Magikano Vol. #3 - 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
  • Running time: 100
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Magikano

Magikano Vol. #3

By Chris Beveridge     May 06, 2008
Release Date: May 06, 2008


Magikano Vol. #3
© ADV Films


What They Say
Unbeknownst to average teenager Haruo Yoshikawa, his three sisters have magical powers, which they use to protect him and keep him out of trouble. Everything is going fine until a young witch cursed to lose her powers discovers that Haruo is the boy she needs to break her curse. Now Ayumi Mamiya must awaken the latent powers within Haruo to restore hers. Unfortunately, Haruo's sisters aren't going to let her near him without a fight!

The Review!
When the highlight of the story involves a pair of magical talking kitty panties, it's hard to tell whether the show is brilliant or just phoning it in.

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 layout and design for the final volume mirrors the previous two installments, this time with a soft shade of blue for the background. The foreground is made up of some very detailed and attractive character artwork, particularly for the full length smaller shots of the girls, though it is quite busy overall so you tend to not focus on anything specific outside of Ayumi. 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 blue color is done here and it's fairly appealing and easy on the eyes 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 all of the closing sequences.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
In a way, it's hard to know what to make of Magikano. Like any harem show it has its pitfalls but it also has a lot of potential with what it can do. The series in general has seemed to opt for playing it safe with predictable story ideas and using familiar settings through which to work. How else to explain falling into the trap of doing both a Christmas Eve story and a New Years Day story where you can tell exactly what will happen if you've watched any kind of anime before that involves these holidays. Thankfully there are a few bright rays of sunshine in this volume.

And depending on your point of view, they may be unfortunate things to have. The opening episode is really the saving grace for me in terms of comedy for the show as it has Rika doing something to help Ayumi acquire Haruo's attention. With a pair of panties passed down from Ayumi's grandmother, they're designed to triple her magical power and to fetch the eye of the one she loves the most. Ayumi of course puts them on quickly only to discover that the panties have a cute cat face on them and they talk. And oh does it talk, especially about how it likes to be pressed against her skin and then later commenting on whether she's shaved there recently. The worst part for Ayumi is that she cannot take the panties off herself, it has to be done by the one she loves after he sees them. It's all quite twisted and you have to wonder how any grandmother would consent to passing these on. But the humor is there, especially when Ayumi discovers that if other men see them, they fall in lust with her on the spot. Cue the horny zombies...

The two story points that come across in the next couple of episodes are pretty weak, though at least the second one isn't a full length deal. Episode eleven brings us to the Christmas holiday and you know with one guy and half a dozen women interested in him that things will just go badly. Misunderstandings, hurt feelings, uncertainty about what they mean to each other... all personified in how Ayumi handles everything of course. When she catches sight of Haruo shopping with another woman in an almost affectionate and comfortable way, she ends up becoming incredibly depressed. There seem to be only a couple of standard story ideas associated with the Christmas Eve holiday so it's fairly easy to figure out where it will go. And once you know that, it's a matter of whether you like the characters as to whether it'll work for you. Having been fairly bland to them, this and the subsequent New Years Day storyline left me counting down the seconds for the show to be over with.

But, there has to be a proper ending for Magikano. There has to be the build up to something big that will happen as you can't leave the relationships like this. Even if it's all going to be reset at the end, you cowardly writers, you have to bring in the potential of drama before you can close it out. With Haruo supposedly being this incredibly powerful person and Ayumi needing him to lift the curse, the potential for having it all come out must be dealt with. When Haruo seemingly can't be affected by the memory removal spell, it signals the start of his Awakening, an event that's made a mess of when Michiru steps in and reveals that she's met them before and has worked her manipulations in the past. With a nod and a wink she essentially kidnaps Haruo so she can strap him to a chair in her mansion in the Magical World and suck his Demon King power out of him.

Flush with power, it's easy to see why she thinks of not only conquering the Magical World but the real world as well. Nothing goes easy for Michiru though and having a gaggle of girls who love Haruo for different reasons coming after her gives her a challenge to deal with. But with the way the show has played out, predictability ensues and honestly you know exactly how it will go. This has been the weakest part of the show and it feels even more oppressive towards the end here. What really frustrated me with it was that not only did they give us a basic kind of reset in that the relationships are all back to the same thing at the end, they actually reversed time so that it can all be done once again. You know you're showing your age if you're having some Superman movie flashbacks going on after seeing that. The plot device at the end of the show for dealing with the threat of the ominous Demon King took what tiny little wind was in the shows sails at that point and let it float away.

In Summary:
As much as Magikano bothered me at times, it is a series that is sort of ideal for people new to anime to get into. It works through a lot of the archetype storylines that new fans will find positively hilarious and it does it all quite competently at that. For the older fans, it's going to be a draw for very personal reasons such as voice actors or creative staff that are behind it, or even the allure of a particular character design. For me, the only saving grace towards the end was a pair of magical talking panties. I don't know if that says more about more than the show itself, but I found that aspect to be the bright point of the entire series. Not worth it just for that, but if you've made it to the third volume, it might just be your highlight too.

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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