Nurse Witch Komugi: Volume One

The evil Ungrar is plotting to take over the world and the Goddess of Vaccine World’s only hope is Mugimaru finding a suitable candidate to defeat the viruses. Komugi-chan is selected for the job, but forget everything you know about magical girl series because Komugi is going to shatter the traditional formula as only she can. The SoulTaker’s cosplaying Komugi Nakahara returns to reveal a different take on the SoulTaker world with Nurse Witch Komugi: Volume One.

DVD: Nurse Witch Komugi: Volume One
Release Date: 8/17/2004
Release Studio: ADV Films
ADR Production: Industrial Smoke & Mirrors

MSRP: $29.98
Audio: English 5.1 DD, Japanese 2.0 DD, English Commentary
Subtitles: English, Signs-Only
Episodes: 3
Runtime: 90mins
Extras: Clean Opening and Closing, Character Introductions, “How to Anime” Documentary, Production Sketches, Japanese TV Spot, ADV Previews

Notes: Review is based on a Retail purchased copy of the final product.

Episode one opens with Kyousuke Date and Asuka Sakurai being chased by gun-toting men in cars. Just like in the SoulTaker series, Date seems to be a popular target. As Asuka tries some fancy maneuvering in their getaway car, Kyousuke turns to their two backseat passengers, Komugi and Rune, to get their opinion on trying to escape. As Kyousuke stares into Komugi’s eyes, she forgets her line and the movie stops production. The SoulTaker regulars are actually actors on the set of Date’s new film: Fake the Movie. (Let’s not tell them what Fake is in the US, shall we?) Yui Kirihara heads up a talent agency, Kiri Pro, where Komugi, Runa, and Megumi work as up-and-coming actors. Shiro Mibu has taken up the job of manager for the girls and helps while they’re on the job. Of course, this is just the beginning of the downward spiral to whatever you knew of The SoulTaker. Komugi is a 17-year-old cosplay girl trying to become a big star. Naturally, an unfriendly rivalry has developed between Komugi and the other two girls. Runa is an adorable little girl with the mind of an adult, so she can practically get away with murder by acting cute and innocent. Megumi, on the other hand, uses her bouncy pair of “talents” to move her up the acting ladder.

That evening while Komugi takes a bath, Mugimaru reminds Komugi of her true mission: to defeat Ungrar and his evil forces. Elsewhere, a mysterious raccoon maid girl watches over the home of her next victim. Kaneda is a BBS nerd, but with a little help from Magical Maid Koyori, he’s a virus-making machine in no time. The next day, Komugi joins her friend Koyori for lunch where they talk about Kaneda being absent from school. Kaneda was going to help Koyori, an up-and-coming idol just like Komugi, by redesigning her website. Later, the two meet up again at an electronics show where they both have event girl jobs to perform. Komugi has a goofy looking PC mascot costume to wear and Megumi makes sure to point out how silly it looks in comparison to her own sexy event girl uniform. Just as we get to admire Megumi’s sexy curves, Megumi gets trumped by Koyori’s even sexier frame in the same outfit. As the day wears on, Magical Maid Koyori decides to make an appearance. Unbeknownst to Koyori, she has an evil alter-ego! The Magical Maid unleashes virus demons on the general population and only magical girl Nurse Witch Komugi-chan can defeat them.

Komugi-chan’s career takes off not long before the beginning of the second episode. She performs her hit song for her fans before taking a seat to sign autographs. Luckly, Shiro is there to get rid of the scary otaku fans she occasionally attracts. Inaba, a somewhat-normal fan of Komugi’s, offers the idol a doujinshi he’s drawn based on her. Komugi is so touched to have someone care this much and can’t wait to see him sell copies at the upcoming Comiket. Meanwhile, Magical Maid Koyori pouts about having not defeated her flat-chested rival when a flier smacks her in the face. It’s an ad for the comic market exhibition coming up soon. The Magical Maid stops by Inaba’s house and zaps him into drawing a virus-spreading doujinshi.

The comic market exhibition opens as planned and Inaba’s doujinshi is a huge success. Of course, the evil maid knew it would be and unleashes the virus hidden within the comic. As the fans start to destory everything, Mugimaru detects a virus and now it’s time for the magical girl to save the day. Komugi transforms into Nurse Witch Komugi-chan, but is quickly confronted by Magical Maid Koyori outside the convention hall. As the two strike a pose to fight, someone takes a picture. In an instant, all the cosplay fans are shooting pictures of the two girls as they try to top each other’s seductive fanservice poses. The battle has begun.

The final episode on volume one is the first of the extended episodes for Komugi-chan’s first series. The Kiri Pro agency is staffing a cosplay cafe at the Dream Factory festival with their popular girls. Komugi, Megumi, and Runa have been as busy serving customers as they have been fighting with each other. Of course, when Runa pulls out her cute routine to get customers to buy more, Megumi and Komugi aren’t far behind in providing some fanservice to get bigger orders. Koyori (in only an apron, I swear!) is also waiting tables and mentions that Komugi’s dream guy, Kyousuke Date, is currently onstage at the festival singing. The true purpose of this episode, released as Episode 2.5, is to let the characters perform image song music videos. Kyousuke Date and Komugi Nakahara both get a chance to have a solo music video with silly interactions between the different characters before rolling the end credits. But wait, the episode isn’t over yet; Komugi and Koyori have a duo music video as a bonus.

Nurse Witch Komugi is a laugh-a-second series poking fun at The SoulTaker, magical girl shows, and even itself at times. The show loves to give plenty of fanservice while making jokes about the fact that they are. From the breast jokes between Komugi and Megumi to the lecherous attitude of Komugi’s assistant Mugimaru, you will have a hard time not liking at least something every minute of this series. The short two-episode OVA eventually made its way to five episodes and the 2.5 music video episode before the first series came to an end. There is no shortage of favorite moments, from Koyori’s revealing outfits to the square off between the Nurse Witch and Magical Maid in front of cosplay photographers. And if you can catch all the jokes hidden in one episode, you’re either amazing or you had it on slow mo the entire time because I’m still finding new stuff even today.

The Japanese cast brings back all your favorites to resume their roles. Haruko Momomi is an adorable Komugi with great comedic timing. Ikue Ootani is fun in her dual-personality role of Koyori and has a laugh to rival Naga the Serpent. The English production from ADV’s Houston-based Industrial Smoke & Mirrors recieves some assistance from Westwood Studios in Canada to allow several of the English voice actors to resume their SoulTaker roles at the great request of the fans. Jocelyne Loewen is a natural fit as she takes up the cosplaying Komugi once again with the same sweet delivery that made her SoulTaker role popular. Also returning are Lisa Ann Beley as Yui Kirihara (with a great display of emotion for Yui’s ups-and-downs), Trevor Devall as the smooth-talking Shiro Mibu, and Brad Swaile as the A-list movie star Kyousuke Date. While all four do a great job, it’s a little obvious that differences in direction from Houston director Scott McClennen don’t always get the same solid deliveries found in Karl Willems’ The SoulTaker English dub from Ocean Studios. The rest of the cast is brand new from ADV’s Houston studio and McClennon’s rather limited experience shows very quickly from the mixture of so-so and good performances. Kira Vincent-Davis’ Magical Maid Koyori can be a little rough around the edges, but the issue seems to be more in direction than talent. Luci Christian’s Mugimaru, on the other hand, has problems from the very start with a poor guttural voice that ends up sounding very cheesy. The supporting cast also tends to suffer from these below-average line delivery issues and can take away from the overall experience. It’s worth a listen for the returning cast and Koyori, but I’d leave it for your second run through the DVD.

Nurse Witch Komugi: Volume One is a fantastic way to follow up the original SoulTaker series and worth every minute. Even new fans could jump into this with no previous knowledge of The SoulTaker series and still be laughing throughout the three episodes. The video is clean and very colorful with two error-free subtitle tracks. The DVD extras include the clean opening and closing, production sketches, a Japanese commercial, an English commentary track for Episode 2, and a silly behind-the-scenes documentary on making the anime series. With heavy fanservice and magical girl jokes, Nurse Witch Komugi: Volume One is needed stat!