Mahō no Tenshi Creamy Mami, along with its rival broadcast: Mahō no Princess Minky Momo, are some of the quintessential ’80s magical girl series; and one of the many building blocks that solidified “mahō shōjo” as its own sub-genre. Though Creamy Mami isn’t the greatest series, it definitely has a charm to it: from its referential humor to the crazy hijinks that Yū gets herself into; in the pursuit of keeping her identity a secret, as well as winning the heart of her crush, who is only smitten with her alter ego, Creamy Mami!
This review of Creamy Mami is spoiler free!
Synopsis: Creamy Mami is about a young girl, Yū, who after seeing a spaceship is given the power to use magic for one year. She is also given two cats, Poji and Nega, to watch over and guide her. Using her magic powers to transform into the idol Creamy Mami, Yū must work hard at acting, singing, helping her parents at their crepe shop, fighting aliens and bad guys, going to school, plus try to get the affections of her childhood friend Toshio.
This series is an episodic, romantic comedy—therefore, the characters, for the most part, two-dimensional archetypes that would fit in well traversing the halls of a Scooby Doo mystery. The one point of character depth, a complication that you’re able to grasp at straws with, is Yū’s internal conflict over childhood friend, Toshio, lusting after an overly glamorized sixteen-year-old version of herself, but claims to have no attraction her as a ten-year-old. This paradox is subtlety interwoven, as we the audience, take note of the existential crisis that Yū is having, but she, as a character, is too naïve to realize that she’s having it! It’s really meta, if you think about it.
The characters lack awareness, and therefore dimensionality, but that very lack of awareness gives us a nuanced look into the characters’ externalized ailments from afar. It’s an interesting narrative technique that, screenwriter, Kazunori Itō has used in his other scripts, like Ghost in the Shell and Urusei Yatsura. One of the best episodes is Episode 25: Disturbance! The Pop Festival; not only are the visuals top-notch in that episode, but it brings into question whether Yū would ever be okay with Toshio knowing her true identity. Even if he is okay with the two of them being the same person, Yū is tortured by the fact that he didn’t like her personality before he knew she was Mami. She’s stuck in an interstice of liking a guy who thinks she’s ugly and annoying, but would like her if she became sexy, after hitting puberty!
Aside from the sprinkle of good writing, Creamy Mami is mostly an atmospheric experience. Watching it is like watching a pastel, Care Bears adventure… but with prettier character designs and better writing, though that is entirely dependent on the episode. Sometimes simplicity is best, and it’s soothing to just watch Yū interact with an episodic fantasy creature or spot an occasional reference (easter eggs from Golgo13 to Urusei Yatsura, etc.) flowing away, and into the ether of forgotten media.
Osamu Kobayashi (director)
- Attack No. 1 (animation director)
- Kimagure Orange☆Road
Commentary: Creamy Mami is slightly less experimental than Kimagure Orange☆Road, but certain dreamy montages or landscape shots make the two series reminiscent to each other. Not to mention that they have the same character designer!
Fusanobu Fujiyama (sound director)
- AD Police (sound director)
- AIKa (sound director)
- Arslan Senki (sound director)
- Chi’s Sweet Home (sound director)
- CLAMP School Detectives (sound director)
- Darkside Blues (sound director)
- Dead Leaves (sound director)
- Fake (sound director)
- Key the Metal Idol (sound director)
- Kimera (sound director)
- Mahō no Princess Minky Momo (sound director)
- Mahō no Princess Minky Momo: Yume no Naka no Rondo (sound director)
- Otaku no Video (sound director)
- Piano no Mori (sound director)
- Steins;Gate (sound director)
- Steins;Gate Movie: Fuka Ryōiki no Déjà vu (sound director)
- Tokimeki Tonight (sound director)
Commentary: Higurashi no Naku Koro ni rose to greatness because of some of its unnerving sound effects, thus bringing the sound novel genre to prominence. Sound design is important. The many surreal and exotic sound effects in Creamy Mami help ground us into the unique atmosphere of a sci-fi story that often commingles with fantasy.
Tomomi Mochizuki (episode director)
- Boku no Marie (director)
- Dirty Pair Flash 2 (director)
- Dirty Pair Flash 3 (director)
- Futatsu no Spica (director)
- Kimagure Orange☆Road: Ano Hi ni Kaeritai (director)
- Koko wa Green Wood (director)
- Project A-Ko 2: Daitokuji Zaibatsu no Inbō (director)
- Princess Nine (director)
- Mahō no Stage Fancy Lala (original creator)
- Maison Ikkoku: Kanketsu-hen (director)
- Pupa (director)
- Ranma ½ (director of season one)
- Sarai-ya Goyō (director)
- Seraphim Call (director)
- Shinigami no Ballad (director)
- Tokimeki Tonight (director)
- Umi ga Kikoeru (director)
- Urusei Yatsura (ep 149, 154)
- Yokohama Kaidashi Kikō: Quiet Country Café (director)
Commentary: Some of the practical animation directing can be due in part to Tomomi Mochizuki. You can compare some of the run-of-the-mill (slice-of-life) moments in Creamy Mami the schoolyard scenes or the bantering in Dr. Tofu’s office in season one of Ranma ½. The subtle, quiet moments highlight more of the serious or absurd moments. Whereas the chief director, Kobayashi, has a more sprawling, action-oriented approach to directing.
Kazunori Itō (script, series composition, original creator)
- Dirty Pair (script)
- Dirty Pair: Affair of Nolandia (script)
- Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (screenplay)
- Kidō Keisatsu Patlabor (script: eps 1-7)
- Kidō Keisatsu Patlabor: The Movie (script)
- Kidō Keisatsu Patlabor 2: The Movie (script)
- Kidō Keisatsu Patlabor: New OVA (series composition)
- Kidō Keisatsu Patlabor: On Television (screenplay, series composition)
- Kidō Keisatsu Patlabor: Reboot (script)
- Ghost in the Shell (script)
- Ghost in the Shell 2.0 (script)
- Maison Ikkoku (script: eps 27, 29-32, 36, 39-40, 42-44, 46, 50, 52)
- Urusei Yatsura (script: eps 26-27, 29-30, 33, 35-37, 41, 44-48, 50-51, 53)
- Urusei Yatsura Movie 1: Only You (script)
- Urusei Yatsura OVA (script: eps 1-2)
Commentary: One of the most prolific, English-speaking anime writers, Helen McCarthy, referred to Itō as “one of the best screenwriters in anime.” As I mentioned earlier in the review, even when Creamy Mami is not meant to be particularly deep or insightful, Itō has a way of juxtaposes a script to make it appear that way, from the perspective that he angles audience to look in at the characters. Him and Mamoru Oshii are a match made in heaven! A very talented and interesting writer!
Akemi Takada (character design)
- Kagaku Ninja-tai Gatchaman
- Kidō Keisatsu Patlabor
- Kimagure Orange☆Road
- Mahō no Stage Fancy Lala
- Urusei Yatsura
Commentary: I love her character designs! Takada always finds a way of accentuating features and creating a supple roundness to the face, to make the characters seem attractive and charming! I don’t think Lum Invader would be such a visual icon, if Takada hadn’t done the designs for the Urusei Yatsura anime!
Takako Ōta as Yū Morisawa, notable roles:
Commentary: Originally, one of the main reasons I had a hard time getting into Creamy Mami was… Yū’s voice. I get that she’s supposed to be a bratty ten-year-old, but her voice can get really unruly and juvenile at times. Maybe that’s part of the charm? The best way I can describe her voice is: a bleating horn.
Kimotsuki Kaneta as Nega, notable roles:
- Great Britain, Cyborg 009 (1979)
- Sunao Honekawa, Doraemon
- The Conductor, Galaxy Express 999
- Kemuzō Kemumaki, Ninja Hattori-kun
- Iyami, Osomatsu-kun (1988)
- Horrorman, Sore Ike! Anpanman
Commentary: His previous role as the nasally Sunao translates perfectly into a mascot character, if only they had the budget and scheduling to fit in the original voice of Doraemon, Nobuyo Ōyama!
Yūko Mita as Posi, notable roles:
- Neko Musume, GeGeGe no Kitarō (1985)
- Akemi Roppongi, Maison Ikkoku
- Shinzō Hattori, Ninja Hattori-kun
- Ibuki, Pokémon
- Benten, Urusei Yatsura
Commentary: It’s weird to see Mita voicing a cat character, when she’s voiced highly attractive characters like Benten from Urursei Yatsura or Ibuki from Pokémon!
Yū Mizushima as Toshio Ōtomo, notable roles:
- Chang Changku, Cyborg 009 VS Devilman
- Ryō Asuka, Devilman (OVA)
- Shukumaru, Fire Tripper
- Isamu Kurogane, Hyaku Jūō Go Lion
- Shō Fukamachi, Kyōshoku Sōkō Guyver
- Luigi, Super Mario Bros.
- Clow Reed, Tsubasa Chronicles
Commentary: Whenever I hear Toshio’s voice, I think of Mizushima’s roles as impetuous, young adult characters… like Shukumaru from Fire Tripper and Isamu Kurogane from Hyaku Jūō Go Lion. Admittedly, I think Mizushima’s role as Kurogane and Akira Kamiya as Prince Sincline in Go Lion, were some of the only vocal performances that made that series watchable!
Saeko Shimazu as Megumi Ayase, notable roles:
- Akiko Natsume, Bannō Bunka Nekomusume (All Purpose Cultural Cat Girl Nuku Nuku)
- Yuri, Dirty Pair
- Miz Mishtal, El Hazard: The Magnificent World
- Madoka Ayukawa, Kimagure Orange☆Road
- Four Murasame, Kidō Senshi Zeta Gundam
- Kodachi Kuno, Ranma ½
- Glycine Bleumer, Sakura Taisen
- Shinobu Miyake, Urusei Yatsura
Commentary: As you can probably guess from glancing at Shimazu’s previous roles, she plays a haughty, beautiful young lady, who has a cold demeanor but is actually a nice person deep down. The rival that can’t help herself from helping the protagonist out. Exactly like her role as Madoka in Kimagure Orange☆Road!
Kazuhiko Inōe as Shingo Tachibana, notable roles:
- Clamp, Akai Kōdan Zillion
- Eiji Asuka, Aoki Ryūsei SPT Layzner
- Daryun, Arslan Senki
- Mamoru Kusanagi, Blue Seed
- Joe Shimamura, Cyborg 009 (1979)
- Ninzaburō Shiratori, Detective Conan
- Gildarts Clive, Fairy Tail
- Hatori Sōma, Fruit’s Basket (2001)
- Dusty Attenborough, Ginga Eiyū Densetsu
- Eiri Yuki, Gravitation
- Kars, JoJo no Kimyō na Bōken (2012)
- Yō Miyagi, Junjō Romantica
- Rei, Kikaider 01: The Animation
- Gotō, Kiseijū: Sei no Kakuritsu
- Gunter von Christ, Kyō Kara Maō!
- Hans Axel von Fersen, Rose of Versailles
- Flit Asuno, Kidō Senshi Gundam AGE
- Jerid Messa, Kidō Senshi Zeta Gundam
- Kakashi Hatake, Naruto
- Madara, Natsume Yūjin-chō
Commentary: Inōe is a very talented seiyū. He’s one of the characters that had such a memorable voice, that while I was scrolling through the character list, the sight of Shingo caused a variation of audio clips of him to play in my head! I find it rather interesting how he went from an iconic bishōnen actor to one that is primarily typecast in fujoshi-centric roles. In my opinion, Kazuhiko Inōe and Saeko Shimazu were the biggest talents in this entire show, every moment the two of them were on screen was captivating, and their characters had a strong chemistry between them!
Conclusively, Creamy Mami is a pivotal puzzle piece in the progression of the magical girl genre, and I would give it a gander, to anyone willing to casually watch an episodic anime. A relaxing viewing experience when you’re winding down; a naturally soothing series, akin to Hidamari Sketch. I rate Creamy Mami a 5/10.
Extra: Love Sarigenaku (LOVEさりげなく) is an absolute banger! A great song to listen to with the bass cranked up in your car!