DearS Vol. #1 -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: B

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  • Audio Rating: A-
  • Video Rating: A-
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Menus Rating: B+
  • Extras Rating: A+
  • Age Rating: All
  • Region: 2 - Japan
  • Released By: Bandai Visual
  • MSRP: ¥3800
  • Running time: 24
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: DearS

DearS Vol. #1

    February 24, 2005
Release Date: August 27, 2004

DearS Vol. #1
© Bandai Visual

What They Say
One year ago, a spaceship carrying aliens drifted ashore in Tokyo Bay. They had no way to return home, and were granted Japanese citizenship. They were called “dear friends,” or simply “DearS.”

For the DearS to learn about the customs and language of Japan, a homestay program was established. One day, high school student Takeya Ikuhara met a girl DearS wrapped only in a blanket. She collapsed in the street because of hunger, and Takeya brought her back to his apartment and named her “Ren.”

The Review!
The only audio track available is a Japanese 2.0 track with PCM encoding, which sounds very nice. Dialogue, sound effects, and music are all very crisp and clear. The dynamic range is excellent, with Takeya’s yelling and Mitsuka’s moans of pleasure coming through especially well.

The overall look of DearS could be described as ‘soft,’ with a good amount of pastels and subdued colors. It doesn’t pop off the screen like some recent shows, but everything looks very clean. Some scenes look like they were run through a blur filter to remove some of the hard edges, but overall everything looks good. Only having to put one episode on the disc means a high video bitrate, and compression artifacts were few and far between.

The cover features a cute shot of Ren falling into the arms of a surprised Takeya. The same shot is also used for the cover of the insert booklet, which has character design sheets for Ren, Takeya, and Neneko along with a short interview of Ai Shimizu, who does the voice of Ren. The back of the DVD case has screenshots from the first episode and a short episode summary along with a listing of the extras.

Like most R2 menus, the ones found here are simple and easy to navigate. The main menu features the illustration from the DVD cover as the background. All the episode chapters are laid out on the main menu and the karaoke version of the opening song plays in a rather long loop. The other menu is for the extras, and has the same song playing with another simple layout of all the features.

There are lots of extras to be found on this release, especially if you were able to get a first edition copy, which comes with an additional bonus DVD. The main disc contains brief introductions by the voice actors, Mai Nakahara (Miu) and Ai Shimizu (Ren) promoting DearS merchandise, and quirky music videos by the group PoppinS (Mai Nakahara and Ai Shimizu).

The bonus disc contains even more goodies. There are seiyuu/character introductions at a live DearS festival event, a live performance by PoppinS of the opening song for the DearS PlayStation 2 game, a look inside the studio at the seiyuu recording the ‘DearS x DearS’ radio program, cast commentary on the show and their characters, and a live performance of the opening song ‘Love Slave’ by UNDER17.

Content: (may contain spoilers)
Yet another bishoujo show from 2004, DearS is based on the popular ongoing manga by Peach-Pit. In this first episode, we’re introduced to slacker student Takeya Ikuhara, who lives alone and has trouble getting up in the morning. Fortunately his childhood friend Neneko comes in to wake him up and walk with him to school.

At school, everyone is abuzz about the DearS, but Takeya appears indifferent. The buzz intensifies when it’s announced that a DearS would be coming to the school as a student. We also get our first look at Mitsuka, a teacher who is extremely horny and gropes herself in class while moaning with pleasure! This is quite a role for Kikuko Inoue, and she really hams it up despite looking embarrassed in the seiyuu interview feature.

On the way home from school, Takeya comes across a DearS wrapped only in a blanket. She collapses and falls into the path of a speeding truck, and Takeya saves her. The mysterious DearS wakes up, says she’s his slave, and kisses him. This combined with the collar around her neck makes for an interesting setup.

After taking her back to his place, Takeya wakes up the next morning thinking it was all a dream, but upon pulling back the covers and seeing the naked DearS there, he freaks out. She passes out again though, but the problem is quickly solved with melon bread!

After coming home from work later that evening, Takeya is surprised to find the DearS still in his apartment. He figures out that she can’t understand him, and attempts to teach her how to speak. Her name is extremely long and complicated, so he shortens it to “Ren.” Of course the fanservice quotient needs to be met at this point, so Ren pounces on Takeya, jiggling bits and all.

One episode in, I’m not quite sure what to think of DearS yet. It’s got funny parts, a good amount of fanservice, and interesting characters. I think the series will hinge on how they play the “slave” aspect, though that alone might make some people not like it off the bat.

I get the feeling I’ve seen something similar before in Chobits, especially during the scenes where Takeya and Ren meet and when Neneko walks in while Takeya’s trying to hide Ren while doing crazy poses. With Chobits running 26 episodes and DearS only half that, hopefully the amount of filler will be cut down and we’ll get a satisfying story arc. As for now, I’m looking forward to what the next disc has to offer.

Japanese 2.0 Language,Voice actor introductions,'Jet Shooter' and 'Happy Cosmos' music videos,DearS merchandise promos,First edition bonus DVD and illustration card

Review Equipment
Sony KLV-23M1 23” LCD HDTV, Toshiba SD-4900 progressive region-free player via Acoustic Research component cables, Sony STR-DE897/S receiver, Sony SA-VE367T 7.1 channel speaker system.


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