Mao-Chan (Volume 1)
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Mao-chan FULL SET (Vol. 1 - Vol. 4). Please keep in mind: this is NOT just volume 1, but a FULL SET from volume 1 to 4 (without the box).
When 8-year-old Mao Onigawara presses her smiling clover pin, she acquires a uniform and a baton, and assumes her role in the Special Ground Defense Forces, protecting Japan from "cute little aliens." Mao is a typically klutzy "magical girl," and she gets needed reinforcement from Misora Tsukishima (air defense) and Sylvia Maruyama (sea defense). It's not clear how aliens who look like plush toys could harm Japan, or why only second-graders can fight them. As Mao is based on a concept by Ken Akamatsu, the creator of Love, Hina, it's not surprising that the characters look like junior versions of the Hinata Apartments gang. The series plays like Sailor Moon, but with the ages of the characters pared down and the cuteness factor amped up to the level of Hamtaro or Hello Kitty. (Rated suitable for all ages, but appropriate for 6 and older: minor cartoon violence, tobacco use) --Charles Solomon
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Top Customer Reviews
If however, cute does NOT offend you, or if you are looking for a fun little show to watch with your little kids, or grand kids... (ok that can be an excuse even if you really want to watch this...) you probably should make sure you buy all four DVDs BEFORE you start to watch the first one. It is really addictive, and so much good fun too! :-) So, be sure to get the 2nd, 3rd and 4th DVDs too. The 4th DVD is the hardest one to find though... worth it if you are a fan! :-) (best to watch in a marathon session.... hehehehe....
That's the basic set-up to the ultra-cute series, Mao-Chan. From Ken Akamatsu, the mastermind behind the wildly-popular Love, Hina comes a look at saving the world through the eyes of an 8 year old. In this first volume, we meet our three heroines Mao, who controls all Land-based operations, Misora, who is in charge of Air-based missons, and Sylvia, who mans all Sea-based missions. Together, the girls must stop cute aliens from taking over Japan.
Now, when I first heard about this, I thought the series was very annoying (and very girly; pink is diffently not my color nor mood). But after reading glowing reviews, I decided to give it a go.
The first volumes has a total of 7 episodes, each about 12-15 minutes long, which is just enough cuteness that won't make you puke. The animation glows with bright and neutral colors that are appealing and add over-all character to this series. I listened to the English dub and was very pleased. Pioneer/Geneon has always done a rather excellent job with translations, so they get an A in my book.
I gave this 4 stars because the voices for the English dub where rather soft and kinda high-pitched (then again, the main characters are 8 afterall). Also, with so many Magical Girl series running amuck, it puts a little strain on the over-all main characters. You also get the standerd extras, like a creditless opening, bloopers and trailers. But if you can get past teh faults, then Mao-Chan is a delightful romp through a world of cute kids (and aliens), non-violence and over-all fun!
Watching this series makes me happy! The entire premise is based around cuteness -- I've never heard the *characters* of an anime say the word "kawaii" so frequently (I watched this subbed) -- but I don't think it's cloying or excessive. The fact that there's a definite military aspect to all of the magical girl action makes for some amusing jokes that the normal elementary-school-aged viewing audience is likely to miss. The young characters are likable (the adults less so, though I think Sylvie's grandfather is pretty amusing).
Volume 1 contains some enjoyable, quick episodes and introduces the characters. The DVD itself doesn't (iirc) have particularly interesting extras, but the show content is sufficiently worth it.
If you hate small children and think they're whiny, you'll probably dislike this, but try it if you can appreciate "the delight of viewing the world through a 2nd-grader's eyes", or cute things, or meta-humor about cute things, or cute things defending Japan from cute things, etc.
From the creative team behind Love Hina! Original story by Ken Akamatsu (Love Hina), Directed by Yoshiaki Iwasaki (Love Hina, El Hazard) and scripted by Yousuke Kuroda (Please Teacher). Featuring seven bilingual 15 minute episodes per disc with both dialog and signs-only subtitle streams! Volume one also features the non-credit opening to the series and a reversible cover.