For the purposes of this review, I primarily listened to the English stereo dub. Effects were cleanly separated and all had the appropriate weight, but there was little to nothing in the way of directionality. The show itself is not too active so it’s a serviceable enough track.
Dan Doh is presented by Bandai in its OAR of 1:33.1. Despite some minor gripes I have with the source material’s simplistic style, the video is practically perfect with rich, bold colors and high contrast. The simple CG shots that pop up from time to time are also implemented seamlessly. There were one or two moments of grain, but overall, this is probably the best the show ever looked.
For this release, all six discs are housed in a multiple page flipper case with some busy, colorful character artwork on the front and an awkward description on the back that pretty much tells the entire plot to the first episode. I’ve seen other releases use this style of case before and it worked fine. However, with trays for six discs, the case design really starts feeling cheap as the pages irregularly lock into each other and the case itself seems pretty flimsy. Discs also required a bit too much force to remove from the case.
Each disc has a simple static menu with a character profile and presents all the choices in an easy to read manner. It’s never hard to figure out which option is selected and load times are quick enough. I often give out good grades for menus that simply work and look decent. Unfortunately, Dan Doh’s menus only meet half of the requirements. Each menu is framed by a muddy, transparent border on the top and bottom with the title repeated over and over again in plain, white type. Add a generally unimpressive picture to the mix for some of the ugliest menus this reviewer has seen in a long time.
Although it’s not featured on the back, there is one sole “special feature” that appears on a couple of the discs. The opening and ending credits are offered textless back-to-back on these discs. Although it would have been nice to have something more worthwhile and I found the music average at best, it’s nice that they included the bare intros and outros.
Content: (Content portion of the review may contain spoilers.)
Dandoh is a lucky kid who’s about to catch his break. After a fluke accident while playing baseball, he and his best friends, Kohei and Yuka (who carries a torch for the protagonist) are turned onto golf. Luckily for them, they almost immediately find a mentor in the retired professional golfer, Shinjo who’s looking to reclaim his dignity after a legendarily poor tour performance. Dandoh displays a natural talent for the game and is quickly rising through the ranks. Our hero hopes that his talent on the links will get his estranged mother back in his life. Will he be able to prove himself and bring honor back to his teacher’s name?
Dandoh is a bewildering paradox of a show. Like every other piece of sports entertainment, the “love of the game” weighs heavily into the show and the series will likely appeal more to viewers with at least a passing interest in golf. The show also acts as a primer for some of the more basic rules in the game and this is where the conflict starts. A lot of the explanations of the game would be helpful to novices but some of the long-winded pointers are painfully obvious. This is a minor complaint compared to the show’s other area of contention though.
As an animated show, the viewer would likely expect Dandoh to sensationalize the game somewhat. The series sensationalizes thing a little too much however, considering all of the dialogue and non-golf-related happenstances are incredibly grounded and down to earth. It’s somewhat jarring when the characters only discuss everyday occurrences and the ball lands in the high branches of a tree, not once but twice! I have a sneaking suspicion that the tour wouldn’t let the player attempt to address the ball in this position.
The natural abilities of the younger players are also a little trumped up and even lead to a few condescending moments in relation to the more experienced players (who are usually portrayed as devious yet inept snobs). One glaring example comes when Dandoh is acting as caddy for a troubled pro. Dandoh advises the player to play it short when the wind is horrendously active behind them and will carry the ball further. Neither the player nor the other pros around him understand why the boy advises him to do that, and they are all shocked by the results.
For all of its logistic flaws, Dan-Doh! can be a fun little show because of these sensational aspects and the frequent rivalries. The show primarily revolves around two tournaments so the games stretch across many episodes and make for very relaxed and oddly addictive viewing. Although there are conflicts, it never really feels like Dandoh and his friends are in danger either which adds to the comfort ability of the familiar plot devices and moments of melodrama.
The show occasionally finds its feet with a few intriguing subplots such as when Dandoh reassures a young lady golfer who becomes instantly enamored with him. Yuka’s feelings for Dandoh become even more apparent and the two girls vying for his affections end up playing the next round together which leads to some fun moments.
The best thing about “The Super Shot” is that it wears its heart on its sleeve. The show is really appropriate for anyone who can understand it, and it teaches some great lessons about compassion and sportsmanship. If you’ve got a younger child that’s interested in golf, this would be the perfect show to pick up.
The biggest problem for Dan-Doh! is that it limits its audience in its execution. It’s almost required that the viewer be interested in golf at least a little bit. However, the sensationalism and obviousness of the show will alienate many who are well-versed in the game. However, aspiring golfers (especially younger viewers) who are able to turn off their brains will find a series that may not be too memorable but can be pretty fun. The essentially bare bones release is kind of a mess in terms of presentation but it offers the show at a decent price point with solid video and audio for those interested.
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles
37” Olevia 16:9 LCD HDTV, Sony Playstation 3 (upconverted to 720p through HDMI), Kenwood 550-watt 5.1 surround system