Overly sexual and sort of silly, Mouse plays fast and loose as well as short with its storytelling in this complete collection.
What They Say
Sorata is an art instructor at Yamanoue School. At the young age of 20 he is already a full-fledged teacher with a meek and nerd-like disposition. Yet Sorata has a secret: he's Mouse, the internationally infamous thief and a shameless flirt to boot. This mischievous rogue is assisted by three scandalously endowed attendants. With Mei Momozono, the genius math teacher, Hazuki Kakio, the rough and ready PhysEd coach, and the lovely school nurse Yayoi there's nothing Mouse can't snatch.
Mouse retains the bilingual presentation it had with its original release in this collection with a pair of stereo tracks encoded at 192kbps. The series has a decent stereo mix with only a few areas of noticeable directionality since the style of the show is very much loud and forward with much of it being center channel based. The opening song is what makes out the best overall in terms of the full sound but the show does fairly well overall. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout and we had no problems with distortions or dropouts during regular playback.
Originally airing in 2003, the transfer for this TV series is presented in its original full frame aspect ratio, this edition uses the same discs as were released in single form with six episodes on each disc. Mouse features a good-looking full frame transfer here with lots of bright vibrant colors and a general lack of problems. Some of the mid range shots look a bit soft but it's difficult to say whether that's by intent or not. There's a good richness to the colors used throughout, particularly when you get to the Mouse moments and shots with his assistants in their special uniforms. Cross coloration is pretty much non-existent and there's a lack of general aliasing problems as well.
The Litebox edition of this release has a good piece of artwork for the front cover as it uses an illustration of the core cast of four character sin their active outfits. I like the less clean look of this cover with the original artwork, but it comes across a bit took soft and murky with the gray background and the less than distinct logo. It's not something that will stand out on the shelf in the slightest, even with three very sexy women showing a lot of skin. The back cover provides a number of shots from the show and has a brief summary of the premise. The discs technical features are all clearly listed in the usual useful technical grid. Unlike the singles, no inserts are included with this release nor is there a reversible cover.
The main menu is nicely done with a background of red tinted shots from the show with the series logo going down on the left while the right has an image of Mouse over the images, his shot being the only one in full color and untinted. This is all set to part of the opening song to the series which means you'll be making selections quickly and thankfully they load very fast. Access times are good and the layout is pretty standard but that also means we get the usual in that it doesn't read our players' language presets as it defaults to English with no sign or song subtitles..
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
When I originally reviewed this series back in 2004, my reaction to it was pretty negative as I didn't much care for its approach to fanservice or some of what it was trying to say about power relationships. A lot of it came from the fact that this was done primarily as a teenage style wish fulfillment piece without any of the really intriguing things about such relationships. Now, viewing it again all this time later, I have to admit that I find it a bit more charming, though it still falls into the same traps as I thought it did back then.
Back when Mouse first started airing in japan, there was a general buzz about it and just how fanservice oriented it was. Mouse was also one of the very few shows in recent memory that actually went and not only did the usual nudity scenes and actually show the characters breasts, but they dared to shock people with them having? nipples.
Scary times indeed.
Mouse has a pretty simple premise. Taking place in present time, the 20th generation thief Mouse is carrying on the family tradition of being able to steal anything and everything. It opens with him trying to get a golden skull from a museum so he opts instead to simply steal the entire museum from out underneath the police. The family that Mouse belongs to has been doing things like this since back in the Warring States days over four hundred years ago so there's plenty of reference and ideas that are available to the modern day Mouse, Sorata Muon. In fact, there is a group of families whose sole purpose is to breed special assistants to the Muon family to help them in their thieving endeavors.
The three assistants are young and highly attractive women - provided you don't mind your women with breasts bigger than a toddlers body. While the rest of their designs are attractive, the breasts are just too much. All I can think of is the saying "Never eat something bigger than your own head" when I look at them. Add in that they wear the super skimpy outfits that allow for independent motion for each breast and it's just too over the top. Especially when they try to act all serious in their "day" jobs as professors at the academy that the families have set up to hide the Mouse activities. One of them is a professor, another is the nurse and another is a sports instructor. It all fits in its own way but it's just too much.
Within the academy, which houses something like 30,000 students from kindergarten through college, there are massive hidden chambers where things stolen are kept or special equipment and vehicles are stored for future use. There are all sorts of secret entrances throughout the school that allows Sorata, an art professor at the school as his cover, to move in and out of the place easily enough without notice. And out of the 30,000 students there, Sorata has to deal with three girls in the high school level who have something of a thing for him, or at least one of them actively does and continues to pursue him.
Much like Saint Tail and a few other similar shows, Mouse makes his plans known prior to the heist and sends notice to the police prior to the start of the caper. Mouse has a wide range of contacts and sources to pull off his capers, including one that allowed him to temporarily acquire the entire Russian eastern submarine fleet. So the capers are very much over the top as well in how they play out, though some are a bit more subtle. But then you add in things like memory wiping machines designed after the turtle kingdom fable and so forth and it's all over the map in how the show comes across.
With the second half of the series, the first couple of episodes are given over to learning how Yayoi joined up with Sorata. It takes her back to her college days where she was one of if not the brightest pharmacology student there and highly sought over. Her only real problem is that she was deathly afraid of men and of men looking at her. The thought of them looking at her really pierced her deeply, but mostly since as its told, you get the idea that she didn't realize that her body was enjoying the looks that it was getting and was reacting appropriately. So every time she got close to a guy she'd freak and run away from him. Mei was friends with her at this time and tried to help her out a lot but never managed to have much luck, even when introducing Sorata to her.
As things go, Yayoi ends up working in a laboratory that caters to her fears by keeping just women there so she's able to do some really good work. But one of their projects is something that Mouse is after and he sends off his card indicating he's going to hit there. This leads to Yayoi ending up in danger and needing a rescue, by a man no less. The two episode tale is fairly decent but suffers from much of the things seen in the first volume. There's a surprising near-hentai scene when Mei and Sorata get busy in the woods as she's completely naked and moaning the whole way. Oh Kikuko, you've gone so low?
The remainder of the volume turns things into another multi-episode tale where Mouse is after a historical clock that never stops running only to be stymied by a former nemesis named One, a man whom his father had supposedly killed some years before. As it turns out, One is an unkillable person for reasons not given and he continually comes back to go after Mouse and his goals. He's gone a nice bit further this time around by taking down both Yayoi and Hazuki and putting them under his control until such a time as he can use them to stop Mouse from doing what he does. So we get something of a classic battle against two opposing sides as it progresses along and the usual friend against friend angle.
One thing that sets Mouse apart, something you don't see as much of anymore, is that the show is made up of 15 minute episodes, or just under that. This shorter runtime, part of an anthology style series during its original run, is something that's both good and bad in how it plays out. The shorter time can mean for tighter stories, and we do get that sometimes, but when it spills across more than one episode, it feels like the pacing is off and it doesn't flow as well as it should. If the fanservice is annoying and you start to dislike the show, it at least feels like it's over faster and you're getting through episodes quicker.
When this first came out, I absolutely detested it. The far to large breast sizes, the skimpy and unappealing costumes and the short form nature of the episodes bothered me a lot. Taking it in five years later, and watching it all in the space of a morning, I have to admit I found it to be a lot more un and definitely a guilty pleasure. It has a lot of elements you see in shows of this nature, such as the previously mentioned Saint Tail, but it tries to take that and make it raunchy and stupid. Exposure to a lot of shows in the last few years can change perceptions of a show as well as life experiences. Mouse is simply good stupid fun and as much as I wanted to hate it again going into it, I came out of it amused and thinking positively about it. Maybe something's in the water?
Japanese 2.0 Language, English 2.0 Language, English Subtitles
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.