Fantasista Doll is an anime series produced by Hoods Entertainment, and is directed by Hisashi Saito. The series streams on Crunchyroll on Sundays.
The main character of the series is a middle school girl named Uzume Uno; when she was younger, she was an elite card player who won a major card tournament prior to the beginning of the series. Something that caught my attention rather quickly with her is the fact that her character design, especially her hair, looked rather reminiscent of Misaki Suzuhara from Angelic Layer.
One day, when she’s on the train heading to school, someone slips an object into her bag. Later, Uzume discovers that a device that kind of looks like a cell phone is in her bag. After school, when Uzume is alone in the locker room, she hears a strange noise and becomes frightened. When she goes into another room to escape, a voice calls out and asks her questions in order to “gain entry and receive help.” After going through the process, a mysterious girl appears.
The girl briefly explains that she’s a Fantasista Doll, and that Uzume needs to summon her from a card included in the device that Uzume found in her bag that morning. After summoning the doll, she fights with the person who’s been following them. After defeating the girl, Uzume is able to claim the other girl’s card.
Uzume learns that the Fantasista Doll’s name is Sasara, and that there are four others in the device named Katia, Shimeji, Akari, and Madeline. Right at the end of the episode, Uzume discovers a mysterious man who calls himself Lord Rafflesia is the one who provided her with the Fantasista Dolls and that he is watching her progress from afar. To me, I thought his character design kind of looked like someone tried to combine Kaito Kid from Case Closed and Tuxedo Mask from Sailor Moon.
Many of the elements in Fantasista Doll felt like they were lifted from other properties that are similar to this one. Having the Dolls that Uzume controls reminded me of Angelic Layer, having the Dolls come out of the cards made me think of both Yu-Gi-Oh! and Cardcaptor Sakura, being able to claim a card after defeating it made me think of Cardcaptor Sakura, and having the guy who follows the protagonist around and is ultimately responsible for getting her into her situation made me think of Angelic Layer.
With this being one of the few anime series this season that is an original work instead of being based on something else, I found this to be rather disappointing. It felt as if the person who created Fantasista Doll decided to simply take elements from other similar series that have been released in the past and put them together into one package; I was ultimately left with the feeling that this series was a “love child” of Angelic Layer, Cardcaptor Sakura, and Yu-Gi-Oh! Unfortunately, this makes Fantasista Doll feel very derivative; for me, this makes it hard for me to really get into what’s going on.
I will go ahead and watch the next episode to give the series a chance to try to differentiate itself from other similar series in this genre. But it may be a couple of weeks before I can watch the second episode, because I’m not going to have access to streaming anime when the next episode becomes available at Crunchyroll. However, I will try to catch up as quickly as I can.
Additional post about Fantasista Doll: