Bright colours, cute cosplay girls and a heavy dose of magical girl action – it’s Nurse Witch Komugi and her arch-rival Magical Maid Koyori, come to wreak havoc on Tokyo. Okay, so it’s hardly a new idea, but when these things are played purely for laughs its hard not to get carried along…
What They Say
Cosplay saves the world!
Ungrar is busy spreading viruses with Koyori, the Magical Maid. And the brainwashing schemes of the Magical Teacher can only spell double shifts for our heroine! From battling pro-wrestlers to corralling absentee animators into the studio, Komugi’s got a full docket. If laughter is the best medicine, get ready for an overdose!
1 – Smash! Komugi vs Hikky. The Biggest Battle in Akihabara
2 – Horror! Magical Maid Girl Descends. Decisive Battle at the Top of Odaiba!
2.5 – Special Episode to Return to the Main Subject – Hunch of Another Festival, Heave-Ho!
3 – Serious! Komugi Dies Two or Three Times?! Horrifying Izu-Ito Road with Flowers Blooming Out of Season
4 – Pioneer! The Anime Studio that Invites Storms. Great Blast of Suidobash?!
5 – The Encounter has Come
Audio is provided in English 5.1 and Japanese 2.0 versions – I listened to the Japanese track for this review. The audio’s generally very good – dialog is clean and clear, songs and effects come across well, and there’s a decent amount of directionality across the soundstage to match what’s going on on-screen.
Video is in full-frame 1.33:1 aspect, and looks just gorgeous, with plenty of bright colours & detail, some great character designs, and generally fluid animation that makes the series a visual joy. There were no apparent encoding defects or problems. My PS3 choked on a couple of particularly busy scenes, but replaying those scenes on another deck (my trusty old Pioneer DV-626D) showed that to be a player issue and not a disc or encoding fault – but it’s worth noting that some players may have problems in places.
For your money, you get two discs in a clear keepcase the same size as a regular single-disc package. Komugi strikes a very appealing pose on the front cover, syringe in hand and with Mugimaru beside here, against a mainly white background – it’s a very eye-catching piece of artwork that lets you know just what sort of fanservice you’ll be getting by watching. The rear has the usual screenshots, promotional paragraph and technical information. The cover is reversible, with the alternate front featuring another great image of Komgui & Koyori, with the rear having a set of character profiles. All told, a very nice piece of packaging.
Menus on both discs are simple static screens – Disc 1 uses a shot from the opening credits of Komugi asleep at her desk, while Disc 2 goes for the fanservice with Komugi in her school swimsuit. A snippet of the opening theme plays over the menu. Direct access is provided to each episode, with submenus provided for language setup and extras. With no transition animations between screens, it’s all quick and easy to use.
There’s a good selection of extras provided here, split across the two discs. Along with the usual creditless credit sequences & production sketch galleries, there are two episode commentaries featuring the dub director and cast (one on each disc), a selection of Japanese TV trailers for the show, and a Japanese “How to Anime” documentary which takes a comedic look at the show’s production. No complaints in this department.
Maya, Goddess of Vaccine World, has a problem – the evil Ungrar, King of Viruses, has escaped to Earth to wreak all sorts of havoc. Residents of Vaccine World can’t use their magic on Earth, so magical mascot Mugimaru is sent to find someone on Earth who can stop Ungrar. His choice? 17-year old cosplayer Komugi Nakahara. Not exactly your stereotypical heroine, but she sooo wanted to play a magical girl that Mugimaru couldn’t resist. She’s been doing a reasonable job so far – but Ungrar’s agent on Earth, Komugi’s friend & classmate Koyori Kokobunji, isn’t about to give up without a fight…
Pay attention during the first five minutes of this release, as that’s when you get all of the backstory and info about what’s going on. Not that you really need to know it, as any sort of “story” that Nurse Witch Komugi may have is purely there as an excuse for the on-screen mayhem. The series is a spin-off of 2001 series Soultaker, which was a much darker and more serious affair – this time around the characters return, but apart from that there’s not much of a connection. You certainly don’t need to know anything about the previous series to follow what’s happening here.
So. Komugi’s fighting for the forces of good, Koyori for the forces of evil. Normally, Koyori’s a cute & sweet young girl whose impressive rack has helped her become a cosplay idol – but every so often, she transforms into Magical Maid Koyori, the agent of Ungrar whose duty it is to unleash viruses upon an unsuspecting humanity. This invariably leads to chaos, which is the cue for Komugi to transform, like any good magical girl would, and ride to the rescue. That she usually wins more by good luck than by good fortune is a minor detail. In between the action, there’s a look at Komugi’s daily life as she tries to make it as a cosplay idol & actress, while the other wannabe stars at the Kiri Pro agency do their best to upstage her at every turn – especially Megumi, who isn’t just satisfied with getting the better roles, but is also after Komugi’s love interest – pop star Kyousuke.
That’s about all you need to know, really – with the exception of episode 2.5 (a special ep based around a cosplay café and showcasing the singing of Komugi and Kyousuke), all the episodes here follow the same basic plot & have the same Komugi-saves-the-day outcome. The fun comes from the comedy that goes along with this, and the anime staples that get parodied along the way. Episode 2’s a particular favourite of mine, as it goes on a Gatchaman / Battle of the Planets kick for a large chunk of the episode that really pushed all the right buttons with me. As with all parodies, though, to get the most out of them you really need to know what they’re parodying, and unless you have an encyclopedic knowledge of anime (I don’t’) it’s likely you’ll miss the point of some of the scenes. When that happens, it’s up to the show’s slapstick comedy to try and carry the can, and that side of things doesn’t work quite so well – it’s the sort of wacky humour that can be quite hit-or-miss, and it doesn’t always hit the target. In general, though, there are plenty of laughs to be had.
It’s a real visual treat, though – so much so that in some scenes there’s so much going on that some DVD players just can’t keep up (my PS3 and VLC on my Mac laptop both choked in places – other players I have coped just fine). The animation is beautifully done, with the character designs having apparently been done with fanservice potential in mind. Such good presentation doesn’t actually improve the show, of course, but it’s a nice piece of icing on the cake.
There’s almost nothing as personal as taste in comedy, and that’s going to play a big part in how much you’ll appreciate Nurse Witch Komugi. For me, it did a good job of pressing the right buttons, and the impressive visuals combined with a format that just lets you switch off and enjoy was just what I was looking for at the time. It won’t be for everyone, but it’s certainly worth a look.
Japanese Language 2.0, English Language 5.1, English Subtitles, Creditless Opening & Closing, Production Sketches, Japanese TV Spots, Commentary with Director and Cast, “How to Anime” Documentary
Toshiba 37X3030DB 37″ widescreen HDTV; Sony PS3 Blu-ray player (via HDMI, upscaled to 1080p); Acoustic Solutions DS-222 5.1 speaker system.
Content Grade: B+
Audio Grade: B+
Video Grade: A
Packaging Grade: B+
Menu Grade: B+
Extras Grade: B+
Released By: ADV Films UK
Release Date: July 16th, 2007
Running Time: 150 Minutes
Video Encoding: 480i/p MPEG-2
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
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.