OP: 「FANTASTIC ILLUSION」 by Iris
Tejina-senpai has made her miraculous debut this Summer season with a short first episode that makes laughs of the limitations she has as a magician. The first episode helps to define the dynamic that she has with the Magic Club’s latest recruit, Assistant(Kayano Ai), as he gets used to the newfound attention that he’s been giving her.
The parallels between this series and Dagashi Kashi can be tricky to ignore with both of their main attractions being their boisterous leading ladies with silver hair and spiral irises. The two also share some decent ecchi peppered in with the girls’ efforts to teach their new partners about the wonderment of their favorite activities. But whereas Hotaru is the most recent example of the “Manic Pixie Dream Girl” trope in anime, or the fantasy of a girl who is too chaotic, too whimsical, and too perfect for reality, the first episode paints Tejina (Hondo Kaede) as more of a “Nightmare Girl”. A bulk of her troubles come from how many detriments are going against her own personal enjoyment of magic as her weaknesses hinder her ability to perform her tricks as she imagined them. On top of this, Assistant finds himself more troubled by her because of the personal responsibility he places on himself to keep her from hurting herself. Although there are a few ulterior motives he’d have as she’s prone to falling into compromising positions, he still manages to have a good time as the second member of the Magic Club
What makes the show incredibly funny is that there is no method to Tejina’s madness because she’s spending a majority of her time winging it. As a result, it’s a comedy about a girl who is compelled to love a hobby that conflicts entirely with her skillset. Some of the best jokes come from her ineptitude at magic and how she saves face from failed magic tricks such as mournfully parting ways with her money after accidentally being unable to reconnect the 1000 yen bill that she cut in half or enviously glaring at Assistant for pulling off the most basic parlor tricks and not letting her in on his secrets. Trouble might have already been spelled out when she spent a large chunk of her introduction to Assistant vomiting from stage fright, but her overall shyness also provides some comedy to how she handles speaking with Assistant like when she hijacks the morning announcements to grab his attention.
Tejina-senpai is a nice, short, and digestible anime that has enough charm to leave viewers enamored. Although it is a bit too short to put my thumb on what sets it apart from its peers, it doesn’t diminish the positive impression that it left on me as a cute and quirky comedy. Hopefully, it will come into its own with the next batch of episodes, but from what I can see with this first installment, I have faith that Tejina-senpai can definitely continue to make every new magic trick funnier than the next.
ED: 「ダメハダメ」 (Dame wa Dame) by Suzuki Minori