Himitsu No Akko Chan

July 6, 2007

Though I’m not an avid fan of the anime series Secret Of Akko Chan and have stopped watching it ages ago. Somehow, I’m not sure why, I had the urge to ‘check’ the series out after a long hiatus. Meaning, I’m just gonna take a little peek at the show just for the sake of fun. Probably I had too much free time on my hands then.
To my surprise, the first thing that caught my surprise is the drawing itself! Why, it’s as though the entire series has undergone a total revamp. What’s so surprising about the drawing, you ask? In my humble and honest opinion (ahem ahem), I find that this time the drawing for the series is totally horrible! Forgive me. Perhaps the word ‘different’ would be a better choice of words.
Yes, the characters in the series now looks totally different. Though I can still make out generally who that character is. Especially that big fat bully, Taishou. He now looks even lamer and funnier (in a weird sense, that is)! Yeah, no more that bully look. Okay, so he may still have that bully look in a way, but this time he probably looks more like a clown. Even that Moko girl who looks cute herself seems to spot a brown hair now instead of her previous dark blue. And what’s with her nose too. Uh-huh. I find her uglier here too. Sorry.
At first I thought only the main character and heroine Akko didn’t undergo such drastic change and probably the only one who remained the same. But upon closer examination, I find out that her drawing and art detail has become more simpler. Yup, the previous Akko looks better and cuter. Unless you don’t strain your eye to see the difference, I guess it doesn’t really matter.
Of course, the other characters are still there. There’s still that baby kid who sits on his cat who looks like a mini tiger. Uh-huh. I don’t remember their names. Besides, how can that baby talk when he’s got a pacifier in his mouth. Don’t tell me he’s a ventriloquist. Just kidding. Then there’s the rest of the gang whose names too I can’t recall. Moko’s little brother, Taishou’s 3 subordinates, some little bespectacled girl who somehow reminds me of a character from Charlie Brown’s Peanuts, Akko’s pet cat, and of course both Akko’s parents.
Oh yes, I happen to notice a new character this time. It’s a penguin. Yup, a penguin with some thunder emblem embeded on its stomach. I think it’s Akko’s pet in addition to her cat, but since I don’t really watch the entire series, so I’m not really sure what this penguin’s real role is for here. Funny penguin.
Alas, the storyline here is still the same as the previous one. Akko has been bestowed some sort of magical hand mirror by some Queen of the Mirror Kingdom because of Akko’s kindness in treating the broken mirror with utmost care. This palm sized mirror allows Akko to change into whatever personality, shapes, sizes and forms she wishes with just an utter of some magical words. Sounds like a typical magical girl series. Only thing is that, Akko doesn’t transform into a cute super hero type to save the world from evil forces nor does she carries a magical wand.
Akko would use the mirror to transform herself into other people in order to help other people, whether it’s her friends or not, when they’re in trouble. Any kind of trouble. Yeah, this girl would do her best to help people out because she doesn’t want to see them in whatever hardship. So whether it’s taking the place of some wrestler, trying to give some self confidence back to some figure ice skater, making a kid to believe in Santa Claus (and the meaning behind it), attempting to calm/reason with a kid who doesn’t want to follow in his father footsteps of some job as his dad wants him to, pretending to be a replacement cat for a grandma who’s in denial that her real cat has died several years ago, impersonating as some mahou shoujo character, diffuse the tension among her friends when they’re fighting over whether an anpan or meat bun is best, or even as some alligator to allay rumours that some kid’s friends are calling her a liar because they don’t believe her about having seen some alligator. Not only human beings, but Akko too helps out animals like a cat who’s being bullied by other ‘gangster’ cats. You get the point.
Of course, all these are just the outside, but on the inside, it’s still Akko. Meaning she’s gotta play along and sometimes use her wits to ‘deceive’ and ‘act’ like she’s the real thing. And boy sometimes Akko really does get into a pinch trying to help these people out. Helping others isn’t as easy as it seems. But at least this girl is willing to give it a try. And in the end, it always ends well. At least for the episodes that I have watched.
As luck would have it, I managed to catch the last episode whereby Akko tansforms herself into some famous rock star which her pal Moko adores most. Yeah, the Queen of the Mirror Kingdom notices how Akko is frequently using her magic mirror out of fun and to surprise her friends instead of really helping those in need. Because of that, Akko’s mistake caused her identity to be found out by Moko, much to her disbelief. Not so much that the fact Akko could change, but she had misused her powers to deceived her friends.
And one of the rules in using the magic mirror is that nobody, and I mean not a single soul (except those involve in the realm of magic of course) must know about Akko’s identity and secret. Too bad Akko, it’s your fault this time. Though Akko felt bad and regretted her actions, the Queen of the Mirror Kingdom has no choice but to take away her mirror, even though Akko pleads that she’ll never do it again in the future. Once is bad enough.
But Akko manages to redeem herself when Moko who’s attending some special appearance of her idol rock star at some building, catches fire. Akko manages to rescue her and though she didn’t use the magic mirror’s powers, but I guess it’s because of her strong will and determination to save her friends, which caused Akko to transform into a fireman for the moment and rescu Moko.
In the end, though everybody is all right and the Queen of the Magic Kingdom erased everybody’s memories about that incident (out of convenience, I guess), Akko still didn’t manage to get back her magic mirror. But look at the bright side, at least Akko’s free from it all now as she heads to play some football with her friends. So people, you don’t really need a magic mirror to transform yourself to help others. It’s your heart and intention that is most important.
Another thing I find is that the opening theme song, Himitsu No Akko Chan (yes, the song is the same name as the anime title), seems to be more waltzy. Yup, with all those orchestral strings and such in play. The first ending song, Watashi No Uta Wo Kiite Hoshi, is so rap-like. I wonder if it’s fitting for a children’s series. Whereas the second ending song, Nippon Hare Da Yo~! Akko-chan, has Akko and her school buddies singing and performing.  Well, erm… Sounds like a genki group song. I can’t help but notice that the audience there watching the performance are so still! Yeah, as though they’re just props. Since your attention is on Akko and friends performing, you won’t be noticing those ‘rock’ people. Then this part I don’t get it. Once Akko’s done finishing singing, she’s surprised to notice that her microphone’s a hairbrush. What does this mean? Does it mean that Akko isn’t really singing and is just doing lip service? And that there’s some recorded singing of Akko? And what’s with that penguin striking a row of chimes at the end of it all. Really dunno.
Anyway, upon further research, though there aren’t much information on this series, I found out that this version that I’ve recently watched is actually the third remake of the 1969 version of the series! Wow. That’s a real long time ago. And looks like the drawing there is really from that era. So, that previous better looking one I watched is actually the remake of this version too. Uh-huh, they remade it somewhere in year 1988 with 61 episodes wheres the third remake is around 10 years later somewhere in year 1998 with only 44 episodes. I guess there’s nothing much to tell since the original one has a whooping 97 episodes. However, all 3 versions still maintains that basic premise that Akko uses her magic mirror to transform herself and help others. There are several movies made too, but little is known about them. Not that I’m really interested.
I suppose this series is quite popular back then having being translated and dubbed into several languages like Italian, Spanish and French. The characters too are given their own names to fit the local culture and stuff. Most probably back at that time, there weren’t many cartoons around the world and anime isn’t a niche yet. Uh-huh. Plus, no internet and other stuffs kids would do these days to preoccupy themselves with.
Having said that myself, I guess I myself too don’t have a life. As mentioned, I must have had too many free time to watch several clips of this series and even do a little research about it when the series ended. So unless you want to find out how the nature of animes were during those days or probably those people from that era, for nostalgic purposes, then I suppose this series is quite okay with some magical girl adventure, comedy and a little lessons in life. For me, I think I’ll be better off watching more current animes. I’m even way past Doraemon.

Himitsu No Akko Chan

October 24, 2005

This anime is actually quite old, in the sense that it’s shown from the 80’s to early 90’s, judging from the drawing and straight-forward storyline. Therefore, this anime Secret Of Akko Chan is also intended for younger audiences. About a girl named Akko Chan who has a magic mirror which can transform her into anyone or anything, in order to help her fellow friends or anybody in need. Sounds pretty straight-forward isn’t. Well, most animes during that era are like that. Still, some episodes are quite enjoyable to watch.

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