Super Gals Vol. #3 - 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: 100
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Super Gals

Super Gals Vol. #3

By Chris Beveridge     December 22, 2003
Release Date: December 09, 2003


Super Gals Vol. #3
© ADV Films


What They Say
When Ran Kotobuki, the World's Greatest GAL, decides to help a friend, it's rarely with moderation. Playing mentor to a wannabe GAL, Ran performs feats that even she finds daunting! And to help a kendo student become national champion, Ran accepts the greatest challenge of all...a job!

As if this wasn't enough, Ran organizes a competition for all the guys in Shibuya. If one of them can survive her series of grueling tests, he wins the ultimate prize: Ran! But the Ran all those guys are fighting for may disappear forever! After a run-in with a magic arcade game and some ill-considered wishes, the World's Greatest GAL is transformed into the World's Dullest GAL.



The Review!
Plugging away at a Gals life, this installment brings Ran’s relationship status to the forefront as well as her really evil ways of thinking.

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 from 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:
Continuing with the same layout but shifting colors again to purple and a few other shades, the central image has Ran surrounded by her two friends all doing dance moves in their hip clothes. 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 Yuya in modeling mode while the reverse side is a black and white piece that has various Japanese terms and numerous cultural notes.

Menu:
The main menu plucks a good piece of animation from this volume with Yuya having waterfalls coming out of his eyes to the hypnotic instrumental piece. 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 as well.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
After two discs full of Super Gals fun and the introduction of Tatsukichi, there’s always some hesitancy as to whether the humor and energetic feel of it can keep up into the teen episodes or whether the newly introduced character will fit in with what came before. Though I’m finding some of Tatsukichi’s antics somewhat annoying, it’s offset a lot by his heavy Engrish moments and the sheer amount of ook ook scenes he pulls off.

All right, I’m a sucker for monkey comedy routines.

One of the best aspects of Tatsukichi’s arrival and the fact that Ran made him her boyfriend almost instantly is that it’s forced Yuya into a different position than someone just pining for Ran’s attention and hoping to be her boyfriend. Though he still can’t come right out and say that’s what he wants, he does get to vent all his frustration on Tatsukichi himself. Of course, Tatsukichi is completely oblivious to this and continues to reference Yuya as his “Brother” and a solid friend that he’s made since arriving in Shibuya. That only drives Yuya more insane and causes him to freak out in Gals style quite frequently.

So when Yuya challenges Tatsukichi, Ran decides to make it an open-ended challenge that anyone can enter. She’ll be the boyfriend of the one who survives her challenges and wins. And her challenges are great, from making them run until a lot of them are winnowed out from being tired, to eating her favorite foods en masse to rock wall climbing a wall the size of a fifty story building. The sequences are frantic and chaotic, particularly as some of Ran’s enemies sneak their men into the contest to try and humiliate her.

The series does go for some of the more conventional standalone stories though, such as the one with Shiori the kendo girl. She ends up in an after-school punishment class with Ran and the two hit things off pretty well. Shiori spends so much time with her kendo practice that she’s usually not seen in anything else, so spending time with Ran gets her involved a bit in the fun side of life. Shiori’s working hard so that she can win the nationals, something that’s in her family history, so there’s a basic motive to it. What’s nice about the motive is that she’s not doing it to impress a male friend or for any other reason having to do with boyfriends or rivals. There’s some usual twists involved, nothing out of the ordinary, but the episode is nicely done with Ran showing more compassion for someone and actually making friends easily – something you don’t see characters actually do much outside of their initial circle you get introduced to.

Naturally, my favorite episode here is the most obvious cardboard episode, and that’s where Ran ends up getting a personality switch into something of a debutante. This happens after the three girls play a wishing video game at their favorite arcade and Ran suddenly changes from what she normally is into the ultra nice girl, complete with flowing pink dress and proper manner of speech. With the change she becomes overly studious to the point of putting her hair up and wearing glasses, being all prim and proper. It’s such a basic and obvious comedy device that you see on almost every sitcom at one point or another, but it works so well here with her personality and the way various people react to it.

The best part is that her younger sister and friend go into detective mode, datchu, and try to figure out how the aliens are manipulating Ran. Just having them in investigative mode again is great, complete with their own eye-catch.

In Summary:
Super Gals manages to keep up the frantic pace and fast comedy rather well with this volume, though there’s a lessening of some of the Gal specific things, such as the various phrases they use with explanation screens following them. This actually makes the episodes a bit smoother, but there are still plenty of para para moments and other insanity slipping into the episodes. This show continues to be very addictive and less overwhelming with the four episodes compared to the five on the past volumes.

Features
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Printed poster insert with cultural notes,"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 Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.


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