With the introduction of Piyoko now over, Di Gi Charat Nyo! falls back into predictability and bland humor once more.
What They Say
The idol Akari Usada is holding a pageant for girls in the Lucky Cat Shopping Center. First prize winner gets to costar with Akari on national television. While Dejiko and the other girls are shooting for first I'll be trying my best to win second prize, a years worth of stinky fermented beans, nyu! And speaking of shooting, I'm going to finally perfect my eye beam through intense training and hard work. I'll be holding an event to show off my newly perfected special technique, so don't miss it or else, nyu!
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.
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.
Summer kimono time has hit the Di Gi Charat Nyo! covers as the lead characters are all done up in their finery which has a very beautiful and soft feel to it. The costume designs are fantastic as they go all out with the colors and details in them.. 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.
Bright and garish, the menu for this release certainly stands out and commands attention. With Dejiko and Usada 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 not correctly read our players' language presets and played in English with sign/song subtitles.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The brief bit of light that was Di Gi Charat Nyo! in volume seven has found itself reduced again as Piyoko and the Black Gemma Gemma Gang are basically reduced to supporting characters once again. Their newness certainly helped the show as well as having Piyoko being someone who is actively after Dejiko but like so many things in the series, it’s not about anything really and just weird quirky moments with mild smiles and occasionally a touch of laughter. Piyoko and the others certainly add a bit more diversity to it, but they tend to fall into the same storyline/gag traps as well.
There are some cute moments to be found in this volume but they tend to be few and far between. The most memorable is towards the end when they do an homage piece to Matsumoto by turning the Lucky Cat District into an old west setting where you have the wandering stranger coming into town ready to pick a fight. He’s done up in classic Matsumoto style – and felt like he stepped out of Gun Frontier. Of course, he’s not going to do things in a traditional sense as he challenges anyone to go against him but not with guns but rather with elastics. The end joke is fairly amusing when it gets there and I liked it because it had such an odd feel to it, but like so many other things it just has odd moments, such as when we find out who he really is. Or just having gran changing his length of time working in the bake shop as a badge of honor.
Another story that I liked a bit involves Puchiko as she’s intent on mastering her eye-beams. The way they seem to be more gelatinous than anything else continues to be an amusing point since she gets so frustrated by being unable to do anything in a very mellow way. It’s also just cute to see the goo come out of her eyes and flop and flounder there a bit. The idea of her mastering it is a rather scary prospect since they’d be pretty intense under the control of a little girl. The story does follow a lot of the traditional plot devices for training oneself for such things, but it’s watching her try and go through it in her own cute manner that works. Most of the time Puchiko doesn’t provide much for an episode, even when it focuses on her, but this one just clicked well.
Weird for werid’s sake as well as just the unusual is still pretty much par for the course here. There’s an episode that revolves around the impending disaster of an asteroid that’s about to hit, and just hit the District apparently, so everyone is going through their panic and last moments gags. Dejiko’s being trapped there is amusing since she feels so smug at first about simply flying home in her UFO but realizes that it’s still dead in the water. It even provides us with a brief glimpse of her mother which is a plus since she’s had some good material before. Weird is also the name of the game when it comes to the Something or Other Shop which has a story of its own where the bulk of the main cast go to work there to earn a little extra money. It’s all nonsensical stuff that you feel is only funny to those that wrote it – and they wrote it when they were high and can’t remember why they thought it was funny.
Unfortunately, Di Gi Charat Nyo! does work through some rather very uninteresting and predictable material as well. There’s one episode that plays with the “Straw Millionaire” fable which has Dejiko gaining an item and then trading it continually for something better, though you just know it will end in total failure. Nothing is inspired or interesting about what she gets or how she gets it. The same can be said for the episode in which Dejiko gets hit by the white feather arrow which turns her into a Glimmering person that everyone worships. Dejiko goes into bland good girl mode because of it while everyone else tries to bring her back to who she really is. And it’s hard to imagine why anyone would really want to do that considering her personality.
I hate to admit it, but I actually had some hope after the seventh volume of the series since I thought that maybe Piyoko and the Gang could tilt the show back a little bit in a direction I’d like. That unfortunately hasn’t happened and what we get here is pretty much what has come before but with an even bigger cast now. The addition of the Gang is welcome though since that add a bit more colorful “dark” diversity to it by being poor bad guys, but by and large this volume is really just more of the same that we saw in the first six volumes. It has some cute moments but mostly it’s a series of gags that run too long and without enough to really hold onto the viewer, especially in a collected form like this.
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles
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.