Sometimes a frogs worst enemy is himself, or his own teammates, as the Keroro platoon routinely proves.
What They Say
How long can it take to conquer a planet whose inhabitants are constantly distracted by glorious celebrations, exotic foods, and all the anime you can watch? Apparently, a really, really, really long time. But fear not, citizens of Keron, for Sergeant Frog and his courageous comrades have vowed to stay in the trenches, feverishly building model mechas until this invasion is back on track!
No stone will go unturned, no sweet potato dango uneaten, no manga unread, and no floor un-vacuumed! Those puny Pekopons better watch their backs because the Kero Platoon will not rest until humanity trembles at their webbed feet!
Contains episodes 40-51.
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 airing in 2005, the transfer for this series is presented in its original full frame aspect ratio. This series is being released in small chunks of twelve or thirteen episodes which are spread across two discs in a seven/six format. This set has twelve episodes in a six/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 Giroro front and center with the guns blazing as the rest of the cast is around him. 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 Fuyuki as the larger focal point while the frogs float around as well as other human characters. Fuyuki and Keroro side by side has a good look to it as they have similar smiles. The second has Fuyuki and Natsumi's mother in her ready to roll mode as the main focus which is really 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 of which we get several due to some special ones on the second volume, 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)
Sgt. Frog slides through twelve more episodes which brings the second season to a close by getting us up to episode fifty one. Unsurprisingly, the series doesn't actually change much from what we've seen though we sort of get a new character formally introduced as the ghost that has floated around gets an episode where she's fully revealed and the gang takes a trip back in time to realize that she's been visited by Keropians before. By and large though, Sgt. Frog is at that point where they do lots of fun stuff but you wonder how long they can continue it while realizing that there's another couple hundred episodes out there.
What's interesting is that as this set ends, episode fifty-one can actually serve as a finale for the series in total depending on how FUNimation wants to approach it. The episode deals with the platoon being informed that they haven't achieved anything of significance and they're being withdrawn from the theater so the higher ups can figure out a new approach. It's a somber episode as the platoon deals with the loss as well as realizing that the people they've befriended will lose their memories of them. Watching them cope with it is well done and the actual removal of all things Keroro and the gang is a lot of fun. Of course, you know it won't end without a reboot of sorts since the show continues on for several years, but it's one of those expected episodes that plays well and does offer a jumping off point for people. I still want more though.
This set kicks off with a new year angle as it's now 2005 and we see the gang going through the motions of it and other holidays. Valentine's Day in particular is fun as Momoka is doing her best to give Fuyuki some chocolates but ends up frustrated when tons of girls give him things, though neither realize the true intent of it all. At the same time, Keroro has come up with a new master plan of making special dumplings to sell that can fund their next invasion plan, or more Gundam models, which hits a number of stumbling blocks along the way. The other fun part to watch is seeing Natsumi doing her best to get Saburo's attention as well as she has her girly moments in being shy and unsure of herself, a decided contrast from how she usually is in dealing with everyone else.
One of my favorite episodes is when Keroro challenges the humans to an athletic event as he's quite sure that his species is far more athletic. This episode does the standard first half and second half split with the first half showing the Olympic style competitions, including curling, where the human side keeps hitting losses where they shouldn't which gives rise to some cheating. It's a fun episode that's fairly predictable but it's the second half the seals the deal. It's here that Kalulu gets Hinata to help him testing out some giant robots which brings us to all kinds of classic mecha goodness as she completely gets into it at the same time that the competitions are going on. Hinata gets so into it that she overtaxes the the machine and causes a ton of trouble for the competition which we see from a different angle.
Sgt. Frog does run across a number of somewhat familiar stories, such as a sports episode revolving around soccer and some other plain silliness. The one involving the ghost that has been living in the household for awhile finally gets its due and it was actually fairly nice as Keroro finally realized who it was that was messing slightly with his models and other things. Keroro and Natsumi do a little trip back in time via her memories to see the past and as obvious as it is, it's nice to see another instance of Keroro's race visiting years ago. Another fun story involves a virtual game of Life, Keroro style, where everyone stands inside of it and they play to get their fondest wishes given to them. Getting to see what people want is often fun and even Natsumi gets into the game, at least until the fate of the world ends up at stake.
Sgt. Frog is very simply a fun show that's exactly what you'd expect from a series that's all about the situational gags. I'm still somewhat surprised they haven't introduced more characters or expanded it but what they've done in these first fifty-one episodes is to introduce an amusing cast, a solid basic setup and plenty of gags and laughs that work well. This set builds on all that's come before, but there isn't much more to really do. The show is a pretty well oiled machine where it has memorable episodes and some less than memorable ones but it leaves a positive impression overall. The diversity of the characters and the situations they can run with, as well as the simple absurdity of situations created by Keroro, allows for almost everything and anything to happen. That promise, as well as the promise of mostly rebooting at the end of each episode, means we're just set for fun and it's simply a matter of what the angle is in each episode. Good stuff that's still making me smile after this many episodes and leaves me looking forward to many more.
Features Japanese 2.0 Language, English 5.1 Language, English Subtitles, Clean Opening, Clean Closings, Series 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.
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