Panda-Z Vol. #5 - Mania.com



Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: C+

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B
  • Video Rating: A
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: B
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Bandai Entertainment
  • MSRP: 14.98
  • Running time: 30
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Panda-Z

Panda-Z Vol. #5

By Chris Beveridge     April 13, 2006
Release Date: April 11, 2006


Panda-Z Vol. #5
© Bandai Entertainment


What They Say
Run fast and far! Panda-Z! We're always together, no matter what!

Mougyu and Wolfgar, Dr. Jangarly and Rubyraby; they're all foolish villains who never change or learn from their mistakes. There are always different enemies coming to attack Robonimal World, and it just makes you wonder what in the world the enigmatic leader of the Warunimal Empire must be like.

The Review!
The gags continue as the Pantaran and the gang go through their usual routines and deal with the enemy on occasion.

Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in its original language of Japanese. At first I was really confused as to why Bandai wasn't dubbing this show since the Japanese track is the only one available and I knew so little about the title that it was just odd. Well, after viewing the show, it certainly makes sense as there isn't any real dialogue. Any spoken lines are done in the old silent film style of title cards on the screen which are soft subtitled. The stereo mix otherwise is pretty decent but it's not a really expressive track and it does feel more like a full mix than anything else.

Video:
Originally released to video in 2004, the transfer for this OVA is presented in its original full frame format. With it only being one episode and being very simple but effectively smooth animation, this is a simply gorgeous looking piece for what it is. There's definitely detail to be found in the designs and layouts but the majority of it is bright bold colors and simple expressive character designs. The plus is that with as much of the bitrate thrown at it as possible, there's pretty much no problem with how this looks here. This simply looks fantastic and is kept in its original release format completely.

Packaging:
The cover design for this release is really simple and cute with the grid background while the foreground works with the basic colors of gray and white and red while the foreground shot of PanTaran inside his panda mecha takes up a lot of the space. It's darkly cute with how it looks and their slightly varied expressions. The back cover has a similar design and gives you a quick rundown of the premise (as if there really is one) as well as a screenshot for each episode number and title listed here. The discs production information is clearly listed along the bottom though I still pine for a real technical grid.

Menu:
The menu layout uses the same kind of style as the front cover with one side gridded out and the other a black section where the navigation is laid out. The usual selections are here, including a setup section because Bandai rocks and ensures that you can run the show without subtitles if you want, and access times are nice and fast. The menus are fairly basic but they work nicely and are in theme for the show. With the minimal audio on the release, the player preset issue isn't exactly an issue this time around.

Extras:
The extras are minimal but cute with a 3D clip of the show and a series of bonus clips.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The fifth installment of the series goes forward without too much in the way of any kind of subplot tying things together though there are a few episodes that bring in a rare character that helps to give the set an overall feel. For the most part through, we're treated to what we've seen before in that there are a couple minutes of quick or repeated gag actions and then it's on to the next episode.

The five brief episodes on this volume are fun at times in the way that this show can be. I imagine it'd be even more amusing if I was doped up on cough syrup or something but there are things to be amused by. The kind of life that the mechanics who work on the Panda-Z looks to be thankless as PanTaran keeps bringing back a beat up mecha and just says thanks in different ways. His piloting skills look to be really sucky sometimes based on how badly it's beaten up as well as from some of the other fights we see in this volume. There are a couple of episodes that revolve around the fanservice oriented female Rubyray and her giant mecha. It's actually cute when her and PanTaran's mechs seem to be alive and falling into a relationship while everyone else just looks on. Rubyray is certainly the type that will attract others as we've seen in the past and episodes where she's involved tend to be fairly amusing.

In Summary:
Panda-Z continues to be amusing but it's still something where if I wasn't getting each release for under eight bucks a pop I'd definitely be passing on the release and waiting for a set. The series is one where each block of five episodes we get is just right for sitting down and watching it but in buying it, it's a show that practically demands getting a full set of and watching it that way, or at least cutting the series release in half and doubling the content. The quirky humor of the show and its parodies are amusing but it's very much a narrow audience thing.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,3D Animation Clip

Review Equipment
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Zenith DVB-318 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player via DVI, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.

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