Shin Shirayuki Hime Densetsu Pretear

(New Legend of Snow White Pretear)

Rating: 3 Rampages

Episodes seen: 1 of 13 Himeno in a magical pink dress

Himeno lived with her dad, an alcoholic writer, until he fell in love with the rich woman who owns the town. Now she has a new stepmother and two stepsisters (can anybody say Cinderella?), and while her stepmother seems to be nice enough, the two sisters are stuck-up and either ignore or pester Himeno.

Meanwhile, a team of six bishounen (3 kids, 3 grownups) called 'Knights of Leafe' are searching the city for 'Pretear', the girl who can fight the evil Negaverse...whoops, I mean Fenrir (some evil person), who's bent on stealing all the world's Leafe (some version of the Force, I guess). Their search leads them, of course, to Himeno. She takes an instant dislike to Hayate, the dark-haired leader, in that classic bickering-anime-couple way that indicates they'll fall madly in love at some point in the future. They all settle in to act out their little Magical Girl battles and fight evil while enjoying romantic comedy tension.

Himeno's dad and his favourite breakfast food

Herself the Elf sez: The goddess of Magical Girls seems to have increased her budget lately; instead of sending talking animals to recruit magical girls, she's sending crack teams of bishounen. Hey, I ain't complaining...

But seriously, when they introduce a whole bunch of characters right off the bat, that usually sets off a big 'game alert' sign in my I settled in to watch another crappy game-based anime. But it also looked like a magical girl show, so I wasn't quite sure what to expect. My expectations still weren't very high, at any rate.

Amazingly, it actually all turned out better than I'd thought. Nicely animated with good design, actually funny comedy and a moderate dose of wackiness, Pretear surprised me. Of course, having a team of bishounen wandering around doesn't hurt. Himeno's kind of stupid-looking, but her dad's a carbon copy of Mr. Fujisawa from El Hazard (although without the super-strength), which adds to the comedy quotient.

I was also pleasantly surprised to see that while Hayate may look like a carbon-copy bishounen angst-machine, he doesn't act like one. He does, in fact, deviate from the formula quite a lot and ends up bickering quite undignifiedly with Himeno on a regular basis instead of standing on buildings and making speeches in front of the moon or whatever it is that melodramatic bishounen do in their spare time. He is very cool, of course, but it's nice that it's leavened with a bit of humanity. I would like to know, however, what it is with anime and super-powerful magical two-year-olds...

One of the best bits of the first ep was when Hayate tells Himeno to transform into Pretear. She asks how, and he pulls her close. At this point I whispered to Zel 'Well, first we've got to take off our clothes...'....and that's exactly what they did! That's right, Pretear doesn't use any dumb plastic henshin wand to transform, she uses the power of the Naked Bishounen! It's all done in Magical Henshin Sparkle-o-Vision™, of course, but it was still funny. Apparently she can 'transform' using each of the 6 Knights, and gets a different outfit with each, which adds a bit of interest, I suppose.

I wouldn't mind seeing more of this, although I'm not burning with desire to find out what happens either. All in all, Pretear's a new Magical Girl show slightly on the better side of the genre. Not spectacular, but kind of fun and has a few neat twists. Good for a rental...well, when or if it gets released here.

Recently licensed by ADV Films.

Updated 15-10-02

Bishounen ahoy!