Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Hime-chan's Ribbon 1

At the risk of sounding like a girly man, I'll admit it--I love Hime-chan's Ribbon. Hime-chan is a mahou shoujo series from the early 90s that ran for 61 episodes, and it's one of my favorite series. The basic premise of the series is this: Erika, a princess in the world of magic, comes to Earth to find her double, who turns out to be tomboy Himeko (or Hime-chan). Hime-chan looks just like Erika, but personality-wise she's about opposite. Erika explains to Hime-chan that everyone in the magic world has a double on Earth, and that in order for Erika to become queen someday, she first has to pass a test--she has to make a new magic item, give it to her double on Earth for a year, and at the end of that year, if her double finds the item useful than Erika can become queen. If Hime-chan DOESN'T find it useful, then it's off with Erika's head. Well, not quite, but she'd have to try again or something and no one likes retaking tests. The item Erika came up with is a ribbon that lets you transform into anyone you want. Since Hime-chan wishes she could be more like her elegant older sister Aiko, that's great news to her, and she accepts the ribbon--but is Hime-chan really going to be OK...

At the start of the series, Himeko has a crush on Hasekura, who's one year senior to her, but she also meets Daichi, the class troublemaker (which in the USA would mean he deals smack and shoots people, but since this is Japan he does things like rollerskate in the hallway when he's not supposed to). Hime-chan finds very quickly that while changing into other people sounds cool, you can end up finding out things you didn't want to know...and Daichi mistaking her for a boy doesn't help...

Overall, it's just a really well-done series with a good cast--if you hate older animation or you're looking for fanservice than steer clear (this isn't Nanoha) but Hime-chan's Ribbon is a good solid show that's worth checking out. The story arc for the first few episodes is really good, and Himeko's a likeable main character. Her and Daichi's interactions are a high point of the series, they have one of those relationships that's adversarial on the outside, but you can tell there's something more there. There's also some good character development as the series goes on. There aren't any monsters for Himeko to fight, no conspiracies to destroy the universe, it's mainly just a show about everyday life and the complications magic can cause. And yes, there's the obligatory stuffed animal sidekick, Pokota, who Himeko has had since she was little but comes to life as a side effect of Himeko wearing her ribbon. Glad to see Honobono is subbing this--I have the whole series on VHS but getting a high-quality digital version would be great, especially since this probably has a snowball's chance in Hell of getting licensed in Region 1.

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