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With courage to despise evil and a loving heart, I can save everyone!
A fighting magical girl series that debuted in the height of the mid-Ninties Sailor Moon craze. Despite the very young age (10 years old) of the lead character, Ririka SOS courted the cross-demographic appeal of the genre through a down-to-earth atmosphere, a focus on drama, and a sense of dark-and-edginess that steadily built over its run. While great for audiences interested in a harder-hitting magical girl, it turned out to be not so great for the corporate sponsors and the show's longevity.
The story follows fouth-grader Ririka Moriya, whose life gets turned upside down when super-cool transfer student Nozomu Kanou (a.k.a. Kanou-senpai) gives her a birthday present all out of the blue. The gift is a magical cap that allows Ririka to transform into the heavenly guardian, Nurse Angel. Ririka soon learns that Kanou is actually an alien whose home world, Queen Earth, has been overrun by the evil organization Dark Joker. With help from Kanou and her friend and neighbor Seiya Uzaki, she soon learns to fight as Nurse Angel to keep Earth from sharing Queen Earth's misfortune.
The franchise started out as a manga series by Koi Ikeno and Yasushi Akimoto; the anime, a 35 episode series directed by Akitaro Daichi, started airing about six months after the manga began and ran concurrently with it.
Tropes used in this series:
- Afraid of Blood: Despite his aspirations to become a doctor, Seiya all but passes out at the sight of a skinned knee early in the show. As the show progresses he learns not to let it slow him down.
- Aliens and Monsters: Bizarre, expendable monsters of the week. At least, at the beginning.
- All Love Is Unrequited: Perhaps it's better this way - Seiya never confesses his feelings to Ririka. None of the many precocious crushes amount to anything. While the manga settled the relationships in a Denouement Episode, the anime is left vague.
- Alpha Bitch: Resident Ojou Miyuki, head of Kanou-senpai's Instant Fanclub, the core members of which form her Girl Posse. Largely ineffectual and often Played for Laughs, she eventually reveals a sympathetic side, gives up on Kanou, and makes peace with Ririka.
- Alternate Continuity: The anime seems to use the manga as a springboard more than a model.
- Annoying Younger Sibling: Shou.
- Brainwashed and Crazy: Courtesy of the Black Vaccine, Kanou/Kanon goes from mentor to tormentor.
- By the Power of Greyskull: "Holy Power, Holy Prayer, be here!"
- Call My Name: This is one of those shows where names tend to double as sentences.
- Calling Your Attacks: Inevitable, right? "Angel Aid Bomb Beeeeeam!"
- Canon Immigrant: Dewey, the Ensemble Darkhorse of the TV series, got imported into the manga.
- Chekhov's Gift: "Happy Birthday, Ririka Moriya. Here is my present to you."
- Could Have Been Messy: The characters frequently get roughed up, but blood is very rare. In a few episodes where the heroes sustain what are clearly meant to be grievous wounds, this can become somewhat jarring.
- Crucified Hero Shot: Kanon features in one in episode 14. The episode where he dies.
- Defictionalization: Toy shilling is unavoidable in the typical magical girl show, and Ririka SOS is no exception. The Nurse Cap and Angel Baton are obvious examples, but there are more peripheral gadgets as well, presented in awkward parades of product placement.
- Everything's Better with Princesses: "Any Kingdom worth the name has a princess." Queen Earth has two, Pincess Helena and Princess Mimina.
- Everything's Better with Spinning: And how! Nurse Angel's transformation is a pirouette extravaganza, and when your weapon is a baton, twirling is inevitable.
- Feel No Pain: Dewey gets a power-up, that, (unbeknownst to him,) prevents him from feeling pain. The results are unpleasant.
- Hair of Gold: Ririka.
- Heel Face Turn: Evilly Affable Dewey gets set up by the Big Bad, but Nurse Angel takes pity on him. After going to great lengths to repay her, he becomes the team's Sixth Ranger.
- Hero Worshipper: Mimina to Nurse Angel. Toward Ririka, she's condescending.
- Heroic BSOD: Ririka, after Kanon's death. Ririka decides to give up on saving the world; that only lasts until the next time Seiya gets attacked.
- How Do I Shot Web?: Once Seiya joins the team it takes him a while to get the hang of his new powers. This generates some welcome comic relief when Kanou weakens and dies.
- Human Aliens: People from Queen Earth and members of Dark Joker are more likely to have unnatural hair colors, but otherwise look just like everybody else.
- Laser-Guided Amnesia: Kanon has the ability to erase the memories of normals to spare them the burden of involvement in the secret conflict. This is not shown to have any harmful effects, is inferred to work on groups, and probably gets more use than is shown on screen.
- Like Brother and Sister: Ririka and Seiya.
- Magical Girl Warrior: Our heroine, of course.
- Messianic Archetype: A Chosen Girl faces trials that she does not deserve, including betrayal by friends. She has to voluntarily give up her own life in order to save the world. And then, after her Heroic Sacrifice, she comes back to life.
- The Musical: Unlike fellow magical girl series Sailor Moon, though, this musical is obscure. Footage from this production was cobbled into episodes that filled the show's time slot for three weeks, but no one has bothered to subtitle them.
- My Death Is Just the Beginning: Buros turns out to be a Disk One Final Boss, and the evil Phlebotinum itself is the Bigger Bad. As promised, things get worse.
- Oblivious to Love: All of Ririka's friends know that Seiya wants to be more than friends, but Ririka never catches on to their hints.
- Omnicidal Maniac: Buros. What does want? Silence in the universe.
- Precocious Crush: There are many, but the main plot-driving example is Ririka's initial motivation for being Nurse Angel. She just wants praise from her idol, Kanou-senpai.
- Power Source: The Green Vaccine, which Nurse Angel slowly depletes as she uses attacks. She doesn't have a reserve of it, either, so obtaining more of it is a major plot point.
- Power Trio: Ririka (people-oriented), Seiya (emotion-oriented), Kanou-senpai (goal-oriented). Substitute Dewey for Kanou as required.
- Put on a Bus: Kanon, though it might not seem like it at the time. How did he come back after the vague death metaphor orange bubble, you ask? Eh, don't sweat it.
- Reckless Sidekick: Seiya - perhaps the awesomest 10 year old boy ever - does not know the meaning of "in over your head" and has a penchant for attacking large monsters armed with conveniently placed mops and brooms.
- Scarf of Asskicking: A common costume element. Kanon's got one that verges on Badass Cape. Nurse Angel sports one, seemingly invoking wings and Kamen Rider at the same time. Dewey gets an outfit that has one.
- Shout-Out: Chacha of Akazukin Chacha and Hime of Hime-chan no Ribon show up in the background in episode 31.
- Spell My Name with an "S": Ririka/Lyrica/Lillica
- Talking Is a Free Action: Villains often stand around very patiently while the protagonists reassure each other.
- This Is Unforgivable!: Frequently proceeds the transformation sequence. Or the final attack sequence.
- Took a Level In Badass: Hallelujah! After much mucking around, Seiya joins the team! And gets super-powers!
- Total Eclipse of the Plot: Features in a couple of episodes, but most significantly the complete solar eclipse in ep. 16 used symbolize Ririka's mental state. Incidentally, an partial solar eclipse occurred in Japan not long before the episode first aired.
- White-Haired Pretty Boy: Dewey.
- Wrap It Up: Despite a viewership of about 8%, the show seems to have missed its target audience, and thus displeased its main sponsor, toy-maker Takara. The Bittersweet Ending was always part of the plan, though.