Di Gi Charat Nyo! Vol. #04 - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: C-

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Info:

  • 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
  • MSRP: 24.98
  • Running time: 100
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Di Gi Charat Nyo!

Di Gi Charat Nyo! Vol. #04

By Chris Beveridge     November 12, 2007
Release Date: November 06, 2007


Di Gi Charat Nyo! Vol. #04
© Bandai Entertainment


What They Say
I came to earth to do some shopping for my cooking but I just fell asleep. It seems that Dejiko is doing fine with her princess training. It seems that her mother worried about her and sent a servant to spy on her. Dejiko just needs to control herself and not use her Eye Beam so much or else people will get mad at her. During summer vacation, Dejiko and everyone went on a trip to a scary place called Akihabara, where all these weird people gather to fawn over anime and idols. Oh my! I'm getting sleepy again. Good night.

The Review!
While the weird and unusual continues, it's accented by some exposure to the characters pasts which helps to flesh them out a bit more.

Audio:
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.

Video:
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.

Packaging:
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. Having Dejiko in a maid outfit while serving a luscious looking desert is just fantastic looking here, particularly the way her eyes are done. 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.

Menu:
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.

Extras:
None.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Ah, Di Gi Charat. This show confounds me in so many ways, particularly since I've really liked most of the past material. The Nyo series manages to remove the elements that I found made it fun and instead goes for the broader mainstream weird childish comedy. Of course, that means it does appeal a lot to my kids who watch it with me but it tends to leave me somewhat dry. So imagine my surprise when they start tackling material I like and the kids end up still liking it.

The format of two stories per episode continues to work in the shows favor as it lets them go for the gusto with an idea yet not run it into the ground. The eight stories on this volume are generally pretty good even when it's not going with some of the geekier moments that I found much more fun. In terms of character backgrounds we actually get a couple of stories worth in here which is surprising. These characters aren't exactly ones that seem to merit much in the way of background discussion so having some material devoted to it almost feels out of place. Dejiko gets a bit, not too much, but we get some when an inspector for the royal family comes to Earth to check out how she's doing. This tends to focus more on how she is in the present but through it we get to see her mother and some idea of what Dejiko was like when she was back home and causing trouble there.

Usada is one who gets a story to herself, though her twisted mind is hard to understand. Even with all the grief she gets from Dejiko, when she finds out that she might actually go back home she does everything she can to convince others to help show the inspector that the training is going well here. It feels out of place as I'd sooner expect her to want to help Dejiko pack up. Usada's background is given a bit of time in which we get to see how her wacky parents met ages ago and how they transferred their love of transformations to their daughter, which in turn she tried to stop doing when she fell in love with Kiyoshi. It's certainly not deep but it does help explain a bit more of why her parents are as weird as they are and why she's been involved in transformations all her life.

A couple of episodes lean towards the geeky side of the series as Yasushi decides that it's time for a trip to Akihabara to get some much needed items. Kiyoshi is all keen to go as he likes to go into every line-up he can find, especially those where he doesn't know what the line-up is for. Dejiko and Puchiko have never been so they don't understand the appeal but agree to go along. It's like a whole other world there even to them and they're fascinated by it. Dejiko actually falls sway to it as she starts to understand that there are Akari items to be had there. She even does a bit of work in order to get some which shows just how much into Akari she is. It's moments like this that make me remember the far better shows we've had in the past with these characters that revolved around the Gamers store and all the real otaku that used to float in and out of it.

This volume also introduces another character from Dejiko's home planet as the cute, quiet and sweet Rinna Charat comes onto the scene. She's a master baker, enough so that she can create delightful confections within minutes, but she has a problem of her own. And that is that she simply needs to sleep regularly. She falls asleep before the hat can even drop, often in mid conversation with people. Rinna is similar to Puchiko in that she's very cute and you just want to cuddle her up but she lacks much in the way of a personality. This is of course because she's constantly asleep. That doesn't stop her from getting involved in stories, or rather causing stories, as she even gets Dejiko to do things for her without Dejiko realizing what she's doing. Rinna's a cute addition to the cast but one that is very much a one note character.

In Summary:
Every volume of this series so far feels like a struggle. While watching it there are cute and funny moments throughout but it doesn't have a cohesive enough feeling to really pull it all together. The change in locale after so many series before this one isn't a surprise but the return to Akihabara even for a couple of short stories just highlights the weaknesses all the more. It's hard to believe that we're now through thirty-two stories and there's another seventy or so left to it. Each new volume has me wondering how they can make more. The end of each volume has me wondering just how much of what I watched actually needed to be made. This volume has some good stories to it but as seems to be the case the weaker stories outweigh them.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles

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.

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