Nuku Nuku TV Vol. #2 - 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: 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. #2

By Chris Beveridge     April 19, 2004
Release Date: April 13, 2004


Nuku Nuku TV Vol. #2
© ADV Films


What They Say
Nuku Nuku and her friends are back for more madcap adventures! For starters, Futaba has finally met the boy of her dreams, a handsome bookstore clerk. But the fevered thoughts in her head come from a concealed device in a book that?s brainwashing Futaba to advertise Mishima products! Then Mr. Kyusaku dives to destroy Mishima?s newly opened underwater hotel, only to get discovered instead. To rescue him, Nuku Nuku must confront the Speedy Girls, a trio of pop idols with psychic abilities!

Worried about being on time, Nuku Nuku pedals so fast on the way to school that she and Ryunosuke travel back in time to when Kyusaku proposed marriage to Akiko. Events go terribly wrong, and Ryunosuke fears the Young President of Mishima will end up being his father! Finally, space mouse Michi-Michi wants to share one night of romance with Mr. Yamagata. But first she?ll have to elude the mouse-hunting Nuku Nuku, as well as Mishima?s alien retrieval squad!


The Review!
The same kind of hi-jinks found in the first volume continues on with another four episodes of the girl with a cat brain and an android body.

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:
While not as bright as the first volume since the background is a touch darker, the general feel is the same with Nuku Nuku striking that sexy school girl pose that sells all sorts of goods around the world as she gives that wink with it as well. 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)
Nuku Nuku is the kind of series that knows what works for it and keeps plugging away at it. This is obviously good for the fans of the show but for the more casual person it can get to be a little bit much. But taken in proper context, watching each episode spread out instead of all in one sitting does help improve how you view it. Some shows just weren't meant for marathoning.

The opening episode actually does something a bit different but starts off with the usual inanity as one of the Mishima out of control robots hits the school once more. While the chaos ensues as the school once again gets destroyed, Nuku Nuku starts to become concerned about Futuba since she's completely spaced out at the moment. As the day goes on and Nuku Nuku keeps watching her, she sees how listless she is in her duties and the way everything seemingly washes over her. This is all beyond her so she follows her closely and only gets more confused when Futuba becomes the exact opposite when she goes to a local bookstore and deals with a young man there. Ryu clues her in pretty easily by explaining that it's a romance kind of thing, but this is something that the cat brain just doesn't quite get.

So how does this tie into the latest Mishima plot for world domination? Amusingly enough, one of the "costumed" managers has designed a book that sends out hypnotic commercials when you read them. His first test volume is a book of poems aimed at high school girls. The book itself is made up of essentially nonsense words and phrases but reading it for more than a few seconds gets you hooked on the hypnotic element and then suddenly you want to buy Mishima tanks. Or everything you see could be done better with something from Mishima. So naturally Futuba ends up with this book and she's all over the map with energy over it and trying to get everyone to change. It's rather amusing and plays out well between this part and the other half with Nuku Nuku trying to understand the complexity of relationships.

One of the surprisingly enjoyable episodes has the group ending up at the beach during a summer break moment. Ryu's there with Nuku Nuku and Kyusaku as Kyusaku is convinced that he's found the latest and greatest secret evil from the Mishima group in the form of an underwater base. His intent of course is to have it destroyed and to have Nuku Nuku do that. Unfortunately, she's not able to swim due to her weight, which has a few good moments early on with a very sarcastic and bored Ryu. Events turn as it the episode progresses and Kyusaku finds himself swept under a huge tidal wave and down into the base where he's now spending time trying to figure out what nefarious plot they're hatching. It has to be nefarious since there are anthropomorphic sea creatures roaming the hallways.

While he's down there, Nuku Nuku comes across her fellow classmates all doing very non-beach oriented things at the beach and tries to get them to help her rescue Kyusaku. Only our guitar wielding friend is really up for the idea of fun on the beach and chasing after cute girls, so we get some rather fun little ballads out of him. The big gag for all of this though is just how far everyone goes out of their way to not help rescue Kyusaku. There's a lot of small gags going on during this episode but the best is just the revelation of what the underwater base really is and how poorly the company comes up with its things and promotes them or even thinks them through. You really end up having to feel bad for Akiko through all of this.

In terms of outright weirdness, the last episode really takes the cake when it brings a mouse alien into the picture and after having a few gags where various people turn into mouse-girls and the like, it settles into the alien mouse girl falling in love with the class teacher because he looks like a long lost love of her own. The episode goes pretty far in showing their relationship once they get past the initial gags and has them doing all sorts of romantic things until she realizes that it can never be and she has to leave. This one really just seems out of place in some ways and initially you think it takes the show out of its set boundaries of what it considers real, but then you realize you're watching a show about an android with a cat brain in it.

One thing that saved this volume from being really grating is something that was in each episode on the first volume, and that was having the classmates have introductions whenever they first appeared in each of those episodes. Cute the first time, useful the second time but by the fourth episode I was shaking my fist at the TV. Thankfully the creative team either realized how grating it was or they were sacked and replaced by moose, but that gag doesn't appear at all on this volume and made for much more pleasant viewing.

In Summary:
Even taking a break of a few minutes between each episode helped smooth out this volume a lot and kept it from being too much at once, though by the fourth episode I was still checking the timer once or twice. I'm not expecting much other than more of the same which is fun and harmless but also very much like Nuku Nuku herself in that you've got to check your brain at the door and just expect the mindless entertainment. Nuku Nuku continues to be amusing and wry at times but plays up its mild fanservice well and gives in to the action sequences here and there, giving a wide range of tastes something to like without really fully feeding that taste.

Features
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Clean Opening,Clean Closing

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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