Save Me! Lollipop (FUNimation DVD Review)

Mamotte! Lollipop (FUNimation DVD Review)
まもって!ロリポップ
Save Me! Lollipop

***SPOILERS***

Save Me! LollipopSave Me! Lollipop is an anime based on the manga Mamotte! Lollipop (the original Japanese name) by KIKUTA Michiyo-sensei. The story centers around a young junior high school girl named Nina, who accidentally swallows what she thinks is a piece of hard candy that came with a piece of cake she ordered at a restaurant. Instead, it is a magical item known as the Crystal Pearl, which had been sent to Earth to allow contestants in a magic exam to capture it as part of becoming a professional mage in the Magic World. Two of the exam Save Me! Lollipoptakers, Zero and Ichi, discover that Nina has swallowed the Crystal Pearl. However, since the pearl does not pass through the digestive tract, they will have to wait nearly six months before magical medicine is ready to extract the pearl without harming Nina. That means that Zero and Ichi have to protect Nina from scores of other teams of contestants all seeking the Crystal Pearl and the status of professional mage. That also means that Zero and Ichi have to be with Nina where ever she goes, including living with her in her closet (which has been magically transformed into a new room).

Save Me! LollipopThis series is clearly a shoujo title with some elements pulled from the mahou shoujo genre, only this time the lead girl is a normal human rather than a magical one and she’s protected by a couple of magical boys and their magical mascot (familiar). For me, there was also a feel of a series like Pokemon, especially when opponents San and Forte are sent off into the sky, disappearing like Team Rocket does. Also, the rather sub-average animation adds to the kiddy feel of the show, making me think that this would be something seen on 4Kids TV. Normally, I don’t notice the animation unless it is way below average or way above average. Sadly, this fell into the negative column.

Save Me! LollipopThe show thrives on fast-paced, chaotic moments done mostly for humorous purposes. As I mention, some of the comedy comes from sending teams attempting to nab Nina for themselves into orbit (or otherwise defeating them). Sometimes, there are unexpected moments such as Nina and an opponent getting all cozy over some cake and tea (done for humor and adding to the chaotic feel). The action tends to feel chaotic as well, save for the henshin sequences when Zero and Ichi transform to access more powerful magic. Basically, everything feels like it is on a high-speed treadmill most of the time with new teams brought in to try to nab Nina from Zero and Ichi.

Save Me! LollipopWhile most of the time the series comes off to me as mindless stuff to let your kids watch, there where some moments of character development and thoughtfulness. Things never get too deep, but I did rather enjoy seeing how San and Forte became a team (and thus why Forte allows San to constantly dress him as a girl and otherwise seemingly use the heck out of him). The story behind Zero and Ichi’s partnership was interesting if somewhat cliched and even a bit creepy (Ichi had a crush on his non-blood related older sister). Nina’s coming to not only accept but appreciate Zero and Ichi being in her life was sweet (though also cliched). However, since the story wasn’t written for me, I’m not really going to complain.

Save Me! LollipopSince the anime series is only 13-episodes in length and the manga contained seven volumes, there’s a lot of material that clearly didn’t get covered. I’m guessing the production team may have decided to squeeze in as many of the 2-person teams as they could from the manga because the end of the series is pretty chaotic with three new teams suddenly thrown into the mix for Zero and Ichi to have to fend off. Also, those wondering whom Nina is more interested in (Zero or Ichi) won’t get their answer in the anime.

Save Me! LollipopThe 2-disc set from FUNimation has quite a few extras, which is nice. There are interviews with Nina’s seiyuu (SHOJI Yui), San’s seiyuu (SAITO Momoko), and Rokka’s seiyuu (NOGAWA Sakura). There’s also the first chapter of the manga from Del Rey, though on a regular TV, one is going to be hard-pressed to read the sucker. I tried reading it on my computer monitor but it is way to pixilated. Maybe if you have an HDTV and play the DVD on a Blu-Ray player, the manga will be readable. I kinda doubt it though, and that’s a shame. Its no good including the first chapter of the manga if no one can read the thing.

Save Me! LollipopAs I watched this in Japanese w/ subtitles, I was struck by how erratic the subtitles were when it came to honorific usage. For some strange reason, “Rokka-sama” became “Lady Rokka.” Rokka addressed Ichi as “Ichi-sama” and that survived almost 100% of the time. Rokka’s butler Gou also addresses Ichi as “Ichi-sama,” but sometimes that was retained in the subtitles and sometimes it was dropped. The “-kun” honorific was dropped most of the time, but occasionally, it would appear in an episode. The “-san” honorific wasn’t used very often, but I Save Me! Lollipopthink it made it to the subtitles only once. The “-chan” honorific was used most of the time, but was inexplicably left off at times, the reverse of the “-kun” honorific. Even “Rokka” had her name spelled as “Rock” once and after Nanase’s gender is revealed, the wrong pronoun is used for the character. I’m not sure what happened here since there is only one translator mentioned, but a slew of subtitlers mentioned. I can’t believe a professional translator would be all over the ballpark like that, so the drops and changes must have happened away from the translator.

Save Me! LollipopFor those wondering about video quality, that’s something that is above my pay grade. I don’t have high-end equipment to even notice video or audio problems that some people claim to always witness. For me, the writing, voice acting, and direction are more important with animation and music bringing up the rear (and I only notice those last two when they hit extremes).

Ultimately, the show is way to kid-based to be of any interest to me, but it is a title that your kids may get a kick out of. The poor animation also drops the score somewhat. However, I do admit that the chaotic humor at times did make me chuckle and some character development along the way for certain characters was a nice touch. As such, I’d give this a 3 out of 5.

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8 Responses to “Save Me! Lollipop (FUNimation DVD Review)”

  1. Hugh Roe says:

    The manga was fairly chaotic as well…but it was a nice, light, fun, love story.

  2. AstroNerdBoy says:

    I might check into the manga (assuming Del Rey is using honorifics) once I get a job. I know how these anime adaptations can be less good than their manga origins.

  3. Kevin says:

    Cute anime, loved the story. Really like romantic comedy type of shows.

  4. Hugh Roe says:

    Mangafox has the series, except for the extra (10 year later) chapter in the last volume. Some aren’t the best quality but…

  5. Anonymous says:

    I’ve seen all the episodes English dubbed and I really liked it it’s to bad there’s was only one season. but I am thinking about checking out the manga version of the story.

    p.s. I was wondering if anyone knows the name of the song from episode 5 (San sings it) if you do please tell =P.

  6. AstroNerdBoy says:

    Sadly, I don’t know the name of the song.

  7. Anonymous says:

    i personally think that the manga is way better than the anime. the anime was pretty good though. its sad that they aren’t making another series and/or including the parts they left out of the anime. : (

  8. AstroNerdBoy says:

    I’ve not read the manga. Was a lot left out of the anime?

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