. I know it’s cliche to say this…but a lot of the shows most impressive animation is when there’s…ecchi things happening. That being said the rest of the show doesn’t look bad, it’s full of personality and the characters movement and physical comedy actually is enhanced by the lesser frames of animation. The colours are also really pleasing, making for a generally warm and gentle environment, and I’ve also gotta give a shoutout to their opening and closing themes ‘FANTASTIC ILLUSION’ by i☆Ris and ‘Dame wa Dame’ by Minori Suziku respectively. These songs are full of so much vibrant energy and work so well with the tone of the show I actively listen to them both each episode, which is something I usually don’t do, the only other time I’ve done this was with Senran Kagura Shinovi Master.
Well much like my Senran Kagura reviews, since this is an ecchi let’s quickly shine the light on the fanservice part of the show. Honestly I liked how the fanservice wasn’t gratuitis or oversaturating the show, in fact much of it being used for comedic effect, enhancing jokes and acting more like a prop than a central focus for the viewer. That being said they really knew when to appeal with fanservice, often in the form of a bouncy close up, the cliche ecchi slip and trip or just generally ecchi scenes that added their own comedic flare, once again to cushion the impact the fanservice has. I really did like how this show handled its ecchi elements, and I found myself really enjoying it both on a general viewing level, as well as how it was used for comedic enhancement.
(I can’t believe I just spent 141 words talking about the comedic enhancements provided by anime waifu chest and butt shots…)
- Story: 4/5 – There’s barely any cohesion in this anime but it works in the context of the show and the little mini sections each episode provides are enjoyable enough that I can praise the show on the story side.
- Characters: 5/5 – These are some great characters. they’re funny, qurky, unique and have great chemistry. A large chunk of this grade is attributed to Sempai herself, but everyone else is great too.
- Presentation: 4/5 – Decent animation, totally serviceable and does have some stabd out scenes in terms of visuals.
- Enjoyability: 5/5 – This reminds me so much of Dagashi Kashi in how much I enjoyed it. The energy, the humor, the fanservice and the characters all mesh into this absolute joy of an anime.
- (Unique Grade) Magical Fanservice: 4/5 – The fanservice was good, but it wasn’t the central focus. This is the type of fanservice I like, it’s there to enhance the viewing experience in one way or another and adds on top of scenes as opposed to stealing control of them.
Final Grade: 4.5/5
I love this anime, from start to finish it’s a fun romp with some funny characters and an informative yet also wonderfully funny style to it. The focus on magic resonates with me since street magic and card tricks are something I myself practice and I actually learnt some things from this show. If you’re in the mood for an anime that is 100% complete fluff in terms of story but 200% charm and a good laugh, please do check out Magical Sempai.
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