Comic Party Revolution Box Set (Thinpak) - Mania.com



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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B
  • Video Rating: B-
  • Packaging Rating: A
  • Menus Rating: A
  • Extras Rating: B
  • Age Rating: TV PG
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: ADV Films
  • MSRP: 44.98
  • Running time: 325
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Comic Party Revolution

Comic Party Revolution Box Set (Thinpak)

By Paul Gaudette     May 16, 2008
Release Date: January 22, 2008


Comic Party Revolution Box Set (Thinpak)
© ADV Films


What They Say
A man-made island is located on the edge of Tokyo, well off the beaten path. And now, the time is drawing near when this island of cold concrete will be set afire with passion. People will gather here to draw manga, search for manga, and get passionate about manga! It's a joyous celebration of individuals who have staked their entire youths on doujinshi. It's the event known as - Comic Party! In this hilarious follow up to Comic Party, we rejoin Kazuki, Mizuki and all their friends a year later. Kazuki has grown more confident in his abilities as a doujinshi (amateur comic) artist. The rivalry between Yuu and Eimi has grown even fiercer, and Taishi is crazier than ever!

The Review!
Changing the world through doujinshi!

Audio:
For the purposes of this review, I mainly listened to the stereo English dub which communicated dialogue well, but never seemed to achieve a rich soundscape. Certain effects during wackier moments in the show pack a lot of punch, but there is rarely any directionality between the two speakers or believably layered effects. This would be a smaller complaint during the original Comic Party series which was almost entirely dialogue-driven, but the inclusion of mock battles and power-ups make the shortcomings more noticeable. It still ends up being an overall solid mix, just with moments of weakness. A spot check on the Japanese track revealed a more dynamic experience for those watching with subtitles.

Video:
Originally airing in 2005, the video on Comic Party Revolution would be best described as inconsistent. The first four episodes are particularly problematic with dot crawl and mosquito noise frequently popping up in solid colors and backgrounds. Things calm a bit down on episode 5 but there are still some weak moments of shimmering, shuddering during camera pans and a bit of noise from time to time. Overall, the video is passable but I have the feeling that the source material is keeping it from being stellar.

Packaging:
This boxset consists of three slimline cases housed in a thick shell that seems pleasingly resistant to shelfwear. The box itself is well-designed with the girls, notebooks, and pencils contrasting against the sky background. Kazuki himself is missing from the package but that makes sense since the show focuses more on the girls. The inside cases feature some decent artwork that's just a bit busier and less stylized than the original stand-alone volumes. The cases here certainly aren't ugly though and work well if they're not being compared.

Menus:
The main menu on each disc features a scrolling bar of characters on the left side of the screen with the menu options in the right bottom corner and the theme music playing over it. The submenus feature simple but appropriate static designs. These colorful menus are easy to read and navigate and access times are fast.

Extras:
There are a lot of interesting extras here, but fans might be disappointed to find out it's mostly text. Aside from the clean opening/close and ADV trailers, every disc features interviews with the Japanese cast, spotlights on the terminology of doujinshi (fan-made comics), and an introduction to Comic Party's history. Disc 2 also features production background art with character captions and Disc 3 has another text spot on "How to Doujinshi." There is a good mix of interesting and soft material here, but it's all on-screen text. I have no problem reading but I would have preferred collector's booklets to on-screen menus since they're easier on the eyes and don't waste electricity. All the same, I applaud ADV for porting over all the extras to this release from the original volumes. I also think it's funny that the Comic Party history spots omit the other series entirely (since Right Stuf distributes it in the U.S.)

Content:
It's been a while since I watched the original Comic Party. I remembered being entertained by the grounded comedy and light drama of the show and was eager to catch up with Kazuki and the rest of the colorful cast (in both personality and hair color). However, I was afraid that I wouldn't remember too much since it's been so long since I've seen it. Fortunately, Comic Party Revolution doesn't delve too deeply in the past. (For example, Mizuki's feelings for Kazuki aren't apparent until the fourth episode.) In fact, the show differs a lot from the other series and it surprisingly works.

The main difference is that the show has shifted focus from Kazuki to the girls in his life. Kazuki still shows up in every episode but it's always when the main character in the episode turns to him for help. Every episode features one of the girls from the original series and since Comic Party has its roots in a dating sim, the creators had plenty of girls to choose from. Viewers new to the series might be daunted by the number of characters, but most every girl fits into a stereotype. They still manage to be fun though. As you might have guessed, since every episode focuses on a different girl, there is no main plot to speak of. All the characters prepare for Comic Party (which seems like it's every other week now) and interact with each other. This change would have been horrible if the comedy in the series hadn't adapted to it.

Instead of a down-to-earth comedy series with light parody, viewers will find that Revolution is a parody show with much broader an off-the-wall humor. Elements of it still remain grounded in the reality from the other series, but occasionally, the show approaches Excel Saga-level zaniness. Some elements of the show manage to work better for it. Case in point, I loathed the character of Taishi in Comic Party. His crazy diatribes about conquering the world through manga seemed out of place and annoying since he contrasted so starkly with the other characters who were more grounded. In Revolution, though, he fits in with the world which is just a little bit more insane and I even ended up laughing quite a bit at his jokes.

In fact, once I got used to the changes in the series, I ended up laughing a lot at the show in general. There's really no focus to speak of. Parody in Comic Party was aimed squarely at the world of fan comics, but the parody in Comic Party Revolution delves into sports shows, idol worship and video games just to name a few of its targets. There's not much character development and no main story arc to speak of, but I had a blast catching up with the familiar characters in a new world.

In Summary:
Comic Party Revolution almost completely disregards the original series by replacing the focused, realistic comedy with off-the-wall parody. The characters survive the transition and a few fit better in the new style. It's not high art, but the show remains consistently funny and cute. That, coupled with the variety of story lines, makes the show an easy recommendation for fans of shows like Excel Saga or FLCL who don't mind a touch of sweetness with their comedy. Unfortunately, the video and audio on the ADV boxset are a bit lacking and the extras, while impressive at first glance, are almost entirely on-screen text. If you dig the original show and crazy comedy, then pick it up. Otherwise, a rental might be in order.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 5.1 Language,English Subtitles,All of the video extras from the original single disc releases

Review Equipment
37" Olevia 16:9 LCD HDTV, Sony Playstation 3 (upconverted to 720p through HDMI), Kenwood 550-watt 5.1 surround system

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