Here is Greenwood - 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: 24.95
  • Running time: 180
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Here is Greenwood

Here is Greenwood

By Chris Beveridge     September 13, 2004
Release Date: August 31, 2004


Here is Greenwood
© Media Blasters


What They Say
Meet Kazuya Hasukawa, a regular teenager who wants to live a normal, peaceful life. But when his first love marries his older brother and moves into their house, Kazuya decides that he has to move out to preserve his sanity! Things go from bad to worse when he discovers he's been assigned to the strangest college dorm on campus - an asylum called "Greenwood" - where all the weirdoes, outcasts, and lunatics at the prestigious Ryokuto Academy reside.

The Review!
One of those "classic" OVA series that seemed to be in limbo for too many years has finally arrived on DVD.

Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in its original language of Japanese. The series has a pretty simple stereo mix that's not got a lot of directionality to it but fills the forward soundstage nicely. There isn't a lot that really requires a wide range either since it's pretty heavy on the dialogue and the wordplay humor. We checked out the English track as well and didn't note any issues with it either. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout and we had no problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.

Video:
Originally released between 1991 and 1992, the transfer for this show is presented in its original full frame aspect ratio. At the time, Greenwood was a very good looking OVA release that mixed soft and earthy style dormitory backgrounds with smoother and slightly more lively colors for the characters and their outfits. The series really maintains a warm and natural feel to it, something that definitely stands out compared to a lot of today's shows. The colors maintain a solid feel throughout the bulk of it, aliasing is minimal and I can't recall any cross coloration during normal playback.

Packaging:
Presented in a single keepcase with a flipping hinge along the middle, the two discs for the Greenwood series have a good looking cover. The front cover has a nice shot of the four leads in all black set against a window with leaves blowing by. There's some good distinctiveness to the characters and the colors that just draws me to it. The back cover has a number of small character shots and a decent summary of the premise. The discs features, episode numbers and titles along with the basic production information is all clearly listed and easy to figure out. The insert included in the release has the chapter stops for each disc on its own side.

Menu:
The menu format used for this release is similar across the two discs but each features a different static image used inside the white border. Set to a section of the shows ending song playing along, the selections are lined along the bottom and are quick and easy to access. This is a pretty straightforward navigational menu that works without issue. Unfortunately, none of our players language presets were picked up when we ran the disc.

Extras:
Fans of the Japanese cast will adore the extras here, which has the three "Stations" that were used on the Japanese DVD release that runs about 32 minutes total. These have the various actors basically talking about anything and everything, often to their own embarrassment, and is just a fun piece to listen to in general. Only a few static images play across the screen while they talk. A karaoke section is also included, though it's very short and there's even a bonus little piece called "Minelva" that does a parody of a Minolta camera commercial.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Here is Greenwood was one of the early releases that then fledgling Software Sculptors had put out. Eventually ending up under Central Park Media, we saw it for the first time when the laser disc release came out and just fell in love with the show. At the time of that release, there was precious little that was like this with its offbeat sense of humor and just the sarcasm of some of the characters in how they portrayed it.

Here is Greenwood, based on the manga and adopting various tales from it and making reference to others, follows young Kazuya as he arrives at Ryokuto Academy. He's actually a month late in getting there due to some bad luck that put him in the hospital. In fact, Kazuya's not exactly one of the luckiest teens around. The woman he had fallen in love with was seduced away by his brother and the two married and had Kazuya living there in frustration. But things have worked out enough that he's able to go to the Academy now and get away from it all, put some distance there and move on.

Of course, his brother turns out to be the nurse there.

Ryokuto Academy is a pretty average academy in general, but with his luck, Kazuya ends up in the Greenwood dormitory where all the oddballs seem to end up. His next door neighbors are the strangely popular Mitsuru and Shinobu. Both of the guys are in the handsome league, they don't seem especially strange and they're almost quite normal compared to a lot of the others in the dorm. But their sense of humor and manipulation set them apart as they play up things for their own weird amusement. This becomes evident right off the bat when they introduce Kazuya to his new roommate, Shun, who happens to be a girl in an all boys Academy, and he has to help her keep the secret otherwise she'll get tossed out of there.

The series has a strange beat of its own that it follows. There are some eleven volumes of the manga that this is based off of and they reference events that follow there, such as things that go on between the first and second episode and how Kazuya finds a girl he's interested in. Time passes by between episodes as well as suddenly you find Kazuya as the RA for Greenwood and other events like that. None of it takes away from the real meat of the show though and that's just how this odd group of people function so well together and deal with sometimes even stranger situations.

One of my favorites comes in the form of Shinobu's sister Nagisa. Ever since they were children, he's always managed to get away with literally everything and often pinned the blame of things on her. Growing up she constantly heard about how she should be more like her brother and that's driven her crazy over the years. Now she's fairly wealthy, has a foursome of men in black named A, B, C and D that obey her orders and she's intent on having her revenge on Shinobu. From kidnapping, deciding that she likes women better than men and a heavy arsenal of weaponry, she provides a challenge to her brother but only in the smallest of senses since he's often so easily able to outdo her and turn the tables, usually due to her own eagerness. She's definitely a fun character to watch get frustrated and deal with that reaction.

Add in an episode with a ghost girl who has decided she's going to haunt Mitsuru since she never got to go out on a date with a cute boy or the episode where the entire dormitory puts on a movie that deals with a fantasy storyline along with all the usual romance, school and other satirical bits that fill up Greenwood and you get a really good show. It's surprisingly sweet at times as well but in the end I think it's just a comedy that was slightly ahead of its time and earned itself a solid cult following. It's been many years since I saw it last but it still made me laugh just as much as it did the first time and that definitely says something to me.

In Summary:
Here is Greenwood has been highly requested by folks around these parts since we first started up the site and it's taken many years and a change in ownership for it to finally come out. But the wait is definitely worthwhile as this double disc set, at a excellent price for all that it contains, is probably the best the series has looked in its US release. With it containing all that was made, it's a great way to spend a couple of evenings checking out and enjoying its special kind of wit and humor. Greenwood probably won't ever achieve any mass audience appeal, but for those that take the plunge or are experiencing it again like I am, you'll find a real gem in the rough here.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,Voice Actor Talk Show,Karaoke Song,Minelva Commercial

Review Equipment
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Zenith DVB-318 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player via DVI with upconversion set to 720p, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.

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