Di Gi Charat Nyo! Vol. #03 (of 12) (Mania.com)
Review Date: Wednesday, October 03, 2007
Release Date: Tuesday, September 25, 2007
What They Say
Dejiko and Puchiko are off cooking at the Ankoro Bake Shop and my brother, Kiyoshi, has come down with the bad case of Eye Beam. But never mind that, John and Paul came by the toy store and showed off their classic toy collection. Can you believe that the legendary Delorin Chiro doll is going up for auction?! I just have to buy it! But before that I have to take care of some stinky alien at the bathhouse and go on this picnic up in the mountains with everyone. Oh no! I‚€™ve fallen off Puchiko‚€™s Top Five Favorites list. Who bumped me off the list?
Making out a little bit better than the previous installment, the Nyo! series runs through another eight half-length stories.
Bandai Entertainment has provided two language options with this release by having both the original Japanese stereo mix and an English stereo mix done by The Ocean Group. Both mixes are encoded at 192 kbps and serve the material well as it's mostly just wacky dialogue. There isn't a lot of music to it outside of the opening and closing and within the episodes themselves there isn't much need for placement or depth. As simple as the mix is, it does handle things well and suits the material. In listening to both language tracks we didn't have any problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.
Originally airing in 2003, the transfer for this TV series is presented in its original full frame aspect ratio. Similar in design to past incarnations of the series, Mad House has animated something incredibly vibrant here. These bright bold colors come across beautifully here as they pop off the screen. So many areas are made up of solid colors that it's surprising to see practically no noise or break-up associated with it. Even aliasing is very minimal during the pan and zoom sequences. The opening and closing sequences are left in their original form with a full credit scroll following all of the episodes. This is a gorgeous looking full frame transfer that simply pops beautifully.
Not unlike other series, the cover art for Di Gi Charat Nyo! is a great piece as it's an illustration of the leads with a great amount of detail and design to it. The soft colors and tight line work just shines here. Dejiko looks great in her kimono and with her hair up. The colors used with it blends well with the background and there is some great detail to it. Even the logo is nicely unobtrusive and fits in with the scheme overall with the color choices. The back cover carries over the background design and keeps it soft so that the information over it is easily readable. The summary covers the basics and several shots from the show highlight its cute factor. The episode listings are a bit disingenuous since it is admittedly eight episodes but a casual buyer may not realize they're half episodes. The discs features and production information rounds out the bottom as well as a minimal technical grid. No insert is included with this release nor is the cover reversible.
Bright and garish, the menu for this release certainly stands out and commands attention. With the trio of lead girls in the center as multicolored rays of light shine forth from them, a bit of upbeat instrumental music plays along. The selections are sort of scattered about and you use a flower cursor to move over them which works well though at times it's not entirely intuitive which direction it should go in. Access times are decent and it's easy enough to set up selections in the navigation. The disc did correctly read our players' language presets and played in Japanese with full subtitles.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
After the way the second installment of Di Gi Charat Nyo! felt to me, I was completely dreading the third volume. The stories in that volume just felt far too weird for the sake of being weird which meant that they don't really hold your attention that well. In its own way I can see it being an alternative to Adult Swim if they had a noontime version called Kiddie Swim. It'd certainly appeal to children and it has just the right runtime for each of the half length episodes.
The lack of anything of substance happening does make for an awkward view of the show. When all is said and done, nothing really changes here which means that you can go into any episode without a problem. At least so far, but the series doesn't seem intent at this point to really shake things up after the initial character introductions. Life is continuing on for Dejiko as she works at the toy store and for Puchiko as she hangs out with grams and grandpa at the Ankoro bake shop. Everyone is still after them in some way, sans Usada, as both Dejiko and Puchiko have some strange charms to them. Of course, the pair of them insert themselves into most situations easily enough.
There are some amusing stories on this volume that helped keep me interested a bit more than the previous one. One of the more amusing ones is when Dejiko makes breakfast for Kiyoshi and ends up using her eyebeams on it in order to "pacify" it properly. The act ends up causing an unintended side effect on the food when digested by a human which poor Kiyoshi finds out. Beyond just the normal stomach pains from Dejiko's cooking, he's now able to shoot out eyebeams, good and all sorts of other things from his eyes. It has him in a state of panic and causes plenty of havoc at the school itself. Kiyoshi's handling of the situation is about average for the series but it's fun and works rather well.
This volume does start off with an amusing story as it has Puchiko at its center. Grams and grandpa are heading off to a conference and Puchiko is intent on running the store on her own. They aren't really keen on that so a series of traps have been set outside that will stop people from going into the store. Puchiko isn't aware of this at first – and is too light to set them off herself – so she's unsure of what's going on but still does her best. Dejiko's involvement is amusing as she continues to torture Gema in ways that are just so completely wrong. Her obliviousness to things just works well in this situation and Puchiko hits it up as well when having to deal with her sole customer.
With eight episodes on here, it's easy enough to find a couple that stand out as being genuinely amusing. A lot of the rest tended to fall into the realm of mildly amusing or just outright boring. Some of them worked well enough, such as having the TV crew come to the shopping district and seeing all the businesses or the completely weird Delorin Chiro doll that the adult make geeks were going crazy over. Others are weaker though such as the scary picnic or the story revolving around the alien in the bathhouse. The mix of episodes is definitely better than the last volume though as there was more to find amusing here. It also likely helped that I watched these in across several days in smaller chunks.
Di Gi Charat Nyo! does continue to feel like the weakest incarnation of the series so far. It's been rather uneven in the first twenty four episodes that we've now seen and there is still a certain amount of dread over the remaining nine volumes to come. The charms of the original still aren't present here nor are they likely to be so having lost that the show is already on my bad side. It does still have its appeal in some of the stories and the show in general very much appeals to my kids which both saddens and amuses me. The overall view of it however is that this just lacks some of the punch and viciousness of previous incarnations and just doesn't hold up all that well.
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles
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: A-
Packaging Rating: B+
Menus Rating: B
Extras Rating: N/A
Age Rating: 13 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: Bandai Entertainment
Running time: 100
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Di Gi Charat Nyo!