Super Gals Vol. #2 - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: B+

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: A
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: B+
  • Age Rating: 15 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: ADV Films
  • MSRP: 29.98
  • Running time: 125
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Super Gals

Super Gals Vol. #2

By Chris Beveridge     October 20, 2003
Release Date: October 28, 2003


Super Gals Vol. #2
© ADV Films


What They Say
Ran Kotobuki, the World's Greatest Gal, is back. No part of Shibuya is safe as she hunts relentlessly for those items essential to a gal's existence... namely fake nails, Hawaiian jewelry and karaoke. But some serious opposition is closing in. A ruthless pair of Bukuro gals plans to stomp the Shibuya gals into their own stomping ground. To protect her territory from these predatory females, Ran may have to break those fake nails.

At the same time, her best friend Miyu is forced to remember a rough past she'd rather forget. Aya is falling for Champion High School Student Rei. And a love-struck Yuya is vainly wooing an oblivious Ran. But does Second Place have competition? Will a dirt-poor show boy from Machida capture our heroine's heart... and break Yuya's? As Hachikou, the faithful dog that waits outside Shibuya Station would say, Ran is living in an interesting time. But she'll be the first to tell you that no matter what happens...

All Gals want to do is have fun!



The Review!
After the first five episodes, this second batch of five could not come soon enough. The insanity continues on and ends by introducing one of the crazier characters yet.

Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in its original language of Japanese. With it being so “street” heavy and influenced by the culture, we wanted to take it all in properly. The audio here is a pretty good stereo mix that features some good directionality as well as depth at times. Dialogue is nice and clear throughout and the music fills both channels nicely. We had no issues with dropouts or distortions on either track during regular playback, though we only heard the English 5.1 track in a downmix form to 2.0.

Video:
Originally airing in 2001 to the tune of fifty-two episodes, this series is very recent and makes out extremely well here with a very crisp and clean transfer. With it being as vibrant as it is, colors stand out a lot, such as the reds of Ran’s jacket. One color that stood out quite well that’s usually problematic is the bright blue skies, which managed to avoid any significantly noticeable graininess or blockiness, showing at most some slight color banding. Cross coloration is pretty much non-existent and I barely noticed any serious aliasing during regular playback.

Packaging:
With the first volume as heavy on the pink as it was, it’s very toned down here and the shift is to lighter colors such as green and yellow as we get the lead trio of gals in their swimsuits for the front cover. The back cover provides a couple of shots from the show as well as several paragraphs of episode summary information. The discs features are nice and clearly listed as well as the episode titles that are on the disc. Episode numbers continue to be absent, but the volume numbering is still on the spine and front cover so that helps it balance out a bit. The insert is a four panel fold-out that has a full color poster of Miyu doing a jig while the reverse side is a black and white piece that has various Gal Japanese terms and numerous cultural notes.

Menu:
The main menu is a cute little piece with an animated Miyu doing a little jig to the music. Episodes are selectable right from the top menu and features are quite and easy to access. With no transitional animations when moving to submenus, things load quickly as well.

Extras:
The extras are fairly similar to the previous volume, notably with the hyper opening sequence in textless form as well as the more relaxed ending sequence, also in textless form. The “Super Gals Explain It All” makes another appearance with Miyu talking about rule two and all that it entails. Definitely do not watch this before the episodes, as it will spoil what’s coming up.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
With the first volume winning us over fast and apparently a good number of readers as well, the anticipation level was definitely high for the second installment. And to make it even better, there are another five episodes here to get us further into the series and the wackiness within.

While some of the initial manic energy isn’t quite as strong here, it’s replaced by getting to know the characters a bit more and dealing with a few darker areas for one of them. This manages to add some nice depth without it redefining the character and changing how they are now. Before we get to any of that though, the show takes a most wondrous detour to the swimming pool. The massive indoors beach style ones that is.

This episode is fun since it gets the entire gang to head down to the indoor pool where Yuya ends up paying most of the way since he wants to get to closer to Ran in any way he can. The upside for all of it is that Aya gets to know Rei a bit better and slowly (very slowly) they continue to get to know each other a bit. Rei continues to be somewhat oblivious though about it, or at least not really noticing it much. All of this is light and fun, which is the opposite of what’s happening in Shibuya where their absence has been noted by some of their rivals spreading the word that they’re ruling the area now. The resulting fight is quite amusing.

While we got to know a bit about Aya and her home life in the first volume as well as Ran’s basic makeup, it’s Miyu that really gets a close look in this volume with a two-part episode that starts to explore her past. Through the devious behavior of one of the Gal’s enemies, Miyu finds herself being subjected to prank emails and text messages about her being a coward and more. During a computer class where they’re learning more about email, one of the nastiest ones she gets is displayed for the entire class where she’s accused of being a gang leader and quite slutty at that.

Through flashbacks we learn more of her gang days (cause we know she’s not slutty!) and see how she and her group the Resistance were the real power in the area and ruled over all the other gangs. Things keep focusing back to one fight with a group called the Eagles and all of it starts bubbling up to the surface as more discoveries are made about the person that’s essentially stalking her. The episodes are quite good in how they show how the gals really stick together over it as well as just how much Miyu herself has been through. During the first volume she really came across as something of a lovestruck girl with little else, but this gives a reason for her affection for Yamamoto that hadn’t been touched upon before. There’s more to discover with that relationship and I was really glad they didn’t cover all of it here.

One pair of characters that proved to be both annoying and amusing at the same time is Sayo and her boyfriend Masato. They actually score an entire episode for themselves on this disc since it’s apparently the one-year anniversary since they started dating. Sayo tries to get her dad to take her to the police station for the day so they can do some serious observing of real officers at work to celebrate but is rebuffed over it. Instead, she spends the day with her brother at the police box, something that would be simple but turns into a quasi-kidnapping situation with her and Masato. Things go the route of being improperly explained as everyone gets involved and the wacky chase ensues. There’s some tender moments to it, but I was surprised at how well Sayo managed to hold the episode together. Granted, I wanted to smack her every time she says “datchu” but that’s a given as it is. She and her relationship with Masato is cute and amusing and I have to admit I love it when they break into their junior detectives song and get rolling.

This second set of episodes of Super Gals isn’t “more of the same” but continuing upon with what was laid down in the first volume. The cast is growing nicely and the existing characters are getting fleshed out where it counts. The comedy is still strong and I really enjoyed the greater focus on the para para material this time around since it helps explain some of the things they do in the opening sequence.

With two discs we’re already a fifth of the way through the series. Thankfully there’s still a ton more to come and I’m enjoying this more than I probably should. I won’t mimic any gal material in real life though!

Features
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,"The SuperGALS Explain It All" segment explaining the series' cultural references,Clean opening and closing animation

Review Equipment
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Panasonic RP-82 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.


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