Spirit of Wonder is a rather obscure OVA series which had its first installment Miss China’s Ring released in 1992. Almost a decade later in 2001, a spinoff OVA titled Scientific Boys Club was released along with 3 specials featured the original cast. The series was adapted from the manga which was still running at the time.
Miss China’s Ring tells the story of China-san, the proprietor of an inn that houses the inventor duo Mr. Breckenridge and his assistant Jim. The duo have set their sights on the most ridiculous inventions, however, their “work” leaves them unable to pay the rent. Scientific Boys Club takes place within the same universe. It tells the story of a club of scientists who aspire to travel to mars.
Contrary to what many believe after reading the synopsis, the setting does not fall under that of traditional science fiction works. It is in fact, a very anachronistic setting, reminiscent of Isaac Newton’s age of scientific exploration. This puts Spirit of Wonder in a tough position. Unlike traditional Space Opera or Cyberpunk series where one can forgo logic very easily, Spirit of Wonder essentially takes place in the “past.” Imagine Picard and Data discussing warp drive schematics, except its 18th century England. If the mention of “ethereal currents” that carry spaceships across solar systems is logically disturbing, this show is not for you.
Final Thoughts: 6/10
Spirit of Wonder is science fiction, with a heavy emphasis on the fiction part. In fact, to watch it as a serious sci-fi work will only detract from the overall enjoyment. Spirit of Wonder is a mesh of science fantasy fiction with a dash of romance. The show ultimately gives off a Slice of Life vibe more than anything else. A light-hearted OVA, worthy of checking out.