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

By:Chris Beveridge
Review Date: Tuesday, January 19, 2010
Release Date: Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The series draws to a close as Ikkou fights hard against awakening even as many curvacious breasts are dangled in front of him.

What They Say
Saienji Temple crew is turned upside down when a baby boy is left at the gate. It seems that only Haruka is able to keep him from crying, which bring back memories of her own childhood. Meanwhile, Kazuki continues to plot away and after playing the maid, little sister, and priestess cards unsuccessfully, she decides to confront Chitose over her feelings for Ikkou. Jealousy continues to rear its head as Ikkou and Chitose grow closer, and Kazuki asks Ikkou to run away with her, causing all sorts of problems when he agrees.
 
Contains a bonus OVA episode with a behind-the-robes look at the cast.

The Review!
Audio:
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.

Video:

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.

Packaging:
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 Kazuki  without any sort of top on with a knowing look to her expression while we also have Chitose in the center with her chest falling out of her outfit. The show exudes a good bit of fanservice from this cover and it’s nice to see it layered and framed the way they have it. 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 soft blue 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.

Menu:
The menu is nicely done as it uses the piece from the back cover of Kazuki all stretched out in her very sheer outfit which really looks better than the previous volume which had a very unappealing outfit for Miyako. The layout is done with a shade of yellow-green that’s 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.

Extras:
The extra here is the bonus DVD episode which can be found in the extras section but also plays after the last episode of the series during regular playback.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Ah! My Buddha draws to a close with the final four episodes of the main series and then a standalone DVD only episode which is admittedly pretty priceless and the best way to close out a show like this. Ah! My Buddha has been built around fanservice from the start and these episodes definitely keep up on that while dealing with the main storyline itself. Sadly, that main storyline hasn't been all that interesting overall and at times has been a drag on the actual fun. As I've found over the course of the show, there's very little engaging meat in this series but I adore the fluff and like watching the fanservice as the characters interact. The main story itself is one that just doesn't have much to it and it lacks and serious impact when it reaches its conclusion here at the end of things.

Like many of the episodes so far, there isn't a lot to connect each of them together as the main focus is on the story of the moment. What does hang loosely across the series in this twelve episode season is Kazuki herself as she's doing as instructed and trying to awaken Ikkou so his massive power will be unleashed. Of course, along the way she's fallen for him so it sort of works out well because she wants him not only for herself, going so far as to pin him down and strip herself down so she can take him, but also because it's her mission. Kazuki's introduction was a good bit of fun earlier in this part of the series because she's so obvious about what she wants, but she's not getting far so it is grating a little bit.

The four main episodes on this volume vary fairly well, though none are altogether all that strong. The opening episode has the girls along with Ikkou caring for a baby left at the temple and all of them are showing just how basic their incompetence is. When Ikkou is sent out to get things, such as diapers, he doesn't even know whether to get girl or boy diapers so he buys them all – plus adult diapers. The baby is of course hard to handle because of all this and they go for the obvious gag of having Haruka be a natural because the baby is attracted to her sizable breasts, so there isn't anything really surprising here. It's all pretty much par for the course, but they do have a lot of fun being so overt in the fanservice aspect.

Kazuki works a couple of other angles to try and awaken Ikkou, including altering some ghosts in order to cause havoc for the girls that surround Ikkou. Making them look like Western Ghosts, there are some cute moments since the ghosts don't realize what they are. There's another episode where Kazuki works up a plan to remove Chitose from the mix so she can get closer to Ikkou as Chitose is who she views as the main foil to all her plans. It's a completely foolish plan that works only because Chitose is a fool, but it does lead to the big moment of this particular season as Ikkou comes his closest to awakening and threatens a lot of destruction to follow unless everyone stops him.

The final episode here is where all the payoff is, at least if you consider this show little more than a fanservice fest. While there is a reason for it, this DVD episode is all about the fanservice as it shows that show being a show filmed by actors. The main cast all talks about their roles, Jyotoku and Devilkin have great moments as the elder cast members and there are some hilarious sight gags revolving around the show within the show concept that works well. Doing this alternate take on the series, being so upfront about the sexuality and silliness of it, is the perfect way to cap off everything and definitely left me with a smile on my face.

In Summary:
Ah! My Buddha was a series that definitely did not have my attention for its story or overreaching plot. There are some nice moments here and there but the show will live or die by its characters and how well it can pull off the fanservice side of it. I think it works well when it comes to that and it made me laugh and smile quite often throughout, though the lack of a really good story or a significant relationship to really work with kept it from being engaging. In the end, Ah! My Buddha is pretty much sexy fluff that will be largely forgettable, a series that had some potential but didn't really reach out to grab it.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language, English 2.0 Language, English Subtitles

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: C+
Audio Rating: B+
Video Rating: B
Packaging Rating: A-
Menus Rating: B+
Extras Rating: N/A
Age Rating: 13 and Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: Media Blasters
MSRP: 29.99
Running time: 125
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Disc Resolution: 480i/p
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Ah My Buddha