Green Green Vol. #1 (of 3) (Mania.com)

By:Chris Beveridge
Review Date: Wednesday, June 14, 2006
Release Date: Tuesday, June 27, 2006



What They Say
n ages past, a man and a woman tasted forbidden love. Even though they could not be together, they made a vow that would transcend time. In modern day, Yuusuke, a student at the Kanenone all-boys academy, is one of the reincarnated lovers. When an all-girls class is transferred to the school for a summer session, could one of them be his past romance?

The Review!
Tinged with a bit of the magical, Green Green takes two very different schools and puts them together for a month.

Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in its original language of Japanese. The stereo mix for the show has a good bit of directionality to it across the forward soundstage as there is some fun moments of various fight or other noise effects that are used to accentuate the action. Between that and the music there's a good feel to the audio mix which is otherwise pretty center channel based for its dialogue which comes across well. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout and we had no problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.

Video:
Originally airing in 2003, the transfer for this TV series is presented in its original full frame aspect ratio. The transfer for this in general looks decent but depending on display and equipment it may show more blocking in backgrounds and movement than you might expect otherwise. With a lot of the backgrounds being of a green nature and dark at times, it really stands out in a lot of places which gets distracting. On smaller monitors though, it's less pronounced and much less noticeable. Colors in general look good otherwise and in most other scenes and a lot of it maintains a solid feel but that just makes the other areas more noticeable. Aliasing and cross coloration are both minimal but do crop up in a few places.

Packaging:
Due to this being a checkdisc release, we don't have any packaging available.

Menu:
The menu design for this release is really neat but it's also the kind where it's the most frustrating since cursor movements aren't natural. With the circular design within which the selections are kept, the cursor for the main menu goes back and forth as you move down the selections. When doing scene selections, it feels very weird in moving left and right only to have it jump up and down to where the selections are. The overall look of it though outside of the functionality is good though with plenty of shades of green and appealing designs. Unfortunately, the disc did not correctly read our players' language presets and played with the sign/song subtitles only.

Extras:
There's a rather good selection of extras with this release that will make fans of the show happy. In addition to an always welcome standard with the clean opening, we get two of the image song videos that deal with the early episodes of the series (and subtitled) and some of the TV spots. That's not all as we also get a bonus episode. This is a fairly cute short episode that just deals mostly with the girls and part of their time together with some mild lesbian overtones thrown in just to make it all the more exciting.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
A twelve episode series (alongside what looks to be a pair of OVAs), Green Green actually seems to do something a bit different than most other harem-style comedies. While playing up the sizeable school cast and wacky sexual hijinks that ensue from it, there's a tinge of the magical involved that is really kept to a minimum but helps to give more impetus behind the lead female characters motivation. At least, it's more motivation than just wanting the guy for the sake of it.

The premise is fairly amusing in that we have two single sex schools out in the back country areas where the real world has little impact, especially in such things as pop culture and the like. Both schools have decided that it's time to become co-ed so in order to test that out, girls are coming from the other school to Kanenone for a month in order to see how it all works out. The girls aren't terribly keen on this but they've got the mentality of doing what needs to be done while the guys, who apparently haven't seen a woman in the last several years, are so incredibly excited about it that they have tons of plans to try and score with the women within minutes of their arrival.

A lot of the show moves into the kinds of back and forth between the two sides that you can expect with lots of fanservice coming into play. This is what is played up a lot during the first few episodes but there is a different storyline running underneath it. One of the girls that's coming over is a cute but fairly naive and simple person named Midori. According to her, she had a really big and beautiful loving relationship with someone in a past life but it wasn't meant to happen then so they promised to reunite when reincarnated. She believes that the time is here and now and that her soulmate is in that school, a young man named Yusuke. Unfortunately, while Midori has regained her memory of the past, Yusuke has not and doesn't understand why she's all over him. To complicate things, a fellow student named Reika is aware of this past but has a different view on it and tries to thwart Midori on it at times even though Midori considers her a friend.

To make matters worse, Yusuke finds that as the two schools settle into living and working together, that he's developing feelings for Futaba, an attractive, outgoing and strong spirited girl who doesn't want to be at this school at all. Her biggest fear was the way the boys would act and based on the actions of some of them she's continually proven right. Even worse, those that act the worst tend to bring Yusuke into their plans which only sets them at odds with each other even as they do slowly develop feelings for each other. While Futaba does fill the role of the every-girl who seemingly can do everything and is admired by the others, she is fun to watch and doesn't always go along with what she should be doing. She has something of the bad girl feeling to her but it's a bit restrained.

What isn't restrained is the way the guys are portrayed, at least among the main trio of evil-doers. While they're friends with Yusuke, his almost shy and frightened/nervous nature tends to keep him from doing what they do on his own but he gets caught up in their shenanigans. The group is made up with some basic stereotypes; you've got Bacchi-gu, an overweight overly horny student who actually manages to get very close to getting lucky and being completely naked for awhile in one episode. He's also the most disturbing character as we see the way they think and act; one of the things they come up with to "learn" more about the girls is to make boob-prints of each of them. They try it out on him first though as he's got E-cups... which means we see them painting him as he makes his man-boobs even bigger and then proceeds to enjoy the erotic feeling of being painted.

Disturbing.

The other two are odd in their own ways, such as Hikaru who has the role of being the bishonen type. He's learned everything he needs to do to seduce women from his magazines and he gets it about half right most of the time. He's the pretty boy of the group, which isn't saying much really, and he's just as perverted as the others though maybe a touch more restrained. Less restrained is Tenjin, a tall and gangly student of the group who has this seeming desire to make one of the girls his "kid sister" so that they can bond well together and form a loving relationship. He gets to have a quirk of having a rice pot that's always with him, named "Kid Sister", from which he seems to equal eating to interest from women. Similar to Bacchi-gu, he gets some really creepy scenes when they invade the girls dormitory during one episode. But all of them, and even Yusuke comes into it at some points, are people that you'd never really want to hang out with in real life, and that's what makes this hard to connect with.

With the strong fanservice that's in the show, the character designs for the series are something of a mixed bag as there are a couple that stand out and look good, like Reika and Futaba, but a lot of them are fairly standard looking like Wakaba and Midori. There's a lot of tantalizing moments as the perverted bits play out and they do a nice job of dealing with that, from actual full on nudity (sans nipples in the main episodes for the most part) to doing lots of implied things during the dorm invasion episode. That one actually did a good job in showing a variety of undergarments instead of having everyone wearing the same things. On the downside, it also gave us naked Bacchi-gu.

In Summary:
When a show starts and one of the first things you learn about a character is that the reason he has calluses on his hand is because he's mastered masturbating twenty-six times a day in record time, you know you're going to be watching something a bit more raunchy. The show is definitely amusing at times, especially since I do enjoy the raunchy material, but a lot of it seems to lean more towards the crude and disturbing side of the humor which makes you cringe more than anything else. I like the setup of bringing the two schools together and there's some good motivation for Midori's feelings, but it's Futaba who saves the show and only barely as so much of it is just creepy. I could do without seeing an overweight male character getting turned on by having a male friend paint his boobs for a boob-print. Your mileage may vary.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,TV Spots,Cleaning Opening,Two Image Song Videos,Bonus Episode

Review Equipment
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Toshiba HD-A1 Progressive Scan HD DVD player via HDMI -> DVI with upconversion set to 1080i, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.



Mania Grade: C
Audio Rating: B+
Video Rating: B
Packaging Rating: N/A
Menus Rating: C
Extras Rating: B+
Age Rating: 16 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: Media Blasters
MSRP: 19.99
Running time: 100
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Green Green