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Media Blasters presents
Magic User's Club #5: My Secret Wish (1996)

"Can dreams have sequels?"
- Sae Sawanoguchi (Hiroko Konishi)

Review By: Jeff Ulmer   
Published: August 15, 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:12m:00s
Release Date: January 08, 2002
UPC: 631595401479
Genre: anime


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
B+ BB+A- C

DVD Review

The second disc of the Mahou Tsukai Tai! TV series features another three installments in the story. Considering we are halfway into the series, this set doesn't really do much in the way of plot development, instead following an episodic nature with each show focused on a central magic spell gone awry. The formula is still very heavy on the kawaii (cute) factor, and hasn't let up on Takeo Takakura's ecchi fantasy offshoots or Ayanojou's homosexual advances, either. The consistency of the characters are what make Magic User's Club so enjoyable, but I do wish they'd pick up the pace a bit on the story arc.We begin with a series of misunderstandings. When Sae and Nanaka show up at school, they see Akane waiting on the steps with a mask over her mouth, but when she sees the other two girls she runs away. Something strange is going on, as while sitting in class, Nanaka notices a group of soccer balls with wings on them flying outside the window. Takeo, late for school, is confronted by Akane nervously asking him to come with her, which he interprets as a sexual advance. When Akane doesn't show up for the club meeting, Takeo, himself acting strangely, cancels the scheduled activities for the day and beats a hasty retreat. Suspicions aroused, Sae, Nanaka and Ayanojou follow, only to discover Takeo having a rendezvous with Akane. Jealousy strikes, and a covert vigil is launched. You can bet there will be some explaining to do!Next, Sae is living in a dream, or is she? Visions of origami, fountains, and the mysterious Tuxedo, er, Takeo Takakura are filling her mind, and separating the real from unreal is becoming a problem. Finally, everyone is getting prepared for the annual Cultural Festival, leaving Sae worried about what the Magic Club can do. Their fearless leader, Takeo, takes on the imposing figure of Mizuha (or should that be Mizuha's imposing figure...?), when it comes to the agenda. Nanaka has her eyes set on being a starlet, while Akane just wants to go shopping.Apart from what we've come to expect from the series, and a bit more on the character development front, not a lot new happens here. The adventures are funny, and there is at least a few good laughs per episode, but we seem to be treading water when it comes to getting anywhere. The mysterious girl who showed up at the start of the TV series hasn't really been expanded upon, and just appears at random throughout. Another thing that is somewhat bothersome is the pulling back on translations for Japanese signage. While fewer overlays is good, missing important details isn't a good tradeoff. Hopefully things will get moving in the next disc, since we're only six episodes away from the finale.

Rating for Style: B+
Rating for Substance: B

 

Image Transfer

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


Image Transfer Review: Image quality continues to be very good, with bright colors and nice sold blacks. The opening CGI is still heavily with shimmering, and there is an abundance of aliasing during most of the episodes. Compression didn't seem a problem.

Image Transfer Grade: B+

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Japanese, Englishyes


Audio Transfer Review: Stereo audio is again presented well, with sufficient and pleasant frequency coverage, and a nice directional soundstage. Dialogue is clear and firmly anchored to the center. While the English dub is decent, if deviating quite a bit from the sub translation, I still find the Japanese voice acting rates much higher on the kawaii scale.

Audio Transfer Grade: A-

 

Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 12 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
4 Other Trailer(s) featuring Kurogane Communication, Jewel Bem Hunter Lime, Fight, Fortune Quest
0 Deleted Scenes
Packaging: Amaray
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extra Extras:
  1. Clean closing credits
  2. Dub outakes
  3. Raw Japanese slates
Extras Review: Extras are similar to the last release. This time the creditless closing animation is included. The slates section features the raw Japanese animation for any scene that had overlays in it, and the outakes section has the dub actors blowing their lines. Some of the content here is on the mature side.Four trailers for Kurogane Communication, Jewel Bem Hunter Lime, Fight, and Fortune Quest round out the extras.The menus are still cute, with the main one animated.

Extras Grade: C

 

Final Comments

Magic User's Club continues to provide enjoyable entertainment, with previous warnings about the mature content remaining. The characters remain very likeable, and the humor is well placed. I do wish they'd get on with the overall story arc, but it is still fun to simply enjoy the situations the creators dream up episode by episode, and there are some classic moments here. Now, where is my broom?

 


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