The Wandering Witch – Revisiting the Fairy Musketeers!

Posted on Jun 28 2017

FairyMusketeers

Welcome, all, again. Facing a somewhat slow viewing season, I’d like revisit a past favorite of mine that I’ve always felt was underappreciated: Fairy Musketeers. This 39-episode series ran from 2006-7 and was preceded in 2005 by a 3-episode OVA, both by studio Madhouse. The story is populated by characters from Western fairytales, both as heroes and (newly minted) villains, and it becomes fascinating to watch their interactions when placed together. Two worlds, long ago separated by a disgruntled god, face the possibility of forced reunification under a powerful despot. Can anyone prevent this conquest? Moreover, in light of what each world lost through their separation, should anyone?

Souta[1]

Our particular story begins with 14-year-old Souta Suzukaze, a quiet student who talks with flowers and lives with his father, his mother being gone. Like most kids his age, Souta is busy trying to navigate school and encroaching adult responsibilities; the window of childhood is closing, and the unknown looms large. Larger for Souta that for most, however, in that he is introduced to the existence of another world by way of meeting some of its heroes and monsters. But why Souta, and what other world? As already mentioned, what was once a single world was split into two. Elde (or Erde) is a world of science (our own), while Fandavale (or Phandavale) is of magic. God is said to have separated the two worlds because, depending upon which version of the legend one favors, having both magic and science made people either too lazy or too powerful for their own good. But the two worlds are still tenuously connected, and it is possible to travel between them. Moreover, each world has a “key,” a representative being who embodies the essence of that world. Souta is Elde’s unwitting key, and controlling him would allow someone the opportunity to seize [t]his world. So folks are looking for Souta, the Fairy Musketeers amongst them.

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These Fairy Musketeers are servants of King Fernando, rightful ruler of Fandavale and also its key. King Fernando has been captured by the baleful witch Cendrillion (a jilted and vengeful Cinderella), and Fandavale has consequently fallen to her. She now seeks to bring Elde under her rule, and has dispatched her minions to find and capture Elde’s key. Luckily for Souta, he is found in time by Red Riding Hood, a Musketeer with fire magic and her very own big, bad wolf, Val. She brings Souta over into Fandavale, in order to directly challenge Cendrillion’s might and save both worlds. Nor is Souta the only traveler from Elde–his childhood friend and self-intended girlfriend, Ringo, also makes the trip. The same age as Souta, Ringo has devotedly made certain that Souta had a feminine presence in his life, and is not about to let him wander off with some strange and overly attentive girl whom he’s only just met! But with the addition of the other two Musketeers, Snow White and Sleeping Beauty, Souta not only has a quest, but a full-fledged harem! What’s a boy to do? Not much, if he wants to survive the wrath of Ringo. (Besides, she has cooking magic–the best kind!)

And Souta already has his hands full (of quest–sheesh!). Although kindness is his strength, he is forced to learn about Fandavale by fighting his way through it. Subsequently, he often gets the information he needs just after he actually needs it. Meanwhile, his allies and protectors the Fairy Musketeers aren’t really so effective as their powers might suggest. Red Riding Hood has fire magic but prefers physical combat; Snow White, the intellectual of the group, uses water and ice magic but fights under the burden of her father and countrymen being captive; and Sleeping Beauty is unable to fully control her plant magic–if she ever sleeps soundly, her magic runs rampant, causing indiscriminate destruction. Of course, there are other allies: some open, such as the lone knight Hamelin (that’s right, the Pied Piper!), while others provide hidden aid. Villains range from laughable, such as the Town Musicians of Bremen, to the dangerous and even conflicted, as with Hansel and Gretel.

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I love this series! The animation style is soft and warm, instantly putting one in mind of a children’s show, and completely belies the complexity and growing darkness of the story as it progresses. (Many characters seem drawn to specifically look younger than their ages.) But this is very much an adult fable, wherein the good are not always just nor the just always good, and in which love both saves and destroys. We watch friendships made and betrayed, loyalties given and tested, ideals sacrificed. People get hurt. As I said about it years ago on Crunchyroll, “There are razor blades in this candy!” Watch with hope in heart, but tissues in hand.

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Comments
  • moonhawk81 June 29, 2017 at 2:37 PM

    Now, I’m not saying that this viewing season was a complete wipe. But since I only post this column once monthly, whereas I post my personal anime review blog roughly every week, I tend to run through the good stuff rather quickly. Please visit anotheranimereview.com for reviews of: Clockwork Planet; The Laughing Salesman; Sakura Quest; Hinako Note; Eromanga Sensei; Twin Angel Break; and The Moment You Fall in Love.

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