Bludgeoning Angel Dokuro-Chan (of 1) (Mania.com)

By:Chris Beveridge
Review Date: Friday, October 24, 2008
Release Date: Tuesday, September 30, 2008

When you have the word “Bludgeoning” in the title, you know exactly what you’re going to get in a release.

What They Say
Imagine a world where the secret to immortality has been discovered, causing women to stop aging by the time they turn twelve. Sounds like it might be a perfect playground for a discoverer with less-than-wholesome interests, doesn't it? That's exactly why the Big Man Upstairs sends Dokuro-chan, one of his angelic assassins, into the past to "deal" with the sicko who messed with nature. But Dokuro-chan decides instead to move in with her target, Sakura Kusakabe, and keep him too occupied to find eternal life. Funnily enough, the path of nonviolence leads to a fountain of blood, as Dokuro-chan accidentally kills Sakura on an almost daily basis, only to resurrect him with a magical chant moments later.

The Review!
Audio:
Continuing their lack of dubbing trend, Media Blasters has another monolingual release out with this title as it contains only the Japanese track. The stereo mix is encoded at the meager 192kbps and it comes across well enough, not that the mix is all that dynamic in general. The show is all about the humor so it’s dialogue driven while also containing a fair bit of blood splattering sounds. Nothing is off here and it comes across well but it’s relatively mundane in general, a solid serviceable track that won’t leave any sort of impression. We didn’t have any issues with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.

Video:
Originally airing in 2005 and 2007, the transfer for the two seasons of this TV series is presented in its original full frame aspect ratio. The series is spread out with each season on its own disc and both of them look pretty good with bright, bold and vibrant colors. There’s some minor bleeding in a few scenes here and there, but it’s very minimal overall. The backgrounds showcase some noise on occasion as well, generally in the reds of the uniforms or the blues of the sky, but it’s fairly minimal and inconsistent as well. Overall, this release does look good but there are some unusual aspects to it. The first episode of the first season has the whole seasons translated credits afterwards. And it looks amazingly horrible in quality. Then they provide it again at the end of the very last episode of that season. Each episode is also placed into its own title which isn’t the norm for Media Blasters releases. And between all six episodes overall, it’s very surprising that they went with a double disc release. Four episodes on the first and two on the second. It’s nice that each season is separate, but it makes you wonder if they were intending to sell them separately at first.

Packaging:
Cute and bouncy, the cover art for this release certainly has some appeal to it as it features a large shot of Dokuro with her Excalibolg out there as she flashes a smile. Sakura is falling behind her with a standard panicked expression and there’s a cute little bit at the bottom with small bodied versions of Dokuro and Sabato about to go at it. Anyone expecting just a cute show based on this artwork is in for a surprise, but again, it says “bludgeoning” right on the cover. Time to see if the education system works once again! The back cover serves up more small bodied fun along the top with more of the cast above the summary that runs through the basic premise of the series. The discs features are clearly listed and the bottom half runs through the production credits and several shots from the show. And though technically correct, there’s some issue to take with the breakdown of episodes and runtime on this release. The grid lists it as 180 minutes, or three hours. Even being generous, it hits about 160 or just over if you include all of the additional translated credits. Each episode is twenty-five minutes each give or take. Listing it as twelve episodes total is also a little devious since they’re all half length episodes. No inserts are included nor is there a reversible cover.

Menu:
The menu designs are pretty nice and seemingly point to the separate release idea as well. The first disc utilizes the cover art from the keepcase cover while the second has a different piece of artwork with Zakuro and Dokuro together against a similar purple-blue background. Media Blasters tends to re-use menus from volume to volume for series and the use of a different menu on the second disc reinforces the idea that these may have been meant to be singles at one time. The menus are simply enough and cute enough with the fonts, colors and layout and they’re also very functional and problem free. It’s amusing to see them use a setup submenu in which you can’t actually turn off the subtitles from. You can turn them off on the fly during playback, but why offer a menu that doesn’t really do anything besides tease that there might be a dub option?

Extras:
The only extras included are on the second disc with a clean version of the opening and closing sequences.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Based on a light novel series that then made a transition to manga, Bludgeoning Angel Dokuru clearly doesn’t hold back with what it wants to do. It wants to surprise, shock and possibly offend once in awhile with its humor and graphic nature. The light novels were done by Masaki Okayu and illustrated by Torishimo while the manga was done by Mitsuna Ouse. There’s even a PlayStation 2 game out there for this franchise. And admittedly, after watching this series, that’s what I want to see the most.

Bludgeoning Angel Dokuro has a relatively small cast overall, though there are plenty of bit players that wander through the various episodes for both seasons. The series revolves around junior high school student Sakura, a young man who comes across as a fairly decent guy but a little nervous around the edges. He’s got good reason to be though as he’s currently living with Dokuro, an angel from the future who has come back to protect him from being killed. The amusing part, at first, is that she ends up killing him far more frequently than anyone else ever would. The smallest things set off this rather vacuous walking space and she uses her Excalibolg to decimate him. Graphically. The amount of blood flying and mayhem here on a bodily level would interest the South Park people.

While Dokuro does kill him regularly, all she has to do is swing her club around a bit, say a few lines, and poof, Sakura is back in action without a scratch on him. He’s not exactly enamored of what he goes through, but at least there’s something of an out for him since she can bring him back. But can it get much more dehumanizing? Oh, yes. The other main angel from the future that’s here is a cute blonde girl named Sabato who is intent on killing Sakura and thereby saving the future. Dokuro’s attempts to save Sakura are a bit selfish and she’s also looking at it from the perspective of stopping him from causing what happens in the future through change other than killing him. Or at least leaving him dead once she kills him.

What is that future?

Apparently, twenty years from now, Sakura accidentally discovers the key to immortality. That in itself is actually a positive thing since nobody has to die now. The downside is that he’s done this just after turning all the women in the world into twelve year old girls to satisfy his pedophile dreams. Sakura is both confused and disgusted by this and he can’t believe it’d happen, but it does paint (and animate) a rather amusing future for humanity. This all sort of falls into the background once its revealed and the series focuses more on either the random silliness of living with Dokuro or staving off one of the attacks from Sabato. There are other gags along the way that touch on the angels from the future, such as Dokuro’s guiding hand in the form of a man named Zansu. The most amusing one I think is the introduction of Zakuro, Dokuro’s younger sister who looks older and is pretty top heavy. She’s got a childlike sense to her combined with powerful angel abilities and not issue in using them. She also provides a good bath scene.

Bludgeoning Angel Dokuro-chan is spread out in an odd way in that the episodes are half length, or about 13 minutes a pop depending on how you time it. Whether they aired that way or not I don’t know, but here they’re presented as one full length episode with two parts but numbered appropriately. So there’s an opening and closing around every two episodes. The show goes for the humor pretty well and it plays up the sexual side right alongside the violence. The violence is paramount here as there is so much blood to spill, but Dokuro exudes sex as does Zakuro when she finally shows up. It’s a rather crude show at times and it plays to base appeals, but it is funny and it clicks rather well overall. How can you not like a show that starts off by providing mock news items about international politics while also having a show within a show about an overly sensitive salaryman who regularly ends up in a pile of pigs that sends him to climax.

Yeah.

The series is nicely animated, if a little budget looking on occasion, since it plays to basic colors and not too terribly detailed designs. The animation is very fluid when the scene requires it and it has the exact kind of look to it that you’d expect from a comedy like this. The character designs aren’t exactly memorable but they provide enough fanservice to keep you entertained while not going over the top. Even Zakuro, the sexpot of the show, doesn’t stand out hugely until they do a bath scene. The background designs are interesting as well as there are some areas that felt like other shows. The scenes involving Sakura’s room in his house and the way they all interacted reminded me heavily of Ataru Moroboshi’s room from Urusei Yatsura, and that got me thinking a little about this show as some sort of descendant of that.

In Summary:
There’s a lot to like about Bludgeoning Angel Dokuro-chan, starting right from the way it’s not like every other show out there. It plays the subversive side nicely, doesn’t seem to be too afraid to take unusual shots in the humor department and it doesn’t overstay its welcome. In the end, I think that’s key to the show. By the start of the second season, I felt like I already needed a break before going back in for more. When I took that break and went back, it was just as much fun. It’s simply not a marathon that holds up well in rapid viewing form. If you parcel it out a bit to get a taste, it’ll win you over handily, even with the oddness that Media Blasters has applied to the release. This isn’t a wide appeal title for anime fans, but it’s one that will find a cult following and could easily serve as a short run late night series on TV.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language, English Subtitles, Clean Opening, Clean Closing

Review Equipment
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: B+
Audio Rating: B
Video Rating: B+
Packaging Rating: B+
Menus Rating: B
Extras Rating: B-
Age Rating: 16 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: Media Blasters
MSRP: 24.99
Running time: 180
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Bludgeoning Angel Dokuro-Chan