Mania Grade: B-
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- Audio Rating: B+
- Video Rating: A-
- Packaging Rating: A-
- Menus Rating: B
- Extras Rating: B
- Age Rating: 3 & Up
- Region: 1 - North America
- Released By: Geneon Entertainment (USA), Inc.
- MSRP: 24.98
- Running time: 90
- Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
- Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
- Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
- Series: Bottle Fairy
Bottle Fairy Vol. #1
By Chris Beveridge
October 17, 2005
Release Date: November 22, 2005
Bottle Fairy Vol. #1
What They Say
© Geneon Entertainment (USA), Inc.
"Discover Japanese culture from the eyes of four little fairies! ""To make a wish come true, write it down in a letter and send it off in a bottle."" So began the education of four young fairies wishing to become human. Join them in learning all about ""Golden Week,"" school, love, and much more as they eagerly learn about people in their quest to become human.
This is the story of four little fairies who live in bottles that are working hard to become human.Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in its original language of Japanese. The series isn't exactly the most active thing out there and it's pretty much a dialogue based piece without much in the way of real directionality needed for it. Much of the dialogue is center channel based or full when it comes to the music and some of the sound effects. With it being pretty simple, the track doesn't have much to it but it sounds good and the dialogue comes across clean and clear. We had no problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.Video:
Originally released in 2003, the transfer for this TV series is presented in its original full frame aspect ratio. The show has a basis in the slice of life vein with lots of wild outtakes to wherever the girls imaginations take them but it always retains that slightly soft feel to it when it comes to the backgrounds while the character animation is nice and bright though often fairly simple and without a lot of detail. Colors look good throughout here with no noticeable cross coloration and just a bit of aliasing in a few places. There's a lot of large sections of soft pastel colors that maintain a good solid feel throughout and overall this is a problem free transfer.Packaging:
The packaging for this release is pretty good since no matter how they did it someone would lose out. Using new artwork for the front cover, it's a group shot of the girls playing around on some basic things like a cel phone. Right from tis you can tell how cute and sugary it's going to be and be plenty forewarned. The back cover has similar colors and softness to it and provides a look at about a half dozen shots from the show. The basic premise is nothing more than a sentence or two and the production information has more to it than the premise. The discs features and extras are clearly listed as are the discs titles and episode numbers. The insert replicates the front cover at an angle with more artwork and it opens up to a shot from the end sequence for each of the episodes. Where the release really wins out is that the reverse side cover has two of the Japanese covers, one for Kururu and one for Chiriri. The next volume will presumably have the last two of them so you can have your favorite two facing out.Menu:
The menu layout for this release is done in a cute way and it's something that you can normally only do with shows with short episodes and I'd even say of a cute nature. Each of the episodes are titled by month so you have each month listed here with one of the girls next to it in different attire. You can select a month at a time to watch or you can do the play all feature. Since the extras are fairly minimal, both those and the previews are available along with the disc credits at the top level which is a bit crowded but saves on a few screens here for an otherwise slim release. Access times are nice and fast and the disc correctly read our players language presets properly and played accordingly.Extras:
The only included extras on this release are the clean versions of the shows opening and ending sequences – and this means all of the different ending sequences for each of the episodes.Content:
(please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Shows like this really make me wonder what I'm supposed to think of it. I mean, I know that it's the kind of show where the cuteness for it is aimed solely at adults though plenty of kids will have fun with it and find things to laugh at, but at the same time they do things that as an adult I just have to find weird and almost worrisome. When they start pulling out bathing suits for these tiny fairies and promoting some serious fanservice, well, you really wonder what the end goal is.
Bottle Fairy doesn't really provide an explanation but rather just drops you right into things. We're introduced to Senseisan, the sole adult we see in the show for this volume at least, a young man who goes to school during the day and leaves his four little fairy girls at home to watch over things. They each live in their own little colored glass bottle on his desk. When Senseisan leaves for the day, they come out and do stuff and then give him attention when he comes home. The real fun of course is when he's away as they get into all kinds of little weird adventures. The girls goal apparently is to learn more to become human so they can be with Senseisean always. Whether this is even possible isn't covered as that's not the point. The point is watching the girls adventures.
Each episode is roughly ten minutes long with a complete opening and ending sequence with each ending being unique. Within the show, the girls find something out and then act on it. The second episode for example, they learn that Senseians has a school entrance ceremony to go to so the girls try to research what they is and then they do their own interpretations of it. Sararara, the slightly more cynical and devious one, sees it as a real hurdle that must be passed so she visualizes a battlefield that they have to cross in order to get to the school. Another episode that takes place in June has Senseisan getting a love letter so they imagine themselves as June brides for some stuff male doll that gets brought in to play with. Each of them has a different vision of marriage.
A lot of their adventures get colored by the help provided by the little girl next door, Tamachan. They often go to her for answers to things that they don't understand so they end up with a child's view of the world that colors things even more strangely. Each of the Fairy girls have a pretty distinctive personality or stereotype I guess you'd call it. Kururu is the energetic outgoing girl, Chiriri is the cute perky blonde, Sarara is the somewhat more cunning and plotting type while Hororo is basically a Fairy version of Osaka from Azumanga Daioh. She and Sarara provide the most consistent laughs and takes on things that make the show rather fun to watch and wrong at the same time. During a love confession sequence that Kururu is going through as a normal school girl, Sarara shows up in the standard bancho outfit complete with text on her shirt and the hat chipped away just right. There are a lot of parodies and small jokes throughout this like this.
At the same time there are things that you just look at and you can't be sure if you're supposed to laugh or not. With it being aimed at adults, I'm guessing you're supposed to laugh when all of them are spread out on the beach in their bikinis and striking sexy poses but it just feels wrong to laugh. Often you feel the same way when Hororo does stuff since it's just so left field sometimes. What is consistent though is the look of the show and there are plenty of little sight gags included throughout. The character animation is fairly simple as there isn't a lot of detail as the girls essentially wear simple white frocks until they start doing their interpretations of things so they have a clean look. The backgrounds are the same kind of mix where they go for slice of life style with soft colors and lots of pastels but also some fun such as bringing in crayon style mixes to go with some of the gags. In Summary:
With just thirteen episodes total and half the series here, Bottle Fairy is quite a bit of cuteness and sugar in one place. There's a good deal of humor here both in the dialogue and the sight gags though your mileage may vary in what you find funny. A lot of what worked for me was the things that Sarara and Hororo came up with and the situations that they ended up in. The series has a very light and fun feel to it that's almost whimsical and it certainly doesn't take itself seriously. Fans of cute will gobble this up and revel it in while those who can't stand it will know enough to stay as far away as possible.
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,Textless Opening,Textless Endings
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Zenith DVB-318 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player via DVI, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.