will you always be by my side?

About half a year ago, I posted recommendations for SaiKano and NTHT. I think people tend to ignore NTHT because it’s not a show with a lot of hype, but it’s definitely a hidden gem with its emotional storytelling and plot twists. One of the best dramas out there.

Stuff that’s really high on my list are those that I review like Love Hina and Spirited Away.

Well, here’s one popular show and one less popular one that I’ve enjoyed– Figure 17 and Mahoromatic. Figure 17 is an unique show in that it’s thirteen one hour episodes spread out over the course of over a year. It’s not a drama, it’s not a mecha, it’s not a romance, it’s not magical girl… well… maybe partly magical girl. It’s mostly a storyteller.

The story starts out with DD, an alien responsible for transporting Metroid-type creatures called Magyua, crash-landing his ship on Earth. The Magyua escape, and it’s up to him to stop them. Upon fighting a magyua, his Riberius (a symbiotic organism that links with him to transform him into a more powerful being), is fatally wounded. He breaks out the spare, but it gets knocked away from him, and it merges with a scared little girl nearby, Tsubasa thus creating Figure 17. One side effect of the Riberius merging with a human is that when not in Figure 17 form, the Riberius takes a form identical to Tsubasa.

75% of the show deal with Tsubasa and her new twin sister, Hikaru, as they adjust to life in Hokkaido and to each other. Tsubasa is naturally shy and timid while Hikaru is just about the opposite. The show takes them to many normal childhood events, such as field trips, school plays, first dates, and the loss of a loved one.

The rest of the show teams up DD with Figure 17 fighting against the Magyua. Each Magyua learns from the one previous to it, so the battles are an arms escalation with DD, Ordina, and Figure 17 coming up with new weapons and tactics and the Magyua countertactics. Unline typical shows, you’ll be surprised who wins the fights and how. It’s not just Figure 17 shows up and kicks everyone’s ass. Did I mention that DD’s partner, Ordina, is voiced by Inoue-san?

The two portions of the show aren’t really connected at first… the events in one life doesn’t seem to effect the other, but, later on, you’ll see how Tsubasa’s emotional state from her life effects her performance as Figure 17. The animation is top notch, and the sound is even better with a slow, relaxing melody. If you’re looking for fast-paced action, be prepared to be disappointed. Figure 17 is a story– a slow story– but for those who watch it through, it’s a great story. The ending has the right mix of emotional tug, happiness, sadness, and magyua-whomping action.

The other recommendation is quite the opposite from Figure 17— it’s loud, it’s ecchi, it’s Mahoromatic. Mahoromatic is part mecha, part romance, part action, part drama, part comedy, part fan service, and it does most of it very well. It’s one of my favorite shows.

The story begins as Vesper uber-android Mahoro is decommisioned from duty from protecting Earth from the alien invaders, SAINT, and she wants to become Misato Suguru’s maid. Why? During her last battle, she kills Suguru’s father, the commander of Vesper. To atone, she wants to use her remaining battery power (400 days worth of service) to help Suguru grow up.

Okay, so you’re thinking… “it’s one of those guy surround by lotsa ladies” type of show. Well, there’s only two. Suguru’s perverted teacher and Mahoro, and Mahoro will be dead in 400 days. The show is more about learning to be a family, and that’s more clear during the second season when they “adopt” uber-clumsy android Minawa.

Surprisingly, even though it’s made by Gainax, the ending doesn’t suck. It’s a short ride, but a great one. The animation is fluid and crisp, but the sound is fairly forgettable. One thing I’d like to point out is my old Belldandy/Mahoro analysis. I’ll get a full review up when I get the first DVD gets released in January.

Tsubasa and Hikaru

Figure 17

The cast of Mahoromatic

“You’re the most ecchi of them all!”

EDIT: Fixed a few minor grammar/spelling problems. Changed Figure to Riberius.

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