All of the action in "Turning Mecard W; The Secret of Bandain, Special Edition" is centered around four Mecard battles. What is Mecard? Well, there are these toy cars, and they have toy figurines inside, and through the use of Mecards these figurines grow to giant size and fight each other. I could never figure out the rules. Everybody just summons a bunch of robots at once. Sometimes one side vastly outnumbers the other, either in terms of humans or robots, although the humans don't really contribute much except bark out the occasional order.
Technically speaking the robots are the only characters given an actual arc- a couple of them suffer from confidence issues. Why would robots suffer from confidence issues? Uh...well, maybe it's best not to think about that. In general I found the robots to be fairly confusing characters here, since they express free will. I got the impression from "Turning Mecard W: The Revival of Black Mirror" that the robots were just tools that obeyed whoever their recognized master is.
But then I didn't pay much attention to the robots in "Turning Mecard W: The Revival of Black Mirror" because the story was centered around human problems. "Turning Mecard W: The Secret of Bandain, Special Edition" is so focused around the robot battles there are barely any dramatic stakes at all. Bandain (voiced by Lee Hyun-jin-III) is going to be given a surprise birthday party. Then he starts acting weird during a trip with friends to tame some Mecard robots. So wait, are Mecards like Pokémon or something? Do they just occur naturally in the wilderness?
We know there's some sort of science attached to them, since such a point is made of how Isobel (voiced by Yoon Mi-na) is the daughter of a Mecard professor. Incidentally she has a really cute character design. All the human characters in this franchise do, really. Granted, they're all in the generic anime style, but there really is a pretty perfect balance between eye size, head size, and body size that's enabled in part by the fact that all the principal characters are young children.
Anyway! About Bandain's terrible secret. Actually it's not that terrible. In fact, it's pretty comically mundane, and it beggars disbelief somewhat that it had never come up before. Then again, Bandain's character archetype is that of the group's aloof loner, so...maybe he just never felt the need to bring it up? That not so implausible as it may sound, but the twist is still a bit of a let-down after having had to sit through all those Mecard battles.
Perhaps that's just the fate I deserve, for expecting anything more from a children's television cartoon that is obviously intended to sell toys. Still, I'm skeptical even the target audience will get much out of "Turning Mecard W: The Secret of Bandain, Special Edition" since the whole thing is long-winded and quite frankly boring. Even the pacing is better suited to television, since commercial breaks could help disguise the inherently repetitive nature of the plot.
Review by William Schwartz
Staff writer. Has been writing articles for HanCinema since 2012, having lived in South Korea since 2011. Started out in Gyeongju, then to Daegu, then to Ansan, then to Yeongju, then to Seoul, lived on the road for HanCinema's travel diaries series in the summer of 2016, and is currently settled in Anyang. Has good tips for utilizing South Korea's public bus system. William Schwartz can be contacted via firstname.lastname@example.org.
"[HanCinema's Film Review] "Turning Mecard W: The Secret of Bandain, Special Edition""
by HanCinema is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
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