Shin-Chan Season 1 Part 1 - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: B+

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B
  • Video Rating: B
  • Packaging Rating: A
  • Menus Rating: A
  • Extras Rating: A
  • Age Rating: TV MA
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: FUNimation Entertainment, Ltd.
  • MSRP: 39.99
  • Running time: 325
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Shin-Chan

Shin-Chan Season 1 Part 1

By Paul Gaudette     June 03, 2008
Release Date: May 13, 2008


Shin-Chan Season 1 Part 1
© FUNimation Entertainment, Ltd.


What They Say
He's rude, he's crude, and adults tremble whenever he's around. His inappropriate comments and obsession with body parts and bodily functions make life stressful for his struggling parents. No one is safe from Shinchan's verbal outbursts... and now, neither are you!

The Review!
Finally, a show that crosses Full House with South Park!

Audio:
The only track on this release is the 2.0 English dub which won't blow the house down with its activity, but this is a dialogue-heavy show that features little call for layered effects or directionality. All in all, the dub sounds clean with no distortion and everything sounds appropriate to what's on screen.

Video:
This is a very hard category to judge. It's taken this show a while to reach our side of the ocean. Shin-Chan originally started airing in 1990 and this disc presents the show in its OAR of 1.33:1. Without sounding too cruel, Shin-chan doesn't look good. Colors are washed out and there's quite a bit of grain from time to time. This is forgivable though considering the original production is over 15 years old. I think Funimation did the best they could with the source material.

Packaging:
Any Adult Swim fan should be well acquainted with Shin-Chan's packaging. The trifold digipack holds the two discs and the digipack is housed inside a slipcase. There's nothing refined about the design but that just gives the customer a better indication of the show they're buying. The wild coloration and cluttered cast shots fits the show perfectly and an even better indication of the show greets you when you open the case. The first thing you'll see will be Shin-Chan's little friend Mister Elephant who's famous for his "thigh-slapping trunk attack." Crude? Yes. Fitting? Indeed.

Menus:
The static menus feature the same style of the packaging with wild colors, lots of characters and music from the show. The menus are easy to read and navigate and access times are fast.

Extras:
The extras are actually pretty extensive for a dub only release. On the first disc, there is a commentary on episode four. The commentary is a lot drier than one would expect from the people involved in this show, but it's fairly informative about dubbing practices and gives a little insight into the show's localization. Disc two features some wackier moments with "From the bowels of the booth" which features some pretty funny alternate takes and flubs. The second extra on the disc is "Battle: Encho-Man" in the original Japanese language. Although I wish every episode was offered in both languages, I appreciate being able to compare the scripts in one of the most memorable episodes. Next up are cast auditions for no less than 13 characters selectable from a pictorial menu. This setup is preferable to a reel and I'd love to see future releases adopt this format. Finally, there's a video reel of original Japanese storyboards.

Content:
Shin-Chan has an interesting past. During the decade and a half it took to come to America, it gained a cult following both in and out of Japan. Despite its notoriety, American distributors found difficulty in bringing over a faithful adaptation of the show. So it finally showed up last year on Adult Swim- only it was given the same treatment as Super Milk-Chan during the localization. In other words, severe liberties were taken with the translations and many jokes were rewritten from the ground up.

So how does the show fare? Well, it's obvious given the show's nature that it was already pretty crass and the rewrites actually match the show pretty well. The only humor that falls flat are pop culture references (Do we really need more Brokeback Mountain and Paris Hilton jokes, fellas?) and some of the overabundant sex jokes (I lost count of the double entendres during the blow dart segment). For all the jokes that don't work, there are a lot that do though, especially the self-referential stuff ("What's that? The actual script for this episode?"). The slapstick stuff carried over almost always works and the charm of the show's design, while hardly pretty, is hard to ignore.

The plot revolves around Shin, a foul-mouthed kindergartner who has a penchant for dropping his trousers at a moment's notice and stepping on the toes of almost everyone. The cast also includes a passive-aggressive friend who wails on her stuffed bunny when angry, a plotting heiress with an unhealthy obsession for Shin, Shin's mother who is saving up for a boob job and the principal who moonlights as a superhero that's always stuck doing menial tasks.

There's really no overlying plot to speak of and only one plot line carries over across multiple episodes. However, considering that the format of the show is basically three 6-7 minute segments per episode, it works pretty well and provided you can get into a show that offers both crude humor and cute design, you won't really be wishing for a deeper plot.

The only fault I can find with the show is how it was released. Only one segment contains the original Japanese and since the writers were given clearance to do whatever they felt like it's hard to know how many of these jokes were in the original script and who deserves the credit. There is no doubt that a lot of the original Japanese jokes either wouldn't work or make sense for an American audience but I can't help feeling cheated that I'm not allowed to freely compare the two versions. Likely the mere idea of this release will make purists cringe.

In Summary:

It seems from the packaging and pricing on this release that Funimation is targeting Adult Swim fans rather than the anime faithful. Purists should be aware that this show features extensive rewrites and contains no original language track. If you're able to look the other way and are just in the market for a laugh or two, this set offers a lot of bang for your buck with 13 episodes and a decent selection of extras. The show itself retains a certain innocent charm even as the jokes get more and more edgy and it makes for a hell of a fun time.

Features
English 2.0 Language,Episode Commentary, English Cast Auditions, Original Storyboards

Review Equipment
37" Olevia 16:9 LCD HDTV, Sony Playstation 3 (upconverted to 720p through HDMI), Kenwood 550-watt 5.1 surround system

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