step into the vip room
Welcome to The Girl's Distracted, a one-page tribute to free-spirited teen magician Aikawa Akane from the classic 90's anime franchise Mahou Tsukai Tai!. I've been a fan of MTT for many, many years, and I hope that this little shrine will adequately express why Akane is still one of my favorite fictional characters. Please be aware that spoilers are unmarked, and, because I've yet to read the novels, content will focus primarily on Akane's depictions in the anime and manga. But mostly in the anime.
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about the series
Mahou Tsukai Tai! (魔法使いTai!), released in North America as Magic User's Club!, began in 1996 as a six-episode OVA created by Satou Junichi (佐藤 順一) and animation company Triangle Staff. A manga serial by Ohta Tammy (太田 多美) and a light novel series written by Satou and Konaka Chiaki (小中 千昭) were also produced to tie-in with the OVA, as was a short-lived talk radio program hosted by Iwasaki Yasuo, Iizuka Mayumi, and Konishi Hiroko. The franchise continued with a 13-episode TV series and a second manga serial by Shamneko (紗夢猫) in 1999.
While the storylines of MTT differ from one incarnation to another, all revolve around the members of the Kitanohashi High School magic club (with a general focus on clutzy-yet-determined Sawanoguchi Sae). Unbeknownst to the public, the club performs actual, supernatural magic — a practice which either helps them save the world or nearly gets them killed on a daily basis. Genre-wise, Mahou Tsukai Tai! can be considered a "slice of life" style fantasy comedy with heavy slapstick humor and light, character-driven drama. Before we get to Akane's role in all this, let me do a quick summary of the anime arcs for those who may not have of seen them yet.
The plot of the OVA pits the magic club against the Tsurigane (The Bell), an enormous alien spacecraft that had invaded the city shortly before the events of the first episode. Although its intentions are unclear to the public, it's quickly accepted as harmless and the city learns to coexist with the mysterious drones it sends out to roam the streets. The magic club is suspicious of the Tsurigane from the start, however, and learns of its true intent to take over the world after it becomes threatened by the presence of their magic and attacks them. Long story short, they turn it into a giant cherry blossom tree because why the fuck not.
The TV series serves as a sequel, picking up almost immediately where the OVA ended. While the OVA had an almost theatrical narrative and a proper antagonist, the TV series has more of a sitcom feel with many episode-centric storylines that focus on character development. However, there is a flowing plot involving a mysterious young boy named J who joins the club and causes friction amongst the cast.
Both of the manga adaptations have original storylines and differing atmospheres, which I'll go further into later on. As I said, I haven't read the light novels, but it's my understanding that the story takes place before the events of the OVA, leading up to the arrival of the Tsurigane.