Anime: Wizard Barristers
Released By: Sentai Filmworks
Release Date: March 1st, 2016
Retail Price $69.98
When you hear the name Wizard Barristers, you may assume it’s a comedy about magic and law, but the anime by the same name isn’t what you’d anticipate. In the world of Wizard Barristers, magic is known by the public – integrating a structuralized law practice for anyone involving mystic matters. When laws that contain magic are committed, it’s up to the Police Department’s deadly special force unit (Section 1) to enforce the particular policies and rules. However, the main focus is those select individuals who act as mystic lawyers in some of their cities most controversial cases. The law practitioners are known as Benmashi (Wizard Barristers) and they can find themselves representing those who are guilty – or those who are certainly guilty.
Cecil Sudo is the anime series main protagonist, and at a young 17 Cecil is brought on as the youngest Benmashi in the history of the “Butterfly Law.” She is introduced rather quickly as our series goofy character, hoping to impress her peers while feeling out of place. On the first day, she is late from dealing with a mystical attack (which also takes the shape of robots – just go with it…) Arriving late but showing individual strength intrigues the other girls enough to see what Cecil is all about. There are quite a few girls that work in the Butterfly Law Firm, but mostly are shown to be either in support or disapproval of Cecil. As the plot progresses, the girls begin to develop a respect for the young Barrister, but magic becomes a large part in people’s relationship with Cecil. It can definitely be noted that the series does take a carefree approach from time to time, but aside from the banter the plot does walk a line that reminds viewers of the high stakes behind the cases.
Initially I didn’t enjoy the character of Sudo, feeling a little too cliché as a naïve central character, but she does have moments early on that exhibit her as a formidable opponent or a strong ally. She’s subjected to fanservice moments where her sexual desires are brought up in a yuri-esque way, but thankfully it doesn’t drive the plot of Wizard Barristers. I came to appreciate that she found the best in people, and her instincts seemed strong enough to guide her down the right path in most cases. When it came down to the wire, Cecil wasn’t afraid to put herself in harms way to prove what she believed in, and the courage alone was a redeeming trait to gain focus on the “amateur” Barrister. Seeing the purple-haired strange teenager add a tougher side to the typical character made her a decent take on the innocent female protagonist needing protection. Also, points for Cecil for calling one of her smitten colleagues “thirsty.” (Anime and pop culture unite in this moment) Even with her redeeming qualities, she also managed to frustrate me by over indulging in her abilities, and doubting some important people that have their own strengths.
The crimes that were committed were almost always taken in a serious direction – sometimes just involving the insane and hateful killing in cold blood. It becomes a procedural from time to time, with Cecil and company taking on a case, and taking initiative to visit the accused and determine the truth. If you mixed Veronica Mars, a mecha, and a mystical version of law and order, you would have the essence of Wizard Barristers. Sometimes the different portions of plot can run wild, and in moments it works – but not 100% of the time. Episode 5 is a good example of the series in some of its finer movements, bringing drama, comedy, and an emotional interest to the episodic story in the course of 12 episodes. At it’s best, the series wasn’t exactly perfect… but better than your average law-focused plot.
The animation is a tougher situation to describe because there were moments where I loved the animation style, and others that were generally confusing. The art and surroundings were essential to my interest in Wizard Barristers. A majority of the main characters’ animation was the weakest contribution from the anime, but supporting characters and the art that involved nature, structures, and horror hints were some of the most memorable things seen in the unique anime. The mecha infused magic lost me when the battles began to occur, which had a sense of irony seeing as how much a role it played in the plot. The English dub cast gave no reason to complain, and I couldn’t pinpoint one character who felt out of place in terms of audio. Wizard Barristers may have been an anime that dealt with multiple things I wouldn’t usually enjoy, but the spotlight on characters relationships and criminals gave me a reason to care about what would happen next. Wizard Barristers is available now on DVD and Blu-ray, so make sure to check it out!
Overall Score: 6.5/10
Aedan’s Final Thoughts:
-Cecil was an interesting and polarizing lead character to have in the drivers seat.
-Some of the villainous male characters could have had larger roles, but the large group made it difficult to focus on one more than another.
-I will give the series credit for blending a few themes that could translate as boring, and making them a little more enjoyable.