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Are You Pondering the DVD I'm Pondering? "Pinky and the Brain" Vol. 2 on DVD

Pinky and the Brain return for another full volume of twenty-two episodes, spanning four discs and it does not disappoint! Like its companion, Animaniacs, the first volume of this set sold at an extraordinary pace both in-stores and online. Those who scored the set on the first day eagerly dug into the set and with good reason—not only did it house some of the best episodes of the series in existence, but it also featured the episodes, for the first time, in DVD quality with 5.1 surround audio. For fans of the show it was a great treat and for others who weren’t as into the show as Animaniacs (i.e., me) it was an eye-opener at just how clever this show really was.

For volume two we get another healthy dose of great episodes, including “Brain of the Future,” “Brain Noir,” “My Feldmans, My Friends,” “This Old Mouse,” “A Meticulous Analysis of History,” “Pinky Suavo” and a ton of others on this set that are more than well worth viewing.

As with the last release, my appreciation for this show grew as I watched the set. It’s not hard to see how this spin-off lasted as long as it did and I look forward to more volumes of this show.

The DVD
Packaging for volume 2 is nearly identical to volume 1, aside from the package art of course. Unlike the Animaniacs releases, the Pinky and the Brain sets have spines with text that matches up perfectly in line with each other. Not a huge deal, but it does make nice for some uniformity on your shelves.

The slipcase features embossed characters and lettering on the cover and spine, with the interior art being just as attractive to the eye as the exterior. Disc art features some cosmic backgrounds, along with a cool black and white backdrop behind the dual-layer digi-pak trays.

The menus are easy to navigate and, as with most Warner Home Video multi-disc TV show releases, have a special features menu on each disc despite only features being on the fourth disc of the set. Music plays over the main menu only and a plethora of character art is strewn across the multiple menus on each disc, making each menu a new viewing experience.

The video is extremely gorgeous on this release, easily eclipsing Animaniacs Volume 2 in clarity. Obviously this show is newer so that isn’t a great surprise, but the colors are clear, vibrant and there isn’t any over-saturation or extreme contrast situations that cropped up with my viewing.

Audio is English only with both 5.1 and 2.0 mixes. The 5.1 mix is great, even if it is a bit superfluous for such a show. The 2.0 really works just as well, but the addition of the surround track makes the set feel like a higher-grade release. With either mix our ears get a great experience, though the 5.1 does obviously toss around channels and does occasionally feel like a true surround experience.

Chapters are included on episodes with multiple stories, but single story shows feature absolutely no chapters. It’s annoying, as you begin to think there are chapters in the set with the other episodes, but there aren’t even any included where the commercial breaks use to exist.

The extras include auto-start trailers on disc four (new CGI Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles trailer [the previously released trailer, don't get too excited TMNT fans!] and one for Unaccompanied Minors [why, Lewis Black, why?]), though you can easily skip them if you wish. More trailers, this time for WHV products, are available on the fourth disc’s special features menu along with the only other extra on this set, “The Audition.”

“The Audition” starts out as a faux recording session with Mark Hamill and Wayne Knight playing the voices of Pinky and the Brain for a “future movie.” Andrea Romano directs them as Rob Paulsen and Maurice LaMarche begin coaching them, which eventually ends up in a brawl in the studio. Things calm down and we’re met with the obvious notion that it was all just for fun and everyone was just joking.

After this, the feature shows some more clips of the show and the actors discuss their experience on the show, how they’re recognized in public and just, in general, share stories with one another. The featurette is great fun to watch for the thirty-minutes it runs, though after finishing it I quickly realized that it had very, very little to do with Pinky and the Brain at all. While the Animaniacs features have stuck with behind-the-scenes stories with the cast and crew of the show, this Pinky and the Brain special feature was a grand departure that didn’t make a whole lot of sense.

Again, “The Audition” was fun to watch and certainly feels like a nice, robust extra, but seeing as that is the only extra on the set and it really doesn’t tell us a single thing about any of the episodes included on this set, I have to wonder why we were given it over something else that would’ve given us a greater insight to the series.

Overall, this set is well worth adding to your collection if you’ve bought volume one, but obviously don’t jump in halfway with the volumes if you don’t plan on picking up all volumes. This set features plenty of great episodes and you don’t really miss anything by picking this one up first, but with both volumes together, along with the Animaniacs volumes, they look that much better lined up on your DVD shelf.

Pinky and the Brain Volume 2 will be released on DVD December 5, 2006. Toon Zone News has additionally reviewed Animaniacs Volume 2, which will be released on DVD the same day.

Bird Boy previously wrote a review of Volume 1 titled “Pinky and the Brain” Vol. 1: Taking Over the World, One DVD at a Time.

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