Papuwa Vol. #3 -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: C

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  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: B
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: B
  • Age Rating: TV 14
  • 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: Papuwa

Papuwa Vol. #3

By Chris Beveridge     December 28, 2006
Release Date: December 05, 2006

Papuwa Vol. #3
© ADV Films

What They Say
Let the games begin! The party animals on Papuwa Island are gearing up for some fun in the sun in a dizzying series of funky festivities and crazy competitions. The first event is the annual Hina King Cup, where the competitors are drunken assassins, and the playing field is steeped in booby-traps, creepy creatures and murderous samurai. Next up is Beach Volleyball with an electrified net and a masochistic porcupine fish for a ball. The final event is the Boy's Day Festival, where the island inhabitants summon the Great Man God to measure their machismo and test their testosterone. This year, it's Kotaro's turn. He must flex his stuff to recover the mysterious "Man Ball" and pass "The Test of Courageous Manhood".

The Review!
Life on Papuwa Island continues to be weird and bizarre but still in a rather uninteresting fashion.

For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in its original language of Japanese. While this is mostly a wordplay kind of comedy, there's a lot of action effects and reaction noises to what's going on that's well played across the forward soundstage. The track is pretty effective overall with some of the creative things they do with voices and making it fit the various situations. The English stereo mix is essentially the same though I think they manage to take it a slight bit further, in a good way, with a bit more variety to the accents and some of the sound effects with the voices. Dialogue on both tracks is clean and clear through and we had no problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.

Originally airing in 2003, the transfer for this series is presented in its original full frame aspect ratio. The design for this show is very bright and inviting, almost too colorful at times, but it's trying to capture that entire South Seas kind of atmosphere with the beautiful water and the lush island life. This is kept with the character designs as well which have a lot of life to them and bold colors and styles. The transfer for this captures it pretty well with only some minor video noise being visible in a few scenes that stand out. Some of the slow panning scenes introduce a bit of pixilation around the edges of the characters but these kinds of scenes are very few and far between and may be less noticeable on smaller monitors.

Similar to the design of the earlier volumes, the layout is framed in a similar manner and has a scene from the third episode where a bunch of these weird characters are doing beach sports. Similar to the actual animation, the characters are simple and without much detail. The back cover has a number of shots from the show that highlight the weirdness of it all while through the center is a decent summary of what to expect from the plot. The discs features and technical information are all quite easy to read and find and the production info is much easier to read this time around due to the lighter background color. No insert was included with this release.

The menu design for the show is one that we've seen before in a couple of other shows but it's using a slightly common theme from a lot of ending sequences. Using the animation from there of Papuwa walking over the round green hill, we get that here set to a bit of music while the episode selections are lined up over him in the sky and the rest of the navigation along the bottom. It's an effective and cute piece since it uses the animation itself but we've seen it pretty recently in another ADV Films title. Access times are nice and fast though and it's easy to navigate and the disc picked up our players' language presets without any problem.

The extras for this release essentially mirror the previous volume and that's a very good thing. The clean opening and closing sequences are definitely worth checking out without the credits so you can see the details to it and the character art gallery is about as expected. What is useful is the translators notes which cover some of the more esoteric cultural and language references made in the show in quite a bit of detail.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Papuwa moves through the halfway mark of the series and for that I'm extremely grateful since it means I'm that much closer to being done with it. The latest installment drops the volume down to just four episodes instead of the five that populated the first two and that alone helps some as it no longer feels like it's going on for forever and a day. Now it just feels like it's going on forever.

Though there is an overall plot to the show " keep Kotaro from blowing up the island " the other main plot of the group trying to get him back and those who are trying to keep him from realizing his power doesn't have much of an impact in this volume. In fact, it really doesn't have any sort of relevance until the fourth episode here where it seems like people remember that's actually the plan. The rest of the episodes tend to focus on more episodic attempts at hilarity that fail continually. In the previous volumes I've wondered if knowing about the original series would make this more fun but if it's like this one is I can't imagine it being so. The "in-joke that you just don't get" mentality is still very prevalent here.

The stories for this volume are simple enough though. The opening tale has Kotaro suffering from a bad toothache so Liquid sends Chappy off to the magic shop to get some medicine for him to take. Chappy has quite an adventure along the way as he helps out people and ends up in a chain of goods he acquires and gives away for something else equally useless to him. At the same time, Liquid has decided not to wait for Chappy and instead just to pull the tooth. This leads to all sorts of chase scenes and plans for dental catastrophe.

Another episode features Arashiyama trying to get closer to Kotaro now that he's gotten out of the awful body he was stuck in for so long. He tries to be subtle about it, if cosplaying as a masked character is subtle, but Kotaro knows who he is easily enough. Arashiyama isn't able to get close enough to Kotaro with Liquid doing his best to keep him away nor is he helped when Kotaro ends up participating in a sports event of some sort. This does bring in some characters from the previous series that haven't been seen before but like so much of the show it's just an in-joke for those in the know as it's little more than a cameo.

Toss in a beach sports episode with the characters all running around doing bizarre things with bizarre creatures and you're left with something that just doesn't make you laugh in the slightest. One of the problems that I have with almost every episode is that outside of the immediate circle of characters around Kotaro, most of them tend to be fairly indistinct over the long haul. There are a couple of groups after Kotaro at this point and they're such ciphers that it's ridiculous. Add in that they hardly use their names and enough of the designs are similar that it just really starts to blend together. The one area where this show does get a bit of help is in the English language adaptation which does some dialogue changes and accents that work well, but much of it still leaves me completely uninterested. The show simply doesn't connect with me at all.

In Summary:
Papuwa is a show that I imagine the English language voice actors had fun with since they got to do more diverse voices and a bit more of a wacky nonsensical script. As a viewer though, it's almost been painful to watch now as we're fourteen episodes into it. I can't help but sit there throughout it and just think that it's stupid. I've watched plenty of dumb shows before but few have felt as nonsensically stupid and unfunny as this one has. And I liked parts of the Japanese language version of Super Milk-chan! Papuwa likely has its audience but for me it just makes me feel like I wasted ninety minutes of my life.

Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,Translator notes,Character art gallery,Clean opening animation,Clean closing animation

Review Equipment
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Panasonic DMP-BD10 Blu-ray player via HDMI -> DVI with upconversion set to 1080i, 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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