Shin-Chan Season 2 Part 1 - Mania.com



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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B
  • Video Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: A
  • Menus Rating: A
  • Extras Rating: A
  • Age Rating: 17 and Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: FUNimation Entertainment, Ltd.
  • MSRP: 39.98
  • Running time: 325
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Shin-Chan

Shin-Chan Season 2 Part 1

By Paul Gaudette     May 20, 2009
Release Date: February 10, 2009


Shin-Chan Season 2 Part 1
© FUNimation Entertainment, LTD

Shin-chan’s back with even more ass dances and satire on modern Amer.. er Japan.

What They Say
A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away… Now was it Lord Bader or Master Bader? Either way, the helmet head is feeling a great disturbance in his shorts, as Any-Wan Canblowme and young Puke Skypooper race to save the princess. In true Shin chan style, this trilogy is about to get FUBAR! But wait, that's not all! Gross quickly dissolves into disgusting as Shin and Mitzi find their roles reversed, Action Bastard's alter-ego is revealed and the Noharas learn about chillin'... Happy pill style! All this and more packed into 13 obscenely uncensored episodes! Warning: The makers of Shin chan do not endorse underage bunny abuse.

The Review!
Audio:
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.

Video:
The series is presented here in its original aspect ratio of 1.33:1. Just like with the previous volumes, 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. The Star Wars episode that starts this box also introduces some computer generated animation which is crude but clean with no macroblocking or noise.

Packaging:
Only one word can describe the packaging on this boxset: crunk!  The artwork is very reminiscent of a Latino rap album with Ai and Penny in swimsuits on either side of a bandana-wearing Shin ready to “lean like a cholo.” A black and white shot of Shin is featured on the trifold packaging inside centered above Naohara Locos in Gothic script while the discs are kept amidst a background of fancy N’s, diamonds and all things balla. It’s a really cute design and a step up from the sloppy graffiti design from the first season boxsets.

Menus:
Both discs feature artwork similar to the cover with all menu options on the bottom of the screen and music from the show playing on a loop. Everything is easy to read and access times are fast.

Extras:
Season 2 Part 1 includes even extras for your viewing pleasure: From the Bowels of the Booth, Shin Wars storyboards (it’s only natural as the designs are pretty cute), an episode 28 commentary a closing song karaoke and a closing song sing-along.  The commentary for episode 28 (one of the best in this set) is delivered by the ADR director, the head writer and voice actress Laura Bailey. 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 a collection of alternate takes, background dialogue and bloopers. These extras may not be all that meaty but they are fairly interesting and their inclusion is appreciated.

Content:
Normally, I’d start this review with an introduction to the main plot of the series, but there’s only one storyline that extends over several episodes and it involves Shin’s favorite show, Action Bastard. There’s little point in summarizing this as well since a good portion is obviously rewritten to include an awkward relationship between the villain and Action Bastard’s teenage/ pre-teen sidekick. The stories all feature the superhero storyline with a brief reaction by Shin at the end that parodies the commercialization of the average kid’s show. This last shot is usually the best joke of each episode and the absence of Shin’s idol worship is missed for most of these.

Just like with previous volumes, this one is made up of rewrites picked throughout the entire run of the series. However, this volume manages to be even more random if that’s possible. At one point, the family is back in the apartment that they moved away from, and Ai is strangely and inexplicably absent from 95% of this volume.

Two episodes are parodies that obviously play outside the reality of the show, one of Star Wars and one of Freaky Friday.  The Star Wars episode is a mixed bag of genuinely funny and groan-inducing gags. The best joke involves the princess (played by Mitzi) “enhancing her hologram” to draw a savior only to have them disappointed when they meet her face to face. The worst is easily the porn-style parody names like Princess Labia and Anyone Kenblomi. Oddly enough, the Freaky Friday style episode is one of the best and feels different from the rest of similar storylines thanks to a wider age gap.   

The localization team has hit their stride now actually with jokes poured into every moment thanks to MST3K-like jokes on plain shots. A jet passes by followed by a stream of smoke and you hear the pilot announce that the poverty-stricken have been sterilized. The jokes at the beginning of the one episode are very similar to the film Kung Pow! Enter the Fist; they’re oddly funny and fit the image but the dialogue is structured unnaturally and not believable at all when Shin wakes up his mother to say his friend came to see her and is surprised to find that his friend is here to see him.

It’s actually kind of to the show’s detriment that the localization team has hit their stride. The show is still at its best when dealing with the family dynamic and believable misunderstandings and interpretations of the world by Shin and friends. Even though the jokes are mature sometimes, the overall story somehow manages to be cute. However, the inclusion of jokes in nearly every moment of the show means some shock jokes find their way in to the mix with one-liners poking fun at things like Schindler’s List and cancer. They really undermine the good-natured spirit of the show. Some of the rewrites are incredibly obvious this time too with a running gag about a suicide pact forced into the plot of an episode about boy scouts. It’s not particularly funny, and it’s very out of place.

The end result of such killing jokes is that Shin-Chan starts to feel less like a real narrative more like a loose collection of jokes. It makes it harder to get into the plotlines and characters. That’s not to say that there aren’t still plenty of gags to draw laughs. Subtitles are used to great effect this time around and the trademark meta jokes that poke fun at the original production and this version running on Adult Swim are still here. The best characters still bring out the best jokes too. Even though he is fixated on poop and baring his ass, Shin himself remains one of the biggest draws and the abused/abusive Penny and Mitzi are always good for a laugh.        

In Summary:

Purists will still likely ignore this show but those who dug the first two volumes or watch it on Adult Swim will probably want to pick it up especially at the low price point. The show is still funny enough with some memorable episodes scattered throughout, but the rewriting has become very obvious with this volume. The show seems like it resembles the original Japanese language program even less. In fact, the show feels more like actors just joking around in the booth than an actual show. The series still produces big laughs but the increased randomness makes for a less memorable experience. Of course, this complaint probably seems like nitpicking to those who already accepted a localized show that’s happy enough to throw-out the original script sometimes. This DVD is a top-notch representation of the material with nearly flawless audio and video and even more extras than the previous volumes. 

Features
English 2.0 Language, From the Bowels of the Booth, Shin Wars storyboards, Episode 28 commentary, Closing song karaoke and a closing song sing-along.

Review Equipment

46” Toshiba REGZA 16:9 LCD HDTV, Sony Playstation 3 (upconverted to 1080p through HDMI), Yamaha YSP-900 Digital Sound Projector w/ 100-watt subwoofer

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