Reviewby Maral Agnerian, Mar 9th 2003
DVD 3: Taking Center Stage
Miho is an 11-year-old girl who draws manga fan-art and has fantasies about cute male idol types, in other words, a perfectly normal Japanese schoolgirl. Then she meets Pigu and Mogu, two little fairies who look like SD pastel dinosaurs. They explain to her what they are and offer her a gift of magic. This takes the form of a sketchbook and pen, which have the following abilities:
- She can draw clothing in the sketchbook and it will become real.
- She can use the pen to transform herself into an older girl - actually, to transform herself into the model/idol singer character she created named Fancy Lala.
Naturally, she's thrilled about this. She gets scouted (as Lala) by a talent agency and gets a job as a model. Then the real fun begins. She's got two lives now; she's a school-girl and has friends and family as Miho, but she also has the excitement of a modelling career and friends as Lala. And they tend to conflict. Miho's friends wonder what she's doing with a cell phone, which happens to ring when at the most inconvenient times. She also has to find places that are safe to change clothes and transform into Lala. Add to the mix two little gluttons of dinosaurs who aren't trying hard enough to remain undiscovered... needless to say, chaos ensues.
Episode 11 deals mostly with Miho's continuing relationship with Taro, as she gets involved in a baseball game.
Episode 12 is a spooky psychological thriller dealing with Miho's issues of duality and identity--who is she really? Which persona is real?
In Episode 13, Lala encounters the paparazzi as a rumor about her and a popular actor spreads like wildfire. It's an interesting look into the realistic problems of fame, and how nonsensical it can all be.
Episode 14 is another trippy, psychological one, but this time more a bit more lighthearted as a feverish Miho dreams she's in a land of toys. The more serious and interesting undercurrent, however, is the issue of leaving childhood behind and moving on to adolescence.
With not as much plot development in these episodes, this disc is mostly an introspective exploration of Miho's personality and how it relates to her double life. She's obviously going through a difficult transition--the 'honeymoon', so to speak, is over, and now she's coming to terms with living a double life on a permanent basis. Needless to say, it's not all fun and games.
As for the art and animation, they're on the same level as previous discs--good but not exceptional. The dubbing is, again, tolerable but not great. Extras on the disc include the cover images from all the Japanese releases accompanied by commentary from the illustrator.
It was a bit disappointing that there still hasn't been anything revealed about Mr. Mystery...or about Pigu and Mogu's true forms and origins for that matter. But it's not a big gripe, and it doesn't take too much away from the enjoyment of this disc. Disc 3 is a transition period in both Miho's life and the show itself, so we just have to hang in there and see where everything's going--it should be worth the wait.
Overall (dub) : B-
Overall (sub) : A-
Story : B+
Animation : B-
Art : B-
Music : B-
+ Insight into Miho's psyche and double life
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