Winter Anime 2014 – First Impressions – Wizard Barristers: Benmashi Cecil

‘Half-Canadian Purple-Haired Wizard Girl With A Penchant for Social Justice: The Animation.’

Winter just keeps getting better.

The debut episode of Wizard Barristers: Benmashi Cecil went off with a loud bang, thrusting viewers into its wildly futuristic setting where regular folks live side-by-side with magic users. Our sparkly MC is the young Cecil Sudou, an aspiring ‘Wizard Barrister’ who believes magic-users need better judicial representation in this crazy future setting. She’s an incredibly driven character, but still manages to run late on her first day at work for extra moe points.

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The pacing was surprisingly fast for this episode. There were a myriad of explosions, gunfire and CGI mech warriors which was almost overwhelming. This is a universe where crime and conflict seem perpetual, so it’s not as if Cecil is going to get much downtime throughout the show. The character introductions were regrettably hasty amidst all the action which was a downside, but we got to know Cecil (and her wacky sidekick, Nanajiiny) well enough for a start.

I think a big factor as to whether you or I will really enjoy this show will come down Cecil. Episode one gave her a lot of focus, and some will be turned off by her exaggerated brightness and enthusiasm. Personally I didn’t mind this, but I’m really not a fan of her CV (Tanabe Rui) yet. Tanabe is still a rookie voice actor, and her voice is so high-pitched that it can sound a little jarring at times. Her tone is not quite as high as the acclaimed Kaneda Tomoko (who can apparently produce frequencies beyond human hearing) but it’s still pretty damn high. Voice acting aside though, Cecil is not a bad character despite a few obvious cliches.

As for the other characters – Nanajinni was cool and Cecil’s boss (Seseri Chouno) was particularly impressive. Non-magical (I assume) detective duo Ekusou & Quinn seem like an awesome pair, Quinn particularly because of the massive chip on her shoulder. I’ll be interested to see how they act around Cecil as the narrative evolves.

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Wizard Barristers succeeded on a visual level. The character designs are refreshingly atypical, and the numerous explosions + special effects came off nicely. The CGI even blended well enough, and the whole thing was accompanied by some stirring background music. Attention to detail really counts here, and it all looked great to me.

You could probably argue that episode one was a little bit too jam-packed and convoluted for an expository episode, but I feel as if Wizard Barristers has loads of potential already. I have absolutely no idea how it’s all going to play out, but I’m quite curious and confident that it will be entertaining.

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