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Media Blasters presents
Magic User's Club #4: I Wanna Do More (1996)

"I just wanted to save everyone."
- Sae Sawanoguchi (Hiroko Konishi)

Review By: Jeff Ulmer   
Published: June 14, 2002

Stars: Hiroko Konishi, Mayumi Iizuka, Onosaka Masaya, Takehito Koyasu, Junko Iwao, Misty Daniels, Lisa Ortiz, Nicole Tieri, Jamie McGonnigal, Kevin Collins
Other Stars: Rei Sakuma, Akio Ohtsuka, Tomohiro Nishimura, Kasuza Murai, Sue Gillad
Director: Ikuko Itoh

Manufacturer: IFPI
MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (13+ for mature themes)
Run Time: 01h:35m:42s
Release Date: November 27, 2001
UPC: 631595401172
Genre: anime


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
A A-A-A- C

DVD Review

With the six part OVA telling the story of a group of high school magic club members fighting off the alien Bell that had found itself on their city's skyline, the first disc of the subsequent TV series picks up where things left off. Since it is a continuation, the first disc of the TV series is numbered 4, and I can't really recommend starting with this disc without having seen the preceding OVAs. With a giant cherry tree in the Bell's place, the city is a mess with petals, and our magic team is taking time on a Sunday to help clean things up. Unfortunately, whenever Sae is involved, the results are unpredictable, for while she possesses extremely strong magic, her focus has a tendency to wander at the most inopportune times—like in the middle of casting a spell—which invariably leads to something unexpected happening. As the tree decides to uproot itself and move to a more suitable location, the club members have to fend off the defense forces who have moved in to counter the perceived threat of a mile-high cherry tree tracking like a Sumo wrestler through town. Shades of Godzilla, anyone?Back at school, the upcoming parent-teacher interviews are stressing out a couple of the team members. Nanaka Nakatomi (Mayumi Iizuka) is upset with her mother's lack of interest in the meeting, and decides to leave home and unannounced, move in with Sae. Already in a bad mood, Nanaka's tolerance of Sae's wishy-washy attitude is wearing from the get go, but when Akane Aikawa (Junko Iwao) shows up to also spend the night uninvited, the tension gets a bit thick. However, it's nothing a nice meal won't fix, and Akane gets her turn in the kitchen, but a problem develops with dessert, which just calls for a bit of magic. Uh oh...Nanaka isn't the only one dreading the teacher interview. Ayanojou Aburatsubo (Takehito Koyasu) is not at all looking forward to his mother's arrival, and is growing tired of the throngs of young ladies who make up his fan club. With their scheduling out of whack, the Magic User's Club has to make alternate meeting arrangements, and Mizuha Miyamas' (Rei Sakuma) redecorating plans mean their office is out of commission. Finally, in probably the best of the four episodes, mayhem ensues when the magicians cast a portal spell that transports them to random locations when they pass through a doorway. Where worlds collide in this one is a riot. Like most good anime series, the strength of Magic User's Club lies in its great characters, and the impeccable voice acting that brings them to life. Sae is adorable in her shy, apologetic and extremely accident prone manner. Nanaka provides a scowling counterbalance and is quick to point out Sae's faux pas. Takeo Takakura (Onosaka Masaya) gets at least one opportunity per episode to launch into his ecchi fantasy world while his imagination runs rampant at the slightest provocation, and is equally daunted by the cleavage of his nemesis in the Manga club. Ayanojou continues fawning over Takeo, placing him in embarrassing situations on a routine basis. The misdirected affections of everyone in the show adds a great deal to its humor. While the overall plot doesn't seem to move very far in these four episodes, there are hints of what may come in the arrival of a mysterious new character. The personalities are fleshed out quite well here, and there are plenty of bizarre situations to be dealt with, in the bumbling way this troupe does.

Rating for Style: A
Rating for Substance: A-

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicno


Image Transfer Review: Ignoring the CG intro that is rife with shimmering, things look very nice here. Colors are vibrant, and black levels are solid. Compression issues are negligible. There is some aliasing, but rainbows were next to nonexistent. Overall a very sold release, despite a slightly lower quality of animation than the OVAs.

Image Transfer Grade: A-

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Japanese, Englishyes


Audio Transfer Review: Stereo audio is presented well in a sufficiently active soundstage. Dialogue is clean and undistorted, and the spatial cues fill out an otherwise centralized mix. Tonal balance is natural, with a smooth sound. Both original Japanese and an adequate English dub are provided. The Japanese is much cuter.

Audio Transfer Grade: A-

 

Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 20 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
4 Other Trailer(s) featuring Space Travellers, Knight Hunters, Gokudo, Zenki
Packaging: Amaray
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extra Extras:
  1. Clean opening credits
  2. Slates
  3. Sing-a-long
  4. Outakes
Extras Review: Extras are pretty good on this disc. Clean opening credits are provided as is a sing-a-long version with hard subbed romaji and a bouncing ball. The outtakes section has a number of flubs from the English dub stage, some funnier than others. The slates section presents every scene in the show that was overlaid with its raw Japanese. Most of these scenes wouldn't make much sense to English audiences without being translated somehow, and done as they are they follow the original style very closely. This addition at least allows the original artwork to be seen, and while I'd prefer this as an alternate angle, having it included as an extra is better than not having it at all. Four trailers for Space Travellers, Knight Hunters, Gokudo and Zenki round out the extras.The menus are still cute, with the main one animated.

Extras Grade: C

 

Final Comments

Loaded with humor, both straight and ecchi-based (which may be a bit much for some), Magic User's Club continues to be a lot of fun. The characters are extremely likeable, and the situations fit the show's personality. Unless you can't stand cute anime, this one is a definite favorite. Bibbity bobbity boo!

 


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