Nuku Nuku Dash Collection (Thinpak) (of 1) (Mania.com)

By:Bryce Coulter
Review Date: Wednesday, March 21, 2007
Release Date: Tuesday, October 11, 2005



What They Say
It's love at first sight when 14-year-old Ryunoske Natsume has a chance encounter with the purr-fect beauty he will come to know as Nuku Nuku. Atsuko Higuchi, aka Nuku Nuku, shows up at the Natsume residence one afternoon not knowing where she came from or where she will end up.

One person, however, knows more about the elusive Nuku Nuku than he is letting on. While Kyusaku tries to discover the secrets of this Androbot All-Purpose Cultural Cat Girl, his son Ryunoske is tormented by his deepening love for his new live-in companion. Meanwhile, Akiko Natsume finds herself being reassigned at Mashima Industries and heading up an impossible mission. As Nuku Nuku tries to adjust to life with the Natsumes', she finds herself up against a string of adversaries, but little does she know it's Akiko who is the deadliest foe. This is the All-Purpose Cultural Cat Girl like you've never seen her before!

The Review!
"Following the rather successful Nuku Nuku OVA, this twelve episode series attempts to retell the story in a more serious tone.

Audio:
We watched this series primarily in English and sporadically in Japanese. The English voice cast did a nice job of matching the performances of the Japanese cast. The stereo mix is decent with a few areas of noticeable directionality, mostly in the larger combat scenes. Dialogue comes across with no noticeable dropouts or distortions.

Video:
Originally released to video back in 1998, the transfer makes it feel much closer to its broadcast release in 1992. A dark color palette on an already dark looking transfer gives the show a grainy feel which isn't typical for an OVA release as they much shinier and brighter. The transfer is decent, but it definitely looks its age. Cross coloration and aliasing are very minimal and don't provide much distraction.

Packaging:
As with most ADV thinpacks, this collection has three thin DVD cases featuring Nuku Nuku as her normal self. The cardboard case features two different poses of Nuku Nuku in her Androbot mode. The box provides a purple background with black banners at the top and bottom. The spine is in white and features the Nuku Nuku logo along with the DVD collection title. One disappointing aspect of the collection package is that it doesn't have any place to store the manga that comes with it. It would be nice to have a place to put it along with the DVD's.

Menu:
The main menu is a simple static piece with a brief bit of the opening music playing over the image of Nuku Nuku in her combat uniform and sunglasses. The episode selections are along the right as well as languages and extras. With little on the disc, access is pretty easy and moving about is nice and fast.

Extras:
As is the case with most ADV collections the only supplemental material on this release is a batch of previews.

The manga that comes with the collection contains three short stories and some postcards. The manga is bound in a nice firm cardboard backing. The pages are also of higher quality paper stock with some in color. The stories contained in the manga are more aligned with the Nuku Nuku TV series as we see a younger version of Ryunosuke in the stories. Overall, the manga was a nice addition to the collection.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers).
Nuku Nuku Dash is a story set in an alternate universe from the original Nuku Nuku OVA series. Where, Nuku Nuku TV attempted to continue with the same precept as depicted in the Nuku Nuku OVA, Nuku Nuku Dash goes in a completely different direction. In this version, Higuchi Atsuko ("Nuku-Nuku") is a Mishima Corporation military "androbot" who is programmed to protect living things.

Undercover as an accident victim with amnesia, Nuku Nuku comes to stay with the unsuspecting Natsume family. Kyuusaku is a scientist who is familiar with Nuku Nuku's secret and her inner workings. Akiko, is a research supervisor for the Mishima Corporation, and Ryunosuke, their hormonal 14 year old son is crazy-go-nuts over Nuku Nuku.

In this version of Nuku Nuku, Ryunosuke is in junior high and has fallen hard for Nuku Nuku. His attempts at winning Nuku Nuku's affection are quite humorous as Nuku Nuku is oblivious of his intentions. Ryunosuke's parents' squabbling is quite funny as is the street-smart kindergarten, Noriko. It's interesting that the producers of this series chose not to make her age appear closer to Ryunosuke's age like in the other series'.

The premise of the storyline focuses more on Mishima's pursuit of recovering their missing prototype androbot instead of dominating the world with their technological products as seen in the previous series'. A second story arc involves Nuku Nuku's relationship development with Ryunosuke, which helps hold the series together as it keeps the interest of the viewer.

I was a bit disappointed in the prominent display of fan service as it really doesn't help this series' overall concept. In my opinion, no Nuku Nuku series should ever have this much fan service or bouncing. Granted, you should expect a little fan service with just about any lead female anime title character, but there's loads of near-naked or naked shots of Nuku Nuku, Akiko, Arisa and Kyouko. It's a bit tiring and detracts from the quality of the series.

As seen in the previous incarnations of Nuku Nuku, we find Mishima once again making all sorts of stupid blunders and elaborate attempts to find or capture Nuku Nuku. As seen before, Nuku Nuku is living under the same roof as Akiko, who is a big executive at Mishima. Akiko's blindness to realizing this fact helps to reveal the humor in how dysfunctional the Natsume family household is.

The fight sequences take a more serious tone in this series as Nuku Nuku is actually injured while battling jets, helicopters, Mecha, etc.... Each of her battles is triggered by a life-threatening event. Unlike the other series', Nuku Nuku cannot transform under her own will. Her transformation sequence gets a bit tiresome as it is used over and over all of the time.
One big plus for this series is the time focused on Nuku Nuku's origin. This is best exhibited by her protecting a litter of kittens, Kyuusaku's flashbacks of working as a Mishima scientist, the recovery of Nuku Nuku's memories and a startling disclosure for Nuku Nuku.

Overall this series provides more background detail of Mishima's origin, the Natsume family and the potential relationship between Nuku Nuku and Ryunosuke. Will Mishima succeed in taking over the world? Will Nuku Nuku and Rynosuke's relationship develop into something 'more', or will Nuku Nuku have to sacrifice herself because of her love for him? Watch and enjoy the series to find out.

Summary:
This series will satisfy the Nuku Nuku fan who wants to fill in a few blanks regarding Nuku Nuku's past and potential future. If you are new to the Nuku Nuku genre, it is recommended that you watch Nuku Nuku OVA and Nuku Nuku TV before indulging in these episodes. Go forth and protect all life!

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,Clean opening and closing animation,Nuku Nuku Manga

Review Equipment
Hitachi 62VS69 62" UltraVision LCD Projection HDTV, XBOX 360 DVD player, XBOX 360 Component HDAV Cable with Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound.



Mania Grade: B-
Audio Rating: B+
Video Rating: B
Packaging Rating: A-
Menus Rating: B+
Extras Rating: B+
Age Rating: 13 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: ADV Films
MSRP: 44.98
Running time: 300
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Nuku Nuku, All Purpose Cultural Cat Girl