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Someday’s Dreamers: Complete Collection (a J!-ENT Anime DVD Review)

April 6, 2012 by  



“Someday’s Dreamers” is an enjoyable, heartwarming anime series.  There is no storyline about magical battles or magical girls fighting magical villains, it’s a straightforward coming-of-age story of a 15-year-old learning more about her powers and her limits, but also how magic can help and also hurt people.   Recommended!

Image courtesy of © 2002 Norie YAMADA/KADOKAWA SHOTEN/Geneon Universal Entertainment/TV Asahi. All Rights Reserved.

DVD TITLE: Someday’s Dreamers: Complete Collection

DURATION: Episode 1-12  (300 Minutes)

DVD INFORMATION: 4:3, English and Japanese 2.0, English subtitles

COMPANY: Sentai Filmworks

RATED: TV PG

Release Date: April 17, 2012

Originally created by Kumixhi Yoahiuki/Norie Yamada

Director: Masami Shimoda

Screenplay by Norie Yamada

Music by Takefumi Haketa

Character Design by Michinori Chiba

Art Director: Junichiro Nishikawa

Chief Animation Director: Keiko Kawashima

Animation Production by J.C. Staff/Viewworks

Featuring the following voice talent:

Aoi Miyazaki/Kaye Jensen as Yume Kikuchi

Junichi Suwabe/Otto Towne as Masami Oyamada

Akeno Watanabe/Shereen Hickman as Angela Charon Brooks

Akiko Hiramatsu/Stevie Bloch as Milinda

Sanae Kobayashi as Haru Kikuchi

Yuko Sasaki as Etsuko Kikuchi

When can flunking a spelling test cause major problems? When you’re learning how to use magic, of course! And that’s exactly the situation fifteen-year-old Yume Kikuchi finds herself in when she travels to Tokyo to begin her apprenticeship as a licensed magic user. Unfortunately, Yume’s a country girl in the big city for the first time and there are a lot of new-fangled ideas to get used to – like her new mentor, Oyamada, turning out to be a man instead of the expected woman! Add to that the fact that Yume’s not really very confident about her abilities to achieve her goal of a magic license and she might just jinx herself into failing!

It will take a lot of helping hands from her equally challenged fellow students and even more aid from her teachers if she’s going to succeed, but in the end, the most important lesson she’ll learn may not even be about spellcasting. The process of growing up and discovering what lies inside your own heart is the most wonderful magic of all.

In 2002, mangaka Norie Yamada and illustrator Kumichi Yoshizuki created their magical girl manga series “Someday’s Dreamers” (Mahotsukai ni Taisetsu na Koto), which was serialized in Kadokawa Shoten’s “Comic Dragon Magazine”. A year later, a 12-episode anime series was produced by J.C. Staff.

And now the anime series will have its US release in April 2012 courtesy of Sentai Filmworks.

“Someday’s Dreamers” is a series set in present day Tokyo, during an age where humans and people who have powers known as mages co-exist. Mages are monitored by a government agency known as the Bureau of Magic and for each beginning mage, in order to use their power, they must train and become a certified mage.  And they can only use their magic with special permission, if they use it without permission, they can be penalized.

Yumi Kikuchi is from the country side and is temporarily moving to Tokyo in order to train and get her certification.  Because she lived in a small town in the countryside, she is not sure how things work in the city.  On her first day in Tokyo, a young man helps her walk across the street in the busy Tokyo streets and in return, Yumi uses her power to give him a huge amount of money.

Yumi then meets her teacher, Masami Oyamada.  Masami is not sure why a daughter of a well-known mage is training under him but he is willing to train Yumi and do all he can in order for her to pass her certification.  Masami is a kind-hearted teacher who also runs a salsa club/bar at night, but he also has a mysterious past that other higher mages are aware of.  And the reason why Yumi is paired with Masami was done for an important reason.

While training to become a certified mage, Yumi starts to learn quickly that having powers doesn’t mean everyone is going to be satisfied.  For example, the boy she gave the money to was quite upset that Yumi went overboard in giving money to him for helping her walk across the street.

Yumi is naive, but she has a pure heart and she wants to help everybody.  But her teacher Masami Oyamada reminds her that a mages job is to use their power once for that job and move on to the next job. A mage should not have any emotional connection to their client.  But can someone like Yumi do that?

VIDEO & AUDIO:

“Someday’s Dreamers” is presented in 4:3 and in English and Japanese 2.0 with English subtitles.  The anime series ranges from having one of the most beautifully detailed painted backgrounds of the city of Shimokitazawa and then at times having the most basic looking backgrounds in a series.  If anything, J.C. Staff and Viewworks made sure that whenever Yumi and friends venture out to the city, this is where we see the most detail.  While indoors, you may have just a wall with a simple gradient.   As for animation, the character designs are good, as we get a lot of closeups throughout the series.  If anything, the series is about capturing emotions and showcasing the emotions of the characters during their emotional time.  And this series has plenty of emotional moments.

As for audio, first I’ll discuss the music.  Composer Takefumi Haketa brought a English and Irish style of music for the soundtrack.  You also get a bit of salsa in the music soundtrack as well.  So, the musical soundtrack was quite intriguing to hear.  As for the voice acting, the Japanese voice acting was spectacular.  The emotional scenes by Aoi Miyazaki and Jun’ichi Suwabe and many others were done incredibly well.  As for the English dub, it was good but there are things that may be OK for some and not for others.  For example, because Yumi is from the countryside, whenever she is shown talking with her family members, she talks with an American southern drawl.   In Japan, dialects are mostly found in the words being used but not necessarily by accent.   In fact, there is another character who talks like she is from Boston or the Bronx. Personally, I didn’t think the accents were necessary but for others who are not familiar with Japanese culture, it may work for them.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Someday’s Dreamers” comes with the following special features:

DISC 2:

  • Under the Blue Sky Music Video – (4:39) Featuring the music video of “Under the Blue Sky” by The Indigo.
  • Interview with Aoi Miyazaki – (4:30) Voice actress Aoi Miyazaki is interviewed about playing Yumi and working on “Someday’s Dreamers”.
  • Japanese TV Spots – (:50) The Japanese commercials for “Someday’s Dreamers”.
  • Masataka Nakano Photo Session – (2:51) Research photos taken for location scenes for “Someday’s Dreamers”.
  • Clean Opening Animation
  • Clean Closing Animation

Many fans have waited a long time for “Someday’s Dreamers” to be released in the U.S.

After the manga series was released in 2006 in the U.S., the 2003 series was actually licensed by Geneon USA until the company closed down and Sentai Filmworks relicensed the title nearly ten years later after the anime series was shown in Japan.

“Someday’s Dreamers” is a series that distinguishes itself from other magical girl (mahou shojou) titles as the focus is not about sugary sweet characters in magical girl outfits.  In fact, the whole setting tries to capture realism but with the fantasy element of mages co-existing with humans in society.

Instead of a series about magical girls taking on magical villains, this is a straightforward story of a teenage girl training to become a certified mage but learning that special powers are not going to save or help everyone.  Also, that those who have been born with that power must adhere to the rules that no one can use these powers without permission.

For Yumi, a 15-year-old girl with a pure heart, she is always wanting to help everyone.  And it’s a big test for her to not use her powers and must abide by the rules.  For example, she discovers a kitten that is sick, she can try to use her magical power but she knows she can’t.   There are so many instances that she wants to use her power but that is part of her mage training, knowing that you can’t use it whenever you want.  And this becomes a big test for Yumi.

Also, learning that when she can use it by permission (ie. being hired by a client), that the result may work wonders one day, but it may not last the next.  One scene features Yumi helping a group of merchants who have had issues with scratches on their windows and using her magical power, she is able to clean it.  And for Yumi, she loves seeing the happiness in her clients.  But when she goes back to visit them and find out that vandals messed up their windows and once again, these shopkeepers are unhappy, she becomes depressed.

And it becomes a battle within Yumi as she is always wanting to please everyone with magic, but magic is not going to keep one happy all the time and her teacher tries to teach her that you can’t be emotionally connected with the clients after the job is done.  Yumi thinks her teacher is cold by thinking that way but she is put walls into depression when she starts to think what if her magic is not going to make people happy and instead make them hurt?  Maybe she is not cut out to be a mage afterall?

This is pretty much the premise of “Someday’s Dreamers”.  It’s a simple yet effective, coming-of-age storyline as a naive Yumi from the countryside learns about society, about people and the limits of her power.  Rarely do you see magical girl series go towards this direction of storytelling but in a way, it’s rather refreshing to have something different and not entirely banal.

As for the DVD, for a 2003 anime series, the animation holds up well, especially with the scenes of the beautifully painted surroundings around the city.  As mentioned with the audio, I was not too excited about the use of an American southern drawl to show that Yumi is from the countryside or another character talking like she is from the Bronx.  Unless an anime series is showcasing people from different countries, I don’t mind accents being used but in this case, I felt it was unnecessary.  But that’s just me being picky, it more than likely will be a non-issue for those who watch anime via English dub.  As for the Japanese voice acting, the performances were wonderful!  As there are many emotional moments, the voice talents did a magnificent job.   And you also get a good amount of special features included with “Someday’s Dreamers: Complete Collection” as well!

With the release of “Someday’s Dreamers” on DVD, having enjoyed this series…I can only hope that Sentai Filmworks considers licensing the 2008 anime series “Someday’s Dreamers: Summer Skies” on Blu-ray/DVD in the near future.

Overall, “Someday’s Dreamers” is an enjoyable, heartwarming anime series.  There is no storyline about magical battles or magical girls fighting magical villains, it’s a straightforward coming-of-age story of a 15-year-old learning more about her powers and her limits, but also how magic can help people.

“Someday’s Dreamers” is recommended!

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