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One day Padudu, a young girl from Sea Heaven, decides she wants to become a Magical Girl and heads out to Sweetland. There she must try to win contests and fight other magical girls candidates to collect "hanamaru". Once she collects a total of twelve hanamaru, she has the right to call herself a fully fledged magical girl, with all the fame and privileges that come with the title.
Padudu is accompanied by her comanion Uokichi, a fish that she wears as a cloak. She can also use him as an emergency food supply, even though Uokichi is not too happy about that. Padudu bumps into Pipin and Myumyu, with whom she forms an at times uneasy alliance. There is also Nonononn, a former candidate, who appears to have a score to settle with Purulun, Sweetland's rather cruel queen. Add to this Ketchup and Mustard, the inept police officers of Sweetland, plus Zucchini, Queen Purulun's clueless minion, and you have yourself a rather strange bunch of characters indeed.
Magical Play started out as a series of 23 Web Animation episodes, released in 2001. It's an Affectionate Parody of the Magical Girl genre, especially the warrior variety. The character design is by Kiyohiko Azuma, who is better known for his works Azumanga Daioh and Yotsuba&!. An OVA has also been made, using 3D techniques and with a storyline that diverges quite a bit from the original series.
Magical Play uses these tropes:
- Affectionate Parody.
- Affably Evil: Purulun and Coffee.
- Alien Lunch: Mustard and Ketchup have some strange culinary habits.
- Applied Phlebotinum: The girls' magical weapons.
- Art Shift: A few episodes are suddenly rendered in 3D, even though Padudu and Myumyu stay 2D.
- And then of course there's the OVA, although the character designs still rather faithfully follow the original.
- Backstory: Purulun and Nonononn share quite an extensive one.
- Balloon Belly: The girls in episodes 5 and 14
- Butt Monkey: Zucchini
- And Uokichi, poor guy. At least Zucchini deserves what he gets
- Clothing Damage: Myumyu suffers from a very peculiar variation when the cats that make up her outfit... abandon their positions.
- Conspicuous CG: The OVA is completely made of this.
- Darker and Edgier: The OVA is much grittier in tone than the original series.
- Everythings Better With Bunnies: Pipin wears a bunny girl costume and has a stuffed bunny for a sidekick.
- Everythings Cuter With Kittens: Myumyu basically wears a bikini formed by two cat-like creatures. Really.
- Face Heel Turn: Purulun toward Nonononn, in the backstory.
- It is also hinted with Myumyu's behavior, but it never happens in the end.
- Genki Girl: Padudu has some of this
- Hand or Object Underwear: Myumyu's "cat-bikini".
- How Do I Shot Web?: Padudu sometimes forgets that Uokichi can fly.
- Idiot Hero: Padudu. Big time.
- Inept Mage: Mustard. Also Padudu herself, to some degree.
- Late for School: This happens during one of the magical girl aptitude tests, which take the form of an adventure game.
- Limited Wardrobe
- MacGuffin: The hanamaru.
- Magical Girl: Or at least apprentices.
- The Messiah: Padudu. Somewhat.
- Mood Whiplash: Everything turns unexpectedly serious during the Showa Arc.
- No Ending: The main series literally has none. The OVA's ending functions more as a Sequel Hook, although no sequel has ever been produced.
- Non-Human Sidekick: Uokichi for Padudu, Lyka and Akyl for Myumyu, Sekine to Pipin. Nonononn's sidekick is a hammerhead shark.
- Nosebleed: Zucchini is prone to this around Myumyu.
- Power Trio: Padudu, Pipin & Myumyu.
- The Rival: Purulun to Nonononn. Also Pipin toward Padudu, although technically all girls are each other's rivals.
- Road Sign Reversal: Zucchini switches a sign with arrows pointing to "Town" and "Desert." However, since the sign was one large board, he does this by flipping it upside down, words and all. The main characters still fall for it.
- Shoo Out the Clowns: Myumyu, Pipin and Zucchini are nowhere to be seen in either the Showa arc or the OVA.
- Stripperiffic: Myumyu's "outfit".
- Traitor Shot: Both Myumyu and Purulun get a few of those.
- Walking the Earth
- Web Animation: How this started.
- Widget Series: Oh yes.
- The Quest
- Yaoi Fangirl: Apparently, girls can detect Yaoi by smell.