Mania Grade: A-
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- Audio Rating: NA
- Video Rating: NA
- Packaging Rating: NA
- Menus Rating: NA
- Extras Rating: NA
- Age Rating: 13 and Up
- Region: All Region DVD
- Released By: Crunchyroll
- Running time: 150
- Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
- Disc Resolution: 480i/p
- Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
- Series: Fairy Musketeers
Fairy Musketeers Episode #34-39
Fairy Musketeers Episode #34-39 Anime Review
By Chris Beveridge
November 03, 2010
Release Date: November 03, 2010
What They Say
Join Little Red Riding Hood, Snow White and Briar Rose from Sleeping Beauty as they are appointed to be guardians of a sealed key which could control a parallel universe inhabited by characters of well-known fairy tales while rebel clan, lead by a she-devil Cendrillon, desperately searches for the Key.The Review!
Fairy Musketeers comes to the end of the road, and it seems that Cendrillon, with all the foresight of evil witches everywhere, has rather underestimated the power of her enemies. Souta's about to face some serious heartache, but what doesn't kill us makes us stronger, right..?
It's the last six episodes of Fairy Musketeers, and with the last episode I looked at having dropped some fairly heavy hints about Trude's true identity, this batch thankfully wastes no time in explaining what's been going on. The first part of that deals with Souta's mother: known to Souta as Sayo, she's better known to the people of Phandavale as Sylphine, one of the Seven Sages that 1,000 years earlier had been responsible for sealing Cendrillon away in the first place. She's looking well for her age, then. Now, she's a key part of Cendrillon's plan to take revenge, and having her son turn up as the Key to Erde only makes the revenge all the sweeter.
Cendrillon has spotted that the tale of her progression from young and innocent Marlene to somewhat older and considerably more evil Cendrillon has certain similarities to Souta's own tale: they've both suffered from the pain of being separated from one they loved dearly, in both cases the separation of Erde and Phandavale played a key role in that separation, and they both harbour dreams of bringing the two worlds together. So far, so similar. What Souta's missing, though, is something of such magnitude that it pushes him over the edge from the kind, caring boy we know into someone far more evil. For her, that event has seeing the boy she loved killed in front of her when one of her spells went awry - so guess what she's got in story for Sayo.
All does not, of course, go according to plan, and over the course of five episodes we have some real heartstring-tugging, plenty of to'ing and fro'ing as Cendrillon tries to keep control of her plans, a few good surprises thrown in (along with one or two scenes that were, sadly, anything but), and some very nice large-scale battles that reflect the epic scale of what Cendrillon's trying to achieve. What it's lacking, though, is any real sense that she's ever likely to win. Now, that may seem like something of a "duh!" statement for this sort of series, and in some ways it is, but here's the problem: Fairy Musketeers at heart is a magical girl show, and in other shows of the same ilk (say, Sailor Moon), the lead character, while ultimately a force for good, is often shown to have moments of weakness, or internal doubts that mean that you can believe that there's a possibility of them turning to the darkside.
Here, the Three Musketeers all have events in their pasts that have been explored that would leave you with the same doubts about them (the destruction of Red's village, or Snow White and her invaded kingdom), but Souta from day one has been as pure as the driven snow - always doing the right thing and encouraging those around him to do likewise, and he's the one on which the pressure is ultimately placed, not the girls. It just doesn't feel like him, then, when he does go off the rails in response to some fairly blatant manipulation by Cendrillon - and given that's a key part of the unfolding story, it's a fairly big flaw in the series' final sequence.
If you can put that to the back of your mind somehow, though, there's still plenty of entertainment to be had here, and the series does manage to avoid the old cliché of having everything come up roses at the end of the story. The final episode also stands separate from the final battle and gives an epilogue to the story - not quite a where-are-they-now piece, but showing Souta and the others getting back to their normal lives after the battle is over. It's a time-honoured and good way of closing out a series, and in this case has a slightly bitter-sweet feel to it that makes it all the more satisfying to watch.In summary:
It may have taken me longer than planned to get through Fairy Musketeers' 39 episodes (a little over a year, all told), but it's been well worth the long haul. While there are segments of the show that play the magical girl theme pretty much by-the-numbers, in other places it really does excel itself, and these final episodes are rightly the highlight of the series. Very enjoyable & lighthearted fun, almost from beginning to end, and well worth watching.Features
Japanese 2.0 Language, English SubtitlesReview Equipment
Apple MacBook Pro 17" with 4GB RAM and Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard.
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