Itsuki Iba has reluctantly taken over as President of Astra, his father’s magical “handyman” company. Astral hires out their mages to deal with magical problems and the company is known for the wide variety of magic its mages employ. However, Astral is not the company that most people turn to and Iba and his staff find themselves competing with Goetia—and her young company President Adilicia Ren Mathers—just to get jobs.
Rental Magica seems like it should be a terrific anime. There are cute girls, lots of magic, cute boys, folklore elements, cute cats, and plenty of action. There is not, however, a coherent plot or an enjoyable storyline. For some unexplained reason, the producers decided that their anime should be aired out of chronological order, as was done with the popular The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya. But what they failed to take into account was that Melancholy was ordered that way for a reason and that planned disorder attracted viewers because it was planned. Rental Magica has no reason for being aired out of order and so viewers are quickly lost and wonder why the characters seem so stupid and unable to remember people they’ve clearly met before.
And the reason why viewers have time to wonder about the idiotic characters is because they have no desire to spend time focusing on the tediously boring plot. For a show so filled with action and fantasy, it was hard watching Rental Magica without falling asleep. There was nothing, absolutely nothing, that made it enjoyable. The characters were bland. The stories were a mish-mash of folklore elements that could have been unique and inspired in the hands of more capable writers. The only selling point for this collection is Right Stuf’s beautiful job of packaging. The box set is attractive, eye-catching, and includes an amazing, 125-page book that talks in depth about the folklore, magic, and fantasy elements from the anime. It’s just too bad that Right Stuf’s hard work is wasted on such a mess of an anime.
Rental Magica: Collection 1
Directed by: Itsuro Kawasaki
Based on novels by: Makoto Sanda
4 discs, 525 minutes, episodes 1-12 in both broadcast and chronological orders
Company Age Rating: 13+
Right Stuf, 2009