Film Review: Magical Sisters Yoyo & Nene
Majocco Shimai no Yoyo to Nene, or Magical Sisters Yoyo and Nene, is an epic fantasy adventure. The title sisters are good witches, using their magic to help people, and are quite skilled and famous despite being young. Nene looks older, but is actually younger. Yoyo is the one with more magic, and Nene is the one with more practical wisdom. So the two are kind of like the female counterparts to the Elric brothers from Fullmetal Alchemist. Just as such, their personalities are even similar; Yoyo being hot-headed and boldly curious, while Nene is cautious and sensitive.
That's why, when the human world intersects with the world of magic in a bizarre way for some reason, Yoyo seems determined to go into it to check things out, while Nene stays behind. This leads to Yoyo spending much of the movie living with a human boy, Takahiro. She does magic stuff and feels feelings, typical cutesy magical girl stuff I guess. The plot moves forward as she loses her powers suddenly and tries to find out why, and also to explore the deeper mystery of why her world and the mundane world collided in the first place. Meanwhile, Nene is determined to rescue Yoyo, but the girls' grandmother, an extremely powerful witch, threatens to destroy the non-magical world if the sisters can't solve its mysteries and get Yoyo out in time. This makes for a memorable, exciting climax.
Magical Sisters Yoyo and Nene
Manga, "Noroiya Shimai" by Hirarin
Main Voice Actors:
Sumire Morohoshi as Yoyo, Ai Kakuma as Nene
Cardcaptor Sakura, Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha, Little Witch Academia, Kiki's Delivery Service, Flying Witch, Sally the Witch, Princess Tutu
This movie was good, in that it makes you root for the protagonists, the characters feel fresh and interesting (not like stereotypes or clichés, but like real people), and the art of the movie is breathtaking. I think this could have been a 12-episode anime or so to flesh out a lot more of the detailed back stories of various side characters, but it works as a movie Ok with a lot of obvious detail from the manga missing. For example, frog dude. There's this side character, about whom the movie makes jokes, but they're kind of just insider jokes for people who know this story already from the manga.
Honestly, I think there's a lot more they could do with these characters as far as more manga or a full anime series adaptation that creates new adventures for them. They're likeable characters with amusing quirks, and I think they could really charm audiences if given a chance. This movie, at only 100 minutes, didn't seem big enough for them. I think there's a lot of lore here, and some interesting character dynamics, that could make this a successful anime series if they were so inclined to make one across the Pacific.
But is it great for what it is? Well the movie sucks you in, gets you involved in the characters and plot, solves the plot's mysteries and basic questions in a satisfactory way, and has a nice ending for everyone that leaves you feeling uplifted. But since this franchise is kind of limited, that's all you get so far, unless you want to read the manga. Which, since it doesn't seem all that popular, I don't even think is available in the U.S./in English. Is the movie even available officially? I usually prefer not to pirate anime (since that contributes to its decline in quality and number of episodes per season), but I don't know if there is actually a legitimate source for this available in the States. So sadly, this needs more love. Find it (some of the files on streaming sites cut off the last 20 minutes or so for some reason, so pro tip: make sure it's 100 minutes (1 hr, 40 min.) before you jump in). Write your Congressman or whatever it takes to get this stuff translated and sent here, because it's good. It is the kind of anime that's "safe" enough to appeal to American kids, kind of like if Harry Potter were less bleak and gloomy and so, so British. Find it, watch it, tell people about it, and maybe get them to send us an official sub on Crunchyroll or Funimation or some such official streaming website.