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

By:Justin Rich
Review Date: Friday, August 11, 2006
Release Date: Tuesday, April 19, 2005

What They Say
The girls of Mix Juice have risked life and limb to be the first band to perform live on the moon. Now that they've made the trip, how will they return to Earth? When Sakura, Ayame, Himawari, and Yuri get caught between mad-scientist Tsukumo and his mother, the sparks fly and all tickets are strictly one-way

The Review!
Mix Juice and Tsukumo's mother have already reached the moon will that kill his ambition, or will Tsukumo be the one rise to the top?

For this session I decided to stick with the English 5.1 which really aids the show which has a lot of rockets taking off and a fair amount of background music. There is no drop outs and the balance amongst all speakers is clear and leaves you feel like you're taking off with Mix Juice every time they try to go into space. I also took a look at the Japanese 2.0 after watching the entire disc already, for I wanted to make sure there was no apparent problems with this audio which was balanced and functioning properly.

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 ten there is a couple of second clip in the hall of Dr. Tsukumo's base that blurs as the green emphases background goes flashing by and cause the scene to go out of focus.

The front cover has the girls in their space outfits looking up along the bottom border at Hanagata swimming in space to the right and Tsukumo holding an ash laden Kiku #8 in his arms. You also have in the middle of the cover another horrible tag line of "So Long! Farewll! Auf-Weider-Blah Blah-a-aah!" as a word bubble from the Mix Juice girls. 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 including a rather large one of the girls with their hands interlocked, and the special features listed in the bottom right corner.

The menu has the thirty second sound bite again of the opening theme; which is still the best part of the show after eight episodes. It also has segments from the cover art like the previous volume, except this time the put an image of Tsukumo holding Kiku #8 with Wandaba ship #3 to his left, and the girls in their space outfits directly below him. To the left is the title, including horribly placed "wacky science fiction series" from the cover; below that is the four episodes, languages and special features in white lettering with a yellow dot curser.

This disc contains both clean opening and closing animation like the previous two volumes. The highlight of the special features is an extremely unique feature of a round table dinner with the entire cast and director John Swasey as they talk about their former characters and experiences working at ADV, which last close to a half an hour so watch it when you have time. Also the is an amusing clip of outtakes from various cast members. There is also six ADV previews: Hello Kitty's Animation Theater, Wedding Peach, Cyberteam in Akihabara, Princess Tutu, Sister Princess and Getbackers. Finally there is color production sketches of Mix Juice girls in their nonperformance attire, Ayame, Sakura, Yuri and Himawara in track suits, a sweat beaded Tsukumo, the four different space outfits, Ichirin, Hanagata's alien and notebook and finally Kiku #8, Sakura, Ayama & Yuri in their underwear.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The ships carrying Mix Juice, Hanagata and Furuko use their fossil fueled rocket to make it to the moon, and for some reason that I cannot comprehend there is a stadium for them to perform on. How, why, when it got there the show never says, but Mix Juice will sing their hearts out from the moon. Susumo wallows in self-pity with his mother winning the race to the moon, but still finds a place to forgive the girl's treason enough to help their performance get broadcasted throughout the world, which would have never happened because Furuko did not mean to live up to her bargain. Fortunately for the girls, Susumo's telescope can see through the roof of the dome on the moon and projects the girls performance to the world.

There was one small detail that Furuko never mentioned, the travel to the moon was only one way. Furuko never intended to come home, yet she just created a miniscule rocket to fly home the data leaving all six of them stranded on the moon. While the girls continue to fight over their only projected escape, Hanagata goes out for a joy ride and runs into a small pink alien named Sachiko. Ichirin and Kiku #8 use the lab coats that were given to Susumo as a gift to make him feel guilty enough that he decides to go to the moon as well to rescue everyone. Using a ship attached to an extremely long rubber band to whip him and everyone else back to Earth. When the bounce back to Earth the girls and Susumo are famous and Furuko find admits what kind of great kid Susumo grew up to be.

The series should have ended after episode ten with the main point of the series, making it to and from the moon, completed but instead it decides to go on for another two episodes and spiral into even worse zaniness. Episode eleven begins with Hanagata who seems to have a weird nervous breakdown and spends most of his time frolicking with Sachiko. But, they decide a party will get them to see their friends that they haven't seen in a while and everyone shows up even Hanagata. But, while he is gone Sachiko grows monstrous and begins destroying the city as he makes his way to Susumo's research lab. They try to stop him with Wandaba #3 but Sachiko gets dropped into the ocean and then Hanagata releases that the monster is his cute alien pal. He feels so guilty that he dives off the blimp towards his friend even that the chance of blowing up exists since they are trying to eliminate the threat even with force. That struck me as odd since Susumo was all about being environment friendly, yet now he is pumping hydrogen into the ocean to explode which would wreck the entire ecosystem. But, all works out well and the shoot him into space with a giant slingshot.

Inspired by Sachiko, Susumo decides it is time to explore the galaxy. The girls are spending their time becoming superstars, but like a VH1 behind the music start fighting and may break up, and Hanagata doesn't see a place for himself in their rocket to stardom. Individually, all five show up at Susumo's laboratory and Kiku #8 activates her own Wandaba whipping all five of them up the cord holding Susumo's space ship in place. Kiku #8 knew that his calculations were off and forces him to turn his ship back to Earth because she loves him. Unfortunately, his solar sails get ripped by an asteroid field and they have to use emergency procedures to get back to Earth and save themselves leaving Kiku #8 alone to save them. Mix Juice, Hanagata, Ichirin and Susumo get back to Earth safe as Kiku #8 flies in the same path as Haley's Comet. They swear to save Susumo and Kiku #8 seats at their shows, and even better for the watcher's ears is that Mix Juice sings a different song! Of course, the brilliant Dr. Tsukumo saves Kiku #8 and arrives at their show just in time to start a new Wandaba with everyone going somewhere.

In Summary:
I had a little hope after watching the second disc that the final volume would continue on that positive upswing, unfortunately it fell short of that goal. The problem with the show was the continual offbeat and bizarre comedy that never really fit, but instead seemed forced and left the viewer wondering why that horribly placed joke was there. The closing song was a nice change since the same Mix Juice song keeps playing over and over again till you have learned the lyrics yourself. If you're looking for a zany show that throws jokes at you from left field there a tons of them out there that deliver with more accuracy and higher laughs, although if you are looking for a show with cute girls, a dash of fan service and occasional chuckles then Wandaba Style maybe a show for you to take a peek at since twelve episodes isn't a huge investment of time.

Japanese 2.0 Language,English 5.1 Language,English Subtitles,Clean opening and closing animation, Production sketches, Comedic outtakes, A Wandaba Style evening

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: A-
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