Plastic Little (Essential Anime Edition) (of 1) (Mania.com)
Review Date: Sunday, February 29, 2004
Release Date: Tuesday, March 16, 2004
What They Say
Plastic Little has it all, from epic undersea battles and entire cities collapsing, to a ruthless villain to end all villains and the roughest, toughest, tomboy heroine to ever strut her stuff in a spandex wet-suit!
Plastic Little is set on the breathtakingly beautiful planet Yietta, which supports a thriving metropolis of colonists who make their living by exploiting tourists and by exporting the planet's unique resources to the omnipresent Galactic Federation.
As our story begins, the citizens of Yietta are finally about to pay off their debts to the Federation and become an independent colony. Unfortunately, there are those who would rather not let control of the planet slip through their fingers, especially when there are military projects which exploit Yietta's resources...
Two years after its original release, Plastic Little gets some tweaking and a price drop as part of the inaugural set of releases in the Essential Anime line.
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in its newly remastered English 5.1 language track. While the show is celebrating its tenth anniversary this year, they managed to make a rather solid 5.1 mix here though mostly in terms of music manipulation. The score is much fuller here and enveloping than the original stereo mix. Dialogue throughout the show comes across pretty much just as a forward soundstage setup, but overall this is a good mix. The Japanese mix is left in its original stereo mix.
Something of a mixed bag here, but the good outweighs the bad. Being an OVA and quite a popular one at the time of its original release, it's got some great production values to it with good coloring that it's overly vibrant and overall very realistic style. There's jaggies to be seen during camera panning sequences, but the main offense you'll see in various places is cross coloration, and I'd almost say it feels like there's more here than the original release, but that's more due to the changes in our setup over the two years than anything else. It's not overly strong or annoying thankfully, but it does show up throughout the program.
This re-release finally moves beyond the artwork that was previously used for all prior releases, this time with a really clean and detailed full cast shot of the crew of the Cha Cha Maru. While I really like the cover that was used before since it shows off Tita's round shiny posterior, it's good to see something new here. The front cover also has the additional changes of a small strip along the top listing it as part of the ?Essential Anime Collection? in purple while a similar purple stripe along the bottom mentions it being remastered in 5.1 audio. The spine also gets these stripe, but it takes up about 30% of the space here. Interestingly, this actually looks fairly decent when stacked against multiple Essential Anime releases as it gives them a group feeling. The ?EA? logo is a curious piece, it looks like a ghost from pac-man but with straight line eyes and looks pissed off while each ear has an E and A in it.
The back cover uses the Tita artwork from the original release set against a really nice image of Elysse with stars in her hair. The discs features and technical information is all very well laid out and easy to find. The front side of the insert is the same as the original with three of the women in their bathing suits, highlighting just how nipple-tastic they are. The reverse side lists the chapters and extras with a grayscale version of the front cover.
So. You don't like the front cover because of the purple stripe, eh? Offends your artistic sensibilities? Makes the package feel cheap? Just gets your panties in a bunch? Well, not only did ADV provide a reversible cover, they made a dual one, allowing you to have your choice of up to three different covers. In addition to the main one with the Essential Anime logo, you can get the nipple-tastic swimsuit insert image as a cover or an enlarged version of the back cover artwork with Tita and Elysse that simulates the original release to some extent. No mention of Essential Anime is found on the reverse side and the text is left to just the title itself and a single ADV logo on each piece. Covers like these are going to make people demand them be the norm I'm gambling.
Mixing one of the more subtle soundtrack segments into the menu with some animation based on the text and static images provides a good looking main menu, though it's odd that nearly half of it is made up with blank black space. Submenus work in much the same way with selections being very easy to access and movement between menus nice and brisk.
With this disc the ratings for the extras are skewed by one particular piece. The infamous "jiggle counter". When selected via this submenu, the way you view the show changes fairly dramatically. During playback, the show goes on as normal. In fact, it's almost ten minutes before the jiggle counter gets underway. When the character's breasts begin to jiggle, the counter (shaped like a pair of breasts no less) appears in the upper right hand corner of the screen and starts adding with each new jiggle. It's hilarious and its application to so many other shows is limitless. The disc also features such steady extras such as the sketches & storyboards.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Please note that this content review remains the same as our original review.
Plastic Little definitely has a feeling of nostalgia for me and a fondness for the early days of domestic releases. At the time, the animation was probably close to theatrical level at times with gorgeous looking colors and beautiful character designs. The designs were so good that I even sought out a book that Satoshi Urushihara had put out that showed off his great skills.
Plastic Little is definitely a simple story that's made better by the characters, even if half of them are left pretty shallow. The show revolves around Tita, the captain of the Cha Cha Maru, a pet shop hunter ship. Pet shop hunters are people who take their craft into the clouds of the colony they're on and hunt out various weird creatures that live in there. These creatures sell for good money, so it's a profitable if not dangerous line of work.
The ship that they use is currently undergoing some final repairs while the crew enjoys a much deserved break. Tita and company are staying at a great hotel, which is where we first meet her waking up alone in bed. She heads off into the city to grab lunch for everyone and then to the ship. But it's here where things start to go wrong for her. A group of black clad soldiers end up chasing a young girl right by her and begin to use force to capture her. This doesn't sit well with Tita, who knows better, turns her bike around and takes out the soldiers and rescues the girl.
This of course is no ordinary girl. She's the daughter of a scientist whose been working on a project for a segment of the military that operates the floating colony. Apparently said scientist learned after he completed his work on a new type of gravity drive that it was going to be used for evil purposes. Those gents in full black getups didn't tip him off at all. So in a mad dash to prevent catastrophe, he hides the password in his daughter's DNA and sends her to the colony while he gets butchered.
So in-between bath scenes with young nubile girls and those peeping on them, we get a decent chase/adventure tale where Tita must protect Elysse from the black suited goon squad while also trying to save the colony. It's a typical tale in that respect that makes out with some better than average style and character designs and a bit of an attitude.
The jiggle counter ends up changing things a lot though. You start to argue with it over what constitutes a jiggle. And when you start doing that, expect your wife to have a few choice words for you. This little extra perk is a lot of fun with this release and definitely adds to its charm. Satoshi is definitely known for his characters ability to jiggle and bounce at near-Gainax levels.
Plastic Little isn't a crowning jewel in ADV's library, but it's one with some significance for the old timer crowd who can relive their early days a bit through it. It also shows that a good number of their back catalog will come out looking pretty slick with a bit of care and attention.
As the first of the Essential Anime line we've seen, there's some real surprise and some disappointment at the same time. The upgrade of the audio to 5.1 and the really nicely repackaged covers are a huge plus. The video transfer in general does seem to be a touch better in some respects since it's been reauthored by their current icepickers as opposed to the original batch of companies that had some varied results. The downside that disappoints me is that the video, since it wasn't remastered, wasn't able to do anything about cleaning up the cross coloration. But again, that's just a sign of the times from a show ten years old and done the traditional way.
This re-release does a good job overall for both sides of the aisle of fandom; dub fans get a new 5.1 mix while the purists can get multiple covers. Both make out better with the price drop down to $20, or between $12 and $14 if preordered smartly or during a sale. That alone makes the re-release worthwhile since most re-releases tend to not make any changes other than something to the covers.
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 5.1 Language,English Subtitles,Sketches & Storyboards,Jiggle Counter
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Panasonic RP-82 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.
Mania Grade: B
Audio Rating: B+
Video Rating: B
Packaging Rating: A
Menus Rating: B
Extras Rating: A
Age Rating: 17 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: ADV Films
Running time: 50
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Plastic Little