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Tenchi Muyo! Magical Girl Pretty Sammy
Reviewer: Rowena Lim Lei 03/31/2003

Synopsis:
Tsunami, first-in-line for the throne of the magical kingdom of Juraihelm, chooses a young earthling girl named Sasami Kawaii as her champion for the cause of good. Sasami is given an enchanted baton which enables her to transform into the magical girl Pretty Sammy, and a talking cabbit named Ryo-ohki is dispatched to assist her every step of the way. But Tsunami's rival for the throne, Ramia, picks a champion of her own to counter Pretty Sammy's every move. She ends up using Sasami's best friend Misao, without Misao's knowledge... and she emerges as the magical girl Pixy Misa!

Review:
The Pretty Sammy OAV series is a Tenchi Muyo spin-off / magical girl parody featuring the cute and lovable Sasami-chan. For those of you who are already familiar with Tenchi Muyo, Pretty Sammy casts the whole Tenchi gang into slightly different roles while retaining the personalities they've already established in the past Tenchi installments. You don't need to have seen any Tenchi to appreciate this series however, since all the characters are given sufficient introduction and no references to other Tenchi series or movies are ever made.

Three episodes make up the Pretty Sammy OAV series. The first episode sets up the whole scenario. Sasami, her brother Tenchi, and their karaoke-crazed mother Chihiro run a CD shop called CD Vision -- where a couple of girls named Kiyone and Mihoshi work. Keeping true to the Tenchi tradition, Tenchi has two female schoolmates named Ryoko and Aeka who are constantly vying for his attention. Somewhere along the way Sasami is chosen to become a champion for good as the magical girl Pretty Sammy, while her best friend Misao becomes her rival magical girl Pixy Misa. The second episode pits Sasami against a Bill Gates-esque software mogul named Bif Standard, who aims to monopolize the business and standardize the whole world into using his products exclusively... no matter what the cost. The third episode is a bit more complex, with Ramia disappearing from Juraihelm while mysterious form-assimilating aliens land on Earth and wreak some havoc.

Of all the episodes, I found the first one to be most entertaining. It pokes fun at the magical girl genre all the while taking full advantage of all the characters' quirks to bring you a totally hilarious viewing experience. The second and third episodes were amusing enough, but don't come close to being as humorous as the first one. A few things bothered me about this series. First of all, since Sasami and Tenchi are supposed to be brother and sister, why was Sasami showing signs of having a romantic interest in Tenchi in the last episode? Isn't Pixy Misa a bit underage to have an attack called "Pixy Sexual Fire"? And why has Tsunami been reduced to an airhead who can't even distinguish a real live person from a dummy? My third gripe wouldn't hold for those who've never seen Tsunami before though.

The art and animation are above average but somewhat inconsistent. In some scenes everyone would look really good, while in others they would look either washed out, pudgy-faced, or just plain strangely drawn. There is also some fan service in the form of a few panty shots and an episode featuring a beach trip wherein some of the girls wear revealing swimsuits. The English dubbing can be considered good if you don't compare it to the Japanese language version. Everyone sounds about right except for Ryoko and Aeka. Ryoko sounds rather mannish in the English dub while Aeka possesses the voice of a whiney old crone.

Pretty Sammy is overall quite fun and enjoyable. I would have given it a higher rating had the second and third episodes possessed the lightness and hilarity of the first.

Miscellanies:
More Pretty Sammy? Also see "Magical Project S". The Pretty Sammy OAV series has been released on DVD back-to-back with the Mihoshi special episode.

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Tenchi Muyo! Magical Girl Pretty Sammy
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Review Title:
Tenchi Muyo! Magical Girl Pretty Sammy
Alternative Titles:
Mahou Shoujo Pretty Sammy
Type:
OVA
Episodes:
3
Duration:
120 Minutes
General Rating:
3.5 out of 5 stars
Aired:
1995-1997
Suitable For:
Teens
Genres:
Comedy, Magic, Parody
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