Judge Brett Cullum sings the praises of Japanese pop sung in panties! (The rest of us run and hide, except for whomever was supposed to call his sponsor this time.)
So Long! Farewell! Auf-weider-blah-bla-a-aah!
Wandaba Style: Idol Invasion is the third volume of this anime series from AD Vision, containing the last four episodes of this deliciously silly, irrepressibly bright and bubbly show. Volume 1 was a great start. Volume 2 dragged a little. But Volume 3 definitely caps off the series in fine form, with plenty of sugary Japanese pop songs and some good natured humor. And don't forget plenty of panty shots! It's nice to see a show go out with style. How could a show named Wandaba Style exit in any other way? ADV provides another solid entry here, with really great extras.
The girls of Mix Juice (Sakura, Himawari, Ayame, and Yuri) finally make it to the moon with the dubious help of Dr. Tsukumo's mother. Unfortunately, it seems they only bought a one way ticket, and the girls perform a pop concert that may be their last. Of course Tsukumo comes to their rescue, after much prodding from his living doll satellite Kiku #8 and a unicycle with the personality of Niles Crane. So finally the girls are superstars who have been to the moon and back, and all their problems are solved. Or are they? Seems Hanagata (the manager) has brought back an extraterrestrial friend, and if they don't stop it from destroying the city there will be nobody left to perform for.
I can't explain my fondness for this series, but it's cute, quirky, and a lot of fun. Action anime fans are going to want to hurl, but Wandaba Style has some great elements in it that make it a fun ride. The music is completely jazzy, and even catchy. I found myself singing along with the girls when they launched into their signature hit, and looked forward to the instrumental '60s influenced rock songs that scored their missions. Wandaba Style has one of the best scores of any anime series I've seen in the last few years. The soundtrack is almost a gleeful homage to Austin Powers.
The animation style is clean and bright, and matches the tone of the series very well. There's certainly plenty of fan service, as the girls seem to end up in their panties at least once an episode, but it's not vulgar or over the top (for the most part). It's really a Japanese take on Josie and the Pussycats in Space, and with Wandaba Style: Idol Invasion we even get Gleep in the form of pink and puffy Sachiko.
The English ADR cast is great. Wandaba Style is one of the few series where I prefer listening to the English cast over the original Japanese track. Maybe it's the comedy angle, but it really takes off with the American voice actors in the studio. They all seem to be perfectly in tune with the show, and the cast should be proud of their efforts on this one.
ADV provides some of the best extras I've seen with an anime series. My favorite is the silly outtake section where the American ADR cast starts to get fast and loose with the script. It's ten minutes of the girls with gas and hoping to get spanked, which is funny as hell. Quick, somebody steal their brilliant idea and start making alternate English tracks to anime like this! I could watch the whole series over again with the new dialogue. Also included is a conversation with the cast at a celebration dinner at a local Houston seafood restaurant. It's nice to see their faces, and makes you realize how often ADV uses the same actors over and over. They are a talented group, some of whom have provided voices for every major release for the studio for eleven years. My only gripe is there is still nothing to give you any background on the Japanese creators of Wandaba Style. I wish ADV would start explaining where these shows come from, and why they pick them as projects. Maybe even a look at the translation process would be nice.
Wandaba Style is a series I recommend as a nice, fluffy alternative to all your serious robot-fighting anime favorites. Part of the charm of anime is the pure joy and innocence that a nice comedy can deliver, which is well-represented here. Wandaba Style: Idol Invasion is the perfect final installment to a pretty good series that's worth at least a rental, if not a purchase.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: ADV Films
• Featurette -- "A Conversation with the Cast of Wandaba Style"
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