Miho is a young elementary-school age girl who draws manga 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. Miho first thinks they're just little stuffed animals, until she starts hearing these voices which seem to be coming from the stuffed animals. Of course, they are in fact coming from the stuffed animals, but Pigu and Mogu aren't entirely sure they've got the right girl and are being very careful about not revealing their true selves... until she says, quite pointedly, that they're pretty weird-looking dinosaurs and she's going to just throw them away. THEN they crack. Pigu cracks, I should say; Mogu is much more controlled.
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 (no wonder the title's so dorky, it was thought up by a little girl).
Naturally, she's thrilled about this. She goes to a talent agency and gets a job as a model. Then the real fun begins. She's got two lives now; she's a student and has friends and family as Miho, but she's also got the excitement of a modelling career and friends as Lala. And they tend to conflict. And her friends wonder what she's doing with that cell phone, and it tends to ring when it's very inconvenient. And she has to find places that are safe to change clothes and transform into Lala. And she's got these two little gluttons of dinosaurs on her hands who aren't trying very hard not to get discovered...needless to say, Chaos ensues.
When I heard the name and saw the art style one day while attending a local anime club, I was less than enthusiastic about seeing what looked very much like yet ANOTHER insipid magical girl show. Well, when I actually sat down to watch it, I was rather pleasantly surprised. The two little mascots at first seemed like weirder versions of Pokota..until they tried to 'help' Miho. I think Chaos summed them up best by referring to them as "little terrors". They eat, they create mischief, and really don't do much else (except continually get themselves within an inch of being discovered), so basically they're long-eared, long-tailed pastel Rampages.
The characters are a good deal more developed than most magical girl shows -- whereas the characters in (for example) Hime Chan No Ribbon were decidedly simplistic and could do no wrong, these people actually have some depth to them. One other thing that makes it stand out is the wonderful tension of Miho leading two lives, one of which is a teensy bit out of her league. Of course, there is no villain in this show, just comedic or dramatic problems to be overcome. This is such a relief, as it opens up many more story possibilities and allows the show to focus on the characters and their development.
The art is quite good, especially for a Magical Girl series (they have a penchant for VERY simple line work and lots of cel recycling) and the music is quite tolerable (the theme song is cute but insidiously catchy, and the BGM fits nicely). And, most important of all, the comedy is actually funny! Because of the fact that half of Miho's character lives in the adult world, the humor isn't dumbed down for the kids. All in all, it's definitely one of the best magical girl shows out there, and is recommended even if you're not that much of a magical girl fan.
Herself the Elf sez: What continues to impress me about Fancy Lala is that it keeps breaking the Sailor Moon-style Magical Girl mold. After the first few episodes, we hardly even see the magical transformation sequence anymore; it's alluded to or simply ignored as just a thing Miho does before going to work. No youma-of-the-day, no evil Negaverse to fight, no obligatory 5-minute-long recycled transformation and attack every episode--in this way it harkens back to the older MG shows like Creamy Mami or Minky Momo.
Another thing that's neat about this show is that Miho, an elementary-school girl with crushes on late-teen and adult idol singers, can actually GET them by turning into Lala. That would just be too cool. I bet every young girl would love to be Miho if only for that reason. ^_~ Ehehehe. Plus this show is just CHOCK full of bishounen. Most of them only show up from time to time, but there's so damn many of them that there's almost always a cute guy on screen. Even Miho's dad and many of the grade-school boys are adorably sweet. It's sort of like Fushigi Yuugi in that regard, except the heroine isn't a stupid fluff-head ninny. What a refreshing concept....
Has been picked up by AnimeVillage.com; release date unknown.