Akazukin Chacha article published in Animerica Extra Vol. 2, No. 12, November 1999
This article was written by and is copyrighted to Patricia Duffield and may not be reproduced in part or whole without permission.
When Bill (you know, the editor of AE) told me he'd never heard of Akazukin Chacha (Red Hooded Chacha), I knew what my next article had to be. "WHAT!?" I said. "We're talking about a show that ran for a year and a half! A story that's as crazy funny as Urusei Yatsura and has been running in Ribon since 1991*!! There was even a musical that toured Japan and the opening song was sung by SMAP! (SMAP's a very famous male idol group in Japan) How could you not have heard of Chacha!?!" Once I'd recovered from my outburst, I sat down to rectify the situation and introduce both Bill and you readers to this wacky and charming story.
Chacha is a cute girl who studies magic with her teacher Selavi, the worlds greatest magic user. You wouldn't guess it to look at him, since Selavi seldom uses any impressive magic and often talks with his doll, Elizabeth. Together, they live in a cottage at the foot of Mochimochi Mountain. Chacha is studying to enter the Urara Academy of Magic. She always tries her best but seldom gets what she expects, which is one of the many sources of humor in the story.
Classically, Little Red Riding Hood and the wolf were at odds, but the wolf is one of Chacha's best friends. Well, Riiya is actually a young werewolf who can change forms at will and is sensitive about being mistaken for a dog, which happens a lot. He's sweet and kind of slow, and when he changes into his white wolf form, Chacha usually gives him a big hug because the wolf's so cute.
The third main youth of the story is Shiine, apprentice to Dorothy, another powerful magician. Shiine is introduced when Dorothy captures Selavi and Elizabeth in the first story. Naturally, Chacha tries to rescue her teacher, and Riiya can hardly refuse to help. After smacking into Dorothy's castle because Chacha only knows how to make her broom fly, not stop, Riiya uses his super strength to open the five ton castle gates. This makes Dorothy take the two seriously, so Shiine offers to deal with them. His first tactic is to ask Chacha to tea, making him and Riiya instant rivals. Seeing Chacha's reaction to Riiya's transformation, Shiine transforms, too. Unfortunately, he turns into a mouse, which Chacha is afraid of, and gets beaten to a pulp. Inside, when Riiya falls through a trap door, Chacha reverses his fall, sending him through the ceiling and onto the floor above. She tries to summon a dove to lead her to Riiya, but gets an ostrich which chases her to him instead. Eventually they reach Dorothy's main chambers. Chacha has an hysterical magic battle with Dorothy for Selavi while Riiya snifs out Elizabeth. The young werewolf is traumatized when he finds her but she doesn't respond. Returning to the others he announces "Elizabeth is dead!" After they escape, it's explained to Riiya that Elizabeth is a doll. Like I said, he's a little slow. This is just one example of the many amusing adventures Chacha and her friends get into. Of course, all the people at Urara Academy are just as quirky as the main characters and just as much fun.
But wait, there's more! In the anime, Chacha has a heritage and a quest. With a magic medallion for her and a bracelet and ring for her two best friends, Chacha can transform into Magical Princess Holy-up. Together they must defeat the evil Daimao.
Slapstick, situation comedy, eccentric characters and puns, Akazukin Chacha has it all. Please, try one of the eleven volumes of Min Ayahana's amusing tale or catch an episode or two. No matter your language ability, Chacha is sure to make you laugh.
*Although the first issue ran in Ribon's January issue for 1992, issues come out a month ahead, so it was available in December of 1991.