animefringe december 2003 / reviews

Spirit of Wonder
Format: bilingual DVD / 97 min.
Production: Bandai Entertainment / Kenji Tsuruta
Comments: Short stories that'll bring out the Einstein in you.
Animefringe Reviews:
Spirit of Wonder

Dreams are what make lives worth living. Such is the collective belief of the members of the self-proclaimed Scientific Boys Club. After fifty years of planning, three aged men have finally found a way to realize their lifelong dream of building a ship to carry them to Mars. That is as long as Windy, the brilliant daughter of one of the "Boys", doesn't find out what they're up to and put a stop to them first. Also included in this set are short stories featuring Miss China, a spunky woman who operates the local inn and restaurant. She also ends up providing the bulk of the show's fan-service for the ecchi viewers out there.

Spirit of Wonder is supremely well animated, with lush backgrounds, smooth movements, and integrated computer graphics. The elder members of the Boys Club look suspiciously like famous scientists, but their characters are all their own.

The music and sound effects for this OVA series are every bit as impressive as the visuals. A full orchestra was used to create the background music, lending an epic feel to each episode that is proper for the nature of the stories. Excitement, and appropriately enough, the spirit of wonder are both carried along well by the music of composer Hayato Matsuo.

Voice acting is solid as well, from Ryoka Yuzuki's spirited performance as Windy (who can pull off a motherly tone just as skillfully as the voice of an outraged young woman) to Kenichi Suzumura's portrayal of Jack, Windy's loving husband.

There are a few extras on this disc, including a color and line art gallery, quite a few staff interviews, and a small poster on the inside of the disc's insert featuring Miss China.

If you've ever been interested in science, physics, space travel, or shrinking machines, then Spirit of Wonder is probably a good buy for you. It's a very unique release, falling more into the category of English science fiction than the typically more extreme Japanese science fiction.