A good wizard fight is hard to come by these days. I mean, take a look at the HARRY POTTER movies. Very little wizardry happens in their "wizard battles" -- they're basically just shooting fireworks at each other. They don't animate things, they don't conjure elements, they don't twist their enemies; all they do is fire pew-pew lasers at the bad guy.
Wizards are so much more than moppets holding sticks and doing a Stormtrooper impression! Reality is their plaything and I want them to act accordingly! I want to see some imagination on display—quite literally!
This is why I was initially excited when WIZARD BARRISTERS began. In a beautifully animated opener, a S.W.A.T. team corners a skeevy looking man on a train and opens fire, only to have their bullets instantly smelted and hurled back at them! The wizard fireballs his way out of the train, then firebombs the train! Then he throws fireballs at a helicopter! Everything's exploding! And then when he's cornered by the cops he tries to... throw a... yeah.
Do you sense a problem yet? I hate to tell you, but it gets worse. We haven't even met the protagonist yet.
Sudo Cecil lives in a world where wizards and humans live together in a strained peace. This peace is present partly due to the fact that wizards have their own laws and try their own kind. This means they also have their own lawyers--or barristers, as they are called in Japan--and Cecil is the youngest wizard to ever pass the bar exam in Japan. So naturally, on her first day at the Butterfly Wizard Law Firm her frogman familiar let's her oversleep and she runs into a magic-powered bank robbery, embroiling her in her first case.
The world is like PHOENIX WRIGHT by way of HARRY POTTER. There's this giant courtroom full of glowing, swirling, arcane symbols and a judge whose gavel transforms into a demon who seals your fate when you are given a death sentence. There's debate on the rules of magic and whether they apply to situations, and lawyers angrily shouting "OBJECTION!" while refuting evidence. The wizards have fascinating character designs that really make them stand out in terms of the world AND your memory.
...Especially Cecil. I haven't come across a more obnoxious protagonist in quite some time. There's something about her—especially that damn hair—that seems to be from a completely different show. Everything about her from her bizarrely childlike face to her stupid hair to her never-say-die attitude seems designed for maximum obnoxiousness. Sure she's a potent mage with a few tricks up her sleeve, like performing a donut in such a way that the tire marks form a summoning sigil, but she's so Mary Sue that she's the least interesting character in the show.
While that's my primary exhibit in the case against this show, there's also the fact that instead of choosing any one particular kind of magic the show opts for every type, as sticking to one might diminish merchandising possibilities. Why just give some people water bending or fire bending when those are so hard to sell toys? And so Cecil summons a giant robot with her magic. And another character throws out Pokemon versions of himself.
This is an open and shut case, your honor. While animation and design quality is actually pretty high, the by-the-books plot and hollow protagonist really dim the defendant's prospects. Remember, your honor, that in Wizard Court there are only two judgements: not guilty and DEATH. The prosecution suggests the maximum penalty of DEATH. I rest my case.
You can watch the first episode of WIZARD BARRISTERS, entitled "Lady Justice," here. Seen it already? What did YOU make of it? Leave a comment below!
About the Author
Matt Murphy is a freelance nerd who has contributed to many nerd websites. You can reach him by going to where the light meets the shadow, by sending out zeta-brainwaves or by following him on Twitter @Murphix.