Our Rating: 4 stars
Reader’s Rating: 4 stars

Total # of Volumes: 4
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1: I will protect the peace of Japan!
2: Go! Unified Defense Force
3: Song of Defense
4: Let's Defend Happiness

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Cute, silly, and full of can-do spirit. It's the textbook description of a second-grade girl and of Mao-chan, the latest effort from creator Ken Akamatsu and Production I.G, the team behind the hilarious and popular Love Hina. In many ways, Mao-chan could be considered an alternate universe version of Love Hina.

Wacky hijinks and off-the-wall characters populate the world of Mao-chan, just as they do in Love Hina and some of Hina's characters even appear in Mao-chan, though renamed. Driving all of this craziness is a (somewhat) threatening invasion of adorable cute aliens. And to counter these attacks, the proud grandfathers that head Japan's Ground, Air and Sea Self Defense forces have chosen to draft their second grade granddaughters. In a wry commentary on warfare in this modern age, Akamatsu has the crafty old men intentional choosing their impossibly cute granddaughters for the task mainly to win the hearts of the people and curry political favor rather than for their ability to accomplish the task. It's very funny and, sadly, probably true.

The animation is crisp and brightly colored. There are nice touches of 3D computer graphics integrated in as the military hardware and, overall, it is very lovely to look at. The music is also right on target, capturing the mood perfectly. Especially notable are the opening and closing themes; they are great fun.

Volume 1: "I will protect the peace of Japan!" Plot Summary:

Earth is in danger! Aliens have targeted Japan and even now, their deadly warriors are hurtling towards our fragile planet. But the military is ready. They have trained special operatives to defeat these dangerous foes. If they could only manage to pass their second grade P.E. exam, everything would be perfect.

Mao Onigawara, second grader and sole defender of the lands of Japan must team up with her counterparts representing the sea and air in order to defend Japan from invasion by adorable cute aliens. Using their unarmed 1:1 model weapons (a tank, submarine, and fighter jet respectively), the three girls strive to protect Japan.

Assisting them are their grandfathers, each a chief of one branch of the military, a put-upon colonel who must be both the girl's commander and homeroom teacher, and their special, transformation powers (which don't actually do anything more than change their clothes).

Will the girls manage to work together? Can they actually defend Japan without weapons? Will Mao-chan ever finish a race in PE? All of these pressing issues are at hand in the first volume of Mao-chan.

Series Details

Genre: Comedy
Format: DVD
Type: Series
Languages: English & Japanese with subtitles
Video: 4:3 NTSC Standard Aspect Ratio
Audio: 2.0 Dolby Digital
American Release Status: Unavailable

Series Staff
(click on linked names to view a listing of all their works)

Creator: Ken Akamatsu
Director: Yoshiaki Iwasaki
Character Designer: Masahide Yanagisawa
Music: Takayuki Hattori
Animation Director: Tsuyoshi Nakano
Animation Studio: Production I.G./Xebec
Japanese Producers:
Ken Akamatsu
RikuMao Headquaters

American Producers: Geneon/Pioneer

Volume 1 Information

Title: I will protect the peace of Japan!
Running Time: 88
Number of Episodes On This Volume: 7

Episode Titles

1: "I" Myself Will Protect Japan!
2: Mao-Chan's First Dispatch!
3: Misora-Chan of the Air Defense Force
4: Air and Ground Are One
5: Sylvia of the Sea Defense Force
6: Shall We Eat Something for Now?
7: We Even Defend Against a Water Skipper

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