Himeno’s used to a simple life with her father, an often down on his luck novelist. But after he marries the love of his life, a rich widow, life changes forever. Now Himeno lives in a mansion with stepsisters who not only don’t understand her, but also dislike her. And if things couldn’t get any worse, she then finds out that she’s the mythical Pretear, fated to do battle alongside the Knights of Leafe.
Most of the fighting is “magical,” so there’s not a lot of actual physical damage done overall. That said, when there is damage done, the show isn’t afraid to have a large amount of blood covering a character’s side. It’s not that realist though. Think typical nineties era anime blood here (if this happened in real life these people would be worm food).
Another reason this got slammed with YA: first episode brings out the b-word. However, it is debatable how often this occurs in the original Japanese version versus the dub. There’s a slight difference in how often this happens. It’s nothing excessive, but it’s not under YA level stuff either.
So, right off the bat, we get a very odd explanation about Leafe (see below) and how, when this power in both men and women is combined, it creates a new power. yeah,t he old “two become one thing.” Not awkward at all. Although we always get the typical magical transformation sequence where the bodies are outlines only, this show sets itself apart for perhaps the most “revealing” transformation sequence in a TV14 show. The heroine always must transform with a knight. The knight becomes light and… she holds it and… transforms. Yeah, it’s very weird and earned this a place as one of the more pervy magical girl shows out there. We never actually see anything, but it’s still very strange and uncomfortable and this title gets slammed with a YA rating just for this awkwardness alone (the ending theme also has naked cherub versions of the main characters which is yet another form of awkward I never thought I’d see. I stand sadly corrected).
Weird stuff here, but common to magical shows. Leafe is like a life force kind of thing, an energy existing in all living things. This is where the powers of the knights and the pretear supposedly come from. There’s also, of course, a great evil that was sealed and escapes. This isn’t really a religion, but it does seek to explain how things in this world work so it’s somewhat a part of the story. Somewhat.
This show is such a strange combination of amazingly cliche and awkward and, yet, so very dated that I actually enjoyed it a bit. Although, likely for all the wrong reasons. I laughed at things that probably weren’t meant to be funny. Which was pretty much all of it.
That said, perviness aside, this is a pretty traditional magical girl show. Really the only deviation is in one of the side characters. One that becomes more major by the end and tries to address isolation and depression (a turn I actually didn’t see coming simply because I expected that character to magically “get over it” as so many characters do in these stories). So if you like magical girl shows, you’ll probably enjoy this title. But this isn’t the, uh, safest? No. cleanest? No. Well, it’s the not the best pick for a show where anyone can just walk in on. That awkwardness up there isn’t an exaggeration. I wouldn’t be surprised if the animation studio was full of giggling animators the whole time and the show was more of a joke than anything else.
(side note: this title used to belong to ADV Films before it went under and now belongs to FUNimation, although for how long it will be produced on DVD is debatable)
Personal rating: Young adult
Languages: Sub and dub
Official rating: TV14
Genre(s): magical girl, romance, comedy
Legal streaming: Hulu