Nuku Nuku TV Vol. #1 - 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: 12 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: ADV Films
  • MSRP: 29.98
  • Running time: 100
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Nuku Nuku, All Purpose Cultural Cat Girl

Nuku Nuku TV Vol. #1

By Chris Beveridge     February 19, 2004
Release Date: March 02, 2004


Nuku Nuku TV Vol. #1
© ADV Films


What They Say
To stop president "Hell" Mishima of Mishima Industry from conquering the world home appliance market, scientist Kyusaku Natsume creates the All-Purpose Cat-Girl androbot Nuku Nuku. Sweet as a kitten and strong as a tiger, teenaged Nuku Nuku has no problem dispatching Mishima's never-ending stream of appliance robots. Being human, however, is a different story!

Kyusaku's son, schoolboy Ryunosuke Natsume, guides Nuku Nuku as best he can. But he has his own problems when schoolgirl Noriko Ishiyama decides she has to marry him! Then there's Akiko Natsume, Ryunosuke's mother: By day, she's a mild-mannered Mishima executive, but by night she's the company president's ruthless right hand, nicknamed "Bloody Akiko!"

The Review!
Picking up from the same timeline as the original OVA series, it's more fun and hijinks with Ryunosuke and his problematic catgirl Atsuko.

Audio:
Having seen so much of this franchise in Japanese already, we stuck with that track for this series as well. The show is a pretty basic stereo mix that didn't strike us with too much noticeable directionality but it had a number of big sequences that filled the entire soundstage with explosions. During regular playback, we had no issues with dropouts or distortions nor did we run into any issues in spot-checking the English language track.

Video:
Originally airing in 1998, this series keeps much of the style and feel of the original OVA series, resulting in something that's similar to the 1992 project that started all of this. The transfer here looks good with some slightly brighter colors but otherwise a similar palette to the original with normal backdrops and characters that aren't too outstanding, other than Atsuko's red hair that is. The colors look good here, nice and solid without any noticeable bleeding or overt macroblocking. Cross coloration was something I didn't come across and the amount of aliasing is pretty minimal, about what one expects from a late 90's show done traditionally. The transfer here is solid and does a good job by the source material.

Packaging:
Going with the brightly colored full cast shot, Nuku Nuku kicks things off here with a cute set of images where you have the larger than life shot of her in her schoolgirl outfit while below her are mostly comedic versions of most of the cast, almost super-deformed but not quite for some of the adults. It's a cute looking cover and actually covers a surprisingly wide range of things. The back cover has just a few shots from the show and another piece of Nuku Nuku, instead seeking to fill a lot of the cover with text, such as the lengthy summary. The discs episode titles are listed but not the numbers (though volume numbers appear on both the spine and cover) and the production credits take up a lot of the bottom area. The technical grid lists all the necessary information and in a slight twist, lists the episode numbers themselves here instead of with the titles. The insert has a cleaner version of the front cover while the reverse side lists the episodes and the basic features you'll find on the disc.

Menu:
Continuing with the simple theme, the main menu is a static piece with the image of Nuku Nuku from the front cover set here next to the selections. A short cycle of music plays from the opening sequence in what's otherwise a somewhat bland but functional menu. Access times are decent and with no transitional animations, it's a breeze to move about.

Extras:
The only extras included in this volume are the opening and ending sequences in their textless format.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
For some strange reason, it took six years from the release of the original OVA series to get things right to bring out a TV series of the Nuku Nuku property. But apparently it was such a good time for Nuku Nuku that they also brought out the fairly lackluster and more serious "Dash" series, which ADV has already finished releasing. This TV series is aimed much more at the mindset of the original OVA, which means it's just wacky, often for that sake alone.

No time is really spent on how Nuku Nuku came to be, assuming you're familiar with the OVA and that she's the latest in high technology, as she has a cat brain inside her robotic body. Her creator, Kyusaku Natsume, made her to fight off the evil that the secret evil organization of the Mishima Corporation is bound to be coming up with in their secret evil lair. Ryunosuke, the young son of Kyusaku and Akiko (who works for Mishima) notes that the episodic recap of the series premise isn't quite what we got in the OVA series, but it's enough to string some continuity between the two.

So it's life as usual in the Natsume household in Maneki City, circa 2013. Young Ryunosuke goes to school and tries to keep Atsuko from acting strange and from his father from going overboard. Atsuko attends school so that she can fit in with everyone and have friends, Kyusakue watches the Mishima Corp for whatever evil they may put out, while Akiko serves as an important member of the Research and Development team in the Mishima Corp. But, come the secret call from the company president, she turns into "Bloody Akiko", a woman who in super-villain attire who will do whatever is required of her by her boss, along with the other division heads dressed similarly. The company president is intent on expanding his influence across the world through the company's technology.

Their technology is pretty messed up. For example, they do a test of a new washing machine at the local school that they fund since it's a perfect testing ground. But the washing machine goes haywire after water leaks inside of it, causing it to go on a rampage. And for some strange reason, it seems to grow to a larger size as well and just generally causes trouble until Nuku Nuku is able to take it down while trying to not show her powers to her classmates, as Ryunosuke has warned against that.

Her classmates are a piece of work. When they're introduced, in each bloody episode, they go to a faux letterbox moment and give the characters name and their stereotype. Such as "Occult Master ? Rie" or "Singer" or "Nihilistic Pretty Boy" and their names with it. It was great at first, but by the fourth episode it just continued to slow things down as they do it far too much. Some of the episodes focus a bit on the characters, others just bring them in for a specific moment where their "thing" is used to help forward the moment. Such as the singing, or the wealth of the rich snob and so forth. I don't expect any of these characters to really get much done with them beyond the basic stereotyping we get here. It's not bad, but the labeling part gets tiring fast.

Each episode stands along pretty well here with all sorts of things happening to either Nuku Nuku or Ryunosuke that causes them trouble. Be it the giant washing machines, huge freezers and microwaves or a singing contest, the two leads get into a number of situations where the Mishima Corp. is behind the trouble, often with Ryunosuke's mother being the primary instigator after following the orders from her evil master company president. The comedy is pretty cute at times and is definitely in the same style as the original OVA series, so the transition from that to this works well. Once you see this, it pushes the Dash series even further away from the continuity with its darker style.

In Summary:
Nuku Nuku TV takes what made the first series so much fun, turns up the wacky factor a few notches, tosses in some capes and masks for both the villains and some of the heroes, and just lets it all go wherever it may. Sometimes it doesn't seem like there's really a resolution but more of a "series of events" that just play out without any real point in the end. While it may be flimsy, it's cute and fun and doesn't try to be more than it sets out to be. Fans of the series will be ecstatic to finally get the real series after all this time and this release, though shy on extras, does the trick.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,Clean opening and closing animation

Review Equipment
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Panasonic RP-82 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.

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