BoBoBo-Bo Bo-BoBo Vol. #02 -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: F

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  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: B
  • Packaging Rating: C
  • Menus Rating: C
  • Extras Rating: B-
  • 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. #02

By Chris Beveridge     May 16, 2007
Release Date: May 01, 2007

BoBoBo-Bo Bo-BoBo Vol. #02
© Illumitoon

What They Say
The hirsute defenders of hair are at it again, and wacky antics ensue in this four-episode collection.

In "To Be or Snot to Be," Bo-bobo, Don Patch and Beauty encounter the Mean Green Soup Alien and theatrical madcap mayhem ensues. "Pasta... The Perfect Food!" has Bo-bobo busy learning to become a Pasta Prima Donna, while Beauty and Don Patch get zapped by Gechappi's infamous Hair Loss Beam.

In "Queen Chicken Level and the Video Store of Dumb," Bo-bobo, Don Patch, and Beauty storm C-Block Headquarters to find the antidote for the Hair Loss Beam, but the place isn't exactly what it seems. Finally, with "We All Scream for Ice Cream!" Bo-bobo and the gang, still on the hunt for the Hair Loss antidote, encounter the mysterious ice-cream dude named Softon.

The Review!
After a disastrous first volume, Illumitoon comes back and fixes some of the problems. The one problem they can't fix though is the content.

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 is generally minimal 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.

With the show not looking like anime more often than not, it's little surprise that the cover isn't all that appealing. 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 one of the villains while the background has a head-splitting shot of Bo-bobo and his favorite emergency food. 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 100 minutes. Why they'd short themselves 20 minutes doesn't make any sense. No insert or reversible cover is here.

Unlike the first volume, the pre-menu and menu audio is at a normal level so it doesn't offend right from the start. It does have a bit of animation, with English dialogue, frontloaded as well as making sure that the logos and warnings are un-skippable. 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 language section however is a complete travesty in design; when you make a language selection, be it subtitles or audio, the menu freezes on it until the thirty second or so loop is finished. Doing this twice to change to what you want and you'll spend far too long in here. This design is simply embarrassing to see in a release ten years after the format was launched. 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.

A few extras are included with this release that are pretty decent. The first is that the original Japanese opening and ending sequences are included. The second is a quick video piece that has various character artwork designs for these episodes set to a bit of music. A character section is also included which has a brief bio for some of the main characters in these episodes.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
After the first disastrous volume where the way it was put together so badly that it couldn't even be watched, the second installment fixes a fair number of the issues. It's certainly not near what many would consider industry standards but it's some solid progress. It's also progress that should have been made before the first release.

While I wasn't able to watch a lot of the first volume because of how it was setup, watching it in a better form this time around didn't help at all. I've finally found a series that I dislike even more than Papuwa. Not too surprisingly, it shares many of the same traits as that show where so much seems to happen for the sake of being weird. It's easy to understand why the show has something of a cult following but this is one cult where I simply don't want to be a member.

The first half of the disc revolves around an immiment invasion by the Green Tea Aliens but even that part of it is kept minimal until the second episode. The first episode deals with a play that Bo-bobo is putting on and all the weirdness associated with it. Beauty often just stands to the side lamenting about the absurdity of it all or screaming out loud in a manner that's far more annoying than anything Hare has done in the Hare + Guu series. With so many strange creatures running around and nonsensical situations it's very easy to forget what the plot was. If it even had one for that matter. With the Green Tea Aliens, it picks up a bit more in the next episode but in watching it I'm honestly at a loss within minutes of ending to remember what had gone on.

The other two episodes on the volume brought me to episodes I had the displeasure of watching on Cartoon Network. It was these episodes, which in dub form left me not feeling the funny, to really dread this ever getting a home video release. In watching them in Japanese they didn't prove to be any more amusing. The storyline deals with Beauty getting hit with a hair loss beam by a cult that's intent on turning everyone bald like them. Natural, Bo-bobo has to stop them since his own lochs are in danger but there is also the impetus of finding the medicine (antidote) before Beauty's hair falls out. She's frantic about, the villains they meet aren't funny nor are the situations in the headquarters building that they invade. Be it the low level thugs or Softon, none of if clicked well as it played out. Beyond being a predictable comedy at times, the unpredictable moments just induced a lot of eye rolling.

The first volume had a raft of problems and a number of them are fixed here with this one. The first is the subtitles. The first volume was done with dubtitles which meant poorly timed and generally very useless when watching in Japanese. This volume has somewhat proper subtitles though it's a bit too literal and it still contains the sound effects/music mentions. The font is smaller as well and only a few sentences poorly carried over to the next screen. There are still problems though as the opening and closing songs are not subtitled and areas where they actually do translate on-screen text causes significant delays in the dialogue subtitles. Timing is obviously far better than it was in the first volume but it's still off, sometimes by half a second and sometimes a bit more.

There is still some weirdness to this release in the subtitles though. In some scenes, when the dialogue is ended early, they still subtitle what's "supposed" to be said. One forum posters nailed this correctly so I'll just list it here.

In a scene where Beauty was trying to convince Bobobo to fight an alien that she thought was a threat to Heppokomaru(Gasser) and Bobobo seemed reluctant she gave up and said: "I guess you wont..." and then trailed off because Bobobo put his hand on her head. Of course the logical thing was she was going to say "I guess you won't fight him then." but Illumitoon doesn't think we're that smart so the sub reads:

I guess you won't...(fight him then.)

The other problem that has been thankfully fixed is that the end credit sequence has been properly restored to something more normal. Instead of being a squished down version with the credits scrolling along on the side against a black background, they're now full screen with translated credits paging on top of it. They do naturally provide first preference for English staff credits and continue to use that awful phrasing of "reversioning" but they do provide a good full list of Japanese credits and actors.

In Summary:
Even with all the fixes made here there is nothing that Illumitoon can do to actually make the show enjoyable. Comedy is hit or miss to begin with but I'm hard pressed to even call this a comedy. Similar to Papuwa from ADV Films, what happens in here is seemingly nonsensical and designed to just be weird. Weird for sake of being weird has its moments but to build an entire series around it, never mind seventy-six episodes worth, just boggles my mind. I can imagine it being a fun thing in the middle of a big manga phone book once a week or something but in multiple episode form here it makes me feel like I wasted far too much of my life.

Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,Original Opening,Original Closing,Character Bios,Line Artwork

Review Equipment
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Panasonic DMP-BD10 Blu-ray 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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