Panyo Panyo Di Gi Charat 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: 3 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: ADV Films
  • MSRP: 29.98
  • Running time: 85
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Panyo Panyo Di Gi Charat

Panyo Panyo Di Gi Charat Vol. #2

By Chris Beveridge     July 22, 2004
Release Date: July 20, 2004


Panyo Panyo Di Gi Charat Vol. #2
© ADV Films


What They Say
Once again, Princess Dejiko is on a mission to make the people of Di Gi Charat happy. And as usual Deji Devil and Piyoko are there to stir up trouble. Don't miss a minute of the second installment of madcap adventures that are sure to make you giggle and keep you in suspense to the very end!

The Review!
Continuing the wacky fun, Dejiko and friends do more themed episodes on this volume.

Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to the first half in its English 5.1 language mix and the second half in its original Japanese 2.0 language mix. Both tracks come across pretty strongly with both dialogue and sound effects, though there is a touch more crispness to the English track since it's getting a 5.1 mix and the directionality across the forward soundstage is more precise. Dialogue is clean and clear in both and we had no issues with dropouts or distortions.

Video:
Originally airing in 2002, this volume has twelve of the forty-eight episodes made split into three "episode" chunks. Each episode runs roughly just over six minutes in length, and each of the sets roughly encompasses a particular small arc, so it works out pretty well in how things are laid out. Each of the episode sets has the opening and ending sequences around them. With the transfer itself, this show uses a lot of really bright vibrant colors and large swathes of solids throughout in various shades of pastels and more. Unlike the first volume, there was more noticeable break-up and blocking in the background colors on this volume. This was very noticeable during the early episodes with the maroon and red backgrounds. The shading looks great, cross coloration is virtually non-existent and I'm hard pressed to find much in the way of aliasing, even during a number of the panning sequences. This is still a good looking and enjoyable print pretty much all the way through.

Packaging:
Changing from the darker backdrop of the first volume, the cover this time goes bright pink and only gets more colorful when all the characters are placed on it with their balloons and other multi-colored items. It's a busy cover but it's a busy show and it first perfectly. The back cover goes more pastel oriented with shades of pinks and purples for the fairy tale castle backdrop and the Deji Devil looking all cute. The series premise is given a couple of small paragraphs which isn't bad since this isn't the easiest show to explain, and we also get a nice cast list with headshots above the production and technical information. Unfortunately it looks like this series missed the boat on the technical grid since it's all spread about along the bottom here. There's no insert included with this release in the traditional sense but we do get a cute sticker sheet with Puchiko and Piyoko pieces.

Menu:
The main menu further reinforces the cute fact as it's an animated musical piece that has the four lead characters doing a little two-step in a row with some of the instrumental music playing. Even Gema's floating above and sharking his arms in rhythm with the episode numbers dancing. Combined with the color changing backgrounds this is a very cute menu that is maddeningly addictive when played over the course of an hour and doing other things. Access times are nice and fast and easy access to individual episodes is available. The disc also scores well here for reading our player presets and using them.

Extras:
A mix of old and new is here. The usual pieces include the clean opening and ending sequences and a new round of production sketches. For the Japanese fan, there's an interview session with the four lead actresses of the show. This is typical of a lot of interviews of this nature where there is almost more giggling going on than talking but it's interesting placing real faces with the characters and how some of them really do seem like their counterparts. For English fans, Hilary Haag provides a commentary for her second favorite episode here (she ran out of things to say on the first episode apparently) and talks about the strangeness of the show and her character.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The first volume of this series was our real first full on exposure to the world of Di Gi Charat and it turned out much like we expected. While not monstrously hilarious and cracking us up at every turn, there were definitely plenty of laughs to be found as Dejiko tried to find her way in the world to help people and make things better all while Deji Devil and his lovely minion Piyoko attempted to thwart them so they could take over the world.

The second volume continues on much like the first with the mini episodes and everything being done and over with quickly for each story, something that definitely helps to keep it fresh and moving fast. Each of the three episode blocks here are well themed and contain an overall storyline of sorts that's connected to each other. The opening episode plays up a number of parodies as Dejiko and her friends become "phantom thieves" stealing from the rich and those who have too much and giving it to those who have nothing. They're all wearing tiny skintight outfits and amusing masks while coming up with creative ways to steal things from under the noses of the cops. The always ineffective cops. Their methods on serve to infuriate Piyoko who doesn't understand stealing and not keeping the goods so Deji Devil and Piyoko try to take them down by showing how stealing is really supposed to be done. But in a way, Piyoko ends up becoming the good guy over the course of these episodes in a sense as she continues to try and stop Dejiko and her friends. Complete with a detective style outfit, you're almost waiting for her to end her sentences in 'datchu!'.

Even more amusing is when Dejiko goes to sea in another episode. With the theme being that of helping out the MeeK fish store as the ocean has stopped giving up its fish, Dejiko decides that that's who they're going to help next. To everyone's surprise though, when they get on the ship they're going to use Dejiko is dressed up as a pirate. She tries to convince everyone that it's just part of the gig but everyone knows that she's really just wanting to dress up like that. On the high seas, the group has to deal with all kinds of silly issues ranging from not finding any fish to using Gema as a net of sorts. Did you know when Gema gets wet, he expands? When the group isn't looking for the fish, having given up and moved on to plan B, they're looking for treasure so they can give to MeeK and her family so they have something else to survive on. These characters are all just far too cute doing things as simple as fishing or wearing pirate outfits and searching for buried treasure.

With the show less focused on acquiring new characters like it was in the early episodes, for obvious reasons, the plots within the themed episodes are much more evenly paced now and manage to cover more ground since we're familiar with everyone. The fun comes from watching the group handle the various situations they're in as well as the parodies they cover while doing so. The shows look and feel is continuing to be one of the better points of the production with its varied designs and multi-colored backdrops. It's the kind of show that fascinates even when you aren't on drugs and wonder what it must be like when you are. What strikes me the most is that I still find Piyoko and Deji Devil to be the more interesting characters and the ones that are more fun to watch overall. Since Dejiko inadvertently ends up as the bad guy on occasion without realizing it, it only emphasizes the silliness of the show when Piyoko either becomes a force for good or the voice of reason.

In Summary:
The Di Gi Charat universe certainly isn't for everyone. While my daughters and I get a kick out of it my wife has tuned out of much of it. The silly factor appeals to the young ones while the general nature of the comedy and the parodies help break up the monotony of a number of other shows that I watch. Shows that are this cute are few and far between so we tend to soak them up when they do come out. It's an added plus that most of the ones that do make it over here are also well written and have some wit about them. Panyo Panyo takes what they did in the first volume and moves beyond adding more characters and instead focusing on the situational comedy in six minute blocks. These characters and the setting is perfect for just such a thing and run with it with wild abandon. Very amusing and fun to watch.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 5.1 Language,English Subtitles,Voice actor commentary,Production sketches, Clean opening and closing animation, Japanese voice actor interview

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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