In this volume, Shin takes up Kendo so he can show others the fury of his stick.
What They Say
Shin's finessing fine cowgirls and sweating sexy joggers. He's hustling, ese, and the panties are flying. He's getting trained in the ways of kendo loco. He's handling his sword and you will get cut. Fools can't compete - Yonro's no mack, Penny's a triflin' gold-digger, Hiro can't get Mitzi to pay up, and Whitey's running for his life. Still think Shinnin' ain't easy? Just watch the jefe work, holmes.
Contains episodes 40-52.
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 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.
Keeping with design of Part 1’s boxset, this one provides an excellent companion piece. The interior still features the Latino-style portraits as well as a quote in cursive. (This time, it’s probably the best line of the first episode delivered by Penny.) Diamonds and initials still adorn the disc trays adding to the flavor. The best aspect is the front cover which is almost like a punchline to the front cover of Part 1. Part 1 featured Shin looking posed and cool with Penny and Ai in swimsuits on either side while on this cover, he’s steaming mad with Penny and the Happiness Bunny taking the abuse while sitting and facing behind. If I have any problem with the design is that it’s too close to the predecessor from the side. Part 1 has gold lettering with a crimson outline and Part 2 has gold lettering with purple outlines. It’s easy to grab the wrong one if you’re not paying attention. Still, it looks good and the two-disc digipack is sturdy enough.
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.
Season 2 Part 2 includes the following extras: From the Bowels of the Booth, storyboards, an episode 51 commentary and a music video for “Long Grey Winter”. No explanation is given for the inclusion of the music video but it’s a standard song about loss run over some silly imagery and runs for around 2 minutes. The commentary for episode 51 is delivered by four of the voice actors. As expected, this is a nice breezy commentary with about as much time spent giggling as talking. “From the Bowels of the Booth” is a collection of alternate takes, background dialogue/music and bloopers. I was actually kind of impressed with the extras last time and can’t help but feel this is a step down.
The second half of Shin-Chan’s second season continues right where the first left off with a whole episode devoted to Shin’s high school years. The last boxset I considered was the weakest of the previous three and I (probably too hastily) decried that the writers had become too comfortable in the rewriting process which had led to a decline in the quality of the series. Even still, the final episodes of part 1 were definitely the best particularly the last which introduced the concept of flash-forwarding the cast ten years Muppet Babies style. (Everyone still looks like a kindergartner although the rest of the high school cast looks like the right age.) It provided some playful jabs at shoujo romance and sports anime even… and the second part hit all the gags home.
I’m also happy to report that the formula was not lost. My main gripe with part 1 was an overlong continuing story arc centered around Action Bastard (which played a bit like an animated superhero porn spoof edited for basic cable.) Stories involving Shin’s favorite foul-named champion are okay but the reason for his inclusion at all was to make statements on media and commercialization in relation to kids. That arc didn’t work because there was no pay off involving a reaction to the program. Fortunately, AB’s return here doesn’t suffer the same fate as a rare turn with sidekick Lolipop as the protagonist leads the abusive Penny to subject others to rescue at her hands… with predictable results.
The biggest credit to this boxset is that the tone feels dead on. Shin at its best hits the same as an incisive episode of South Park. It has all the charm and charisma of Peanuts on the surface but the adult content acts to subvert the style; in the midst of all this, the raunchy gags become okay placed next to cute set-pieces because the behavior of the children is strangely nostalgic even though the dialogue gets bluer than an ice sculpture’s naughty bits. We can all remember playing make-believe the way the kids on screen are even though we probably didn’t say a**hole that much in kindergarten.
It’s appropriate to mention Peanuts in this review as the whole shift in quality springs from an episode which might as well have given Charles Schultz a space in the credits. Penny decides she wants to play psychiatrist (a la Lucy) and sets up shop forcing the rest of her playmates to come to her with their problems. The group therapy quickly gets out of hand and it makes for some great parody moments with the kids dealing more adult themes while pointing out the preposterousness of a psychoanalyst that young. And it ends with observations/ridicule on the poor single teacher as the kids lament her lovelife.
A secondary cast also helps to provide more mirth with return cameos by the “dropout” who continually fails the college entrance exam, Ai’s bodyguard “Mr. K,” and Whitey the dog. Of course, since Ai’s bodyguard is here, that means Ai’s inexplicable absence from the cast is now over. It’s multiple appearances by the Kendo teacher who believes that Shin is the chosen one that really amps up the quality. Every episode with him provides great one-liners as well as some nice physical comedy. He also introduces a story arc for the season as Shin trains for a competition which acts to end the season.
Humor is entirely subjective but the writers seemed to take more care with this volume and some of the better original gags seem to shine through from time to time. Shin’s crushes on nearby hotties are still adorable yet crass and one episode where Mitzi plays dress-up superheroes with Shin is particularly good. Of course, this volume like others is entirely rewritten from the original Japanese dialogue so it probably won’t win any fans that are already resistant to the idea. Fans of the show should definitely pick this up though because this is without a doubt the best volume yet.
Purists will avoid a show that consists almost entirely of rewrites until the end of time, but fans who want the show really have no reason not to pick it up given its low price. The care taken with the writing this time around and more episodes included centered around the original comedy and signature style make this the best volume of Shin-Chan yet. The extras are somewhat underwhelming this time around with less laughs and almost nothing informative, but 13 full episodes for under $30 is hard to beat.
English Language, Alternate/Deleted Scenes, Bloopers, Original Storyboards, "Long Grey Winter" Music Video, Commentary for Episode 51 (Brina Palencia, Chris Cason, Carrie Savage, Colleen Clinkenbeard)
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