Tateishi Ayu is a pretty, popular tennis player at her school. One day, she comes across new student Sakura Nina crying in the hallway. Nina tearfully tells Ayu that she has lost something very valuable. When Ayu finds her missing item, she has no idea that her world is about to turn upside-down. Nina decides to repay Ayu for her kindness… with magic! What has Ayu gotten herself into?
summary by Madoka
Highs: Romantic; another great performance by Horie Yui
Lows: Predictable; forced ending
Ultra Maniac as a series does little to expand on the story first presented in the Ultra Maniac OVA. Even though this is a romantic series with terrific seiyuu performances, the rest of the story is predictable and unimaginative.
Because this is a story created by Marmalade Boy‘s Yoshizumi Wataru, viewers expecting starry-eyed crushes and confessions of love to set their hearts aflutter will not be disappointed. The four main characters of this series act together with genuine affection and friendliness that makes their relationships believable. Horie Yui, the voice of Tateshi Ayu (but more well-known as Narusegawa Naru of Love Hina to most fans), is no stranger to the romance genre and performs both Ayu’s comedic frustrations and pining for Kaji with ease.
As endearing as the romance is, its simplicity leaves little to the imagination. The small amount of depth given to Kaji’s character is not fully developed, which is unfortunate. Adding real complications and obstacles to the relationships would engage the audience in more emotional involvement in the characters and their feelings. The relationships have so few problems that it is easy to guess from the beginning who will end up with whom. By the end of the series, everything is wrapped up neatly with a little bow, pairing off almost every character into a cute couple. Ultra Maniac seems so intent on having a happy ending that the conclusion seems forced, giving the series an overall bland and unremarkable feeling.
In the end, Ultra Maniac is a blithe, pleasant series that doesn’t try to be anything more than an innocent, romantic comedy. If you’re in the mood for a simple romance or a cute, magical girl show, this anime might be just what you’re looking for.