Magic Users Club Vol. #3 - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: A-

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Info:

  • 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
  • MSRP: 24.95
  • Running time: 60
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Magic User's Club

Magic Users Club Vol. #3

By Chris Beveridge     September 18, 2001
Release Date: September 18, 2001


Magic Users Club Vol. #3
© Media Blasters


What They Say
The Magic User's Club includes the most powerful and skilled magicians in the world. Unfortunately, they were captured, and only Sae Sawanoguchi stands between Earth and certain destruction! The alien menace is drawing nearer, searching for the source of magic on Earth...

Meanwhile, the Magic User's Club has more pressing issues. Nanaka confesses her love to Aburatsubo, as Akane helps the reporter Minawa and Takeo tries to think of a way to impress the ladies. Suddenly, the aliens attack Sae while the others are occupied!

Each member of the Magic User's Club has always brought something different to the team. Nanaka has always had stability, Takeo has always had experience, Aburatsubo has always had skill, Akane has always had natural power, and Sae has always had no idea what she was doing. Now, however, she is the only one left to defend Earth!

The Review!
The OVA series comes to a conclusion here, one that's not altogether bad at all and gives leeway for a TV series. Do you think there'll be a TV series? Silly question, it's getting released just after this!

Audio:
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.

Video:
The main offense on our setup this time around is pretty much the same as the second volume, just the amount of cross coloration that shows up. It's a fair bit less than the second volume, but it's still pretty noticeable in a number of areas, notable places like Sae's hair. Some of the blue skies occasionally get a bit blocky and there's some softness around a few areas, but this is a pretty nice looking transfer once you get past the rainbows.

Packaging:
The final cover for the OVA series has my least favorite of the girls on it, Nanaka. The cover is naturally brightly filled with yellows and looks just as good as the past ones did. The back cover follows a similar path with a few animation shots and lots more yellow and oranges. The summary's pretty good and all the features and technical information is nicely laid out and quick to find. The insert is simply the chapter listings on one side and box art adverts on the other.

Menus:
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.

Extras:
The extras in this round are pretty good, giving something for everyone. The dub outtakes had some really good moments to it, with some good chuckles being created. The creditless closing should only be watched after the 6th OVA, as that's where it's from and it can give away too much. But it's greatly appreciated that it's there, as I missed a lot of things while watching the episode. Also included was a brief section of slates, sections of on-screen text that was replaced during the show from I believe just the next-episode previews. Add in a number of Japanese TV spots and I'm a happy camper.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
In the end, this was a really fun little OVA series.

Everyone's trying to get focused on what's happening in their lives all while the Bell is closely inspecting things in the city. Though each of the girls have moved off and split up, each finds a reason to try and use magic, mostly for personal reasons. During this time, Akane is using her power at the request of her older reporter friend to try and figure out what's going on by contacting the Bell via magic. Through the magic, she accesses something within the Bell and begins to visualize what it sees, one of its parts that's figured out how to track magic. The bright pinpoints from each use flaring up into the sky, and with all the girls and the two guys trying something, things make it really easy for them to find.

There's also a fair amount of personal interactions going on as well. Nanaka finally confronts Aburatsubo with her feelings, which leads to one of the best responses and ways out of a situation that I've yet to see in anime or regular shows as well. Very well done there, and very real feeling. Sae continues to be oblivious for the most part to Takeo, even when she's practicing flying by sitting on a metal bar in front of him in short-shorts. Poor Takeo, but at least his imagination provides the viewer with some great bits. And the way that the poor reporter tries to hide his lustings for young Akane is great. Too bad she's mine buddy! MINE!

The one section of these episodes that comes to mind the most after finishing it is one of the funnier bits in the entire series. After Sae gets captured by the Bell, everyone comes together to use their magic to try and gain entry into the Bell to rescue her. Once inside, they realize their problem (going there in the first place) and try to escape. But with no brooms, they can't fly away. Or so they thought.

Takeo offers the suggestion of using human brooms. The report drops to the floor as one and Aburatsubo drops to the floor as the other. The girls get onto the report (who politely faces down) while Aburatsubo faces up and gives lines like "yes, yes, ride me" to poor Takeo. Watching how everyone reacts in that situation was priceless.

In the end, I found these final two episodes to be very uplifting and inspirational as each of the characters comes to different realizations about themselves and what they want to do and be. For such a short series, it's generally hard to really care for a character with so little time to really get to know them, but Sae comes off wonderfully here and her naiveté and her simple desire to help and do right by everyone brought smiles to my face.

Thankfully, this isn't the end of the show but just the beginning with the TV series to follow it. The OVA series boasted some very nice production values, great character designs and a really fun and unique script. This was definitely a surprise sleeper hit this year and one of my favorite Media Blaster releases to date. Definitely check this series out if you passed it up someday. Very recommended.

Features
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Dub Outtakes,Creditless Closing,Original Slates,TV Spots

Review Equipment
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Skyworth 1050P Progressive Scan codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.

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