Wandaba Style Vol. #1 (of 3) (Mania.com)

By:Justin Rich
Review Date: Tuesday, June 07, 2005
Release Date: Tuesday, January 18, 2005



What They Say
Mix Juice, a hot new girl band, is managed by Michael Hanagata… a man who would do anything for success! But he’s underestimated how serious the girls are about making their dreams come true! No matter what he throws at them, they’ll do whatever it takes to “make it!” And they’ll do it with a smile.

Meet Sakura Haruno, a fallen child star who’s selling her underwear on the internet; Himawari Natsuma, construction worker by day-enka ballader at night; Ayame Akimo, a ditsy folk singer with an entourage of invisible fairies; and Yuri Fuyude, a rock singer who’s too tough for her own good. If anyone can survive the schemes of their self-proclaimed “genius manager” it’s them.

But destiny takes a turn, when Mix Juice, hooks up with Dr. Susumo Tsukumo, a boy genius scientist, who wants the girls to be the first band on the moon. Will their career soar or plummet? Will perky Kiku #8 keep them safe or drive them crazy? One thing is for sure: there’s never a dull moment when you’re chasing your dreams wandaba style!

The Review!
Is it possible to sling shot a shuttle to the moon? Well Susumo Tsukumo thinks so and he is going to achieve his goal of being the able to reveal the truth no one has been there yet.

Audio:
I viewed the show first in it’s Japanese 2.0 to get a feel for the original cast and check both the balance and the quality of the surround sound which were clear with no fallouts. I watched episode three though in the English 5.1 since the music of this show is by far the most redeeming of it’s qualities, and since the Mix Juice song was in it’s original language listening to the song in the 5.1 made for a more enjoyable experience. This happens again in episode four where each chime in at different times as Yuri leads the team into song and the 5.1 vs. the 2.0 had me watching in English here as well.

Video:
Wandaba Style was originally released in the spring of 2003 so the transfer is pretty good quality. The animation’s color does not bleed and even with the huge amount of random color combinations. There is a tendency for this show to use the same scenes as the Wandaba Style is a go and even with a higher speed of action the picture does hold well. Although in episode three during the music sequence there is a fair amount of blurring along the black lines of both the background and the characters which takes away from the sharpness of the picture.

Packaging:
The front cover is highly congested with a lot going on, so there is plenty for you to dance your pupils across. You have Kiku #8 in her bra and panties in the upper right corner, with a larger central picture of the girls of Mix Juice with a space shuttle between their legs and Michael doing his best Elvis impersonation with his hunka-hunka burning love outfit. Dr. Tsukumo is highly charged standing behind a word bubble of half Kanji (wandabe style) and half English is go! Finally you have the title in the upper left with a the corny moniker of wacky science fiction series above it and in mustard yellow the disc number and title. The back cover is a collage of screen caps and the special features listed in the bottom right corner.

Menu:
The menu has a thirty second sound bite of the opening theme; which is probably the best part of the show. It has almost the exact same picture as the cover art except that Dr. Tsukumo has been moved to the right corner, the rocket ship with the girls is now directly below Kiku and Michael Hanagata has been removed. Below the title, including horribly placed “wacky science fiction series” from the cover, is the four episodes, languages and special features in white lettering.

Extras:
This disc contains both clean opening and closing animation. Ichirin, Dr. Tsukumo’s robotic sidekick, gives us the meaning of four Mix Juice girls’ names, as well as the breakdown the measurement system that is used in Wandaba Style in the Wandaba Factoid. About a minute of ADR outtakes that come off completely scripted and highly unfunny. The four ADV voice actors do commentary on episode one. There is also six ADV previews: Princess Tutu, Martian Successor Nadesico, DN Angel, Petite Princess Yucie, Hello Kitty’s Animation Theater & Cyberteam in Akihabara. Finally there is color production sketches of all four members of Mix Juice, their manager, Dr. Tsukumo and his two assistants Kiku #8 & Ichirin.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers) The story begins with “the genius manager” Michael Hanagata driving his convertible down the street to attempt to make a deal for his new potpourri of a band Mix Juice. Four girl singers from different realms of the music world a thrown together to make a hot, new girl band. But unfortunately their first performance goes terribly, even their cloths don’t stay around for the show. So Michael must come up with a new plan to get this group to be popular. So he decides to sell them, along with his services and get rich quick schemes, to Dr. Tsukumo a boy genius scientist who is trying to reach the moon without the power of fossil fuels.

With the fresh ink on the deal the first job for Mix Juice is to go to Guam and bring back Kiku #8, Dr. Tsukumo’s loyal female robot. Kiku enters the atmosphere with only tattered bra and panties left to be caught in an oversize pink catching unit. After their first job has been achieved Dr. Tsukumo along with his returned robot are going to implement their second Wandaba Style mission. They are going to use the power of carbonation to go to the moon this time. Unfortunately Hanagata gives Tsukumo Mix Juice’s doctored weights throwing his calculations off as they exit the atmosphere.

Of course with the slightest thought that Mix Juice may be dead Hanagata begins his mourning which he then converts into planning on how to start over his career. Auditions anyone? Much to his shagrin he finds out that Mix Juice is still alive and well. Lead by the flying of Kiku #8 they crash in the ocean and are recovered. With Mix Juice on the verge of destruction they decided all four go their own ways and enjoy some time by themselves. While singing along with their single the girls get summoned for Wandaba Style number three. Dr. Tsukumo’s next idea is to use the power of helium to allow the girls to sing a concert from the stratosphere. But Sakura puts Kiku’s head through the glass breaching containment and sucking out the oxygen from the capsule. The girls strip down out of their jumpers and along with Kiku’s butt block the hole up, and Kiku discovers a handle which will give the capsule a fresh supply of oxygen. As the concert begins the voices come out sounding like the chipmunks because of the strain on their vocal chords by the helium. Once again Hanagata’s plans for tons of cash has failed miserably.

To recover the girls Dr. Tsukumo and Hanagata use a rope and a zeppelin-like device to go up into space and grab the ship. The helium’s negative effects have worn off and Yuri gives the pep talk convincing the rest of Mix Juice to take another shot at singing on the moon. Wandaba Style attempt four is go and this environmentally friendly system uses Earth’s inertia to propel the ship to the orbit of the moon. The mission is going to be a success but Kiku’s batteries run out and Mix Juice tries to power her back up by hanging her naked out the back of the ship so that her solar batteries can get her rebooted. But there isn’t enough time for her to charge and the girls must use the instructions from Dr. Tsukumo to avoid drifting in space all the way to Uranus. Combing the rhythm of music to his instructions they are able to manage the timing need to force them back into Earth’s gravitational pull, but yet another fail mission to the moon. Will the girls of Mix Juice every perform? Will Dr. Tsukumo every figure out the exact numbers to achieve lunar landing? And will Hanagata ever make any money off of Mix Juice?

Comments:
The first episode of this show made it extremely hard for me to continue forward, as I had watched it three months ago and hadn’t put it back in my DVD player since. I knew I had to review it eventually and I took the disc out of it’s case and started back at square one. The first episode still turned me off but I continued to sally forth and found the other three episodes not as dreadful as the first. Most of the shows jokes were trite and unfunny boring me horribly. The music though did pull me in some as it was catchy, and I couldn’t seem to get the tunes out of my head. The fourth episode did give me a small ray of hope, as it was drastically more entertaining than the previous three. Hopefully as I begin to trudge through the next disc it picks up from the minor momentum of episode four instead of backsliding to the dreadfulness that was episode one.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 5.1 Language,English Subtitles,Clean opening and closing animation,Production sketches,Wandaba Factoids,ADR Outtakes,Audio Commentary with John Swasey (ADR director)/ Luci Christian (Sakura)/ Jason Douglas (Michael Hanagata) & Tiffany Grant (Dr. Tsukumo)

Review Equipment
Sony SAVA D9000 Dual Stack DTS w/ 5 Disc Changer in stack 1 and subwoofer in stack 2 Tv is Sony 57” widescreen rear-projection HDTV Model #KPD 57WS550



Mania Grade: C+
Audio Rating: B+
Video Rating: B
Packaging Rating: B+
Menus Rating: B-
Extras Rating: B-
Age Rating: 13 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: ADV Films
MSRP: 29.98
Running time: 100
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Wandaba Style