Monday, April 16, 2007


Volume one box art
Volume One

No. of Discs: 4
No. of Episodes: 25
Studio: Warner Home Video
DVD Release Date: July 25, 2006
Run Time: 550 minutes
Full Frame - 1.33:1

Story: Animaniacs is a multi-character skit show in the same style as The Bugs Bunny and Tweety Show and Harveytoons. Each five-ten minute short focuses on a different group of characters.

Pinky and the Brain, two lab mice bend on global domination, Slappy Squirrel, a retired cartoon character who was big in the 30s, Buttons and Mindy, a little girl and her faithful dog who keeps her from getting hurt by sacrificing himself, Chicken Boo, a chicken who wants to be a human, and of course, the three Warner siblings who are just wacky and zany.

History: After working on Tiny Toon Adventures, producer Tom Rugger wanted to create a show with characters based on the old-time cartoon characters of the 30s and 40s. The result was the Warner Brothers and their sister, Dot.

The show was hugely popular not only with children, but also with a college-age crowd because of the many cultural references that children don't understand. Two of the show's characters, Pinky and the Brain, left the show to star in their own spin-off.

Polka Dot?
Favourite Episode: King Yakko This parody of the Marx Brothers' Duck Soup is a joy to watch. Not only is it ripe with slapstick, puns and fun songs, but it also has some of the better
animation in the series. Yakko inherits the kingdom of Anvilania just in time to defend it from a rival kingdom that want to take all of its anvils.

Audio & Soundtrack: Music plays a big role in Animaniacs. Multiple original song were written for each episode often parodying famous classical and folk songs. The most famous song in the show has got to be Yakko's World in which Yakko sings every country (and points to each one - great animation!) to the tune of the Mexican Hat Dance.

The audio on the dvd is Dolby 5.1 (which is stupid because the show was originally broadcast in 2.0) and 2.0 so you get to pick how you want to listen to the Warners.

Video & Animation: The use of rotating, over-seas animation studios causes each episode to vary in quality. This is most notable in the Warners sketches because each team makes the trio look off-model when comparing them to each other. I remember watching the show and thinking how good the animation was. But I was thirteen. Even the timing suffers from the lack of a theatrical budget.

The video on this dvd is good for the show. Everything is clear and clean.

Baloney in their slacks.
Extras: Not much here except for an interview with voice actors Rob Paulsen, Jess Harnel, Tess MacNeille and Sherri Stoner. It is hosted by Maurice LaMarche and the gab for a while about what they liked about the show. It's sort of interesting but only if you are a big fan of the show.

Packaging: Warner Home Video has released this set in a digi-pack that has two discs set one on top of the other, making it impossible for the bottom disc to come out with removing the top disc. I realize it saves space but it is quite annoying. Package art look great and follows a similar look with the Pinky and the Brain releases.

Summary: This show, just like the old Looney Tunes cartoons, suffers from dated jokes but is otherwise a pretty funny show. And while the animation sometimes suffers, you will still get a kick out of watching it. A-

Trivia: Yakko, Wakko and Dot were originally ducks called Yakki, Smakki and Wakki but the idea was scrapped because they thought that Disney has already over-saturated the duck market (DuckTales, Darkwing Duck).

Episode Guide:
Animaniacs.doc 59K