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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Wandaba Style Vol 2
Wandaba Style Vol 2
ADV Films // Unrated // March 15, 2005
List Price: $29.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by John Sinnott | posted March 23, 2005 | E-mail the Author
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The Show:

'Mix Juice' is a quartet to ambitious young girls who are determined to make it as pop singers.  The group consists of Sakura ( a former singer of nursery rhymes), Himawari who is fit and trim and likes traditional Japanese songs, Ayame a folk singer who sees imaginary fairies, and Yuri, the rocker of the group.  They'll do anything to make it to the top, which is good because their manager, Michael Hanagata, will do anything for money.

Hanagata comes up with a brilliant gimmick to make Mix Juice famous: They'll be the first group to give a concert on the moon!  The only problem is getting there.  To help them, they've teamed up with a young, rich, boy-genius, Dr. Tsukumo, who is working on a way to get to the moon, with hellp from his robot assistant Kiku 8.  The only catch is that he wants an environmentally friendly method, and that means no rockets.  Tsukumo's inventions are unconventional, to say the least, but it they don't kill the girls, they just might get famous.

In this volume, Mix Juice are still trying to get to the moon, but we also learn a little about Dr. Tsukumo's past, and why he wants to get to the moon so desperately.  The disc starts off with the girls getting a break.  Tsukumo has been working on some more inventions, but this time he is trying them out as amusement rides first.  The girls don't find the rides very scary after their previous attempts to get to the moon.  When they discover a rival group, Tricolor, are screaming to impress some amusement park execs, Mix Juice decides that they can scream better.

A lot of background is filled out in the next episode when the girls get on a human powered warp engine that really functions as a time machine.  Going to the past, they find a young Tsukumo and his parents attempting to go to the moon.  When his domineering mother forces his father into a faulting space rocket, Tsukumo's destiny is decided.

Now it's a race between Tsukumo and his mother to see who'll get to the moon first.  She uses Hanagata as a guinea pig and shoots him off into space.  He eventually lands, but is he on the moon?

In the concluding episode on the volume, Hanagata gets a large signing bonus for putting his thumb print on a contract with Tsukumo's mother.  He's agreed that he'll get to the moon before the young boy does, and if he doesn't, the penalty is death!

I'll admit I'm at a disadvantage viewing this disc since I didn't see the first volume.  Second volumes of anime shows are often one of the weakest in the series too.  After watching these four episodes though, I really wasn't impressed.  This is one of those hyperactive comedy series, but it isn't funny.  They fill the show with hectic action and hope that it passes for humor.  There is a lot of characters becoming super-deformed, and Hanagata is always yelling and often has a river of tears flowing from his eyes, but that by itself doesn't make a show funny.

The show reminds me of Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi somewhat, another series I didn't care for.  Both of these shows had a good plot, but they are ruined by not having enough actual jokes in them.  People running around waving their arms in the air is a good reaction to a joke, but it isn't a joke by itself.  That's something the creator's of Wandaba Style haven't figured out.

The DVD:


Audio:

Like most ADV titles being released, this disc comes with the original Japanese audio track in stereo and a 5.1 English dub.  I alternated between the different language tracks while watching the show, and thought they were both good.  The girls voices in the English dub were a little too high pitched and sweet sounding for my tastes, but the actors did a good job with their performance.  This is a recent show, and both tracks had a good amount of range, but there was only minimal use made of the soundstage.  Overall an average sounding disc.

Video:

The full frame image looked fairly average for an anime show.  The colors were bright and the lines were tight, but there was some minor aliasing present.

Extras:

This disc includes a commentary to episode seven with Jason Douglas (Hanagata) and director John Swasey.  I really don't like commentary tracks to anime shows.  The people in the States who do the voice overs aren't involved in the actual creation of the show.  There weren't present when the show was plotted out and they can't comment on jokes or subplot that didn't make it to the finished product.  All they can really comment on is how they feel about their character and what it was like recording the dub.  Since they don't have a lot to say, the actors often digress and relate stories that have nothing to do with the show or end up describing what is happening on the screen.  This track is a little better than normal, with the Jason talking about how he approaches a new role, but there really wasn't a lot of substance to the whole track.

In addition to the commentary, there are clean and closing animations, a gallery of production sketches, and a series of previews.

Final Thoughts:

I wasn't really impressed with this show.  Maybe it is because I missed the first volume, though I was able to pick up the plot in short order, or maybe it is just the sophomore curse, but these shows just don't do anything for me.  This hyper-kinetic show moves at a fast clip, but they use the frantic action as the source of humor, instead of putting in actual jokes.  This show may pick up in future volumes, and I'll give it the benefit of the doubt and give this a rental.
 

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