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  Magical Girls Club Foursome: Alien X from Space A Girl Power
Year: 1987
Director: Tsuneo Tominaga
Stars: Mariko Shiga, Miina Tominaga, Takako Ota, Yoko Obata, Daisuke Gouri, Minoru Inaba, Sukekiyo Kameyama, Yuu Mizushima, Toshio Otomo
Genre: Horror, Comedy, Animated, Science Fiction, FantasyBuy from Amazon
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: Japan is under attack from a hideous space monster known as Alien X. Its rampaging tentacles drain the lifeforce out of virginal schoolgirls across the nation, leaving them withered old hags. In desperation, the army summon four seemingly ordinary little girls who once wielded awesome magical powers. Yuu Morisawa (voiced by Takako Ota) a.k.a. Creamy Mami is abducted while having fun in the park with her friends, Mai Kazuki (Yoko Obata) a.k.a. Magical Emi vanishes on stage in the middle of her magic act, Persia (Miina Tominaga) falls through a hole in the ground at the zoo, and Yumi (Mariko Shiga) is kidnapped by a man in black whilst delivering flowers. Following this rather traumatic summons for help, the girls tell the assembled military men they no longer have any powers. Whereupon they are immediately booted onto the street! Faced with Alien X, the girls cower in a nearby church where the mysterious Voice of the Light (Sukekiyo Kameyama) miraculously restores their superpowers. Now armed with cool powered suits and sci-fi weapons, the four magical girls battle the alien menace on the moon.

Having had back-to-back success with four era-defining magical girl anime throughout the Eighties, Studio Pierrot brought the stars of Creamy Mami (1983), Magical Fairy Persia (1984), Magical Star Emi (1985) and Magical Idol Pastel Yumi (1986) together for this cross-over special to mark a fond farewell to their fans. It was the kind of lavish indulgence possible in the booming Eighties when anime fans would eagerly tune in to any candy coloured opus fixated on leggy pop princesses with fantastic superpowers, no matter how zany the premise. Then again, it’s not like things have changed all that much. In a post-modern conceit, the alien threat that unites our four maho shojo superheroines is not actually real, simply the plot of a live television showcase for their talents, complete with commercial breaks and station cards apologizing for “technical difficulties.”

The horrific alien attacks are brief but come across like a parody of the excesses of tentacle porn anime like Wicked City (1987) and Urotskidoji: Legend of the Overfiend (1987) which is an odd allusion given magical girl shows were essentially aimed at kids. Only Japanese animation would even attempt to combine fluffy Disneyesque whimsy with rampaging tentacle horror and large scale sci-fi battles. It’s certainly lively and eye-catching with clever cinematic effects that craft the illusion of watching a big sci-fi blockbuster starring the girls even though it is meant to be a live broadcast on local TV! But beyond spectacle, Magical Girls Club Foursome: Alien X from Space A (there’s a mouthful!) is frivolous fun lacking any of the substance of the girls’ original shows.

There is a vague attempt at a message about the heroines remaining forever young in the hearts and minds of their adoring audience, but it is pitched straight at the fans without any serious subtext. Compare this to the more ambitious Gigi and the Fountain of Youth (1985) starring rival magical girl Magical Princess Minky Momo. The oddball ending confronts the girls with a real space beastie whereupon they flee for their lives to a theme song that sounds remarkably like “Love Will Keep Us Together” by Captain and Tennille! To add insult to injury, the film then shamelessly pads out the remaining twenty minutes with greatest hits clips from the original shows.

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam


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