Mania Grade: A
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- Audio Rating: B
- Video Rating: B+
- Packaging Rating: B
- Menus Rating: A
- Extras Rating: B+
- Age Rating: All
- Region: 2 - Japan
- Released By: Sony Music Entertainment (Japan) Inc.
- MSRP: �3990
- Running time: 35
- Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
- Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
- Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
- Series: Mahoujin Guru Guru Movie
Mahoujin Guru Guru Movie
June 21, 2002
Mahoujin Guru Guru Movie
What They SayThe Review!
© Sony Music Entertainment (Japan) Inc.
If you haven't seen the fansubs, you probably won't have heard of Mahoujin Guru Guru (sometimes translated as 'Magic Circle Guru Guru'). Apart from the manga, there's a TV series and a half-hour theatrical movie; the TV series is available in box sets and this disc contains the movie. You don't need to have seen the TV series to understand the movie; there are moments where it refers back to events in the series, but these don't detract from the movie on its own.
The series is aimed at fairly young children; it's a comedy set in a fantasy world based on Japanese computer RPGs. (And when I say based on computer RPGs - I mean to the extent that information boxes containing character stats pop up on the screen occasionally. And that everyone takes turns in combat.)
Anyway, to the plot summary:
There's a legendary Pickle of Happiness which, when eaten, will grant any wish. But the pickle is held on the top of Mount Megalo, protected by the Megalo Dragon. The Megalo Dragon will only release the pickle to a hero with a suitable wish.
Hero Nike (pronounced the Japanese way, not like the shoes), magic-user Kukuri, and hanger-on floating spirit Gippura decide to go get the pickle. They make their way up the mountain, along the way meeting Juju the priestess (who's heard a prophecy about the mountain) and her entourage. But it's not all fun and friendship; Nike's 'courage' and Kukuri's Guru Guru magic will be required as they have to pass a fearsome band of small singing furry creatures to even enter the mountain, and it soon turns out that a band of monsters are also after the pickle...
So, that's the plot. You might not get the impression of quite how funny this show is. It is really very, very funny. (I didn't explain how funny it is, because I didn't want to give away any of the gags.) This is about the maximum amount of funniness you can pack into half an hour. It is that funny.
There is absolutely no depth to any element of this story; you do not get a masterpiece of insightful storytelling. What you do get is silly humour and sweetness; not in the romantic sense (there is no romance, apart from a couple of blushes), but the characters are very cutely drawn and acted. The whole RPG theme is hilarious and makes the show silly almost to the point of surrealism. In my opinion, it really works.
Now for the DVD itself.
Video quality... well, let me get the bad news out of the way first. The bad news is that this is letterboxed, not anamorphic; worse, it is interlaced, not progressive. And finally, there are very minor examples of rainbowing (I didn't notice this while watching it, but after looking carefully at some paused screens it was evident) which indicate that the master was in composite format at some point.
But the good news is that within those limitations, as far as I can tell, the video is clear, colourful, and pretty much as good as you could hope for. Compared to R1 DVDs (which nearly all suffer from the same basic technical problem) this is definitely in the top rank; the problems are disappointing but this is still a great-looking DVD. Of course, you'd expect this for a 30-minute film - the average bitrate is around 9 Mb/s.
Audio, which is a standard Dolby Digital 2.0 mix (presumably the original format), is fine. There's plenty of use of stereo. In just a few places, sounds were panned a little more to one side or other than is comfortable for headphones, but this isn't distracting and won't be a problem on speakers.
The menus are outstanding. No music, no animation; just two nicely-designed screens with pictures from the film. The main menu has links to play the film, to select a chapter, and to play the extra (of which more later); that's it.
The chapter menu has links to all five chapters. Even though it's only 30 minutes long, the film could have used a few more chapters - I would have appreciated a chapter at the start of the ending theme. This is, of course, easily remedied if your DVD player has a bookmark feature.
And the extra - well, there is only one extra, but it's a good one. There's a music video of the full-length opening theme (a good thing, since you only get 30 seconds of it in the actual film) by Satomi Kihara with Radio Heart. This isn't an anime music video - it's a regular video with the actual musicians pretending to play keyboards and suchlike. This was obviously made fairly cheaply and is not that great, but the song is nice and it's good to have the full version.
Packaging is nothing special: white Amaray keepcase, with a fairly nice cover but nothing special. The insert just tells you how to use the DVD menu.
So in summary - is it worth getting this DVD? Well, the answer to that is: yes. This is a great film, if short, and although the price isn't really cheap for a 30-minute film, it is at least affordable. There are no subtitles, but scripts are easily available on the Net (both timed and untimed) and after you've seen it once you probably won't need the subtitles again. This is one of the first R2 DVDs I've purchased and I'm not disappointed; if you're considering it as your first R2 DVD, my advice is to go for it.
Japanese Language,Music video for full-length opening theme
PC with WinDVD 2.3, using Iiyama VisionMaster Pro 17" monitor and Sennheiser HD200 headphones