Wild Cardz (of 1) (Mania.com)

By:Chris Beveridge
Review Date: Tuesday, November 09, 1999
Release Date: Tuesday, November 09, 1999



What They Say
New from U.S. Manga Corps! From the directors of CUTEY HONEY and CAT GIRL NUKU NUKU! Here come the Crown Knights: Sunday Spades — the poker-faced leader and possessor of the mysterious trump power! Jo Diamonds — who can run at the speed of light! Casa Clubs — combat expert who possesses hyper-senses! Coco Hearts — the tricky master of psycho-magic! Together, these cute, card-carrying champions are dealing a world of hurt to the criminals who threaten the tranquil Card Kingdom. But can they checkmate two, invading war machines — shaped like gigantic chess pieces — before the kingdom topples like a house of cards?

The Review!
Wild Cardz is the latest release from Central Park Media, and the first one in quite some time, if not the first, to be day and date with the VHS release. So how does it stack up? Quite good overall, depending on your tastes of course.

Other than a few sections with some noticeable line noise and shimmering, this is really a great looking transfer. It helps that this is a brand new release and that the master is fresh, so to speak. Colors are very vibrant and the animation is extremely fluid, lending itself to look very energetic on the screen. I didn't notice any serious pixellation, but the few bits of line noise are there but hardly detracting from the overall viewing experience.

The audio for the two episodes is a decent Dolby Digital Stereo mix that gets some decent usage out of the front soundstage at times, but depending on your setup the majority of it will be coming out of the center channel anyway. Dialogue is clean and clear in both versions, though it does seem to be a bit more finely mixed in the Japanese version.

The packaging is also quite well done, and if you've gotten any of the recent CPM releases you know what to expect. The cover art is pretty eye-catching with a bunch of cute girls in short skirts. Wonder if it'll sell just on that? The back contains all kinds of useful information on both the show and the various aspects of the disc itself.

The menus are also standard fare, very functional with quick access to each of the selections. The only thing I'm really quibbling about with it is in regards to the language selection menu. When you select what you want, it bumps you right into play as opposed to letting you get there on your own. Some people will like it this way, some won't. My viewing habits with a new disc tend to be, set the language, explore the extras and menus, then play the disc. But that way may annoy some people and not others. But again, just a quibble.

The only real problem I've had with this disc is the subtitles. As mentioned by others, the first half of the first episode seems to be every so slightly mistimed. Not a big in and of itself, it wasn't as bad as Macross Plus got towards the end. But the almost borderless subtitles that are still a bit see-through with such brightly colored animation made them quite difficult to read at times. This is the one thing I hope that CPM can really get focused on and fixed a bit more, especially since none of the other companies seem to be having this problem.

But onto more pleasant things. The DVD-ROM side of this release, while not as content heavy as their last release of Midnight Panther, is pretty good for those who have the drive in their computers. A gallery page contains 17 great looking expandable pictures, the script is included for both episodes and a cast list is included as well for both language voice actors. It'll be interesting to see what else they come up with DVD-ROM extras as time goes on.

Right off the bat, you know this is from the director of New Cute Honey. The inside advert mentions that the director also did Dragon Quest '92 and Idol Project. If you liked those shows, you'll enjoy the only two Wild Cardz episodes that were made. I don't know if there'll be more, but they'd be fun to watch. At least more fun than Idol Project which was a mind-numbing 4 episodes of my life I wish I could have back.

In a strange land the Crown Knights, four hyper cute young women, defend the Card Kingdom from all sorts of threats and evil that makes its way there. For these two episodes, the threat is a huge Chess piece.

Yeah, a huge chess piece. There's really not a lot of story to the entire thing, but it's a really kinetic and energetic show. The characters, who don't have hardly anything in the way of any depth whatsoever, leap and jump from place to place and attack, defend and help each other. Thankfully their motto is a bit more bearable than the Team Rocket one.

Lots of characters are introduced and make cryptic remarks. The bad guys mysterious plan isn't really heavily revealed. The seeds of a possible storyline look to be laid about here, but not in any way that would really scream for more to be made. But the animation is really nice. :)

Overall, this wasn't a bad way to kill 50 minutes in an evening. The voice acting for both languages are pretty good, though I admit to cringing from Apollo Smile a bit. She was the only one who my wife made joking remarks about, and she doesn't have a clue who she is to anime fandom online. Go figure.

Features
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles

Review Equipment
Toshiba CF36H50 36" TV, Pioneer 414 codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE915 DD receiver, Monster S-Video cable and Sony speakers.



Mania Grade: B-
Audio Rating: A-
Video Rating: A-
Packaging Rating: A-
Menus Rating: B+
Extras Rating: N/A
Age Rating: 13 & Up
Region: All Region DVD
Released By: Central Park Media
MSRP: 29.99
Running time: 50
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Wild Cardz