The invasion awkwardly continues as Keroro and his gang of incompetents march forward - occasionally.
What They Say
Keroro's platoon is back at full force, and the troops are finally ready for action! There's just one problem - planet Earth is a big place for five froggy aliens to conquer by themselves. So when the Sergeant blows his allowance building model mechs instead of financing the invasion, the platoon's only hope becomes finding a weakness in humans they can exploit.
Whether it's telling ghost stories, sabotaging field day, or rigging bikini contests, Keroro's crew has to prove they can do something - anything at all - better than the tyrants who'd rather see them clean bathrooms than enjoy the spoils of war.
Contains episodes 14-26.
Sgt. Frog gets a bit of a surprising release when it comes to at least the English language track as it’s done in 5.1 encoded at 448kbps. The Japanese track, in its original stereo form, is encoded at 192kbps but does come across well. The English language track doesn’t stand out terribly much in terms of its actual presentation – it’s mostly just louder overall – but there are some minor throws to the rear channels and directionality seems a bit more precise with the forward speakers. The Japanese track is quite good as well though as it uses the stereo channels to good effect when needed, but the show is primarily dialogue and then explosive fast paced dialogue, and both tracks capture this well and free of problems.
Originally starting its run in 1999, the transfer for this series is presented in its original full frame aspect ratio. This series is being released in small chunks of thirteen episodes which are spread across two discs in a seven/six format. With the age of the show, I was really surprised at how new it looks, to the point where it could easily be a new series starting up in the last couple of years instead of one that’s ten years old as of this writing. Colors are bold, vibrant and clean outside of a bit of noise/grain that shows up. The animation is very smooth and free of problems like cross coloration and major aliasing, leaving a very good looking transfer and viewing experience. My only dislike is the swapping out of title cards, but since this was being pushed more for a broadcast run it’s not a surprise.
Sgt. Frog gets a pretty cute package for its release as it follows the traditional new show model for a FUNimation title. The slipcover holds two thinpak cases and is done with lots of green, which is really a given. The front of the slipcover has Keroro along the bottom doing a salute while the other members of the platoon are ringed behind him with one of the alien ships looming in the background. The logo looks good, providing a mix of military and sci-fi, though the pink/purple coloring for part of it just doesn’t look good. The back of the slipcover has a very cute picture of Keroro with mop and bucket in hand but is mostly filled with text as it describes the premise of the show and having a big logo and tagline on it. A few small shots from the show flesh it out a bit more while the bottom is a very small section with the technical grid. Production credits are actually moved to the underside of the slipcover, which we don’t see often.
Inside the slipcover we have two clear thinpak cases done with the same kind of framework as the slipcover itself. The first volume has a great picture of Dororo looking serious while Keroro, Angol Mois and Koyuki are behind him while the second has the conniving Kululu in the foreground while others are behind him with very different outfits from various episodes. The back covers are laid out the same but with different artwork pieces as it lists the episode numbers and titles for that respective disc. The reverse sides of the covers are pretty slick as well as they feature their respective characters on one side with a big pose while the right side has their rank and name. No show related inserts are included nor is there a reversible cover.
The menus for Sgt. Frog as pretty minimal though in the same theme as the packaging so there is some good consistency there. Each disc has the same layout with different artwork, pieces used from the cover such as Dororo in his full on gear, with the quasi military style font used for the navigation. As is usual, there isn’t any top level episode access which keeps the menus looking minimal but easy to navigate. Submenus load quickly and the basic design keeps it free of problems. The discs don’t read our players’ language presets and it doesn’t highlight changes made either to ensure selections were accepted.
The extras are on the second disc and are fairly basic and expected. In addition to the clean versions of the opening and closing sequences, there’s a bit of a “database” that talks about various items of clothing and such that the invaders deal with during their stay.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The first set of this series introduced us to the five primary alien invaders, the Keropons, as they found themselves essentially stranded on Earth after some problems with their invasion plan. They get some help, occasionally some communications and supplies, but generally speaking they're left alone to make some progress on the grand plan of subjugating the Earth. And they should be doing it in a way that leaves the planet in good shape for the conquerors, something that's often forgotten by the platoon as they get wrapped up in plans that will destroy the surface of the world.
Over these thirteen episodes, we don't get any new invader frogs as they were all introduced by the end of the first set, culminating in the arrival of Dororo. Dororo was an interesting addition to the series as he's not quite as connected to the rest after the events of the initial invasion, though they do manage to slowly get him more included with this set. The opening of this set deals with this rather well as Keororo comes up with an idea to win over Dororo by helping him realize the beauty of the city they're in by planting special alien flowers all over the place. Dororo isn't all that interested in conquering the world at this point and is far more interested in enjoying the beauty of the world and what it has to offer.
Dual personalities is one of the themes of this set as some of the humanoid characters get to change for a bit. Momoka runs into an experiment that actually splits her two personalities into physical differences and you have a Dark Momoka running around which is far more capable of destroying the world than the platoon itself which is highly amusing. This has a great moment where a couple of the invaders are fused together that you wish they'd do an episode of rather than just as a one-off gag. Another episode that deals in dual aspects involves Angol Mois as it deals with the human she modeled herself over when she finally work up after all these centuries of being asleep around the Earth. The human version of her is decidedly different and Moi takes it to amusing extremes in order to get her on the proper path.
Natsumi even gets involved in this as the age ray from an earlier episode gets involved again when the gang heads to the beach. There's a content to win a prize and everyone finds a different way to enter, but Natsumi ends up in an awkward place when she gets aged to an adult but takes on “old man” aspects with her sense of humor. That actually works in her favor as it's an amusing disparity with her appearance, but it also incites Keroro to do better as he wants to win the prize. Personalities are the order of the day when Keroro manages to steal the Kero Ball only to discover that it's broken from the first episode. He foolishly uses it anyways and the household finds itself suddenly filled with dozens and dozens of Keroro's. All of them have the same awful personality, which Keroro-prime comes to realize when none of them do anything that's required.
My personal favorite episode of this set involves private Tamama as instructions from headquarters come in that informs the platoon of a change of leadership. Keroro finds himself on the outside now as Tamama is given command of the troop. Power goes to his head faster than anything else, including blood and oxygen, and he takes it to the logical extreme of finding everyone eventually working against him so he imprisons them. Tamama really takes the role with the uniform, the tone of voice and the authoritarian nature that takes him over. Small minds with a lot of power are dangerous things which is why it's a good thing that Keroro is preoccupied with his Gundam toys more than anything else.
Sgt. Frog doesn't deviate from what works with this set of episodes as it alternates between full length episode stories and half episode stories for the quick humor. The comedy is essentially the same and it works well, though I'm less of a fan of the more topical humor found in the dub version since that dates it too much for me. What we get in the Japanese tends to be more timeless humor, or at least humor that's not as connected to particular time and events. What we get here is another thirteen episodes with the fate of the world in the hands of a group of alien frogs that seem more interested in other activities for the most part, and that may tire after awhile but right now it's very amusing.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English 5.1 Language, English Subtitles, Clean Opening, Clean Closing, Technical Data
Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70" LCoS 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.