Himeno Awayuki fights to save the world as the Prétear, a warrior of elemental magic.

I’m not quite sure why I queued up Prétear, except that it is directed and written by Juunichi Sato, who has done a lot of great work. It is a “reverse” harem, magical girl show that originally aired in 2001. Essentially a girl gains elemental powers by holding hands with bishounen (beautiful boys), and uses that power to save the world.

I was surprised to find that Prétear is actually a pretty compelling story. Underneath the fantastical plot of elemental knights, demon larvae, and the Princess of Disaster, there is a very human story about disappointment, loneliness, and the responsibility that people have to look out for others who have fallen by the wayside. I think Prétear works particularly well at this because it doesn’t drag on aimlessly; at only 13 episodes it gets to the point, tells its story, and then ends.

In addition to discussing the merits of this series, the terminology nerd in me also rails against popular usage of the phrase “reverse harem”.

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