Reviewby Rebecca Silverman, Jun 3rd 2013
Magical Angel Creamy Mami
Episodes 1 -7 streaming
Yuu Morisawa is a tomboyish ten-year-old girl who would rather run around than help her parents with their crepe shop. One day while out playing she sees what looks like an enormous flying arc moving across the sky. Chasing it, she finds that it is from the planet Feather Star and is carrying dreams. Yuu helps the captain of the ship, a tiny alien named Pino Pino, and in return is given a compact that will grant her magical powers for one year. Two alien cats, Poji and Nega, will stay with her during that time. Soon Yuu learns that if she speaks the magic words, she can transform into a teenage version of herself. When that older Yuu is scouted by a talent agency, she gives her name as Creamy Mami and is launched into reluctant stardom. Being a magical idol is hard work when you're also a ten-year-old girl...who may have become her own rival in love!
Remember when magical girl shows were aimed squarely at little girls and were all about fun, the power of love and friendship, and pastel colors? If you do, or even if you don't, come back in time to 1983 and experience the delight that is Studio Pierrot's Creamy Mami. Brought to you by the same studio that produced Fancy Lala, Creamy Mami is the story of ten-year-old Yuu Morisawa, a tomboyish girl who would really rather do her own thing (preferably at top speed) than help her parents in their crêperie, Creamy Crêpes. She has a fierce crush on her neighbor and friend Toshio, but since he's in middle school and a full three years older than her, he only sees her as that kid next door, or possibly a little sister. His friend Midori, on the other hand, is madly in love with Yuu, which makes for some creepy moments. In any event, one day Yuu sees a mysterious ship sail across the sky, and when she follows it, she finds herself caught up in the most fantastic dreams. When they're over, a tiny alien from Feather Star offers her a compact that will grant her magical powers for one year. During that time she can use them as she wishes, and in exactly 365 days he will return to reclaim the compact. For that year she will also have the company of two little space kittens, male Nega and female Poji. Nega and Poji teach her how to use her powers: she pulls a small wand out of the compact and makes it grow by speaking the word “Kanon,” then inscribes a clef in the air while calling out the magic words to transform into sixteen-year-old Creamy Mami.
What makes Creamy Mami especially interesting beyond the novelty and nostalgia factors is that Yuu herself has no real interest in living as her alter ego Mami. It's fun to transform into her at first, but when she's scouted by the head of Parthenon Productions, Shingo Tachibana, she's reluctant to take the stage. Her magic comes to her aid when he puts her on the spot, granting her the power to sing the show's opening theme, but when Tachibana wants to sign her, she refuses. Even after she's been convinced (forced?) to join Parthenon Productions, Mami continually shows up late to events, treating the whole thing as a team sport someone else signed her up for but that she really doesn't want to play. By episode seven she is taking the job more seriously, but she'd still clearly rather be running around and doing her own thing, much to Tachibana's annoyance.
There's something very honest feeling about Yuu as a character that makes it easy to follow her adventures – she seems like a real ten-year-old rather than a fictional approximation thereof, with a little girl's disregard for activities one should not engage in when wearing a short skirt and an energy that radiates off the screen. Of course this does make for an awful lot of panty shots, but given the rest of the show, it is highly unlikely that they are fanservice. Somewhat more unsettling is the way Midori relentlessly pursues Yuu, staring at her during swim class, stalking her (with Toshio's help), and just generally acting kind of like a creeper. He is no doubt meant to seem humorous, as his large girth, height, and dopey voice indicate, but to an older audience, well, there's something that feels a little off. On the other hand, Toshio's intense crush on Yuu's alter ego Creamy Mami seems pretty much like a young teen's adulation of any pop culture figure, and it is interesting to note that in scenes where Mami performs for an audience, the crowd is mostly teenage boys.
This show is notable for being one of the first to use an up-and-coming idol singer to voice its heroine, and there are definitely moments when you can tell that Takako Ohta is more singer than actress. While she has a warm singing voice, her speaking voice doesn't always sound like a little girl and delivery can be stilted. It is not enough to detract too much from the show, however, and she is surrounded by able cast members, such as Kazuhiko Inoue (Natsume's Book of Friends' Nyanko-sensei) as a wonderfully excitable Tachibana and Dirty Pair's Yuri (Saeko Shimazu) as Mami's rival songstress Megumi. The animation is nothing thrilling, but looks good nonetheless and the pastel color scheme is comfortable. Takako Ohta performs both opening and ending themes, which are catchy in a cutesy way, and the songs do double duty as Mami's hits.
Creamy Mami is a charming magical girl show from a less edgy time in animation featuring a heroine who just wants to use her powers to have fun. While it has some aspects that we as viewers thirty years after its production will find odd or funny (crêpe is spelled crêap for the first four episodes, accent and all), on the whole it is a lot of fun and absolutely worth the watch. Episode six indicates that there may be some other supernatural powers in store for Yuu and more creatures from Feather Star to be met, so if you're looking for something sweet and fun or want to see where magical girls got their start, Creamy Mami is a good viewing choice.
Overall (sub) : B+
Story : A-
Animation : B
Art : B
Music : B+
+ Yuu acts like a real kid, her reluctance to be an idol adds a nice twist. Nega and Poji sound like they're just meowing to people other than Yuu. Fun overall.
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