Shin-chan returns with more adorable moments and abuse references.
What They Say
This triflin' tyke is a train wreck in action, but this sure ain't no kiddie cartoon! Although admittedly, it looks like one... From superhero sell-outs, hotties and half-tards to bunny abuse and dirty old men, this series has it all and more!?! All attitude and a whole lotta @$$, Shin chan will keep you saying "Oh no, he didn't!"
Contains episodes 14-26.
Shin-Chan comes equipped with a single English 2.0 dub. As is expected with a show like this, there’s nothing really dynamic here. However everything is layered well, the dialogue is always intelligible and sound effects always sound appropriate to the material.
The series is presented here in its original aspect ratio of 1.33:1. Just like with the first volume, episodes were chosen from various points throughout the original Japanese run so video quality varies throughout. Fortunately, most of this volume is fairly consistent in quality and the presentation here is a bit better with bold colors and a mostly clean print. That’s a relief because this volume starts on a dream sequence so the first few minutes are really soft and muddy-looking. The show probably looks as good as it’s going to look given the source.
The first volume’s packaging was pretty messy but actually fit the content of the series. Funimation found a way for this volume to match the other (they look good together on the shelf) while making it a little neater. The slipcover to the digipack still features every color in the world, but the front cover shot of a large Shin centered above a line of other characters is much more pleasing to the eye and the internal image of Hima and Shin in a Bond-esque pose is cute with its refined look and deep shadows. The discs feel secure in the trays and the quality of the materials is about the best you can expect from a digipack release.
Both discs feature artwork similar to the cover with menu options to one side and music from the show playing on a loop. Everything is easy to read and access times are fast.
There are only two extras this time around: a commentary and “From the Bowels of the Booth.” The commentary for episode 17 (the fourth episode on this volume for those keeping count) is delivered by the ADR director and the head writer. As expected, this is a nice breezy commentary, but it actually does give quite a bit of insight into the work that goes into the localization for this show. “From the Bowels of the Booth” is an eight-minute collection of alternate takes, background dialogue and bloopers. Almost all of the material here is gold.
I’ll preface this review like I did with volume one. Shin-chan is presented here heavily localized with major rewrites for its American audience who, in all likelihood, wouldn’t understand a lot of the original gags. The first volume only contained one segment in its original Japanese dialogue for reference and this volume doesn’t even include that much.
So how does it play out? As much as I had a problem of knowing whether to credit the original Japanese writers or the localization team for a certain joke during the first volume, I still loved the tale of the poop-obsessed kindergartner and his eccentric family. The vast majority of the jokes worked with the only a few moments of eye-rolling when the writers laid on to one sex joke for too long and some dated pop-culture references.
I’m happy to say that this volume just seems to work better with both the writers and the actors finding their grooves. There are a few pop-culture jokes but they’re not focused on easy targets like Paris Hilton anymore, and they’re more clever. Likewise, the jokes don’t go on and on and the rapid-fire delivery of some characters plays out better. The self-referential humor returns as well. (Line likes “It’s very Adult Swim in here.” pepper the show.)
Even though I enjoyed the first thirteen episodes included on the previous volume, there were quite a few times when the show just felt like people riffing in the booth which contributes to the show’s random humor. There are still quite a few of these moments, but some of the characters in the main cast feel more genuine this time around (thanks in part to their familiarity). There are even a few sentimental moments with Shin and his family that work quite well. This also makes the increased vulgarity spouted out by and thrown at kindergarteners easier to take.
The more grounded episodes actually retain a certain innocent charm like the scenes featuring the kids playing make-believe. However, more random segments such as the superhero parodies and the return of Happiness Bunny also work even if they send the tone of the show into a different direction entirely. Strong characters like Ai and Penny are given ample opportunity to shine, and watching Shin terrorize those around him is still funny as hell.
Purists will likely avoid this release like the plague, but those who enjoy the Adult Swim brand of humor and can do without the original Japanese dialogue can’t go wrong with this boxset at the price. The video and audio are about the best they could be given the source material and although there are only two extras, they’re both worth a look.
English 2.0 Language, From the Bowels of the Booth - Alternate/Deleted Scenes, Episode 4 Commentary
37” Olevia 16:9 LCD HDTV, Sony Playstation 3 (upconverted to 720p through HDMI), Yamaha YSP-900 Digital Sound Projector