Girls Bravo Vol. #2 - Mania.com



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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
  • Running time: 100
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Girls Bravo

Girls Bravo Vol. #2

By Chris Beveridge     August 29, 2005
Release Date: September 06, 2005


Girls Bravo Vol. #2
© Geneon Entertainment (USA), Inc.


What They Say
One rainy afternoon, Yukinari, Kirie and Miharu come home to find a girl lying unconscious in the bathroom. Her name is Koyomi, a member of the Seiren Space Management Bureau. She has come to Earth in order to bring Miharu back to Seiren! Then Koyomi's colleague, Tomoka, shows up too, and Yukinari's life becomes messier than ever!

The Review!
It's not really a harem show with just a couple of women so this volume takes care of that by bringing a few more in to live with Yukinari.

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. The main issue with the transfer with this series continues to be the dot crawl that's related to the credits, or more specifically, the Japanese credits. This volume doesn't have any real credits per se but the eye-catches with the logo and "first season" piece exhibit the issue. With the English credits for the show, the dot crawl on it is very minimized and almost inconsequential depending on your equipment and connection type. This was restricted to all of maybe five seconds across four episodes on our main setup but we did see more dot crawl throughout the episode itself when played on our low-end setup via composite cabling.

Packaging:
Similar to the first cover with all the girls in their bathing suits in the water, this one provide them in school uniforms and winter jackets while laying on snow and showing off lots of skin and midriff action. It's got great sex appeal. 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 are 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 Kirie 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 every volume especially if there isn't a lot of material produced in Japan or new material here. We get the ending 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)
Having really started disliking a number of harem shows over the last few years as they became a dominant force in what's been popular and coming over, Girls Bravo at first seemed like it was going to be just another entry in that already overworked genre. With the higher rating and more raunchy attitude to it, the series manages to stand out a bit more and even works to introduce the girls at a more leisurely pace and avoid one of the main issues – having every girl liking the same guy.

The opening volume kept things relatively to just Yukinari and Miharu getting to know each other while through that relationship reinforcing the kind of relationship that Yukinari and Kirie have. They aren't competing relationships since Kirie keeps defending Miharu against what she sees as Yukinari's perceived offenses and she doesn't seem to have any kind of hostility towards Miharu or even sees her as competition. It's not that she and Yukinari are any kind of serious couple either but they've had such a close relationship in a strange manner for so long that it wouldn't be surprising to have her feel threatened even a little with the arrival of Miharu so this change is most welcome.

While the trio certainly have an interesting relationship and then you have Fukuyama and his sister figuring into things with their own wacky antics, you really don't have a big harem set of characters yet. Maharu is off on Seiren and is really relegated to a very minor character but she proves useful here. Since her sister is missing she puts in a request at the Space Management Office to have someone go to Earth to retrieve her since it was an unauthorized transport and if they don't take care of it soon the Special Forces will stick their noses in and do just that. So that group sends off a young woman on her first mission to retrieve Miharu.

The young woman is named Koyomi, a very attractive and shy looking girl who arrives in Yukinari's bathroom of all places only to lose her memory for a time due to the transition. She has some scattered memories of her own past, including that of her father who is apparently from Earth, but she doesn't really remember much useful beyond her name. That and her overall fear of men since there are so few on Seiren and she had little to do with them after her father returned to Earth. While she manages to deal somewhat decently with Yukinari since Miharu and Kirie are there after she's discovered, the arrival of Fukuyama who insists upon marrying her on the spot sends her into a fit and before you know it she's run out of the house and into the rain.

The resulting chase material over the two episodes unearths some of what she's really there for and we learn of the time limit she has to accomplish it within. At the same time, she starts to get more familiar with Yukinari and while she doesn't exactly fall for him, he becomes the first male other than her father that she starts to get comfortable around – even though he does exhibit his allergy when they touch. What Koyomi is doing at this part of the series is providing a fresh look at the relationship that Yukinari and Miharu has and giving it its first real challenge by bringing her back and letting her sister have to deal with it. It also sets things up for Koyomi to come back, albeit with a pint sized blonde terror that makes me cringe, with the mission of finding a husband for Maharu which is just amusing in general.

The show takes a break from the serious stuff for a bit with the return of Koyomi and gives them a chance to have fun, such as the search for the husband bit that has the three girls dressing up as race queens to display some Honda motorcycles or doing some school related comedy that ends up getting Miharu drunk. This is all really needed by this point since the series has been surprisingly plot driven for so many episodes in a row. The sheer fun of multiple Miharu's and Fukuyama's reaction to it was priceless as is his tenacity.

In Summary:
Though Girls Bravo does dip into some of the traditional elements of the harem anime design, it's naughtier and slightly raunchier take along is a welcome change for a lot of it. I still have very fond memories of the banana scene from the first volume and it's rare to have a series like this have a memory like that. This volume plays up some more interesting plot pieces while introducing some new girls and establishing them on Earth and with Yukinari in a fairly plausible way. This is just a lot of fun and very well paced, keeping a good amount of energy mixed in with sexiness and actual story elements that move things forward.

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

Review Equipment
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Zenith DVB-318 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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