Girls Bravo Vol. #1 (also w/box) - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: B

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: B
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Menus Rating: B+
  • Extras Rating: B-
  • Age Rating: 17 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Geneon Entertainment (USA), Inc.
  • MSRP: 24.98/34.98
  • Running time: 100
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Girls Bravo

Girls Bravo Vol. #1 (also w/box)

By Chris Beveridge     May 16, 2005
Release Date: June 14, 2005



What They Say
All his life Yukinari has been bullied and abused by girls so he naturally develops gynophobia-- a fear of women. In fact, just being around girls makes him break out in hives! Then, he mysteriously gets transported to a world without men and meets a beautiful girl named Miharu who inexplicably doesn't affect him! He tries to resume a normal life, but then more girls from the other planet find a way to follow them...

Directed by Ei Aoki of Please Teacher! and Please Twins! fame.

The Review!
Take one young looking dork who is essentially a doormat for women and then surround him with numerous women who want him and you have the basic ingredients for just about any harem show. What makes Girls Bravo work?

Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in its original language of Japanese. The stereo mix is fairly standard for shows of this nature where it's mostly dialogue driven that's center channel based while the music and the chaotic noises that surround what happens to the lead flesh out the stereo channels. The forward soundstage has more of a full feel to it than a lot of directionality but it's well done and serves the shows material well. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout and we had no problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.

Video:
Originally airing in 2004, the transfer for this series is presented in its original full frame aspect ratio. The series has an interesting look to it that alternates purposely between some very sharp and vivid scenes to a number that are soft and hazy, which can mess with how you're trying to take in the visuals. For the most part, this looks good but there are some problems to it that will display differently on various systems. In watching the release between my two main sets I had one set of consistent problems and another that cropped up on the second set. On our main setup, the most visible problem is during the Japanese opening in the first episode where the pink text has a huge amount of dot crawl going on around it. This shows up in other episodes in the eye-catches which keep the original text as well. It doesn't affect the English created credits that are used in subsequent episodes where a clean opening was provided, which goes back to it being a source issue. Much of the show otherwise looked good with the colors alternating depending on how sharp or soft the scene is supposed to be. When watching this on our office setup, a Dell 23" widescreen set, the dot crawl was much more prevalent throughout the series, from the teachers burgundy uniform in the first episode to the pink hair Miharu has.

Packaging:
The front cover doesn't use any of the Japanese artwork but provides a skintastic shot of the five female leads in various swimsuits laying in a pool all snuggling up to each other. This just… well, it works and it works well. Other than the younger ones that are here it's definitely one that screams sex appeal and will hit the teen and college market nicely that love these kinds of shows. The back cover provides a bunch of small shots from the show underneath the minimal premise summary. The discs episodes and features are clearly listed as is the production information. There's a lot of chunks of empty space around the cover due to the way things are laid out and I continue to pine for a real technical grid. The insert for this release replicates the front cover artwork while the reverse side lists the episodes and the dates for future volumes.

Menu:
The main menu layout is a cute piece that has Miharu along the left side with an up close face shot where she blinks a few times as bubbles float up all around her, some of them with animation from the show playing in them, all of it set to a brief clip of the upbeat opening song playing along. It does unfortunately fade out just as it really gets going so it's kind of awkward. The layout itself is straightforward with easy navigation and quick access to the episodes. The disc also correctly read our players language presets and played accordingly.

Extras:
The extras are sort of standard fare we like to see on first volumes especially if there isn't a lot of material produced in Japan or new material here. We get the opening sequence done in its clean form as well as its original Japanese form. Also included is a brief line art gallery that showcases some design pieces.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Geneon releases their first 17 and up title with Girls Bravo and a lot of the first volume doesn't feel all that different than a lot of other harem shows but then you really get into things and you have to wonder how this could have aired without some edits, or at least some seriously raised eyebrows. It's harem anime that's wanting to skirt the hentai line and smiling as it gets close to it.

Girls Bravo, the first season of which runs for eleven episodes, is the latest show that takes the premise of your basic wimpy downtrodden type and throws him into a situation you know he can't handle. As we're introduced to Yukinari, we get to see what his life is like. With his short stature and baby face, he's treated like a child by most at best and like scum to be walked over at worst. That comes from everyone at school and even those one or two people he probably could consider something of a friend. All of this has led to something of a phobia of sorts of women where other than one or two of them, any time spent around women gives him a massive rash.

After a rough day at school, Yukinari heads home where he lives alone (of course) and walks into his bathroom only to find his next door neighbor, Kojima, standing up almost completely naked after taking a bath. He'd forgotten that she was using his bath since hers was broken so she promptly starts beating the snot out of him. The beating results in his being thrown into the tub as well and that happens a convenient time as the tub turns into a portal.

Before he knows it, Yukinari wakes up inside a much larger and ornate bathing room where an attractive young woman with pink hair is completely naked in front of him and supremely excited to see him. She introduces herself as Miharu and promptly gets him all settled and is just smiling the entire time. As it turns out, she'd seen images of Yukinari in her bath before and knew that he was someone that she was waiting for. The two start to get along well but that gets thrown off by the arrival of her sister so they flea out into the city. As it turns out, Yukinari got transported to another world called Seiran and you can see the Earth hanging in the sky. The two worlds occasionally connect in some way and people go back and forth. Seiran is a beautiful place that feels like something out of a fairy tale European city but it has one important drawback; the population is made up of only about 10% men. The result is that when women see a man that's unclaimed, it's open season. For Yukinari and his rash – which he doesn't have around Miharu – it's a recipe for disaster so the two take off and try to avoid all of it and find a way to get him back to Earth.

When he eventually does find the way back, Miharu ends up tagging along with him before he realizes it and next thing you know he's got a live in girlfriend. Of course, Kojima's furious about this – partially because she was shocked by his disappearance and even more so by his reappearance with a naked buxom woman – and every time she comes over to the house the two seem to be in some state of sexual encounter that's not really what it seems but she'll fly off the handle anyway because she has to live up to the character stereotype that she is most of the time. There are plenty of gags that can be done here and some of the basics are done. What ends up happening though is that since Miharu is on Earth and can get into a lot of trouble if left alone, they get her into school.

How though? Well, every school as its Mendou. For Girls Bravo, it's a blond haired playboy named Kazuharu who is so overtly sexual on top of his incredible family wealth that the two sides of him actively compete. When he sees Kojima, he races right up to her and has both hands right on her breasts and just asks her common questions. Everything he does is in pursuit of the opposite sex and how much he can get his hands on them. He does actually get a number of amusing moments though and comes across as a mixture between Mendou and the blond male character from Saber Marionette J that was also the Mendou type. Kazuaru ends up falling head over heals Miharu so he takes care of ensuring that she gets into the school.

Over the course of the four episodes we get to see the growth of the group as a few secondary characters are brought into play and the cast settles into their expected routines. You get the gags that have Kojima beating up on Yukinari due to the situations he winds up in with Miharu, or you get Kazuharu getting involved in the dynamic as he tries to get further with any of the girls that he can. One of the best things that shows up in this series is Kazuharu's sister Lisa. She's just as bad as he is in her own way as she's something of a witch type who has two bodyguards who will do anything for her as they've basically raised her. She's a piece of work as she's after Yukinari. She has a great relationship with her brother that includes shooting him point blank whenever he gets in her way. Lisa adds an even stranger layer to the story that's already fairly weird.

One of the best moments of the opening volumes comes in the second episode. When Miharu leaves the house because she wants to try some of the school curry bread, she wanders along to an open market where she sees bananas. The seller there is surprised that she'd never seen one before and talks about how they used to be the king of import fruits years ago and how it was the reason he opened his store and so forth and shows her how to peel one and gives it to her. While he goes on about this, Miharu gives one of the best broadcast versions of a blowjob you'll see in an anime. She is truly masterful with that banana and every single one thereafter.

In Summary:
Girls Bravo falls into that wacky category of harem anime and it hits a heck of a lot of the clichés here very hard but it also does it very well. The designs are attractive, the comedy works well and has enough little bits to separate it out to stand on its own. The secondary characters are what made a lot of this show work for me as we got to know the brother/sister team and the way they end up influencing the story. So far I don't see this one breaking heavily from tradition but it's certainly living up to the standards and executing it quite well. With it being a bit more racy and raunchy than a lot of other series that gives it something a bit different as well and brings it to the line where it skirts some adult releases. Light, bouncy and fun, it's eye-candy at its best.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,Original Opening, Textless Opening,Line Art Gallery

Review Equipment
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Zenith DVB-318 RP-82 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player via DVI, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.

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