Ah My Buddha Vol. #1 (of 6) (Mania.com)

By:Chris Beveridge
Review Date: Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Release Date: Tuesday, January 27, 2009

When Ikkou moves into the temple to become a priest, he’s not in for the norm as everyone else there is an attractive young nun in training.

What They Say
Ikkou is your everyday teenage boy with everyday teenage desires. Too bad he's training to be a priest in a Buddhist temple full of incredibly gorgeous and obviously available priestesses. The temple is usually called on to perform exorcisms, and Ikkou's inner power is on hand for whenever things get out of control. A little flash of skin (usually a lot) from his female colleagues is enough to supercharge him, but the aftermath involves dealing with an extra turned-on priest whose loins were blazing to begin with. It's enough to make anyone cry out for Buddha to save them.

The Review!
While Media Blasters has been dropping dubs on a lot of series, they haven’t done it here since this is a show that should sell pretty well. This release has a pair of standard bilingual audio tracks done in stereo, both of which are encoded at 192kbps. The series is rather standard in its audio design as it’s keeping things very centrally focused with only a few areas where there’s noticeable directionality. Depth and placement aren’t really a big deal here and often we don’t have many characters actively talking at any time so it’s not really needed. The mix is good for what it is and everything comes across cleanly and without any problems.

Originally airing in 2005 for the first season and 2006 for the second season, Ah My Buddha is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and is enhanced for anamorphic playback. The series has a nice bright and colorful look but never crosses to that line where garish lives. The colors have a very solid feel throughout, skin tones in particular look really good, and the animation quality is quite good all things told so that helps to raise the bar a bit. There’s a touch of line noise in a few panning sequences but cross coloration is essentially non-existent here. The only areas that had any significant noise are the ones that deal in the darker areas, such as the night time blues which are in the buildings as well, as they have a bit more movement than you’d seen during a daylight sequence.

Ah My Buddha has a really appealing cover design to it, another sideways cover from Media Blasters who seems to love them, where it features a close-up of Chitose with a big smile on her face. There’s a full length shot of Ikkou standing next to her in his monk garb while the background is given over to some very nice classical Asian designs. The logo looks really nice and the entire layout is very eye-catching. The back cover is kept to a top to bottom format where it’s made up of a mostly pick background. The summary goes through the basic expectations of the series with notes on the amount of skin that shows and we get some nice artwork and several shots from the show as well. The discs special features are listed very largely, larger than the episode count. The remainder is given over to the production information and a clean technical grid. No show related inserts are included nor is there a reversible cover.

The menu is nicely done as it uses the piece from the back cover of Chitose laying down with something of an uncertain and nervous look to her. The layout is similarly pink and soft, using the symbol from the back cover as well, which gives it a very strong design. The navigation along the bottom is clean and easy to navigate which is a big plus and submenus load quickly and without problem. The disc doesn’t read our players language presets and defaults to English language with sign/song subtitles.

The only extras included in this release is a clean version of the opening sequence.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Originally known as Amaenaideyo!!, Ah My Buddha is a six volume release that contains the two seasons that the series ran. Those seasons ran for twelve episodes each as well as a bonus episode for each them. Depending on how the series is laid out, we may only be getting the main episodes themselves and not the bonus episodes, but the bonus episodes may be listed as extras on their respective volumes. Media Blasters is marketing this as their first harem comedy series and it may be accurate, though it’s something of a surprise. At the same time, their Kitty Media label surely had some harem comedy adult releases, so it’s an amusing distinction to make.

Ah My Buddha revolves around a young man named Ikkou who is training to become a priest. He’s a pretty average sixteen year old guy who is nice but definitely fits the image of someone who would be a monk, especially with the haircut he has. His life is one that is definitely in for some ups and downs as he moves to the temple where everyone that’s in training there is a young woman who will become a nun. They’re all aged around the same, some a little older and some a little younger, but they’re all attractive and they invariably end up in situations where they’re going to show off some skin. Ikkou is a nice guy though and tries to do things right, but the situations he finds himself in – often not of his own doing – only lead him down the path of pain and abuse. But it’s not necessarily a bad way to go.

In the first four episodes, we mostly get glimpses of the girls and their personalities simply because there’s only so much time. The main character that gets attention is Chitose, a young woman who is seemingly being pushed towards Ikkou as the two seem to get along well in that kind of childish way. The others get little nods here and there as they all live together and we get a feel for what their archetypes are like, but they don’t have much of a chance to really show much of themselves. Sumi makes out the best out of the rest in the fourth episode here which revolves around horror episodes as she ends up in a quasi-dream sequence where she’s older and married to Ikkou. On the plus side, they’re all very well designed characters and they come across well from what little we get to see of their personalities at this stage.

What the show uses as a bit more of a hook is that Ikkou and the girls are all able to perform exorcisms, so that means they’re in demand. They’re actually able to use supernatural abilities, albeit mildly most of the time, in order to do this. This is what drags them to the haunted house in the fourth episode where they’re asked to investigate and exorcise. Another episode has them dealing with a doll burning ceremony that goes awry. They’re not deep and engaging supernatural stories, but they give everyone a chance to work together and to show off what skills they have. Amusingly enough, sometimes they get to show off their chests as that can distract a particular spirit in a particular situation long enough for it to be properly resolved. The stories are all light in nature and have that sort of bouncy flair to them that the series is trying to strive for.

The visual design for Ah My Buddha is pretty nice and it has that sort of sexy appeal to it without going overboard. The girls are all attractive to be certain, and some are chestier than you’d believe in real life, but all in all it doesn’t go overboard with it. The situations are amusingly corny here and there, such as walking in on Chitose getting dressed or having her top come off to stop a particular spirit, but it’s kept within bounds and given more emphasis because of that restraint. You wonder if they’ll go further but because the character designs are good and the animation is solid, you don’t mind that they don’t. Some of what’s implied is more engaging and enticing than the big outright moments. And so far, thankfully, there aren’t any characters with chests as big as their bodies running around. That alone helps the show maintain its level of maturity.

In Summary:
Ah My Buddha is a fun little show so far with an amusing name given to it for its Western adaptation. Media Blasters has always capitalized on parody names with their Kitty titles, but it’s rare for them to do it with one of their mainstream titles. But this one simply makes sense as it really does set the right tone for it. And I don’t think most people would be able to say the original title or they’d get tired of writing it after awhile. This first volume sets things up nicely, introduces the basics and the characters, and gives us four standalone stories that show the shape of things to come. It’s a good sexy light hearted comedy with lots of good character designs, a solid sense of pacing and execution and a healthy dose of fun. Easily recommended for those wanting to dabble in the romantic comedy harem genre again.

Japanese 2.0 Language, English 2.0 Language, English Subtitles, Clean Opening

Review Equipment
Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70" LCoS 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.

Mania Grade: B
Audio Rating: B+
Video Rating: B+
Packaging Rating: B+
Menus Rating: B
Extras Rating: B-
Age Rating: 13 and Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: Media Blasters
MSRP: 29.99
Running time: 100
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Disc Resolution: 480i/p
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Ah My Buddha