The Supergal

After hits like Ranma ½, Those Obnoxious Aliens, and Maison Ikkoku, you'd think that everything Rumiko Takahashi touched would turn to gold. After all, she's one of the best-known manga artists in Japan even twenty years after her first series appeared. However, that's unfortunately not always the case, as is clear in the case of The Supergal. The show originated in a short original manga; it eventually became part of a running anime series known as "Rumic's World", which included other Takahashi stories such as Laughing Target and Mermaid's Forest. Sadly, although The Supergal attempts to be a galactic comedy, it staggers around like a drunken party crasher, unsure of where it's going and unstable on its feet. It's funny for a few moments, but you'd be better off calling for a taxi and sending it home.

The Supergal is about Maris, a young woman from the planet Thanatos. The world was destroyed when she was just a child, and she has been a refugee ever since. She's at least six times stronger than the average human, and without wearing restraints, she can easily destroy her own starships by mere accident. With her foxlike companion Murphy, she travels the galaxy on behalf of the Special Police Force, trying to make ends meet and take care of her deadbeat parents from afar. The show takes forever to find its actual plot, but it eventually sends Maris on a mission to rescue the son of a multi-billionaire who's been kidnapped. With dreams of marriage (and more importantly, money) on the brain, she rushes off to find him, only to learn that the lead kidnapper is an old rival of hers, apparently from her days of professional wrestling. (If I were only making this up...) So can Maris survive another bout in the ring to save the guy, get the dough, and buy a ship that won't fall apart? Don't count on it.

If I knew what The Supergal wanted to be, it would be easier to review. At first, the opener makes you think that you might have a sci-fi show on your hands. But then it switches into comedic mode and stays there for a bit. This is muddled, however, because I never actually laughed at the show's attempts at mirth. Occasionally, the show drifts into melodrama, especially during flashbacks to Maris' memories of the destruction of her homeworld and an out-of-place desert planet sequence. But then we switch gears yet again, and we get treated to some pro wrestling sequences. Then back to comedy. Then yet another switch...I think the biggest problem here is that we simply don't know what we're watching. It would help if the artwork and music weren't dated, but they make things all the worse. It's not much to look at, and the music is at best functional. On the bright side, it's quite short.

I had high hopes for The Supergal, which were dashed quite expediently. If you must see every anime based on a Takahashi manga, then you might give it a try, but otherwise I wouldn't recommend it. It isn't boring, which keeps it from a lower rating, but it's not entertaining either.

The Supergal -- mild violence, brief nudity, profanity -- C-