The Ultra Maniac anime is based on the manga by Marmalade Boy creater Yoshizumi Wataru. It is not so much the story of a magical girl, but rather, the story of a normal girl who has to suffer through the helpful magic of a magical girl. The anime is a little more like the traditional magical girl series in the sense that Nina has magical items like her magical palm pilot, her flying scooter, and the little magic box, and before she can perform her magic she must undergo a transformation sequence to change from normal clothes to her magical girl dress. There is a talking pet in the form of a little cat who can transform into a small boy that causes mischief.
However I think the main character in the series is Ayu. Ayu is a normal school girl, who is regarded by her classmates as very “cool”. She is cute, tall, has long dark hair, is graceful, and is great at sports (tennis). All her classmates look up to her. However Ayu has her sights on one boy, Kaji-kun. He is on the baseball team and is very cute. Ayu has had a crush on him forever, and one of the main reasons she cultivates her ‘cool’ character is because he once commented on how cool he thought she was and how he liked that about her. Ayu’s life changes after she meets Nina. Nina is a new transfer student at her school, and what no one knows is that she is a magical girl.
Ayu soon finds out that Nina is a magical girl. Exactly how she finds out depends on if you are watching the anime TV series, OAV, or reading the manga. The OAV follows the first chapter of the manga fairly closely, but for the TV series they changed things around quite a bit. Nina is very much like your typical magical girl. She is cute, friendly, clumsy, and means well. Nina is a magical girl in training, and comes from a Magic Kingdom. She likes Ayu a lot and wants to help her. Once she finds out that Ayu has a crush on Kaji-kun, well, then things start to get funny.
Many of the manga story chapters involve Nina trying to help Ayu win Kaji-kun by using her magic. Because Nina is just a magical girl in training, most of her magic either backfires, OR, it works fine, but the very idea of the way to help was not a very good one. In the anime they added a new subplot about a special magical stone that Nina is trying to find, and some other magical girl competition she must face in her quest to find it.
The other characters in the series include Kaji-kun, who is very popular at their school. He is really cute and is a nice guy. He does like Ayu but has not told her. Tsujiai, Kaji-kun’s best friend, who I personally think is cooler than Kaji-kun and should end up with Ayu instead ^_^, Rio the little cat that can change into a boy, Yuta, a boy from the Magic Kingdom who seems to like Ayu a lot, but really likes someone else, and Sayaka, who is some magical competition for Nina.
Ultra Maniac is ©Yoshizumi Wataru, Shueisha