Magical Witch - Punie Chan - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: C

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B
  • Video Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: B
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: N/A
  • Age Rating: 13+
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Media Blasters
  • MSRP: 24.99
  • Running Time: 120
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (Mixed/Unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Magical Witch Punie-Chan

Magical Witch - Punie Chan

By Chris Beveridge     December 11, 2008
Release Date: October 21, 2008


Magical Witch Punie Chan
© Media Blasters

When Punie-chan arrives from the magical world to spend some time studying on Earth, she ends up causing quite a bit of violent trouble.

What They Say:

On the outside, Punie-chan looks like your average magical girl. She's a cheery princess from another land, she's attending school on Earth for the year, and she has an adorable animal sidekick. But cross her and prepare to pay the price. The sweet young lady becomes a merciless force of destruction, leaving  bodies, utterly broken by her signature submission holds, in her righteous wake.  And while it seems that she has more enemies than friends, and that even her sidekick Paya-tan is out to get her, no one can deny that Punie-chan is irresistible in one shape or form.

The Review:

Audio:
This single volume release is done up with only the original Japanese language track which is presented in its stereo form encoded at 192kbps. The series is pretty standard with what it does as it’s a rather center channel based piece that doesn’t provide for much directionality. There are moments of it here and there with the action and some decent placement of dialogue at times, but by and large it’s a rather average design. While that may be the case, it is at least a clean and clear presentation with no dropouts or distortions during regular playback of it.

Video:
Originally released in 2006, the transfer for this OVA series is presented in its original full frame aspect ratio. The series doesn’t stand out too strongly with its visuals for an OVA and it has a rather standard design to it. The transfer manages to capture it pretty well with very little in the way of noise or background blocking going on. Colors come across as solid and vibrant as appropriate and the general fluidity of the show is well captured here. Punie-chan simply isn’t a show that stands out all that much but it’s a good presentation overall that gets the job done without much fanfare.

Packaging:
The cover art for this release s amusing as it manages to work in comedy, horror and fanservice without any real issue. The central image is that of the cute and bouncy Punie-chan in her school uniform as she has a big smile on her face. What accents it rather well is that you’ve got the killer looking vegetables along the bottom with flames reaching up as well as the chess board background that gives it all a touch of evil. The candy canes are cute in general, especially since they’re used as part of the logo. The back cover works the reds and blacks nicely into a sectional piece where we have to strips of shots from the show and the summary between them. The summary is a bit awkward since it has a slightly less than easy to read font but it gets the basic idea of the show across. Toss in the production information along the bottom with the technical grid and you’ve got a standard and solid package.

Menu:
The menu design utilizes the cover artwork almost exactly as it’s seen there, just expanded a little bit for more of the background to show through. The layout is kept simple with the navigation along the bottom which is quick to load and easy to access. The language menu continues to be amusing in releases like this where there’s nothing to really do, as you can’t turn subtitles off from here (but you can during the show itself). With nothing here besides the show itself and a series of trailers, the menu is functional and effective as it sets the mood nicely and is easy to use.

Extras:
None.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Based on the single volume manga by Hideki Ohwata from back in 2002, Magical Witch Punie-Chan is a four episode OVA series split into eight stories. With only a little bit of material to work from, the show is able to capture most of what likely made up the manga and to present it in a faithful and fun way. The downside is that with this coming out just after Bludgeoning Angel Dokuro-chan, it feels like a weak show by comparison as they both try to play up some familiar angles.

Magical Witch Punie-chan centers around a teenage witch named Punie who has come to Earth as part of her mothers’ plans to educate her about the way of the world. As it turns out, Punie’s mother had overthrown the king in the magical realm that they’re from and she needs to toughen up her daughter so she can turn over the role of queen to her someday, providing she survives long enough. Punie-chan’s got to deal with two younger siblings and the relatives of the previous king who may want a little bit of revenge along the way. It also doesn’t hurt that Punie may get a bit of an education while down there as well simply because she is pretty stupid in a conventional way. Her skills, because of her upbringing, aren’t exactly even on the elementary level for the most part. When she goes to take some high school tests, she’s more intent on destroying the solar system and herself to avoid it than to admit she’s really as bad as she is.

The cast for the show is pretty small overall, which isn’t a surprise considering the length. While Punie-chan’s relations make up a good chunk of it when they do appear, there are a couple of people on Earth that get caught up in everything. The first is Anego, the rough and tumble girl of the school Punie-chan goes to. She’s the big boss gang leader and gets into all sorts of fights and scuffles in order to keep her position as top dog. She gets into some awkward situations with Punie-chan and the two are competitive in ways, but Anego can’t really keep up with her. Anego starts thinking that Punie-chan is always after her, and at times she is, but the situations get so out of control so easily that it’s easy to understand why she’s so cautious about it.

On the flip side of the people Punie-chan “befriends,” you also have Tetsuko, the brainy girl with glasses who is sort of oblivious to a lot of what goes on. She’s the one who brings a bit of sanity to everything simply because she comes across as more grounded. But she’s also the least developed, as if any of them are developed. The one character that seemingly is developed in this series is Payatan, a cute dog-like mascot that Punie-chan had forced into submission to serve her. He’s got a lengthy past as military colonel that gets referenced a number of times and adds a fun surreal aspect to the show when it’s most needed.

With only four episodes, eight if you treat them as the awkward half length pieces that they are, there’s not a lot really going on here. And this is actually a good thing as Magical Witch Punie-chan could easily overstay its welcome. The show is designed to work with the quick antics and shock value of what you’re seeing happening, but it never really delivers all that strong of a shock. It has some good moments, how can you not love her magic wand being invoked with “Lyrical Tokarev, kill them all!” but by and large it feels kind of predictable. If this had been done ten years ago, it would have had more bite to it, but not it feels kind of tame. And again, this comes after just seeing Dokuro-chan which is at a whole other level.

In Summary:
Magical Witch Punie-Chan is exactly the right length. Any more than this and it could have been painful to watch as it would have trod into already familiar territory in unoriginal ways. What these four episodes do have are some good moments here and there, but it lacks the special spark it needs to elevate it to something more. With nothing that really stands out, and characters that obviously can’t get enough time to develop beyond the basics, what you go for here is the humor and outlandish situations. This hits really well a few times, but nowhere near enough to make it worthwhile as a whole. Surprisingly, the show feels a little quaint in some ways considering it came out in 2006 and was based on a manga from 2002. It’s good semi-violent fun that’s brainless and without a whole lot of fanservice, so it’s got an interesting audience it’s trying to find. And that’s where it’s real problem will be.

Features:

Japanese 2.0 Language, English Subtitles

Review Equipment:

Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70" LCoS 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.

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