Sakura Diaries Vol. #1 (Mania.com)
Review Date: Monday, February 18, 2002
Release Date: Tuesday, July 25, 2000
Content: 4.5 In this little love triangle show called Sakura Diaries, we have the main guy Touma "Tonma-chan" Inaba staying in Tokyo for his college entrance exams. He is a pretty regular guy, not too bright and kind of a dork. For some reason his cousin Urara has a pretty serious crush on him based on the one day they spent together as kids (seems a little odd to me that they're cousins and she thinks it's ok to go after him). Somebody should tell her that he's a total dork and isn't interested in her (or is at least too stupid to admit that he is) but it doesn't matter since Touma immediately falls for Mieko, a fellow student taking the entrance exams at Keio University. Problem is, she will only date a guy from Keio and, as I've previously stated, he isn't all that smart and fails the test. So now he has to lie in order to get the girl, and the girl that wants him is helping him to stay on his good side. But who cares about all that! This show is all about fan service! Urara spends most of her screen time in various stages of undress and that's just fine with me (I am clearly the target audience, i.e. male). The show is actually pretty funny but I have trouble believing anybody would be throwing themselves at this guy, after all, he's no Tenchi. ^_^ (I asked my sister about this and she says it's because the show is drawn by geeks like me and Touma and that's the way they wish life was, and that's a good enough answer). Anyway, it's worth a watch.
Tech Video: 3.0 This is the most disappointing thing about this disc. The picture is riddled with pixel artifacts, especially when there is text on screen (opening and closing credits). It's not so bad during the actual show but considering the disc is only about 60 minutes they certainly didn't have to worry about conserving disc space so this is totally unacceptable. The colors are soft like many other anime that we are used to.
Sound: 3.5 Sound is provided in both English stereo and the original Japanese stereo (with optional subtitles in English). During the songs, the sound is nicer in English (a bit muffled in the Japanese) and for the actual show it's reversed which is fine because the English Dub is pretty unwatchable (Urara and her friend are nice the rest is fairly bad). Note that the Japanese version is exactly some great piece of acting, it just sounds more natural (again, Urara and her friend sound really nice). The song that the show opens with is really relaxing and they give us English translation, Romaji and a clean version.
Extras: 2.0 Woo-hoo! ADV previews (12 of them)! Yay, another web connect to advfilms.com (actually, it doesn't even connect to anything at all, it just lists the address and the features available there). I guess we don't really expect much in the way of special features for anime but we should. Pioneer is being really good about it lately giving us commercials, bios, character art and desk accessories (like that cool Nanako plastic standee) so why can't more companies give us a few basic features? Oh well, maybe that will be the next thing the Otaku Clan petitions. The packaging is nice though with really nice screenshots and pictures of Urara.
Overall: 3.75 This would have been a higher score if the video was cleaner and had some extras because it's actually a very entertaining show and has lots of fan service (maybe I should list fan service as a special feature?). Hopefully they will take more time with it for the following discs (and maybe give us the uncut version).
Toshiba 35'' with s-video Sony STR-DE925 with DD and DTS Bose AM10-II KLH powered sub Pioneer DVL-919 Powerbook G3 400 (for dvd-rom content)
Mania Grade: NA
Audio Rating: N/A
Video Rating: N/A
Packaging Rating: N/A
Menus Rating: N/A
Extras Rating: N/A
Age Rating: 17 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: ADV Films
Running time: 75
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Sakura Diaries