Here is Greenwood - Mania.com



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  • Audio Rating: n/a
  • Video Rating: n/a
  • Packaging Rating: n/a
  • Menus Rating: n/a
  • Extras Rating: n/a
  • 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 jjmatthews     July 18, 2005
Release Date: August 31, 2004



The Review!
Audio:
For this review, we listened to the original Japanese language track. Dialogue is clear throughout. Music and sound effects are used freely and effectively in the series to aid the viewer in understanding the often-hilarious events on-screen. Music and sound effects are also clean and clear. This is primarily a dialogue driven comedy, so the Dolby Digital Stereo recording does justice to the material. We listened to the final episode using the English language track and again, the dialogue was clear. We did note at least two instances where no English dub was heard where Japanese dialogue was present. No distortion or other technical anomalies were noted.

Video:
The Here is Greenwood anime was produced in 1991 and not released on DVD until 2004. The DVD edition is presented in 1.33:1 aspect ratio and the transfer is done quite well for an anime that was already thirteen years old when released on DVD. We watched the DVD in 480p format. There are a few visual artifacts widely scattered throughout the episodes, but they are never intrusive and most viewers will never notice them.

The animation is fluid and pleasing to the eye with a watercolor feeling at times. Colors are reproduced nicely, from the more muted earth tones of the settings to the more vivid coloration of the characters’ hair, eyes and clothing. There is no noticeable color bleed and aliasing is minimal. The subtitles seemed a little large and blocky compared to most anime and contained a few misspellings.


Packaging:
Packaging is pretty basic for Here is Greenwood; a dual-disc keep case is the only available option. The front of the case has a nice layout of the four main characters. The back of the case contains several scenes from various episodes and a summary of the anime.


Menu:
Here is Greenwood has a simple menu system. The main menu navigation style is a straight forward, horizontal list at the bottom of the screen. Disc one has the following menu items: Play, Set-up, Scene Access and Trailers. The menu on disc two consists of Play, Set-up, Scene Access and Extras. The menus are not animated and the backgrounds are still frames showing various characters. Each episode, except the final one, is divided into six chapters; these consist of five points in the episode and a preview of the next episode. The menus are simple, easy to use and function well.


Extras:
There are three extras included on the DVD edition of Here is Greenwood. All the extras are on the second DVD. The extras included are “Voice Actor Talk Show”, “Here is Greenwood Karaoke” and “Minelva”.

The voice actor “talk show” is really more the Japanese voice actors in non-stop, stream of consciousness improv show. It’s wacky and insane at times, but we found it to be hilarious and we were continuously laughing out loud at their antics.

The karaoke extra doesn’t actually seem to have anything to do with karaoke. It is more of a brief thank you note from the cast and crew with highlight clips and music running along with the text of the note. The music is catchy, so it’s definitely worth checking out.

The Minelva extra is short spoof of a camera commercial for a fictional camera company, Minelva. Judging by some commentary in the “talk show”, it seems that commercial spoofs were a staple of Greenwood radio dramas, so the tradition was carried over to the DVD release.

Content:
Here is Greenwood was one of many OVA's released in the early 1990's during the hey-day of that release format. Some of these OVA's delivered a satisfying self-contained story-arc, while others suffered for having too few episodes to really do justice to their subject matter.

In some ways, Greenwood exhibits both the strengths and weaknesses of the OVA format. The original manga translates quite well into anime, delivering great characters, lots of humor, and a strong shoujo romance in the final two episodes. However, the overall experience can be a bit dissatisfying due to the series’ generally episodic nature, which provides highlights of manga events without much of an overriding story-arc across episodes. Most viewers who enjoy the stories told here will be left wanting *more* from these characters than the few standalone stories provided. (Luckily, the Greenwood manga is currently being released in the U.S., so that urge will be easily satisfied.)

In this Media Blasters release, all six episodes are presented on two discs in a single volume, three episodes per disc.

Episode 1 follows the first chapters of the manga quite closely, introducing us to Kazuya Hasukawa, the newest arrival at “Greenwood”, a high school dorm infamous for its population of misfits and “weirdoes”. Kazuya is a put-upon freshman with really rotten luck. His brother (and guardian) has recently married a woman Kazuya himself has a huge crush on, leading to a lot of stress on the home-front. Finding life with the newlyweds unbearable, he chooses to live in a dorm during his high school years. Unfortunately, all the stress brings on some medical complications, and Kazuya misses much of his first semester. By the time he arrives at his new dorm, he's already become something of an easy mark for the other residents - especially Mitsuru Ikeda and Shinobu Tezuka, the dorm's RA and the class president, respectively. With the help of Shun Kisaragi, Kazuya's roommate, they play an epic prank on the new arrival. It is the start of a rather rocky relationship between Mitsuru and Kazuya as the older boy takes Kazuya under his wing a bit, helping him get caught up on school work and grooming him to be the next RA while continuing to tease him mercilessly.

Matters are only made worse for Kazuya by the fact that his brother also happens to be the nurse at the school. He’s well aware of Kazuya's crush on his wife, and also takes great delight in teasing Kazuya…often with Mitsuru’s collaboration.

The relationships between characters are consistently entertaining throughout the series. Mitsuru and Shinobu, in particular, are a great duo. Shinobu is the cool, imperturbable one with a knack for manipulating those around him, while Mitsuru is more blatant in his approach to life, charismatic and sociable. He has a bit of an evil edge when it comes to his dealings with Kazuya, but he also performs his “sempai” role admirably, if not always kindly. In one particular incident, Kazuya must run away from his sister-in-law to hide an inopportune nosebleed. Mitsuru covers for him by providing an excuse that is equally embarrassing, but at least doesn’t reveal his secret crush…only to turn around and report the whole incident to Kazuya’s brother the next day! The big reveal of the first prank against Kazuya is also particularly classic, sneaking up on the viewer and Kazuya at the same time and blind-siding both with what’s just happened. Overall, the character interaction is filled with funny moments, both broad and subtle.

After a stellar start, the next three episodes continue the comedy with some rather light-weight, stand-alone events in the lives of the Greenwood residents. In episode 2, Shinobu's insanely jealous sister concocts a complicated cloak-and-dagger scheme to make her brother pay for a lifetime of humiliation and defeat by kidnapping Shun's younger brother...a plan which backfires hysterically. In episode 3, we get to know a bit more about some of the other kooky residents of the dorm as the characters are enlisted to perform in a movie as part of a class project. In episode 4, Mitsuru is haunted, much to his chagrin, by the ghost of a 16-year-old girl trying to fulfill her dying wish of dating a handsome boy.

The final two episodes provide a change of pace, lowering the "funny anecdote" quotient and going more for a shoujo romance angle as we're introduced to Miya Igarashi, a friend of Mitsuru’s who catches Kazuya's eye. Though she appears tough at first, Igarashi proves to be quite insecure, allowing herself to be cowed by her mother and self-appointed “boyfriend”, both of whom treat her like a helpless, useless idiot who needs them to “take care of her”. This two-part story is very satisfying as Kazuya resolves to fight for her love, finally getting some sincere support from Mitsuru and the other Greenwood residents. There’s a fair amount of drama to all of this, but it never devolves into melodrama. The episodes have enough smaller comedic moments and genuine heart to keep it fun and enjoyable to watch, while also giving the series a nice, meaty conclusion.


In Summary:
Overall, Here is Greenwood is highly entertaining, and well worth a viewing for anyone who enjoys a good high-school comedy. The six episodes provide a nice balance of broad slapstick, clever character-driven gags, and charming romance. Although its short length and the lack of a strong story-arc may be disappointing, the disappointment is mainly due to the fact that the characters are so engaging that you're just not *done* with them by the end of the series. Still, the six episodes that we do have are too enjoyable to pass up, and definitely recommended.



Review Equipment
Marantz DV4300 Progressive scan DVD player via HD component connection
Marantz VP-12S3 DVI/Component HD DLP Projector, 110” 16:9 Stewart FireHawk Fixed Wall Mount Screen
Marantz SR9300 7.1 A/V Receiver 140 watts/discrete channel (7), DTS/DTS-ES/DTS Neo: 6, DD, D-PLII THX Certified 7.1 speaker system

COMMENTS AND RESPONSES

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jnager 3/13/2012 10:22:47 AM

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