Girls High Vol. #3 - 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. #3

By Chris Beveridge     November 12, 2007
Release Date: November 06, 2007


Girls High Vol. #3
© Media Blasters


What They Say
Shimotakatani arrives at Ayano's house to formally ask for permission to date their daughter. However, Ayano's mother and sister are more likely to confuse him with one of their clients than a suitor. Eriko and the girls decide to start a maid cafe for the school festival, but Mari challenges them with a cat girl maid cafe! When the battle escalates to swimsuit massage parlors by the pool, Eriko and the others are about to find out what guys really want.

Contains episodes 9-12.

The Review!
While keeping to somewhat traditional stories, the raunchier humor and outlandish styles of the leads keeps Girl's High from becoming a retread of familiar 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 third and final installment of the series manages to work better than the second as it features some of the girls in cat ears and maid outfits as they prepare for the Culture Festival. 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 Momoka with some squid hanging from her mouth 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 Momoka in her middle school uniforms as some of the upbeat vocals playing alongside it. The background is done in a lilight blue 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:
Similar to the first volume, there are some rather good extras. Somewhat of a surprise is that the clean versions of the opening and closing sequences aren't included. The bonus episode runs just under seven minutes this time and puts the girls out in the woods as they're lost and trying to figure out how to get home without dying. It's fun in general but more so since Saionji is thrown into the mix again which adds plenty of antagonism. A new interview sequence is included which runs just over sixteen minutes. The roundtable aspect of it worked well in the previous volume and the confession time continues in here as the actresses reveal just how pure or awful they were in their mis-spent youth.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The freshman year for the girls comes to a close with these last four episodes. Not unlike the two previous volumes, nothing here is truly original in terms of the stories and plots used but its execution simply clicks in a way that lets it feel fresh and fun. The raunchy nature of the girls has slowed a bit since those first few episodes but there are still some moments that just make you laugh out loud at the audacity of it. How else can you react when Yuma clutches her crotch during her really bad period only to them shake hands with Eriko with blood on that hand. It's hilarious and so wrong at the same time. You won't see that in School Rumble.

As is the case with just about any show worth the time to watch, it's the characters and their interactions that make a series appealing. The six primary girls here really do feel like they're real in the sense that the animosity they sometimes have isn't forced and the closeness they exhibit at times comes across as genuine. That lets the trite situations work better than normal, especially something like the opening episode that revolves around Eriko overhearing that Kouda is dying. We know right off the bat that she's not dying but rather practicing for a play and it's obvious throughout how the coincidences are working to let it all play out properly. But the earnestness of the cast and the way it's all tied together gives it the right comedic timing to make it work. Especially when they do acknowledge it in the next episode momentarily before going on as usual.

Thankfully this is the only real danger episode in the series as we avoid having one of the girls deciding to leave the school for some reason during the last episodes. Many series try to close out with that kind of silly forced drama but that's simply not done here. Instead the focus is entirely on the comedy and it excels there. The episode that had me laughing the most is the one that centers around Ayano as her mother and older sister (half sister, though she doesn't know) insist upon meeting her boyfriend since she's so obviously got one. Shimotakatani finds himself invited there and under intense pressure by the women to figure out where he stands. His background wins them over even though he's going the naïve route of not using connections to get ahead.

Shimotakatani has been an amusing boyfriend for Ayano from the start, as is the idea of her being the first to get a boyfriend and actually get somewhere out of the group. Though they're keeping things pure and clean at first, the push to go further is certainly there and only becomes more so when Kouda tries to teach Shimotakatani the right way to go forward. This inadvertently leads to all of them discovering that he has a glasses fetish which in turn leads to some very amusing moments as the girls all start donning them just as Ayano tries to move away from them. The pairing really works well as they exude nothing but pure young love. Ayano's sister is positively hilarious in the way she plays with them over this, especially in her overtly sexual mannerisms.

What managed to be more amusing than this episode was the one revolving around the Culture Festival. These stories have a long tradition in anime and manga so I wasn't surprised to see one here nor that they went the route of setting up a maid café. The competition comes with Saionji in the classroom next door who has set up a catgirl maid café and then bumps it up to a little sister café when Yuma decides to shorten everyone's skirts so you can see their panties easily. The competition between the two classes to take the top prize is hilarious as they go overboard to bring in the guys to their respective places. That Kouda and Eriko go so far as to start a spa and massage service which is done by using their bodies to massage just shows how much they want to win. The fanservice is huge in this episode but it's tied to a lot of great comedy, both verbal and physical.

In Summary:
Girl's High has been a real surprise since it could have been just as safe and secure as a hundred other similar shows. Instead it went for the kind of raunchy and dirty humor that is found more in boys shows of a similar nature and ran with it. These girls feel more honest and real than a lot of others even as they keep to a number of standard traditions, both in stories and how they act. Few series anymore make me want to check out the manga afterwards to get more but Girl's High is an exception in this. The series may not be right for more episodes but what we got here is spot on hilarious and definitely worth checking out. Very recommended for jaded school comedy fans and those who want to see the girls get their funny on in a more risqué manner.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,Voice Actor Interviews,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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