Earth continues to offer up obstacles for the intrepid invasion frog force, including their first snow experience.
What They Say
Sgt. Frog comes marching back with his comrades in a new attack. Everyone's favorite vacuum-wielding alien frog returns in new hijinks and adventures. All that housework, building Gundam models and singing karaoke never holds back our favorite amphibian fearless leader! It's one giant leap for frogkind!
Contains episodes 27-39.
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 2004, 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 manages another 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 red, which works this time around as the covers are given over to Giroro. 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,especially now that it doesn't have the pink and purple aspects. The back of the slipcover has a very cute picture of Keroro in a cosplay uniform 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 Natsumi as the larger focal point while the frogs float around as well as other human characters. Natsumi is appealing with her smile and her kimono that gives you plenty to look at while the second has the Momoka as its main character where she's acting all cute while everyone else fills out the rest of the cover. 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 Giroro 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 second season of Sgt. Frog gets underway and FUNimation has done something a little interesting in that they're labeling these volumes as five and six, rather than starting with one and two for this season. Hopefully that means we'll see some big boxes of the Frog in the future. With thirteen episodes, Sgt. Frog rolls along as the gang tries to come up with more ways to take over the world but invariably end up doing things that are more about being lazy than anything else. Plenty of wacky situations occur along the way and we get a few more Keroron's introduced, at least briefly.
The invasion side of the series has a few amusing moments as winter starts to set in on Japan and the invaders find themselves unaccustomed to such things. They have a great moment where they realize that humans are all hunkered in and keeping warm which means they can invade easily so they leap into action out the front door. Natsumi fills them in on the most notorious military man of the planet with General Winter who subjugates the island nation each year and Keroro soaks it up quickly and with an eagerness that you see often from him. It's a cute way of introducing them to the winter, though they have another episode involving winter that has them acclimated to it. A lot of this revolves around everyone getting together and having a snowball fight and it's fun to just see them all going at it with glee.
Having other members of the invasion force show up is something I wondered when it would happen, though what we get is fairly mild overall. The first one that has the most impact is when a cadet named Taruru that Tamama knows comes to visit and Tamama has been spreading tall tales about what he does there. That leads to a lot of confusion and anger from everyone else as Tamama has really built himself up with his role there. He's also painted everyone else in a mostly poor light and that doesn't help either when Taruru goes through that with everyone. Another one that's fun is that Keroro's father is inbound for Earth to see how he son is doing. Unfortunately, Keroro's father is a famous military hero so Keroro is freaking out and convincing everyone to act as if he's captured the planet and to play along with his charade. His father doesn't get too much screen time but it's a good story that builds up more of Keroro's history as well as highlighting why he is the way he is.
Momoka has a number of good stories in these episodes as well as she continues to do her best to win over Fuyuki. Her efforts go quite far, from trying to get him to take her to a concert and having the entire crowd around them working for her (and wearing masks) to whisking the Hinata family away along with the aliens for a ski weekend so the two of them can be a little bit closer. The wealth of the family is always on display and seeing them with a winter mansion that's hidden underground takes it even further. Along with Momoka, Natsumi has some good episodes as well, including one where she's part of a prank pulled by galactic TV where Sumomo comes back to go inside a body double of Natsumi and truly mess with Giroro and his affections for her. It's cruel, but it's positively hilarious to see Natsumi flirt so much with Giroro and to see him so flummoxed.
Sgt. Frog's second season set doesn't deviate from what made the first season as much fun as it was. The show continues to split between full episode stories and half length ones to its benefit as some of them really wouldn't flow well for a full length on. Like almost all situational anime comedies like this, there isn't a whole lot of real progression here, but it does advance. Keroro and the others experience their first winter, they discover Christmas as well as New Year and all that it entails. This small amount of progression is a big plus as it does show some passage of time and we know that they've been there for months now. This series is good simple fun with a lot of otaku references and a whole lot of Gundam thrown into it, along with a healthy dose of Yamato this time. And all that combined with fun, goofy characters make this a show that's easy to settle down with and just enjoy.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English 5.1 Language, English Subtitles, Clean Opening, Clean Closing, Recon 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.