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Prétear

I don't think I've ever felt so satisfied after watching an entire anime series. The brevity of thirteen episodes was enough to keep filler away, to keep the plots focused and progressing and, in the end, resolve them with no gaping holes at the conclusion. It's magical girl shojo anime, and, while largely operating within the conventions of that genre, is hardly a captive of it. Relationships are played out in a remarkably healthy way - and when they aren't, they're the crux of the enemy's problems, what makes the enemy who it is.

Prétear is loosely based on Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. The arc of the fairy tale informs parts of the story's structure, from a problematic stepmother to the number of guys looking after the main character. But the "dwarfs" aren't; they're Leafe Knights, magical protectors of the world's life force, who find in Himeno, the main character, the catalyst they need to use their powers most effectively. Neither are they all in love, let alone all in love with Himeno. Some of them are only children, none of them seem to be the same age as each other.

While this is partially the story of Himeno and the Leafe Knights, it is equally the story of Himeno and her family, her father, and new stepmother and stepsisters, learning to deal with new family dynamics and why people may be hostile to each other. Himeno is suddenly living in an enormous house with servants, with stepsisters raised in a way very different from that of the daughter of a washed-up romance writer.

This is not a series which daring pushes new ground, or shatters fairy tale or magical girl genre conventions. For example, theengineer and I could predict far more of what happened in the final episode than all the twists and turns which led up to it. But that didn't make it any less satisfying for me.

Thank you, cliosfolly, for introducing me to it!

P.S. If Sasame has a leaf-ornamented ear cuff and Hayate a leaf-ornamented ring, surely all seven of the Leafe knights have leaf-themed jewelry. I only noticed this at the end, so didn't have time to figure out what all the others were. Hajime's has to be his hair ornament, and Mannen has a big silver wrist cuff which must be his, but what about Kei, Goh, and Shin? (I only websearched for this superficially; surely the answer is out there somewhere.)

Comments

( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
genibane
Sep. 29th, 2006 02:04 am (UTC)
I always liked Himeno the best because she kicked butt! I've got the manga to, which shows how she's studied all kinds of martial arts since she was a kid, because her dad insisted even though they didn't have any money.
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