Akemi's Anime World

Spirit of Wonder: Miss China's Ring Anime Review

Spirit of Wonder: Miss China's Ring Box Art

Spirit of Wonder: Miss China's Ring

3.5 stars / OVA / Comedy / 7-up

Bottom Line

Light, sweet, fanciful, and fun.

It’s Like...

...Emma does Oh My Goddess, minus any drama whatsoever.

Vital Stats

Original Title

The Spirit of Wonder チャイナさんの憂鬱

Romanized Title

The Spirit of Wonder - Chaina-san no Yuuutsu

Literal Translation

The Spirit of Wonder - Miss China's Melancholy

US Release By



Whimsical Science-fantasy Romanic Comedy

Series Type



42 minutes

Production Date


What's In It


Look For

  • Alternate World (technically Australia)
  • Romance

Objectionable Content

  • Violence: 1 (mild)
  • Nudity: 0 (none)
  • Sex: 0 (none)
  • Language: 0 (none)

See Also


  • Spirit of Wonder

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Other Stuff We Have

Plot Synopsis

In a world more or less like our own, a young woman known by the locals as Miss China runs an inn. Dr. Breckenridge, a mad scientist convinced that his newest invention actually works, lives upstairs and is somewhat delinquent in his rent--the inventing business doesn't pay well. The good doctor's assistant, Jim, is a kindhearted fellow with his eye set on Miss China. Jim is determined to profess his love for Miss China, but in addition to being a little shy, he's also very poor, and so is determined to use Dr. Breckenridge's newest invention to attain a suitable present for her. And, since this is the aptly named world of Spirit of Wonder, everything just might work out...

Quick Review

Spirit of Wonder is one of the most fluff-filled pieces of anime you're likely to see--the plot is nearly nonexistent and totally nonsensical, the science is worse than bad, and the whole thing is downright silly. And I couldn't help but love every bit of it.

Spirit of Wonder is just too sweet not to love--even the moments of romantic tension are mild. Unless you have a burning hatred of all things romantic, you probably won't be able to keep yourself from enjoying it either. Among the most enjoyable anime shorts I've seen in the vein of Oh My Goddess, although it isn't broadly funny and doesn't tug at the heartstrings in the dramatic sense, it has a sense of whimsy and lightheartedness that is a pleasure to watch.

On the technical end of things, Spirit of Wonder is generally quite nice; the animation is smooth, and the art is clean and well drawn. The character designs are actually somewhat unusual--not only does everybody have a nose and lips, but their eyes are roughly the right shape. The characters are also attractive, and are generally likable both visually and in terms of personality. The voice acting, though not spectacular, is fine in the Japanese, and passable in the dub.

Overall, Spirit of Wonder is a whimsical (if totally nonsensical) flight of fancy that, despite having almost no plot to speak of, is simply a pleasure to watch.

Notes and Trivia

Note that this review is only of the original 1992 OAV Miss China's Ring; there is a sort-of-sequel 2-episode OAV series, titled only "Spirit of Wonder," produced about a decade later and widely available in the US from Bandai. This OAV was available from AnimEigo for quite some time, but their license expired just after they produced a DVD of it in 2001 and it remains unavailable at the time of this writing. Old VHS copies occasionally turn up for sale on auction sites, but sadly so few DVDs were produced that they are now essentially impossible to find.

Miss China's Ring is based on one of the stories in the series of Spirit of Wonder comic vignettes by Kenji Tsuruta. Each of the unrelated stories in the series has a similar whimsical story and light mood. Originally serialized in the men's comic magazine "Morning," later in "Afternoon" between 1987 and 1996, there is a single-volume 400-page compilation available in Japanese. Some of the stories were translated into English by Dark Horse in the late '90s, originally in a 5-volume mini-series and later a 150-page compilation, now out of print. (If you're looking: Spirit of Wonder Used at Amazon.com.)

The story is set in a small town in Australia, though obviously it isn't quite the world as we know it.

Staff & Cast

Original Japanese Cast

(Note: names in Japanese order, last name first)

Miss China: Hidaka Noriko
Jim: Shibamoto Hiroyuki
Breckenridge: Hazama Michio
Lily: Fuchizaki Yuriko
Gil: Kakegawa Hirohiko
Robin: Yokoyama Tomosa
John: Mizuhara Rin
Nancy: Hiramatsu Akiko
Titi: Hayashi Tamao
Rock: Iizuka Shoozo
Shopkeeper: Simaka Yutaka
Man A: Cha Fuurin
Man B: Nakajima Akihiko

English Dub Cast

Miss China: Pamela Weidner
Breckenridge: Mike Way
Jim: David Bjorkback
Lily: Lanelle Markgraf
Narrator: Norm Shore
Robin: Shawn Ernie
Nancy: Rachael Seidman
Jon: John Paul Houle
Titi: Lisa Gattis
Gentleman #1: Robert Boucher
Gentleman #2: Kevin Greenway

Gil: Marc Matney
Kelly: Sean P. O'Connell
Evans: Bob Weidner
Paul: Scott Bailey
Rock: Chuck Denson
Marketwoman: Gertrude Weidner
Jim's Boss: Eric Paisley
Thief: Jim Clark
Policeman: Dave Underwood
Group Players: Nick Manatee, William Brenton, Elmo Jones, and Partick Humphrey


Director: Hongoo Mitsuru
Character Designer/Animation Director: Yanagida Yoshiaki
Art Director: Kogura Hiromasa
Music: Tanaka Koohei
Producers: Sugiyama Kiyoshi, Okamura Masahiro
Based on manga by: Tsuruta Kenji (published by Kodansha in Comic Afternoon)

Animation by Toshiba EMI


Formerly available in North America from AnimEigo, but their license has since expired and all versions are out of print. It was briefly available on bilingual DVD, and before that on subtitled or dubbed VHS or bilingual LD.

Due to the extremely short print run of the DVD, it's hard to find and usually very expensive; Amazon generally has a couple of used copies available, but at twice what the DVD cost new: Spirit of Wonder-Miss China's Ring.

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