Girls High Vol. #2 - 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: 13 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Media Blasters
  • MSRP: 19.95
  • Running time: 100
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Girls High

Girls High Vol. #2

By Chris Beveridge     September 11, 2007
Release Date: September 04, 2007


Girls High Vol. #2
© Media Blasters


What They Say
The school's pool is out of commission, so Eriko and the girls have PE class at a nearby middle school. There they meet Momoka, Yuma's perfect and pretty little sister. Momoka decides to weave her way into the girls' hearts, pitting Yuma against the others. Finally, she tries to break Ayano up with her boyfriend, and leaves the blame with Yuma. If one of the girls can't see through Momoka's lies, her sister will be out of the group forever! Then it's a flashback to middle school, where Yuma and Eri met for the first time... as enemies!

Contains episodes 5-8.

The Review!
Nothing is worse than little sisters is the lesson from these episodes that provide more raunchy all girl material.

Audio:
Particularly frustrating with what could be a solid comedy series like this, Media Blasters has opted to release Girls High with only the original Japanese language track, a stereo mix encoded at 192 kbps. The mix for the series is decent enough though there isn't a lot to expect from it since it's mostly a basic piece for dialogue and situational comedy. The forward soundstage is full sounding for the most part and comes across clean and clear. We had no problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.

Video:
Originally airing in 2006, the transfer for this TV series is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and is enhanced for anamorphic playback. With plenty of bright and colorful animation that has a very smooth and fluid feeling to it, Girls High is a good looking title but one whose flaws are fairly evident at times. The opening sequence in particular isn't the best as there is a fair bit of noise in the background and blocking going on in several areas. Within the show itself things tend to settle down a bit better than the opening sequences though there is still some visible noise in the backgrounds that causes visual shifting. Cross coloration is thankfully absent though and the line noise is mostly restricted to the opening sequence during some of the busier pans. It does crop up in a few places during the four episodes but is typically in the more jarring pans and zooms.

Packaging:
The second installment of the series doesn't stand out quite as strongly as the first but it serves up the girls in swimsuits with lots of blues to it. The only downside is that whatever the note is across the stomach isn't translated anywhere so you don't get whatever the joke is. The logo is cutely done as it takes the plaid of their skirts and brings that into it while adding a few sparkles and hearts as well. The back cover kicks up the pink factor a fair bit though as it has a cute shot of Eriko in her middle school uniform and a few small shots from the show itself. The laid uses the plaid to good effect while also bringing in the school theme with some lined paper and a pencil. The summary covers the basics while also clearly listing the discs extras and episode count. The technical grid is solid as it lists all the basics in a clean and easy to read format with enough space to not feel cramped. No insert is included no is the cover reversible.

Menu:
The menu design for the series is simple with a cute shot of Akari and Ogawa in their middle school uniforms as some of the upbeat vocals playing alongside it. The background is done in a lime green shade with the usual style applied to it but it works well and is bright and cheery. The navigation strip is along the right but for some reason the Features section is off higher to the point where you may actually miss it at first. Access times are nice and fast with no transitional animations included. With the release containing only one language track, no subtitle options are though you can change them on the fly.

Extras:
Similr to the first volume, there are some rather good extras in here in addition to the basics such as the clean version of the ending sequence. The second part of the interview/roundtable session with the Japanese voice actresses is here which runs about sixteen minutes. It kicks off with confessions about their own high school years which paints them either as women with too much to hide or women who had very bland high school years. Also included is a bonus episode that runs about eight minutes or so with a small comical side story.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The first installment of Girls High proved to be rather amusing in the way it presented these high school girls and how they deal with their situations. With hardly any guys in the show outside of a couple of teachers and Ayano's boyfriend, we're treated to an unflinching comical view of how these women deal with their lives and frustrations. Though it's certain that it's not something you can generalize across all women, it is amusing to see something like this in a sea of shows that has women generally nowhere near as blunt.

The stories on this volume continue with what we've seen before though it does get to avoid the setup material of getting the two groups of girls together into one group. The group as it is now has its first major problem with the introduction of Momoka, Yuma's younger sister. Still in middle school, she's apparently quite the beauty though it's hard to see it when she's actually on screen. Being slightly younger and having a fairly pure and innocent set of manners, she's the darling of all of Yuma's friends. Yuma however dislikes her quite a lot and there is a great deal of animosity there that Eriko and the other's can't figure out.

It's more obvious to the viewer that there's more than meets the eye here though as in the midst of talking with everyone she has some little grins that give it away. It doesn't take long for her personality to manifest as she interferes with Ayano's relationship with her far too sweet boyfriend. To make it even more vicious, she sets the rumors so that it appears to be coming from Yuma. Tying it there and then presenting such an innocent look herself, Momoka is able to play the classic role and get away with it. The way it causes the relationships between the girls to change so quickly is somewhat surprising but it fits in with the quick and vicious nature that has been shown at other times. Over the two episodes that this story plays out, it really lets everyone establish themselves better while also letting Ayano have some trauma over her beloved Shimotakatani.

As much fun as the storyline is, it's the second half of the disc that's the best yet. The show decides to go back in time a bit by about three years so we see the girls when they were thirteen years old. Each episode is focused on one of the groups with a small bit of crossover here and there that just works perfectly in the present context. The episode focusing on Eriko and Yuma is hilarious as when the two first met they just grated against each other and were in instant competition mode. Of course, it did start by what Yuma did, something that Ayano reminds her of, but the result is that the pair just have a lot of interesting competitions while trying to gain the upper hand in who is the best at various things.

The second episode focuses on Akari and her friends which has just as many good moments to it, particularly in regards to Himeji. Going back to how she was just a little while ago and the changes she made to her life when her first true love of Odagiri arrived in the school is priceless. The way she was motivated is even more amusing in the present context as everyone is rather nervous about the revelation. The trio of Akari, Ogawa and Himeji at this point is fun to watch as they're rather close in their own ways and have a good chemistry together. Ogawa in particular is fun since she looks even younger and cuter than she does now. In the end though, it's the way all of them act as they're wanting boyfriends and trying to act older than they are which provides the laughs. Of course, Odagiri's arrival also provides for some great humor.

In Summary:
Girls High hits another series of high notes with the four episodes on this volume. Whether it's the faux date that the girls end up on with their teachers or a look at their pasts, it just covers so much ground. The fanservice level hits some good highs here as well as there is plenty of pool material mixed into the stories that are told. The use of Momoka as a foil early on isn't a surprise once she's formally introduced and it does good in solidifying the relationships between everyone. A little adversity helps once in awhile. In the end though, what this series does the most is make me laugh. There's a certain kind of viciousness as times that feels so out of place in comparison to other shows that it really shines all the more here because of it.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,Clean Closing,Voice Actress Interview Roundtable,Bonus Episode

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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