Magic Users Club Vol. #2 (of 7) (Mania.com)
Review Date: Tuesday, July 10, 2001
Release Date: Tuesday, July 10, 2001
What They Say
Akane’s magic has always been the most powerful around she’s never even had to practice her spells. Finally her power has attracted the wrong kind of attention, and it looks like the mysterious Bell plans to capture her for study!
Later, the Magic Club takes a vacation to the beach, but is followed by Miyama and her evil comic book club. The hapless Magic Club president, Takakura, faces off against Miyama who can only be described as his archenemy.
Unfortunately Miyama has one weapon Takakura can never defend himself against, a tremendous bouncing chest. With these two obstacles in his path he may never be able to overcome the threat she poses to the Magic Club.
Before even sitting down to watch this disc, I have to encourage people to rewatch the first volume to re-acquaint yourselves with it. Since it's been about three months since the first volume, I found myself forgetting quite a bit from the first two episodes, and a quick viewing definitely helped.
For our primary viewing session, we watched this disc in its original language of Japanese. The shows audio is a straightforward nice sounding stereo mix, with little real directionality. There are a few moments here and there where it's noticeable, but for the most part it's a very center channel based show. The dialogue is clean and clear, and the music and ambient effects sound spot on. Again, the opening to the episodes is supposed to be free of sound, when the Bell comes down to Earth through space. Fooled me once...
Things definitely look better on this second volume outside of the rainbows. They're still fairly prominent in many scenes, adding their little touch of evil to whatever they're on. Colors look very good, particularly Akane's costumes (not that I was paying any extra attention to her). Blues looked nice and solid and there was less fuzzies this time around. The only area that looks bad is the CGI Bell stuff in the beginning, and the CGI itself is to be blamed.
Providing an exceptionally sweet looking cover (I want a poster of this picture!) is Akane, the cover set with a nice blue border with tons of tiny symbols inside of it, and Akane in the center. The whole layout just looks gorgeous, and it all works perfectly, especially set against the white keepcase. The back cover has a few small pictures, but more text on the show itself and plenty on the creative teams. Features are clearly listed as well as region coding and other technical information. The insert provides a list of chapter stops on one side while the reverse is box cover artwork.
Much like the cover, the menus are pretty bright and smiley/happy. There's a static image in the center of the main menu like the cover with the various squiggelies falling around her. The style is pretty much in the vein of the show itself, borrowing from the crayon drawn scenes for the submenus. The main menu has some nice animation and music for it as well. Access times are pretty solid and we had no troubles with them at all.
We've got two extras included this time, and they're both quite good. The first one is a textless ending, which compliments the textless opening that was on the first disc. The other is just under 8 minutes of solid fun in the form of dub outtakes. I'm glad to see these still getting play from the Media Blasters titles, and that both licensors and voice actors are enjoying them being shown to fans. It definitely helps people feel more in tune with dub actors.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The show picks up not long after the incident in the first volume, with the aliens making their move on the school. The club members have essentially gone on as if little has changed outside of their discovery of their powers becoming stronger.
With only two episodes, there's not a lot of plot advancement here but more character development instead. Both episodes partially focus on Akane, the less interested member of the club. She skips out on the group meeting again to go on a date, only to later find herself the target of one of the alien Whirlygig's that's been hunting for her. Since the incident with the Bell, it's sent out a large number of "eyeballs" around the Tokyo area searching for something. As it turns out, it's Akane they're after. At least so far.
This leads to a fun chase scene with her in her bathrobe running from her apartment and through the streets. The mysterious cops end up helping her out and fight against the Whirlygig as it chases her. This was a really well done sequence overall, with solid well choreographed action tied with the near silent and ominous alien device. Their mode of simply "deleting" anything that gets in their way is well done.
The second episode is what you can conveniently call a big fan service episode, though there's not a lot of it really in there. The moments that are, as the Club goes to a secluded beach to practice, is well worth it. Ok, ok, I admit it. It's just Akane in a string bikini. But it's worth it!
The episode does a good job of bringing the Club members closer together as they start to explore their personality differences and what actually clicks and works between all of them. Everyone breaks off into their own little pairs and starts talking, which lends itself to some nice small discoveries about the characters. We also get a fairly good look at Takakura's youth, and how abused he was as a child by Miyama.
This show has grown on me with viewing the entire four episodes out so far in one sitting, and has me wanting to see more of it as soon as possible. The show is fairly simple and predictable, but it's well animated and the characters are fun to watch both for their looks and interactions with each other. Very recommended
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Outtakes,Creditless Ending
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Skyworth 1050P Progressive Scan codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.
Mania Grade: B+
Audio Rating: B+
Video Rating: N/A
Packaging Rating: A
Menus Rating: A-
Extras Rating: B+
Age Rating: 13 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: Media Blasters
Running time: 60
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Magic User's Club