Magikano Vol. #2 (also w/box) - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: C

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: A-
  • Video Rating: A-
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: B-
  • Age Rating: TV 14
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: ADV Films
  • MSRP: 29.98/39.98
  • Running time: 100
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Magikano

Magikano Vol. #2 (also w/box)

By Chris Beveridge     February 08, 2008
Release Date: February 05, 2008


Magikano Vol. #2 (also w/box)
© ADV Films


What They Say
Haruo’s life hasn’t gotten any easier since Ayumi came flying into it. And now, Ayumi has to deal
not only with crushing the curse on her, but with a bumbling witch hunter out to get her, too! With all she’s got on her plate, Ayumi’s goal of “turning Haruo into a real man” seems even further out of reach. Especially with interference from that stupid witch hunter! But it is bikini season after all, and Ayumi plans to use her body to her full advantage! That is, if she can

keep Haruo in good health! Wait a minute! Another new maid has arrived? And she’s going to

“take care” of Haruo?! Is she another witch, too?! What will Ayumi and Haruo’s sisters do about this?! And what will they do when Ayumi’s bad-girl sister comes into the picture?

The Review!
Magikano runs through another round of safe story ideas and standard gags to entertain an audience that is new to all of it.

Audio:
This bilingual presentation follows a fairly standard formula for an ADV Films show by having a stereo Japanese mix and an English 5.1 mix. The Japanese mix is done with a good 224 kbps encoding that gives it a fairly full feeling across the forward soundstage. The English 5.1 mix at 448kbps doesn't feel the same since it provides a more distinct sense of placement for the dialogue. It doesn't overwhelm in the same way which is good but also has it feeling more subdued. Dialogue on both tracks is clean and clear throughout and we had no problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.

Video:
Originally airing in early 2006, the transfer for this series is presented in its original full frame aspect ratio. Though there are still plenty of full frame shows being made these days, it's still a bit of a surprise since we tend to see more widescreen shows, even when it comes to comedies, when they're brought over here. Magikano doesn't suffer from this though as the presentation is very solid with great looking colors that hold up very well. There's hardly any noise at all in the backgrounds which gives it all a very solid look. Colors aren't oversaturated and cross coloration is pretty much absent here along with line noise which is a surprise. Though this isn't a standout looking show in some regards, it's a very strong looking presentation when it comes to the video quality of it which helps to make it all the better.

Packaging:
The design for the second volume is essentially the same as the first but it's not necessarily a bad thing. Ayumi is the dominant character here with her in a maid uniform while a trio of other girls are all aligned to her side with some nice detail to them. The colors are soft for the background itself with a decidedly peach flavor but it works well with the light framing that's used to tie it all together via the sigils. The back cover utilizes the same color scheme as it features four leaf clovers in which various shots from the show are presented. The summary is a bit lengthier than you'd think necessary for such a basic show but it covers everything while pushing that it's just funnier than you can imagine. The episode count is given a nod as are the extras. The bottom half of the cover has a good deal of technical and production information listed across it and is all cleanly and clearly listed. No insert is included with this release nor is there a reversible cover.

Menu:
The menu design for the series is simple as it uses some of the same elements as the front cover but with new artwork. The light yellow color is done here which doesn't look anywhere near as pink as the first volume and it has another group shot of the girls falling behind a larger image of Ayumi in her maid outfit, all of which is set to some light bouncy instrumental music. Top level episode selection is a regular feature here and submenu access time is nice and fast. The disc correctly read our players' language presets and played accordingly.

Extras:
The only extras included here are clean versions of the opening and closing sequences.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
After the first installment of the series with five episodes, this volume drops down to four and brings us through the middle arc. With a twelve or thirteen episode series, this is the area where they'll either make or break it in terms of story and providing something compelling. Magikano follows through with what we got in the first volume and basically gives us more of the same as it highlights a number of standard high school romantic comedy clichés.

Magikano is the kind of show where you smile a bit throughout watching it but as soon as the disc is over it's a bit of a strain to remember what the first episode or two were all about. With everyone so focused on Haruo and his untapped potential, it's little surprise that others are going to try and tap into it as well. What the girls didn't expect was that it would be along the lines of a ghost of a young woman who has become something of a water spirit. This brings in lots of swimsuits and skin as the danger ratchets up but it's all pretty self contained and without any real merit. The only highlight to it, other than nubile young women in swimsuits, is that it again points to just how much untapped power he really has.

As the show progresses, it hits up more material that really has me feeling that some of its best episodes are already behind it. With Ayumi being in the position she's in, having a personal maid sent to assist her and take care of Haruo certainly wouldn't be encouraging. The arrival of Rika brings us yet another attractive young woman who wears a maid uniform. She's actually a bit more than a standard maid as she's trying to get personal and combat data on all the people in Ayumi's life as well as making sure that things are moving forward for Ayumi to remove the curse. To balance it out, Rika is given a straight face for everything and she likes playing jokes on people. Except that her jokes aren't really jokes but rather ways of causing panic and fear in people so she can get her data. Rika brings in more competition when it comes to Haruo, something that plainly wasn't needed.

Magikano does start to show some promise at the end when Michiru makes her mark on the human world and completely ruins the play that the student council is putting on during the culture festival. The Cinderella play is amusing enough in itself, as are the things the gang in general are doing for the culture festival, but once Ayumi begins tossing real magic into the event as the Evil Witch, Michiru takes it a step further and brings almost all of them into a magical world where she does her best to steal away Haruo and wreck havoc with everyone else. It's got some cute literary moments to it as it deals with the various wolves from childhood tales and the Queen of Hearts and such, but the episode is overly frenetic and chaotic at times which is compounded by the audience seeing it all and trying to understand it. It just felt like too much without enough proper direction to it.

In Summary:
At the end of the day, Magikano is just sort of there. I can see the appeal it might have to newer fans that've not been exposed to this genre before, but for others that have, there really isn't a strong hook to keep you coming back. It's certainly competently done, but it doesn't seem to excel at any one thing. With the cast growing a bit more, some of the characters from the first volume get pushed more into the background. It's the kind of show where when you get to the second volume, you can barely remember anyone's name or who they are. And those relationships and character aspects aren't quickly covered here or there either which only makes it worse. Magikano has its merits, but they're merits that just don't work for me unfortunately.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 5.1 Language,English Subtitles,Clean Opening,Clean Closing

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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