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Dave Bridges ...
 Narumi (unknown episodes)
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30 October 2004 (Japan)  »

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Pikapika no Taiyou
Performed by Kana Ueda
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Alice Academy
15 August 2013 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Protagonist Mikan lives with her grandfather in rural Japan but when she doesn't hear from her friend Hotaru, who has transferred to a private school for 'gifted' children she goes to find out why. When she gets there she learns that it isn't merely for those with intellectual gifts… the children there all have unusual talents; one can through fireballs, another can make toy animals that come to life and Hotaru has an ability to construct amazing devices… including a robotic version of Mikan! One of the teachers spots that Mikan has such a talent herself and invites her to join the school… she can nullify other people's talents if they are used maliciously. These talents are known as 'Alices' and some of those who run the school believe that Mikan's Alice is dangerous which leads to her being rated as a 'no star' (out of three) pupil; something almost unheard of; she is undaunted though and is determined to succeed at the school.

Throughout the series Mikan works to improve her standing at the school; gradually she becomes friends with her initially antagonistic classmates; getting in a number of situations along the way. Some of these are dangerous and it looks as though there may be something sinister about the academy and others, such as a violent teddy bear, are somewhat surreal.

When I started watching this series I knew nothing about it but I was soon hooked; Mikan is a delightful protagonist who is sympathetic to such a degree one can't help feeling sorry for her in the earlier episodes. The rest of the cast are, for the most part, likable too… even those who don't appear to be at first. The idea of having characters with powers is hardly new but here it is handled in a somewhat different way… the powers are far more amusing than the usual variety. There are some antagonists but for the most part this series is about trying to develop friendships and better oneself. Since it is officially a shojo (for girls) series there isn't the cliché fan service so it is suitable for all ages; it can also be enjoyed by boys just as must as girls as it isn't overly 'girly'. If you are looking for a gentle comedy you could do a lot worse than this. If there is one complaint it is that not every mystery is resolved by the end.

These comments are based on watching the series in Japanese with English subtitles.


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