BoBoBo-Bo Bo-BoBo Vol. #01 -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: F

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  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: C
  • Menus Rating: C
  • Extras Rating: N/A
  • Age Rating: TV PG
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Illumitoon
  • MSRP: 19.98
  • Running time: 100
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Bobobo-Bo Bo-Bobo

BoBoBo-Bo Bo-BoBo Vol. #01

By Chris Beveridge     February 05, 2007
Release Date: February 13, 2007

BoBoBo-Bo Bo-BoBo Vol. #01
© Illumitoon

What They Say
He's soulful... He's dynamic... And he's HAIRY. Meet BoBoBo-Bo Bo-BoBo. With his golden afro and 5-foot nose hairs as weapons, he's out to protect hairdom from the authoritarian tyrant, Czar Boldy Bold 4th, who has initiated a "Hair Hunt" to crack down on any citizens who wish to hold on to their curly locks.

Join BoBoBo as he rescues Beauty, turns into fruit, sits inside a large burger bun, turns into a tank, cross-dresses, and introduces the would-be hair snatchers to his Honorable King Nose Hair, Bababa-Baba-Baba. Together, BoBoBo and Beauty team up with a similarly wacky group of allies - including the unpredictable Don Patch and Gasser, a sidekick who uses flatulence as a weapon.

The Review!
Defending hair across the world from tyrants who want nothing but baldness, the world is introduced to Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo.

With this series being one that could have gone in a dub and cut only version, Illumitoon earned some positive buzz by indicating it'd be bilingual and uncut. Providing a 2.0 256kbps Japanese and English language mix, the show is pretty good with its audio as it is a basic kind of action piece. There's a fair bit of directionality throughout it in terms of sound effects and the music is full sounding. Dialogue is well placed throughout but it's a fairly typical mix for a show of this nature. During regular playback we didn't have any issues with dropouts or distortions.

Originally airing in 2003, the transfer for this show is presented in its original full frame aspect ratio. Being a fairly recent show and one that deals with simple designs and lots of colors across large areas without much shading, the transfer comes across well here and generally problem free. Colors look good and maintain a solid feel without too much in the way of noticeable blocking. Cross coloration and aliasing are generally minimal to almost non-existent but there is some noise and fuzziness around the edges in some scenes. It's most noticeable when the fade to black moments happen towards episode breaks as the material is essentially paused when being created.

I don't know that you could make a good looking cover for this series no matter who was doing the artwork for it. The front cover, using a simply Shonen Jump logo and the series name is fairly small along the top right while the bottom left has the volume name and logos of the producing companies. The rest of it is given over to a mostly full length shot of Bo in "full color" while a purple and black sketch version of his face is used as the background. All of this is done in a faux widescreen layout which helps by keeping a lot of black space around everything. The back cover provides some very minor character artwork in between which there is the episode number and titles as well as the summary of what to expect. The bottom quarter of the cover is given over the usual kind of information where you have multiple logos and basic distribution information. Unlike just about every other studios release, there isn't any actual production information here. The technical information is poorly presented as it has the region coding, TV rating and a listing of "dual language" without saying what languages or subtitles. It also incorrectly lists an 80 minute run time when it's actually 105 minutes. Why they'd short themselves 25 minutes doesn't make any sense. No insert or reversible cover is here.

Right from the start this menu annoyed the hell out of me. I had to drop the audio by ten notches on my setup because of how outrageously loud it is in comparison to the front loaded trailer or the show itself. When you go into those after the main menu you realize just how loud it is again. The menu design has a close-up of Bo with his nostril hair flairing and some speed lines flying around his face set to the Japanese language opening song. Using a basic font design it has the main navigation pieces and is easy to access and quick to load. The trailers menu is simple and halfway looks like something I could do with a free DVD creator program. The disc did not read our player presets and defaulted to English only.


Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
For the sake of my fingers some work, we'll be shorting Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo to just Bo. Bo is a seventy-six episode series that premiered in 2003 based on the manga that started in 2001. Using something of an outrageous gimmick and premise in order to get laughs, it's the kind of ideal show to make a western crossover as it would fit in perfectly with the Adult Swim kind of show. In fact, such a thing did happen as it was given a fairly brief run on Cartoon Network in 2005 and Viz Media put out a trial volume of the manga around the same time.

The premise of the series is that it's sometime in the future and the world is in peril once again. Dominated by a tyrant named Baldy Bald 4th, a "hair hunt" has been instituted and his cronies scour the world eliminating hair wherever they see it. Amusingly, there are more than just people walking the world at this point as aliens are abound and they're generally hairless. So having humanity become hairless actually makes them seem a bit more in tune with their multicolored alien visitors. Of course, not everyone wants to be bald and people are fighting against or just trying to avoid the minions that are out hunting them. Enter Bo, a big blond afro type who is fighting against the tyrant to ensure that hair everywhere is safe. Between his ability to use his nostril and armpit hair as weapons as well as being able to hear other people's hair, he's ideally suited to save the world.

Through personally experiences over the years, I try to live my life in an optimistic way. I spent a lot of time being pessimistic and expecting the worst and it led to a lot of things that didn't help. So when a new studio emerges and announces several titles, I'm generally pretty optimistic about their intentions and will wait until I see what they actually produce. Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo is the first Illumitoon title I've gotten my hands on and it is by far one of the worst title launches I've ever seen. The sheer number of shorthand notes I had to take about what is wrong with this release just left me shaking my head.

As mentioned above, we covered the problems with the menu audio being obnoxiously loud as well as the poor design of the back cover in its technical implementation, particularly in its runtime. The actual show itself suffers in a lot worse ways and I'm wondering if there's something as a "Toei Disease" after seeing this. A lot of the problems that are evident here are identical to how Toei's botched releases looked a couple of years ago but they manage to go a couple of degrees worse here. Depending what track you watch, this will either be a decent experience or one that is mind numbingly bad. If you watch it in English, much like Toei's releases, you won't see any of the troubles within the show for the most part. If you watch it in Japanese, you may find yourself in convulsions. I honestly could not watch past the first episode because of how poorly it's put together.

Even though the disc is bilingual, the subtitle track is a dubtitle track. It is also a dubtitle track that goes for the extra offense of being one that has the Hearing Impaired sounds included in it. But wait, let's add more insult to injury with it. While the white subtitles with black font look good and are bigger than FUNimation's similar subtitles, they're left justified similar to how AnimEigo does it. But wait, it's worse, because they're not centered on the screen but actually kept to the very left. A six word sentence is split across two lines and kept to a corner of the screen. But wait, it's even worse! If multiple people are speaking at the same time, it's all strung together. Where you would normally have:

-Hi, how are you?

You instead get "Hello! Hi, How are you?" on one or two lines. And that's if you're lucky. Since sentences are generally longer, they're split so it would be "Hello! Hi, how" as the first subtitle and then it flashes off and the new one is "are you?" before continuing on. It's nearly impossible to differentiate dialogue. Not that any of it really matches up since it's dubtitled. But wait, it's even worse if you can imagine. The subtitles are onscreen for such a short amount of time that even fast reading subtitle folks like myself aren't able to read what's being said before it disappears from the screen. This is so poorly executed that it goes beyond incompetence and it goes beyond what you get from the old awful bootleg Chinese subtitles from years ago that I can't imagine that someone signed off on this. The entire way the subtitles come across simply doesn't feel like they were an afterthought, they must never have been thought about at all. It's insult upon insult upon insult upon injury.

Not content with that, no on screen text is obviously subtitled which means you miss a lot of the names and other subtitle text that's presented throughout with character names and relationships. The opening and closing songs are not subtitled either. The opening appears to be generally untouched outside of the series logo being added to the upper corner alongside the original logo. The ending sequence is left in its original Japanese as well but suffers heavily. It's essentially squished and feels like it's cropped so that a scrolling version can be presented along the left with the English language credits. The squishing is so bad that you can see a good portion of the Japanese text being cut off on the right. The credits themselves cover a decent amount of the Japanese production team but favors the English adaptation heavily as well as providing only the main English language cast. No Japanese language cast is listed here.

In Summary:
Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo was not a series I was looking forward to but I was curious to see it in its unedited form. Some shows I've seen via TV in English first are ones that I haven't cared for until I got to see it in its original form so I had to wonder if Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo would be the same. Due to the complete incompetence in presenting this in its original form, it's impossible to tell because I couldn't make it past the first episode. For a company that's made up of supposedly long time industry people, this is beyond shocking. It's simply abysmal. I've seen many poorly done first titles from adult companies and Toei themselves pushed the envelope with their own releases with how poorly they were done, but this is one of the worst I've seen from a company that I expected the bare minimum at least from. There is no way I can recommend this to anyone interested in the Japanese track unless you're able to watch it without subtitles. English language fans will have far less problems however. This release has me fearful of just how poorly done their other releases will be, titles that at the least looked interesting in their trailers. Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo is one of the worst viewing experiences I've had with anime that I can think of.

Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles

Review Equipment
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Toshiba HD-A1 Progressive Scan HD DVD player via HDMI -> DVI with upconversion set to 1080i, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.


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