What They Say:
Komugi Yoshida wants to be famous, but her efforts as an idol don’t seem to be working out so far. Unlike her prim friend Cocona or her tomboyish rival Tsukasa, both of whose idol popularity is soaring, Komugi seems to be getting only the bottom-tier jobs, like pitching pharmaceutical products to the locals.
However, everything changes when Komugi discovers an injured creature named Usa-P who offers her a chance to be something bigger: a magical nurse! With awesome powers and a cute outfit to boot, Komugi might just be moving up in the world, but is she going to be able to handle the stress of saving the world, being an idol, AND keeping up in school?
The audio presentation for this release is done with the original Japanese language track only in stereo encoded using the DTS-HD MA lossless codec. The series is one that works a fairly standard approach for this type of property with a lot of it being dialogue oriented with a healthy mix of action along the way. As a stereo mix, it keeps things moving back and forth across the forward soundstage in decent ways from time to time but it’s not something with a lot of standout activity to it. These moments give it a bit more life and it serves the material well. Dialogue itself is straightforward throughout the show with some decent placement and a clean and clear presentation with no dropouts or distortions during regular playback.
Originally airing in 2016, the transfer for this TV series is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 in 1080p using the AVC codec. The twelve episodes are spread across two discs with nine on the first and three on the second. Animated by Tatsunoko Production, the show has a bright and colorful look that’s standard for the magical girl genre and it’s appealing throughout with smooth animation for the most part that doesn’t suffer from problems such as cross coloration or noticeable noise. The encoding brings out the pop of the colors really well as it goes for a more robust look while not going into the realm of garish. The release is one that will definitely please fans with how it looks as it’s a solid and clean presentation that captures the look of the show as designed.
The packaging for this release comes in a standard sized Blu-ray case that holds the two discs against the interior walls. The front cover artwork is a familiar key visual piece that has Komugi in the foreground while Cocona is in the background, both of them in their magical girl outfits. The lack of Tsukasa is certainly noticeable! It’s a bright cover with the color design here and is certainly busy with them alone before even introducing the logo itself with its various colors and busyness. The back cover gives us a mix of pinks and purples for its color design with an angled look for the text that breaks down the summary of the premise and the extras. The shots from the show are decent and we get a solid technical grid below the production credits that lists everything out cleanly and clearly. No show related inserts are included nor is there a reversible cover.
The menu design for this release is fairly straightforward as we get the static layout with each disc featuring some cute character artwork on the right, such as Komugi smiling in full transformed mode waving her wand. The background works pinks and blues to give it some pop while the navigation is done with a soft yellow that has the episodes broken out by number and title with a good mix of colors that brush up against garish but still manage to work. With it being a monolingual release, there’s not much navigation here but it looks good and is easy to use as both the main menu and the pop-up menu.
The only extras for this release are the clean versions of the opening and closing sequences.
Originally introduced as a part of the Soultaker series from the early 2000’s, Nurse Witch Komugi has had a couple of OVAs over the years, a manga run, and even a PS2 game. The property was certainly more popular at the time than Soultaker – a series that I definitely enjoyed – but even this one felt like it was a blip in time overall. So when a new TV project arrived twelve yes after the last OVA came out, it was definitely a left-field kind of moment that had a lot of people unsure of why it had come about. While there’s been a surge of cute alternate take stories of popular properties in the last few years cropping up, this one never felt like it was popular enough to warrant reviving and giving it a second shot at life.
This incarnation doesn’t require any knowledge of the past franchises and pretty much stands on its own. Its focus is on Komugi, a middle school student with dreams of being an idol and performing in a big venue with lots of adoration. In her everyday life, she’s got a decent family and is generally a pretty good kid that’s occasionally a bit clumsy and spacey, making for a familiar archetype. Things go weird for her when she ends up helping a pint-sized creature named Usa-P that returns the favor of being helped by making her a magical girl. Komugi’s not exactly keen on this at first but once she gets her magical witch costume going and embraces the weirdness and fun of it, she’s off to the races. And that comes with a Cocona, who is initially setup to be an opponent but ends up being a friend as well as Tsukasa, making it a standard trio of characters.
With some creatures to defeat once in a while and foolishness from the supporting Usa-P creatures and friends getting into the mix, which is occasionally more racy than the rest of the show, the series works standard kind of simple premises for the girls to have to deal with. But, frankly, none of these are really memorable as none of it has any true impact. There isn’t an overarching storyline driving things here nor is there any real sense of character growth. You can view this is a kind of parody of the usual magical girl material but it doesn’t really do anything with its characters or the settings to really make it a parody. It’s a shadow of a magical girl show adapted from more serious material. That said, it has its fun along the ways and if you embrace the simplicity and superficial aspects of the characters and just have fun with Komugi trying to be an idol and all that she has to do it achieve it, you’ll likely get some laughs.
What kind of surprised me about the show is how tame it is in general because you can imagine something like this leaning heavily into the fanservice side of things. It’s a pretty tame piece overall that doesn’t sex up the characters for the most part and it doesn’t put them in a slew of skimpy situations. In fact, when we have Komugi doing a run on various onsen in order to film a special, she’s in swimsuits and towels the whole time instead of coming up with ways to oversexualize the situation. The series has a pretty good level of quality for the animation and the designs make it easy on the eyes but I appreciate that it didn’t really try to go there with what it could have been. It may have worked and fit but there’s a kind of old school charm to this.
Nurse Witch Komugi is the kind of show that for long time anime fans may not register much for several reasons, including it being from a property that wasn’t all that over a decade ago and was done to some degree already. Tatsunoko put together the show well and it’s a good run of simple silliness and fun that’s easily forgettable as it progresses. But you can see it being an easy gateway show for a lot of viewers that grabbed it during its original season and had fun with it because it wasn’t trying to be big and epic nor was it trying to be a whole lot of sexy fanservice. Sentai put together a solid enough release here but I do wish they had been able to rescue the original material and Soultaker first just to give it a bit of additional context.
Japanese DTS-HD MA 2.0 Language, English Subtitles, Clean Opening, Clean Closing
Content Grade: B-
Audio Grade: B+
Video Grade: A-
Packaging Grade: B+
Menu Grade: B
Extras Grade: B-
Released By: Sentai Filmworks
Release Date: May 2nd, 2017
Running Time: 300 Minutes
Sony KDL70R550A 70″ LED 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.