I was really at a loss as to whether to rate this show 4 or 5 stars. I ultimately decided to go with 4, due to the fact that this simply is not a show for everyone. I'd really rate that as something like a 4.5, but since no such thing is present in Amazon's system, 4 it is.
Who is this show for, then? If you love anime for all that it is, if you enjoy humor at its zaniest, and if you can handle a healthy dose of cute (alongside a healthy dose of insanity), then you'll probably love Magical Play. When watching this show, it really helps to be a fairly knowledgable fan of anime and its cliches, because Magical Play is never afraid to mock them. Still, you don't have to understand every little nuance of the show in order to appreciate its comedy. It's definitely not the kind of show the DVD cover projects it as. On that note, I would not recommend this show for young kids. I would say age 13+.
Padudu, from the kingdom of Sea Heaven, is taking part in a magical girl competition. The goal is to earn the most Hanamaru (a small mark shaped like a flower, collected almost like one would collect stickers) through various challenges and tests, and the girl with the most will ultimately become queen of the magical kingdom Sweetland. Each magical girl has a tie to some sort of animal, usually appearing as a clothing item or weapon. Padudu's is that of the majestic... fish. Hey, at least it's useful: whenever she's hungry, she just rips off a piece from the underside of the cloak (much to the living garment's dismay).
Padudu, like many magical girl characters, is a bit of a bumbling idiot. I wouldn't say she takes the cake, but she's right up there with the best of the intellectually worst. She is a simpleton, positive and naive. Despite her naivete, our fish-wearing heroine really tries her best. She makes friends wherever she goes- or at least she thinks she does. Joining her on her adventures is the sultry and talented MyuMyu Pisterica, twofaced as the white and black of her skimpy cat-bikini, always has a smile for those around her... and a plan to manipulate them, be it through sob stories or flattery. There is also Pippin Lacippe, dressed as a bunny waitress and wielding a backpack with an entire dimension inside it, who has a strong dislike of Padudu and a fierce wish to outdo her, but winds up along for most of the adventure anyway. With friends like these, well... it's lucky her enemies are little more competent than Padudu herself. The girls compete in many strange competitions and wind up in tons of odd situations, always with their eye on the prize: magical queendom. In addition to the problems the gang is more than capable of getting themselves into, the current queen of Sweetland has a few things in store for them, as she doesn't plan to give up her throne without a fight (fair or not, and at least 99% of the time, not).
The humor bounces everywhere just as the storyline does, but it doesn't forget its punchlines or get lost in transit. The show is a laugh a minute, even if it doesn't always make perfect sense. If you enjoy titles like the DiGi Charat franchise, you'd probably have no problem following this. Though there are only four normal length episodes (plus an extra 3-D episode), they're broken down into mini-episodes. I don't complain about it being short because it feels like you've watched a lot more than four episodes when it's all said and done with. I think pushing the series too far could make it lose its steam. Just let it whack you over the head with its oversized mallet of humorous absurdity and run away.
Overall, I really recommend this show! If you're looking for a well-developed plot, a conventional magical girl anime, or anything remotely serious, however, I would advise you to look elsewhere.