Every year, lots of anime and manga celebrate major anniversaries. Whether it’s 45 years of Mazinger Z or 25 years of Sailor Moon, we love to celebrate big benchmarks. Recently, Magical Doremi turned 20, and they’re getting a film to celebrate.
Unlike other anniversary projects, though, this one doesn’t tie directly back into the series itself. Rather, it explores how we as viewers interact with the show. Looking for Magical Doremi promises a celebration of fans and friendship… and really, that seems like the most perfect type of anniversary flick yet.
Magical Doremi premiered in 1999, introducing children to a group of magical, musical witch apprentices. In the world of the show, witches whose identities are discovered are cursed. Young Doremi discovers that shop owner Majo Rika is a witch — and Majo Rika is turned into a frog. To help undo the curse, Doremi and her friends sign on to become apprentice witches. They’ll have to pass nine tests to prove their worth, and also not have their witch identities uncovered.
The series ran until 2004, with Pretty Cure eventually (and still) taking over its time slot. 4Kids brought Magical Doremi to the U.S., but it’s been largely overlooked save by devoted fans.
Looking for Witch Apprentices
To celebrate 20 years since the premiere of Magical Doremi, a new film is on the way. But rather than existing in the world of the story, it exists in our world — and its heroines are fans of the series, like us.
The trio of twentysomething women hail from all walks of life, but all of them grew up on the magical girl series. Together, they visit the locations that inspired the show, rediscovering that same magic they felt as a child. And even though this isn’t a dip back into the magical world of the series, early trailers show that the apprentice witches will appear, dreamlike, in the film. It’s shaping up to be a sweet, exciting celebration of the series, and one unlike what we usually see.
Close to Home
Anniversary projects can be hit or miss. Re-entering the world of the show is risky. Should you remake, like Sailor Moon? Should you pick up in the future of the series, like Mazinger Z? Maybe both, like Digimon? Either way, it’s always a bit of a risk. Will fans believe the new project does the series justice, or will it be a disappointment? How much should you change, if anything?
With Looking for Magical Doremi, the plot looks to be re-centered where it matters: not on the series itself, but on its influence. It also ties in the very real, very popular practice of anime pilgrimages, which keep both fandoms and local tourism alive. This looks to be a unique tribute, and one that will be meaningful to Doremi fans of all ages.