And we have yet another scenario where I don't find a title I cover to be a complete dud. This is the fourth case where I've ran into this kind of situation alongside Upotte, Iron Man and My Wife is a High School Girl. With this in mind, I'm tweaking my review format slightly to cover my thoughts of Fantasista Doll instead of tearing it apart.
Fantasista Doll was a 12 episode sci-fi/ mahou shoujo comedy TV anime that aired from July 7 to September 28 of 2013. The series was animated by Hoods Entertainment and a number of manga and novel titles were made based around the series throughout much of 2013, a few of which are currently ongoing in Japan. The series is currently licensed for American home video release by Sentai Filmworks and episodes of the series are available for legal streaming by Crunchyroll.
Middle schooler Uzume Uno was an elite player at card tournaments. One day, she receives a strange device with cards that allow her to summon virtual sentient female warriors called Fantasista Dolls. Becoming acquainted with the dolls, Uzume finds herself battling other players who desire to have wishes granted to them by the Mutual Dream Association Group (MDAG) if they can defeat Uzume.
Fantasista Doll appears to be made in mind for younger female audiences in its focus on Uzume and the bonds she makes with her group of Dolls and the various rivals she confronts throughout the title's run.
The series is a mix of mahou shoujo and card/ monster battle style anime as Uzume and her opponents make use of different types of cards in their fights that can change the battle outfits of their Dolls that give them differing types of attacks and can affect outcomes of the battle. The series milks differing character types and cliches typical of these types of anime with a strong focus on friendship and trust, elements typical of mahou shoujo anime. With these elements focused on, Uzume's group is shown to bond with rival groups and even resort to “power of friendship” style plot devices when dealing with a great crisis or threat.
This style of show does have its shortcomings, freshness not including with its premise. Many of the characters in the series suffer from paper-thin archetypes as they don't get much in the way of depth to allow them to be more than just two-dimensional characters. Also for a series focused around a card game, Fantasista Doll doesn't really offer much explanation of specific details as to the rules of its battles as types of cards and battle conditions are introduced only when required by the plot and make this element to the series pretty weak since the series is more focused on exploring the bonds between players and their Dolls.
Yet despite its shortcomings and formulaic storytelling, Fantasista Dolls isn't necessarily a dud since it is aimed for younger audiences with its story and its content isn't too objectionable for the most part. This would be okay to show off to younger viewers or fans of the mahou shoujo genre as a decent time killer, even if it isn't necessarily groundbreaking in any way.