Fancy Lala is 1998 mahou shoujo anime focusing on the concerns of 9 year old Shinohara Miho. (all names in Japanese name order. ).Miho is a normal girl who loves to draw, and dreams of being a manga artist. She is shopping one day, and two dinosaur like toys attach themselves to her back. She can't pull them off, and is accused of shoplifting. A mysterious middle aged man ( called Fushigi-san- "Mr. Mysterious" ) buys them for her, and she takes them home. She thinks they are just stupid dolls, but when she threatens to put them in the incinerator, they tell her that they are Pigu and Mogu, and are from the Land of the Memory of Time. They promise to give her power if she spares them.
She does, and thus her adventure begins. She uses her magic sketch pad and pen (along with the incantation "dabu dabu" to turn into Lala, a 15 year old, blue haired version of herself. She decides to visit Harajuku , a part of Tokyo that is always filled with scouts trying to sign new talent. And there, she meets Haneishi, a former model and president of Lyrical Pro- a production company (basically a company for churning out idol singers (Japan's version of pop singers like Michelle Birch or Pink ). Now Miho has to crawl up from obscurity to fame, keep up with school work, and hope that her famous crush Aikawa Hiroya notices her, and that her classmate Yoshida Tarou doesn't. Did I mention her rival Yumeno Miki?
This series has been said to be a homage to Creamy Mami, a 1983 magical girl series. However, there are many differences. Creamy Mami focuses more on the magic-Creamy has a mission from the Feather Star, and her success is instant, because her music is magic. Lala wants to be famous, and has to climb to the top. The difference is illustrated even by the titles-Creamy Mami is "Magical Angel Creamy Mami" Fancy Lala is "Magical Stage Fancy Lala." Mami is an angel of mercy, Lala is not. The differing ways in which the powers are distributed also illustrate this difference. Miho is just a random girl on the streets. Yuu has to have something special about her, because she can see the ship and others cannot.
The character work in Fancy Lala is the best part of it. Yumeno Miki is Lala's rival, In other series, Yumeno Miki would be a cardboard bitch, with maybe one line about how Lala is really the better man. Here, we see both her cold ice queen persona presented to Lala, and her warm interior when she is introduced to Miho. This really plays on the motif of dual lives present in this anime. In one episode, Miho is in a game show with her best friend, Akiru, and also in a commercial at the same studio. She manages to fit it all in, but not without neglecting something important. Her sole connection between her model life and her real life is her cell phone, and it can ring in some strange places. Luckily, her dad, Shinohara Youichirou is an absent minded paleontologist, and her mom, Shinohara Mamiko is a busy woman, working at a TV station.
Fancy Lala may not be as well known in the US as some other shows, but it is definitely worthy to stand with them. It is to be released in the US on July 9th of 2002