Mania Grade: C
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- Audio Rating: B+
- Video Rating: B+
- Packaging Rating: B
- Menus Rating: C+
- Extras Rating: B+
- Age Rating: 15 & Up
- Region: 1 - North America
- Released By: Hirameki International
- MSRP: 24.95
- Running time: 60
- Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
- Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
- Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
- Series: Idol Fighter Suchipai
Idol Fighter Suchipai
By Chris Beveridge
August 15, 2003
Release Date: June 24, 2003
Idol Fighter Suchipai
What They Say
© Hirameki International
The name Su-chi-Pai comes from the game of mahjong.
This short story is based on the game series II.
Five heroines go after the Legendary Mahjong Pai.
Let's see who will be left standing.The Review!
The first full anime release from Hirameki is an amusing little piece that�s raised up by having some excellent character designs.Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this disc in its original language of Japanese as well as taking in large chunks in English. The show is a decent stereo mix that doesn�t have much in the way of directionality, rather the majority of it being center channel based. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout and we had no issues with dropouts or distortions.Video:
Originally released to video in 1996, Suchipai looks quite good here with its better than TV budget. The show features a lot of tight line work in a number of areas but manages to avoid much in the way of cross coloration, though there�s a bit of aliasing during various panning sequences. Colors are solid and full without any bleeding.Packaging:
Going for the bright and attractive cover, this release features Suchipai in both her costumed outfit and regular clothes set against a blue background. There�s also the surprisingly large exclamation that Sonoda�s the character designer and another area where they push the PC extras. The back cover provides shots of the various girls of the show and a couple of lines worth of story. The features and technical information are all clearly listed, with the technical features being done Japanese style. There is no insert with this release.Menu:
The main menu also feels fairly Japanese with its layout, with the bar selections down the left and the character artwork from the back cover filling out the space on the right. Though a bit simple and not all that attractive, the layout works well in getting selections accessed and setting up the show. Access times are nice and fast and load times are quick.Extras:
There�s a lot of extra content on here. Put together as one long video extra, you get the cosplay party report which features Rika Matsumoto doing a song for after showing off her specially made dress, you have interview sessions with her and Kanai Mika and you also have a set of interviews with the production stuff. All told, it runs about twenty five minutes or so. It�s fully subtitled as well as fully dubbed.
Just the cosplay report is worth watching this way, listening to the announcers voice. Or listening to the actresses trying to �Japanese� pitch their voices, such as when the 17 year old Suchipai cosplayer comes out to talk or we see her audition segment. It�s so� I want to say bad, but it goes beyond that. This is proof that some extras should not be dubbed.Content:
(please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Suchipai is the single OVA episode based on the second game in the series, which featured very popular character designs by fan favorite Kenichi Sonoda, someone long time US anime fans have liked for some time until he basically went into the gaming industry. With this game going over so well back in the early 90�s, they decided to take a shot at making something of an OVA out of it.
So yes, put all your worst fears about a game to anime conversion here and add in that it�s some kind of mahjong game at that. The premise of the storyline is that there are these powerful mahjong tiles that can give the user powers or something. There�s a dark foreboding introduction about it, which pretty much goes out the window when they introduce the series of cute girls.
Cute girls is what it�s all about. The show really moves from one girl to the next, giving each a small vignette to show off until they all eventually come together near the end to chase down the �bad girl� and acquire her mahjong tile. You get the opening bit that has Suchipai chasing the Pins Monster, which then shifts to the story about a bunny rabbit in a doctors office that transforms into a bunnygirl and starts going on about the uniform conquest of Earth. Then there�s the maid who is abused by her master, but transforms into Cherry Pai, an S&M queen of sorts. You get the masculine Lemon Pai woman, the magical girl whose seemingly lost her way from her world and gets by as an idol singer. Each varies in the tale told, but they all come together after awhile to go after the bad girl.
Naturally, since they all want the tile and nobody knows anybody, it�s one girl fight after another. And that�s really the entire OVA in a nutshell. It�s very attractive, providing you like Sonoda�s designs, but there�s little here. Watching it, I�m reminded just how much I miss Sonoda and his style.
Technically, the disc is good for the most part. The subtitles though really make you wonder. I almost want to say it�s dubtitled, but that it�s following the Japanese script as parts of the dub really feel stilted. The subtitles are also quite difficult at times as there are areas where there are three rows of subtitles that fill the entire row. Timing wise, this will irk a number of people. Add in a couple of spelling mistakes (such as brat becoming bra) as well. Essentially, the subtitling isn�t what we see from any other vendor out there right now that�s been dealing with anime for any length of time.
For fans of the game, if there are any in the US, this might be amusing to see the characters come to life. For fans of Sonoda, this is an easy recommendation for just being able to enjoy his female character designs. For anyone looking for a story, well, don�t look here. This is pretty much pure fluff, cheesecake shots and some mild humor.
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Cosplay Part Report,Kanai Mik and Rika Matsumoto Interviews,Staff Interviews
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Panasonic RP-82 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.