Mania Grade: C
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- Audio Rating: B
- Video Rating: C+
- Packaging Rating: B+
- Menus Rating: B
- Extras Rating: B
- Age Rating: 15 & Up
- Region: 1 - North America
- Released By: ADV Films
- MSRP: 24.95
- Running time: 60
- Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
- Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
- Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
- Series: Plastic Little
By Andrew Pease
March 03, 2002
Release Date: February 05, 2002
I went into Plastic Little hoping for a story like the original Sol Bianca OVA combined with the beautiful and bouncy character designs of Satoshi Urushihara. The show delivers on both counts... but not in the ways I'd hoped.
Viewed on an Oritron stand-alone DVD player and a 21" TV, I noticed no real problems with either the audio or video. The colors for most of the show are noticeably muted, making the show look even older than it already is, but the video is always sharp and clear, except when the content demands a softer look, such as in a steamy bath. Audio is crisp in both channels, with typical stereo separation for an early-90's OVA. The much-vaunted jiggle counter is part of the subtitle track, and with soft-subbed translations for signs, there's a total of 5 subtitle tracks to cover all the possible combinations. You'll want to make sure to make your language and jiggle-selections via the menu as a result.
Content (can, and probably will contain spoilers):
Plastic Little is a one-hour OVA (straight-to-video release) made in 1994. The basic pitch is simple and attractive: Cute women running an independent spaceship run afoul of the local military, chaos ensues, but first, they find time for a bath scene. With character designs by Satoshi Urushihara, the bath scene promises more fan service than usual, since the man is known for his lovingly detailed drawings of women's breasts. Plastic Little is no exception, indeed, the show is often referred to by fans as Plastic Nipple. However, the nude scenes are few and short. Since the show is too short to do much with the characters, it's expected to rest on the story and action, and this is where the trouble comes.
The spaceship central to the story is the Cha Cha Maru, and I'm not entirely sure if it's really a spaceship. The entire show takes place on or near a strange island apparently floating in a planet-sized (or larger!) ocean, which the ship dives into to catch animals to be sold on other planets, mainly as pets. I guess it's technically a submarine that makes the occasional interstellar journey, which we never get to see.
The Captain of the ship, Tita (you, in the back, stop snickering) rescues a girl who holds the password to unlock a secret weapon the military spent many years building. Amusingly, the evil, one-dimensional villain running the military is the spitting image of Il Palazzo from Excel Saga. Unfortunately, it's never really explained what the military intends to do with the weapon they've built. It isn't portable, so the only target they could use it on is the local populace, which they already seem to have under reasonable control. Oh well, the military's evil, so they feel the need to do evil stuff I guess. Gotta have a hobby, right? Another problem is that the inevitable conflict between the Cha Cha Maru and the military manages to be more unbelievable than the battles in Queen Emeraldas. Fortunately, the animation quality is very impressive, better than many anime movies.
Though it's an older dub, it's done fairly well. Spike Spencer, the voice of Shinji in ADV's Evangelion dub, makes the expected appearance, but nearly all the characters have bad European accents. Somehow the accents add to the fun of the dub for me. The Japanese voice acting is the typical overall good job I expect, though no one really stood out.
In short, the fan service doesn't occur enough to distract from the story problems, but if you're in the mood for a light popcorn flick, you could do worse. The jiggle counter does help the viewer get an extra viewing out of the disc, but once you've seen it once, you know where the counting will happen. Thankfully, ADV was prescient enough to put a chapter stop at the beginning of the bath scene.
Oritron DVD player, 21" Samsung TV, Aiwa 5.1 Receiver