That’s some hot fashion right there.
Alright bros. Some of you have doubtlessly heard of Fancy Lala, the magical girl show with the horrendous name (other competitors: Princess Tutu). Well, did you know that it had a related anime that preceded it by a few years? And that had disco, terrorists, and biker gangs? Well have I got news for you!
So, Harbor Light Monogatari – Fashion Lala Yori. At its core, it is a loose adaptation of the Cinderella tale, as filtered through the mind of a young girl. Little Miho has been sent to live with her aunt while her father, who is in the Navy, is at sea. She has a couple of bitchy older cousins, and her aunt is awful, too. They operate a dress shop, and Miho dreams of designing clothes someday. But, hey, bitches be bitches! They tell her she has no chance.
However, the upcoming Disco Queen contest, in which contestants compete in some half-fashion, half-dancing event, is coming up. Miho would love to enter so she could design her own dress, but she’s too young to. Luckily, one of her cousins isn’t bitchy and asks for her to design one for her. But, hey, Cinderella story and all that, the other ones destroy Miho’s work!
We all know what should happen next – fairy godwhatever shows up, magic, day is saved. And that does happen. Eventually. After some terrorism.
Miho’s is not the only tale being told here, bros! The mayor’s son, Angryface (I can’t recall his name), has returned from prison during the course of this movie… and he is MAD. Daddy is apparently diddling his secretary, and cheated on his previous wife with other ladies of youth. Angryface hates this! So he’d joined a biker gang back in the day, which he reunites with, and inspires to commit acts of terror. He also lives in a shipwrecked ship.
Somehow, Miho comes across him, and she somehow becomes partially intrigued by him. I think she was delivering a dress to the mayor for his secretary/girlfriend, and Angryface was being angry because he’d just discovered the girlfriend in his father’s bed. Anyway, Miho follows him back to his shipwreck, and he yells at her. She scampers off.
EXPLOSIONS! MOTORCYCLES! DISCO!
If you guessed that Miho fairy goddinosaurs (yes) make her dress all good again AND give her a transformation so that she can enter the Disco Queen competition, you would be correct. Angryface wants to ruin it all, though, through terrorism. But if you guessed that the entire thing suddenly went neon lights and strobe lights and Miho as an adult in a dress went levitating through the air while dancing, which somehow soothes Angryface who is struck by her beauty, then, yes, you guessed right. Congratulations!
It wouldn’t surprise me if someone tried to defend this damn thing by saying, “Well, but at the end she wakes up, it was all a dream! Of course a little girl’s dream would be disjointed!” This, of course, is complete bullshit. I don’t care if its an LSD-addicted toucan’s dream – there’s got to be something to it. Fashion Lala isn’t nonsensical because a kid dreamt it; its nonsensical because its a crap anime. You can have something kind of odd and trippy and still have some semblance of a storyline – look at Cat Soup.
Folks, Fashion Lala just sucks. Its two barely-related stories trying to coexist and cohere within one show, and it doesn’t work. Even the “it was all a dream!” handwave does nothing to alter this basic fact. The only reason to watch this one is so that you can say you watched a Cinderella adaptation featuring terrorism and disco. I can’t think of any other reason.
Oh, and, yes, there is zero in this about harbor lights. Elvis would be sad.