So, the cure to being allergic to girls is apparently to get a bevy of beautiful, busty babes to rub all over you? Good to know.
What They Say
Yukinari's got major girl problems - the poor guy is literally allergic to them. He can't even be in the same room as a girl without getting a rash. It's enough to put any red-blooded male in an awful mood. Here's the good news: things start looking up for Yukinari when he accidentally plays peek-a-boo with the naked girl next-door. She freaks out and boots him in the face, magically transporting our hero to the coolest place ever: Seiren, a mystical land populated mostly by girls. As soon as he gets there, he meets Miharu, a super-bouncy, carefree cutie who can touch Yukinari without causing a rash! She becomes his roomie on Earth and... Well, then it's all bathtubs, swimming pools, hot springs, and you're not even reading this anymore, are you? Story and art by 1-24.
For this viewing, I took in the English dub, which along with the Japanese track is only offered in 2.0. Normally I might be curious at the lack of what seems to now be the standard 5.1 mix for the English track, but with Girls Bravo’s reliance on sight gags and dialogue, it is not a big deal. The mix is fine, with some nice directionality along the two channels with the sound effects, though the dialogue stays mostly centered. But there is no dropout among the channels, and it is clean throughout, so it is more than fine.
This is a very pretty release. I have been pretty impressed with Funimation’s ability in the last year or so in compressing a lot of episodes onto a single disc and still come away with few, if any, video problems. This release is no exception. The colors are bright with no bleeding or cross-coloring, which is good since this is designed to be a colorful series. Lining is clear and distinct, and there are no detectable technical flaws. Just a gorgeous transfer.
The four discs are all contained in a single amaray case with a special insert to carry the discs. The front cover has a picture of Miharu in a bikini, while the back has a bunch of screen caps and a summary. The cover is reversible, though the clear case allows for the reverse to be seen on the inside; the reverse side a picture of Kirie also in a bikini on the front with a picture of Miharu in gym clothes and an episode list on the back. The discs keep with the “girls in bikinis” theme as the pictures of Miharu and Kirie are repeated on the first two discs, with shots of Lisa on disc 3 and Koyomi and Tomoka on the last. It is a nice change from the standard double thinpak, and doubly nice if you like cute girls in bikinis.
As is custom, the menus for this release are pretty basic. The main image is the same girl in bikini that graces the surface of the disc. The selections are offered to the right in a dull yellow, which shows up well against the purple background, and the main theme plays on a loop in the background. Not a groundbreaking menu by any stretch, but it is functional.
The only extras here are clean versions of the opening and closing.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
I first came across Girls Bravo when TokyoPop first released the manga in 2005. I enjoyed the first volume at the time but not enough for me to keep collecting it, as it was amusing but not special. And though the anime originally released at the same time, I managed to miss that as well. So I was glad to get the chance to have a look at this set and ultimately found that my initial impressions held up through it.
Yukinari Sasaki is a real loser. He’s short, nice to a fault, and has absolutely no luck with women; as such, people tend to walk all over him. In fact, he has had such a rough time with girls in his life that he has developed an allergy to them—any physical contact with a girl and he breaks out in an ugly, itchy rash. So instead, he just takes any abuse that comes his way and does not complain.
But his fortunes change one day when he falls into his bathtub and is transported to the planet Seiren, a world populated entirely by women. He arrives in the bathtub of an airheaded girl named Miharu Kanaka, who takes an immediate liking to him. Even better, Miharu does not seem to set off his allergies, so he finds himself drawn to her as well. In fact, they hit it off well enough that Miharu returns to Earth with Yukinari when it is time for him to go.
But this does not sit well with some people back on Seiren. For starters, Miharu’s sister is beside herself with worry that Miharu has disappeared and enlists the aid of the Space Travel Agency, the group in charge of regulating travel between the two planets. But there is another group behind the Space Travel Agency who are more concerned with the contact between the two planets and seem intent on making sure the link between the two worlds is severed for good.
Girls Bravo is a fairly run-of-the-mill harem comedy, and while I liked the characters involved, they were all pretty cookie cutter too. First is Yukinari, who might as well be named “Generic Male Harem Protagonist” for what he brings to the table. He is a nobody, he is unlucky in everything, he is far too kind to everybody he meets, etc. Aside from his allergy, there is nothing to really separate him from the thousands of other harem protagonists.
And the harem itself fares no better. Miharu is the naïve one who wants nothing more to make Yukinari happy; Kirie is the touchy, violent girl-next-door who really has nothing but Yukinari’s best intentions at heart; Lisa is the overconfident daughter of wealth convinced that she will have a fantasy future with Yukinari; Koyomi is the shy one who fears men but somehow feels drawn to Yukinari; etc. As I said, I like them all, but there really is nothing about any of them that is special or different in any kind of way.
The one character I ended up liking a lot more than I thought I would was Yukinari’s and Kirie’s classmate (and Lisa’s brother), Kazuharu Fukuyama (the series’ resident pervert). He’s just as much a stereotype of his role as everybody else in the series is, and upon his introduction, I immediately feared whenever he would show up because he is even more over-the-top than most characters in that role. And that is often too distracting from the main point to be enjoyable But it is precisely that over-the-topness in this case that caused me to eventually look forward to his random appearances as his brand of insanity just ended up fitting well with everything else that was going on in the story. And what is great is that his normal personality really highlights the few times he settles down and does something for the greater good rather than looking out for his own self-interests.
The other thing I liked with Girls Bravo is that it does not fall into the same trap that many harem titles usually fall into, and that is that it is not only obvious who Yukinari’s chosen is early on, but he ultimately makes his intentions known (in a round about sort of way). These sorts of shows often frustrate me because they set up a situation where the protagonist someday has to choose who he will be with, but then cops out and keeps the status quo when all is said and done. When Girls Bravo ends, his harem might still be around, but there is no question as to who the winner is.
But despite all of this, it does not change the fact that Girls Bravo is pretty generic as far as harem comedies go. The characters are all stereotypical, the storyline is paint-by-numbers, and even the big conflict and resolution at the end was telegraphed. I will not suggest that I regret watching it; that is far from the truth. It was certainly enjoyable, but there was nothing truly earth shattering or different about it.
Girls Bravo is another in a long line of generic harem comedies. The storyline and everybody involved in it have been seen before many times and will be seen again in later titles. But still, it was enjoyable. If you like harem comedies, you will likely enjoy Girls Bravo. Just do not expect it to blow you away. Recommended.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English 2.0 Language, English Subtitles, Clean Opening, Clean Closing
Magnavox 37MF337B 37” LCD HDTV, Sony BDP-S360 BluRay Player w/HDMI Connection upconverted to 1080i, Durabrand HT3916 5.1 Surround Sound System