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Sweet Valerian

Entry updated 7 February 2022. Tagged: TV.

Japanese animated tv series (2004). Madhouse. Created by CLAMP. Directed by Hiroaki Sakurai. Written by Sayuri Ōba. Voice cast includes Yu Asakawa, Mika Kanai, Ami Koshimizu, Yūichi Nagashima, Kaori Nazuka and Kazuki Yao. 26 four-minute episodes. Colour.

In Asialand City the evil but amateurish Stress Team (Yao) fly about in a wonky flying saucer (see UFOs), seeking out the stressed; on locating, they fire a Ray turning them into an appropriate stress Monster – for instance, an old man angered by the heedless behaviour of mobile phone users becomes a giant phone. Other monsters include a giant bowl of ramen, a human train and – after an astronaut (see Space Flight) is angered by the lack of authentic Japanese cuisine in space – a giant Alien.

Fortunately at such difficult times, deliverance is offered by the Relaxation Combat Team Valerian: three young women – Kanoko (Koshimizu), Pop (Asakawa) and Kate (Nazuka) – who turn into the bunny warriors Valerian, Dopamine and Serotonin (see Superheroes). A peaceful resolution is always their preference, though Valerian's impatience – "Not talking huh! Then let my laser gun talk!" – means the more violent option is rapidly taken up. They are trained by "the energetic Mimi-chan" (Nagashima), a purple, big-eared head, and overseen by Panda-Bu (Kanai), a panda head.

The formerly rich Kanoko and her father now live the simple life in a hut; Pop is the Director of a Videogame company and model Kate lives alone in an otherwise deserted and rundown apartment complex ("though sometimes I hear a baby crying, or random screaming coming from somewhere"). Tired of the Valerians frustrating his attempts to rule the world, the Stress Team's boss Shapeshifts into a handsome young man and tells the swooning Kanoko he hates the Valerians: she resigns from the team, but – following him home to ask him out – she discovers his identity and beats him up.

Aimed at a young audience, this is a cutely animated, agreeably silly magical girl – or perhaps magical rabbit – Anime; the short episode length is suitable for most of the adventures, but hinders the occasional attempts at world-building. [SP]


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