Well, it took about half a year, but I finally finished Floral Magician Mary Bell. So much for that “one episode a day” plan, eh? I really intended on finishing sooner. Looking through my planner, several months held “finish Mary Bell” as one of my objectives; on many days, I even scheduled an episode or two (my life is so dull that I schedule anime watching). Something always distracted me, though. Message boards, video games, staring at the wall, etc. Whatever, I completed it, and I really want to tell someone about it, and who better than you, who probably stumbled across this page 3+ years after it was written?
When describing the warm and lovely feelings of watching Mary Bell to a friend, he told me it sounded “comfy”. I hate describing anime and games with “comfy”. To me, it’s synonymous to “boring”. But it works. You feel incredibly comfortable when watching Mary Bell. It ensconces you in the town of Sunny Bell, makes you feel like a child again, makes you see the world through innocent eyes. Your visits to this town won’t last much longer than twenty minutes, and while your heart will be softened and relaxed, your departure will be tinged with sadness.
But you can always come back! And with 50 episodes and a short movie, you can look forward to many visits to Sunny Bell.
I briefly talked about this in my first post, but don’t expect an action-packed mahou shoujo anime with Floral Magician Mary Bell. Mary Bell doesn’t use a vast assortment of magic attacks to destroy large monsters and evil demons. Instead, she uses her array of spells to help solve problems throughout town, or to simply brighten everybody’s day. That’s not to say it completely lacks action. A few different “bad guys” pop up from time to time, and sometimes, Mary Bell has to get her hands dirty. Sometimes she might just use a good ol’ Flower Storm (imagine Cure Flora’s “Floral Tourbillon” but less flashy).
One recurring villain is Jito. Imagine a nicer version of Mr. Crocker from the Fairly Odd Parents: a scholar studying fairies, willing to do anything to catch one.
He has a good heart, though, and Mary Bell redeems him by the end. Jito’s colleague, Professor Chervaux, serves as another villain. Short, stocky, and wielding a biology degree, Chervaux also obsesses over fairies, and will go to even greater lengths to find them.
Chervaux sparsely appears, but still acts as the main villain. Once a young boy in love with flowers and nature, he follows his passion as an adult and studies biology. However, his ambition perverts his goals of loving and preserving wildlife, and he turns to hunting fairies. Not to bring happiness to the world, but for fame. His schemes even lead him to angering the god of trees and plants, the Holy Tree. (Highlight for spoilers) An epic, though completely unexpected finale for Mary Bell, in which she fights the god of the Flower Magic World, her own home. Well, “fight” might not correctly describe it. She tries to but, in the end, saves the world through love and compassion. Leave it to Mary Bell!
Mary Bell redeems every villain eventually. In Sunny Bell, everybody has a seed of good, deep in their heart. At some point, people lose their way, usually corrupted by greed or some other ambition. But this won’t stop Mary Bell! That seed of good can bloom with the right love and care. Vivian serves as an early example of this. In my favorite episode, number 30, Vivian gets lost in the woods, and becomes friends with a mischievous fairy. Before that point, she’s a bit of a brat, a tsundere who never really shows a sweet side. The fansubbers at honobono seem to feel similarly.
The relationship between Mary Bell and Vivian–her first main “enemy”–is changing little by little in a subtle way, and it takes about 30 episodes before they somehow become friends.
Despite this show’s wonderfulness, as with any other long series, you won’t enjoy every moment. Some episodes just plain suck. Like the one time Mary Bell and friends stop the spousal abuse between two moon rabbits. Expect a few plot inconsistencies, too. For example, when Mary Bell’s grandfather, Jiji Bell, is introduced in episode 34, he mentions how he hasn’t been to Earth since the time mammoths existed. However, in episode 46, we find out that Jiji Bell is also Santa Claus, and apparently works on Earth every Christmas! Just try to ignore those little problems!
As for the movie, don’t expect a continuation of the plot. It tells an alternative version of episode 26. In the original episode, Mary Bell, Yuuri, and Ken pull Toto the Phoenix from the Flower Magic World and bring him down to Earth, to prove his existence to friends. He becomes reborn as a young Phoenix and lives happily ever after. The movie has a longer story, and showcases more of the Flower Magic World, in case you have interest in the lore. It also tells a creation story, presenting the Phoenix as the god of humans. Jito does some bad things, and oh yeah, Toto becomes a devil bird and almost destroys the world. But they straighten him out pretty quick.
I feel a bit sad since Mary Bell ended. I’ll probably watch it again from time to time. It’s the perfect anime for when you feel bad. Lose at a video game? Watch Mary Bell. Online friend removes you for no clear reason? Watch Mary Bell. Dreading going to work tomorrow? Watch Mary Bell!
When you feel alone and sad:
Mary Bell –
Just call upon my name and you won’t feel so bad.
With her magic floral grace:
Mary Bell –
Will make a smile bloom on everybody’s face.