Girls Bravo Vol. #3 - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: B+

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: A-
  • 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. #3

By Chris Beveridge     October 20, 2005
Release Date: November 01, 2005



What They Say
With fights over the TV, magical transformations and Fukuyama's amorous actions, Yukinari has more than his fair share of girl troubles. Fortunately, lucky Miharu has won the ultimate prize: a hot springs vacation for everyone! But unluckily, the hot springs have dried up. Determined to have fun anyway, the group discovers a nearby river to swim in. But when the sun sets, the real adventure starts—they are lost!


The Review!
Girls Bravo continues to be a show that I feel so wrong for enjoying but I can't help laughing so much with it.

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 original text in the show which is just in the eye-catches as of this volume. 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:
Stepping back from the massive sex appeal of the previous two volumes, this cover has the four leads sitting on their knees on the grass and looking up. Surprisingly there's no gratuitous breast shots and even their legs are mostly covered but they have great cute blushing expressions on their faces. 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 Lisa 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. This installment gives us a bit more this time around as we get the textless and original versions of the second ending sequence as well as a new art gallery of production line art.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Plenty of shows produce chuckles and smiles as they go about their humor but when a show makes us laugh out loud it's something that we take note of since not that many really go that far. Each new volume of Girls Bravo manages to go over the top just a bit more and pushes that limit just enough that it has us laughing without being completely offensive.

The mix of episodes in this volume, which brings the first season to a close and kicks off with the first episode of the second season, has a lot of highlights but starts off with a somewhat less than stellar episode. The premise behind it is to showcase some of Tomoka's powers and to add yet another woman to the fold as she uses her boingy hammer on Ebi and the little creature turns into an adorable little green haired girl who can only say "nya". There's a bit of chaos that ensues as everyone finds her cute beyond belief but it's Lisa who arrives and becomes the defender of little Ebi as Tomoka is ready to turn her back into normal since Ebi is getting way too much attention. This allows us to see into the past in as she first discovered the room of magic and created her own tiny friend and what happened. It's instructive and all as to why she is the way she is but the entire Ebi transformation stuff just had me fearful of another character drawing attention away from the more interesting ones.

But that proved to be a non-issue as the next two episodes which closed out the first season moves the action to the hot springs in the mountains. Yukinari and the girls head up there for some fun only to find the place isn't quite as good as promised. There's enough fun as it starts off with them enjoying time out by the river and enjoying the area but it gets completely wild when the group ends up at another lodge where Kazuhara and Lisa are staying. In fact, now that they've got everyone there, they've bought up all the lodges in the area to create the Fukuyama Resort Area and have completely control over everything. The hot springs get comical as he turns them into a mixed bath area and then he ends up in a ping pong challenge with the girls, starting by getting Kirie to bet that she'd provide a full body wash for him if he wins.

These episodes are just hysterical at times and have so much nudity that you just laugh even more that, even though it's the home video version, they've taken it as far as they have. They do play with the conspicuously obvious items in the way sometimes but just as often they go and show a heck of a lot more and it works well with this cast and this setting. In a way, nudity shouldn't really add more to things but since so many harem style shows have become so safe since the original Tenchi OVAs which were a bit racy for the time, it's so completely refreshing to see something like this.

What surprised me more was that the first episode of the second season went completely beyond the two hot springs episodes. It takes us back to the school setting and Kazuharu has set in motion a new plan with the help of his sister to get Miharu at long last. The setting moves to the pool area where everyone is in their standard uniforms and ready for class when they find out that the teacher won't be there due to a bit of trickery so it's a free time swim class. Kazuharu's plan goes further by turning the pool into a huge resort style pool that conveniently removes all the men but him and provides string bikini's for all the women that want them. Yukinari manages to avoid getting tossed out but he probably wishes he had when they discover that the strange poles that are scattered throughout area actually are part of Lisa's magic and it allows people to switch bodies.

Yep, a body switching episode. It's an overdone thing but with the kind of humor used here it gets even raunchier and ever so wrong. It starts off simply with Kazuharu and Yukinari switching bodies but Kazuharu eventually finds his way into Miharu's body and starts molesting himself. That's bad enough by itself but when Lisa's magic causes a giant octopus to show up, it's tentacle time. I practically fell out of my seat when Kazuharu as Miharu got scooped up by the tentacle which then proceed to violate her swimsuit and instead of crying out in despair he revels in it and practically climaxes constantly over it. It's exactly what men would do in that situation and to have it shown like this, with the added fun of Kirie's body being involved, is simply priceless.

The shows visual quality is just as good in these episodes as the past episodes. The designs are nice and fluid and the nudity is as jiggly as can be. The scenes with this are often done with a bit more misting to them but plenty of them are clean and clear as well. The animation quality in general is good throughout as well with plenty of fast paced action sequences that look great, such as the entire ping pong battle. What really surprised me with how fantastic it looked was the water animation in the last episode with the pool. The CG animation for it was just fantastic and it meshed very well with the character animation.

In Summary:
Each installment of this show makes me think I shouldn't be enjoying this but it just cracks me up and provides plenty of fan service in a more honest way than a lot of shows do. Any show that actually shows a full human body brush sequence with all the nudity to it that isn't rated 18+ certainly gets my interest. The added plus is that the cast are fun to watch and the Fukuyama's have both completely grown on me and provide a lot of fun. In fact, Miharu ends up being the weakest character in general as the rest of them all have a lot more fun things to do. This show shouldn't be this much fun but I can't get enough of it, a real rarity with harem shows these days.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,Textless Ending 2,Original Ending 2,Production 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.

COMMENTS AND RESPONSES

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jnager 3/13/2012 7:56:23 PM

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