Wizard Barristers, also called Wizard Barristers: Benmashi Cecil, is a 12 episode anime series produced by Arms (Elfen Lied) and directed by Yasuomi Umetsu (Kite and Mezzo Forte).
In the world of the show wizards (or Wuds) and humans coexist in the same world. Wizards are really just normal people who happen to have certain magical abilities. Wizards are born and usually manifest their powers around their early teenage years and their powers are usually specified to one specific thing like fire, water, fortune telling or…creating giant robots (-_-‘). Wizards are, in many ways, persecuted and discriminated against by society. There are special laws governing wizards and a special court to judge them. Wizard Barristers are the lawyers (who are also wizards) charged with the responsibility of defending Wizards in Magic court.
The plot of Wizard Barristers centers around Cecil Sudo a 17 year old girl who has just recently become a Wizard Barrister. Cecil is the youngest person to ever become a Wizard Barrister, but that’s not the only thing that makes her special. Six years before the start of the show, Cecil’s mother was put on trial for killing a police officer. She claimed that she did it in self-defense, but her defense was denied and she was sentenced to death. Cecil became a Wizard Barrister because she hoped that she could get her mother a retrial. During the course of the show we find out that Cecil also has multiple magical abilities and that there are several organizations that seem very interested in her for her magical abilities rather than her legal ones.
Eventually, we find out that Cecil is wanted because she is the center piece of a conflict between two groups of wizards called Macal and Labone. The Macal are a group that thinks that humans should be wiped out or controlled by wizards, while Labone seeks a peaceful co-habitation with them. To meet their goals, the Macal want to enact a ritual to summon Lucifer so that they can control his power. Cecil is the key to performing the ceremony and things erupt into an all out battle between Macal and Labone with Cecil and her coworkers getting caught up in the middle of it.
As soon as I finished watching this Wizard Barristers, I immediately had an analogy in my mind for how I felt the show did. If you imagine that the series is like a relay race and each 3 episodes is running its own leg of the race, here’s how I would describe it:
- Starts out looking good, not running away from the pack but holding its own.
- Second leg keeps the same pace as the first but starts to speed up before it hands off the baton to the 3rd leg.
- The third runner is giving it everything they’ve got. They’re trying hard to catch up enough to give the last leg a chance to bring home the race for the team.
- The final leg gets the baton and starts off trying to run as fast as they can. They trip on their own feet, fall face first to the ground, and injure themselves. Instead of finishing they just limp to the finish line with thoughts of what might have been.
In the end, the team doesn’t even finish the race. In the same way, Wizard Barristers feels like it doesn’t even really try to finish the show as much as it just hits the expected number of episodes and just stops. They do try to wrap things up story wise, but so many things suffer. Not all of the story elements are wrapped up and there’s a big dive in animation quality at the end of the series. In the penultimate episode, there are moments when you feel like the video is skipping or buffering and it’s actually just the way they animated it.
The whole thing is an exercise in frustration. It’s a show that’s got an interesting enough premise and some very good artwork that seems to just fall flat on its face at different points. The only reason I can really think to watch it is if you were looking for a show to pick apart or or something to watch as an example of what not to do.