Golden Boy Vol. #1 - 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: ADV Films
  • MSRP: 29.98
  • Running time: 90
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Golden Boy

Golden Boy Vol. #1

By Chris Beveridge     March 24, 2002
Release Date: April 23, 2002


Golden Boy Vol. #1
© ADV Films


What They Say
Get ready for the ultimate road trip as wandering student Kintaro Oe
hits the highways of Japan in the wildest quest for knowledge ever! Whether
he's re-programming the president of an all-female software company,
checkmating the malicious daughter of a malevolent politician, or defending
the sweet virtue of a noodle maker's daughter, Kintaro's cross-country
odyssey is guaranteed to keep your sides aching with laughter! Take a
lesson from the Book of Love with Golden Boy: Treasure Hunt.

The Review!
Golden Boy is one of those titles that just has a great following because it succeeds in the most important thing ? it?s main character is someone you just can?t help but become fond of.

Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this disc in its original language of Japanese. The track is your basic stereo mix with everything being kept to the forward speakers and nothing to the rears. Dialogue, which makes up the bulk of this show, is nice and clear and there weren?t any noticeable issues with it. We listened to the English track on our TV/DVD combo and didn?t have any problems with that track either.

Video:
Released in the mid 90?s, the quality of this OVA production stands up strong against today?s computer assisted animation. In fact, for many fans, this will shine through much better with it?s look than a lot of the shinier new material. Colors are rich and flesh tones are simply?. Well, let?s just say that they look real good. There?s some slight cross coloration in a few scenes where the line work is very tightly drawn, but otherwise there?s little to find fault with here. Fans of this show will be extremely pleased with this transfer.

Packaging:
The first volume uses a variant on the popular piece of artwork for the series with Kintaro being manipulated with strings by the women he invariably finds himself surrounded by. With the fanservice so strong on the front cover, it?s going to catch many peoples eyes as they scan the shelves for something. The back cover provides a brief summary of the shows inside as well as the episode titles. Production information and technical specs are all clearly listed. The extras section is slightly off as we were unable to find any ADV Previews on the disc.

Menus:
The menus are laid out in-theme as the notebook that Kintaro always has with him. While fairly simple, it looks great and definitely fits in with the feel of the show, especially for repeated viewings. The layout is nice and access times are nice and fast to the submenus, most of which also play music like the main menu does.

Extras:
There?s a couple of good included extras provided for this release. A clean opening is always welcome and with the great animation used for it, this is no exception. A clean ending is also provided, but definitely falls into the why bother category. The ending is a black screen with the credits scrolling by. So a clean ending is a black screen for 3 minutes with the end song playing. There?s also several pages worth of black and white production sketches (though I?d been hoping for original Japanese cover art).

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Golden Boy is one of those rare shows that pulls off some great sexual humor while still making the main character a lovable everyman who you?d want for a best friend. The kind of guy who will go to the extremes necessary to make sure that he takes the punishment for something someone else did.

The show is about Kintaro Oe, a twenty five year old guy whose life is lived on his mountain bike as he travels all over Japan looking for more education. He?s not a bum by any stretch of the imagination, but someone whose so thirsty for knowledge that he dropped out of Law school before graduation because he mastered every course the school offered and just wanted to get along with things. So he makes his way all over with his handy notebook and takes various jobs that will teach him something new.

Such is how we meet him, he?s on his way to a new job in a small computer software company. We see how he taught himself BASIC in a cram session overnight without a computer but with a paper keyboard to mimic everything. It?s a funny piece but show something of how his mind works. When he gets to the office, after an accident that will cause later issues, he finds himself nearly thrown out but manages to keep on board by doing odd jobs such as cleaning the bathroom.

Almost every episode has a bathroom gag of some sort, which really pushes the line of good taste and gut wrenching hilarity with the jokes. Having him hugging the high-tech toilet and going on about how his Queen, the companies gorgeous female president, uses this as her throne and can?t resist fondling it and talking about it just makes you laugh and laugh hard. Especially with some of the surprises that come from it.

The good thing about this show is that it?s episodic, so that everything gets wrapped up in the end and we have Kintaro moving off to his next new learning experience. While his computer stint was great (especially if you deal with servers in any way), I doubt an entire series would have worked. But having him then go on to work in an election campaign only to have him start lusting after the candidates daughter who tries to play him (only to get played by him) rounds out the character more. And then shifting him to an udon cook and living with a family starts to bring out more character and deepens just how much the viewer cares about him.

The shows animation is just gorgeous as well, and with women being a prime feature, has some of the most gorgeous looking character designs. At times, I felt like I was watching some U-jin story as some of the characters traits and designs seemed to go towards that direction, such as the dot-eyes and hair designs you may have seen in Sakura Diaries. Being traditionally animated, it also features some truly exceptional attention to detail with the backgrounds and in some of the wild-takes that go on, such as when Kintaro goes from lusty goofball to the most serious man in the world, you can easily imagine how this style inspired the GTO style of doing the same.

Prior to watching this, I?d been told that the dub was the must-see version first as the lead actor, Doug Smith, essentially had the role of a lifetime with it. Since there?s a fair amount of swearing in it, we had to go with the Japanese track with subtitles for the first viewing since my daughter was playing in the room, but we definitely found ourselves dying from laughter in many of the scenes. Listening to the English dub later, I can definitely see why it?s a favorite among many sub fans as Smith does a spot on job of capturing the essence of what Kintaro is and handling the varying emotions quite well. I still have to throw my cards on the side of the original track though as I found many of the jokes there to be more amusing. But it?s definitely a show worth checking out both tracks for, especially if you?re still in the crowd who thinks no dub can be good.

Golden Boy was a title I had missed during its original release on VHS (though I did get the first laserdisc and never watched it) and am glad I finally got a chance to check out. It?s got a great mix of heartwarming and utterly ecchi that is perfectly balanced. Bring on more!

Features
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Clean credit animation,Image gallery

Review Equipment
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Skyworth 1050P Progressive Scan codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.

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