Fantasista Doll (ファンタジスタドール) is an OVA (Original Video Animation) series consisting of 12-episodes directed by Saitō Hisashi and written by Kimura Noboru and Kakihara Yūko. A rather colorfully animated sci-fi series, the story revolves around main protagonist Uno Uzume. A middle school student, she won a special card tournament prior to series beginning and now controls a special set of cards that make her the master over five “Dolls”, or sets of highly advanced data that manifest in the form of girls who are completely loyal to her. At school, Uzume is the member of a card club with two other girls who also own these special cards. Todori Kagami, is her underclassman and rival, at first determined to take away all of Uzume’s cards in special Doll-on-Doll battles so that she can have one of her wishes fulfilled by a secret Group that grants wishes to Doll Masters that obtain Dolls for them. Another member of the card club is Uzuki Manai, one of Uzume’s childhood friends, Manai is a Doll Master as well, but is pleasant and mild mannered, and hopes to make Uzume and Kagami good friends.
As the series progresses, Uzume and her five Dolls – Sasara, a stubborn and feisty girl who wields a sword in combat; Katia, a tiny, child-like girl whose main power is an unconscious good luck; Shimeji, a pink-haired girl with a fragile self-esteem, afraid that she will lose another master, due to the fact that she was abandoned by her previous master; Akari; a loli-goth girl who wields deadly yo-yos in combat and speaks with an expressionless tone; and Madeleine, a tall, purple-haired beauty who is kind and a tactical wizard in combat – all begin to become very close friends, more than just master and servants. They also discover that people are after them and want to take the Dolls away from Uzume, even as a strange man, The Rafflesia Man, watches on, secretly observing and teaching Uzume how to become a better Doll Master and card player.
While Fantasista Doll is a wonderfully animated series filled with gorgeous colors and character designs, lots of great action sequences, and a heartwarming theme about friendship and finding one’s purpose, the story is a bit convoluted and difficult to follow at times. For example if the Dolls are sworn to obey their Doll Masters, then why, as the series points out more than a few times, can they just, whenever they feel like it, decide they no longer want that master and reject them? During some of the battle scenes, it seems like some of the ‘enemy’ Dolls were being made to do things they didn’t want to do, but their innate loyalty to their masters kept them doing it. But, couldn’t they just stop and reject their masters and say no? There’s also a subplot about a dead Doll that needs to have her data recovered, but a special Recovery Card won’t work. The Dolls can die? They’re data? How does data ‘die’? I understand ‘erasing’ data. Okay, but apparently this Doll just had its special cellphone card reader broken when it was hit by a truck. These are just some of the pot holes and loose ends that cripple what could have been an otherwise excellent series.
This is another really good release from Sentai Filmworks from a visual standpoint. The digital animation, apart from the slightest hint of softness, looks spot on here, with beautiful color reproduction that really pops, and no issues with motion artifacts, aliasing, or noise.
Fantasista Doll comes only with the original Japanese-language soundtrack in DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 stereo (48kHz/24-bit). The dialogue is clear and dynamics are rather wide. The voice cast also does a good job with their characters, from the feisty Sasara (voiced by Tsuda Minami) to the rather distant loli-goth Akari (voiced by Hasegawa Akiko), one can really envision the voices belonging to each of the characters they represent.
Nothing but the usual clean animations and promotional materials included here.
- Clean Opening Animation
- Clean Closing Animation
- Sentai Filmworks Trailers
- Disc Credits
The Definitive Word
Some illogical plot points and a somewhat confused storyline make Fantasista Doll fail to live up to its potential. Otherwise, this is a superbly animated series that is a pleasure to watch, with an excellent voice cast. The Blu-ray release is also spot on, with a reference HD transfer.
Additional Screen Captures