Papuwa Vol. #6 - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: C-

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Info:

  • 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. #6

By Chris Beveridge     June 21, 2007
Release Date: June 26, 2007


Papuwa Vol. #6
© ADV Films


What They Say
When Shintaro finally arrives on Papuwa Island, he finds that his welcome is not quite what he expected. While Tanno and Ito are delighted to be reunited with their unwilling boy-toy, the new leader of the Ganma Army finds that his arrogant attitude is less popular with some of the other island's inhabitants. With only 24 hours before the portal back to reality closes, Shintaro has precious little time to convince his brother to come back home with him.

After forgetting his troubled past, Kotaro has grown attached to his carefree life of fun and friends in the tropical paradise and must be reminded of the painful truth if he is ever to be reunited with his family. However, if his memories return, he may lose control of his power and destroy Papuwa Island once again.

Contains episodes 23-26.

The Review!
Papuwa's storyline comes to a close but ends up closing out only a chapter in this bizarre and unusual series.

Audio:
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.

Video:
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.

Packaging:
Similar to the design of the earlier volumes, the layout is framed in the same manner and has a cast shot of the main characters that have populated the series to date. 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.

Menu:
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.

Extras:
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)
The final four episodes of Papuwa end up not being as bad as I thought they would be after coming off of the previous twenty-two episodes. That's not really much in the way of praise though as the series is still essentially the same as it ever was, just not quite so annoying due to there being less of the unusual creatures that populate it involved in the story. There is a greater number of human characters making their way into this as the story tries to retain some seriousness.

After all the insanity that the gang has gone through during the course of the series, they're about to face their biggest challenge yet. Various squads have been sent into this dimensional island in order to retrieve Kotaro but they've all failed for one reason or another if they were even really trying at all. The big guns are now arriving in the form of Shintaro, the badass commander of the Ganma Army. Rolling into the dimension with a way to get back out within twenty four hours, he comes in his full uniform while riding inside a massive airborne military craft. Along with his helpful subordinate Kintaro, they're intent on bringing back Shintaro's younger brother and giving him the love and affection he needs " after they rehabilitate him.

Naturally, the arrival of such a big ship on the island draws practically everyone to come and see what's going on. Liquid is freaking out since Shintaro keeps calling out for Kotaro by name which could potentially bring back all his memories and cause the destruction of the entire island. No pressure there. The other various groups of humans show up as well and some of the details about their adventures are talked about as well as the situations that led them to being so ineffective while there. And perhaps most interestingly is the reaction of the islands natives to Shintaro as they all remember him from the previous Papuwa Island, i.e. the previous series that we never saw which had a lot of events occur on it. There are some mild flashbacks to what happened there and it brings a good connection to everything here.

Getting some amount of context helps with these episodes plus the fact that it's minimal on the weird characters that populate the island. The focus on the human cast outside of Papuwa and a few other moments keeps the storyline fairly restrained in comparison to earlier episodes. There's still plenty of weird moments going on, such as Umako continuing to proclaim her love for Liquid and the way that the human cast all interact with each other, but it feels far more restrained than it has in the past. The show really focuses a lot more on Shintaro during these episodes which helps to draw out Kotaro and really work into his past and what his problems have been.

But where the show fails ultimately for me even after some fairly decent episodes is that it ends in such a way that this all feels like one really long prologue. Kotaro does grow a bit during all of this as he has to grapple with who he really is but it's done in such a way that it really feels incomplete and unfulfilling. Then I realize what show I've been watching and remember that the majority of it was all pointless. Having said that there isn't any show that shouldn't be brought over because it has its fans, this is one of the few that comes close to wanting to put a footnote with that statement. Papuwa certainly has its fans but this release just made me dread each and every new volume. I wish it had been done as a single collection so that I could have finished it out ages ago rather than dragging it out for so long.

In Summary:
Fans of the original series and those who like the weird and unusual will get plenty of enjoyment out of this series. ADV Films has done a good job with it overall by providing it with a dub that fits well, good looking video and some very useful translation notes that help explain things. If the humor and style used in the series doesn't appeal to you, it doesn't get better with more exposure. There are always difficult series to watch but Papuwa has been one of the harder ones as it feels like my life is just bleeding out of me as I watch it. Very little of the humor worked, the characters were uninteresting and the animation pretty basic as it keeps to the originals designs. Papuwa should have been a thinpak collection right from the start.

Features
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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