Anime Review

Anime Hajime Review: Mysteria Friends

Original Run: January 21, 2019 - March 25, 2019
Number of Episodes: 10
Genre: Fantasy, Slice of Life, Supernatural
Based on the Video Game: Rage of Bahamut

***Warning, the following may contain spoilers for Mysteria Friends. Reader discretion is advised.***

Series Synopsis

Mysteria Academy is an ancient school for magic. At this most prestigious institution, pupils from all races come to better their skills and forge everlasting friendships. No students better encompass that ideal than princesses Anne and Grea (voiced respectively by Yoko Hikasa and Ayaka Fukuhara).

These two are rarely seen apart, and you cannot imagine a closer pair of friends.

Every day, Anne and Grea work hard to improve their abilities. Although not everything goes as expected, nothing is ever too much when these girls are together.

Without fail, Anne and Grea will be there for one another through thick and thin, and for a lifetime afterward.

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Series Positives

To put this as simply as I possibly can:

Mysteria Friends turned out to be a delightful little series.

For some background information (and to address something to the people who might already be aware), while I was watching, there was a constant sense that this show was being adapted from a more extensive source. Upon further investigation, it would appear my suspicions were not unfounded. Mysteria Friends was based off the mobile game Rage of Bahamut; a series which has already seen a two-season anime interpretation.

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Along with that, from what I could gather, Mysteria Friends has no connection with the other Rage of Bahamut show. Therefore, for those of you who are fans of the first series, it would behoove you to be aware that Mysteria Friends is its own story.

Moreover, since I have never played the game nor seen the original anime, I can’t say whether knowledge of either adaptation would be helpful with or add anything to Mysteria Friends. However, it is because I have never played, seen, or was even aware of the franchise until after the fact, I can tell you that they are not at all necessary in order to find enjoyment in this series.

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To start, you will immediately notice Mysteria Friends’ absolutely gorgeous visuals. Despite only being a short-form anime (or perhaps because it was one, I’m not sure which), this level of animation was nothing short of outstanding.

Mysteria Friends didn’t have a ton of action. Edge-of-your-seat moments weren’t really this show’s goal. But since there was still plenty of magic, wonder, and at least one high-level wizard battle, there was excitement to be had; if only in small doses. The series’ real accomplishment was its tranquil atmosphere.

The dialogue was spoken calmly. Discussions were more heart-focused. There was a noticeable contentedness in everything everyone did. Mysteria Friends operated at a much calmer speed. Additionally, since this series was only ten episodes long at fifteen-minutes a pop, it wasn’t hard to settle into whatever was going on.

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Aside from Mysteria Friends’ animation and relaxed atmosphere, its best aspects were main characters Anne and Grea. These two made for a great pair. They genuinely cared about one another, and their sincerity went a long way.

I will grant that there were many instances where Anne and Grea spoke to each other like they were the primary couple in a corny dime-store romance novel. What I will not do is pretend I didn’t get caught up in it. For me at least, Mysteria Friends hit a sweet spot.

Will other people be able to get into this show as much as I did? I certainly hope so. Although I can’t tell you what to like, I can strongly urge you to, at a minimum, give Mysteria Friends a fair chance.

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Series Negatives

I suppose this is true with every anime I like, but the very reasons why I enjoyed Mysteria Friends are the precise reasons why I can understand it if someone finds the series to be hard to stomach.

Not a whole hell of a lot happened in this show.

While I didn’t see a problem with that, if you were to tell me you found Mysteria Friends to be dull, I would be able to see your point. However, I would argue that anything boring about this show was just its excess fat.

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There were so many times when this series would do something, add a detail, or follow a plotline which led to nowhere. The most prominent example of this occurring was in the episode where Grea was writhing in bed and appeared to be in utter agony. Since Grea was a Dragonborn, no one at Mysteria Academy knew how to cure whatever she was suffering from.

To help her friend, as well as being the most gifted magic user at the school, Anne went on an epic journey to find out the nature of Grea’s illness. Anne faced beasts, dangerous booby traps, and the forces of nature to uncover the truth. This one episode had as much fantasy as can possibly be crammed into a fifteen-minute story.

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The problem:

  1. Anne did find an answer but search me if I know what she discovered.
  2. It was all pointless because Grea was only undergoing a natural phenomenon all dragons went through.

(Now that I think about it, how was it that no one at Anne and Grea’s MAGIC school knew what was going on if what happened to Grea was so common?)

I must admit, there were elements of Mysteria Friends which were silly, poorly thought-out, and meaningless. Thus, had this actually been a full-length anime, I doubt I would have looked upon it favorably. Fortunately, this show worked well with its shorter runtime. There weren’t many opportunities for more significant flaws to take root, but there was still plenty of room for its good points to grow.

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Final Thoughts

“Short and sweet” is such an overused adage.

That doesn’t make it any less accurate, so sometimes, what are you going to do?

With outstanding animation, a relaxing atmosphere, and enjoyable characters, there was a lot to like about this series. It would not surprise me if this show ended up being one of 2019’s hidden gems.

Although there were moments when an episode’s narrative got a bit lost, nothing ever became broken.

If you’re looking for something that moves at a slower pace and won’t become overwhelming, then I don’t think I can recommend Manaria Friends any higher.

But these are just my thoughts. What are yours? Have you seen this show? What would be your advice concerning Mysteria Friends? Leave a comment down below because I would love to hear what you have to say.

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For Anime Hajime, I’m LofZOdyssey, and I’ll see you next time.

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