Super Gals Vol. #5 -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: A-

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  • 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. #5

By Chris Beveridge     February 28, 2004
Release Date: March 02, 2004

Super Gals Vol. #5
© ADV Films

What They Say
All across Shibuya, hearts are changing?but change never comes easy. Before anybody comes around, Ran, The World?s Greatest Gal, is gonna have to kick some butt! Ran and Mami are going from mortal enemies to friendly competitors?but Mami?s busy trying to hide her gal side from her rich boyfriend. Aya is discovering just how much courage it takes to win a boy like Rei, though she can barely say hello to him, much less express how she feels. Even Naka-Teach is turning over a new leaf as he vows to have a victory in the school sports fest. But that won?t happen without a lot of motivation (and a little bit of lying!)

Changing hearts in Shibuya is going to be hard, but nothing?s impossible for the World?s Greatest GAL!

The Review!
Super Gals delves into some new worlds with these two episodes, including the fun of Ran getting a job and her new friendship with Mami.

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.

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.

With a purple and yellow background done similar to previous volumes, Ran and Mami make up the character art with the two competing even here in how they look. I must go for the Mami crowd though since she's much more attractive. And loaded! 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 foldout that has a full color poster of Otohata in his school uniform while the reverse side is a black and white piece that has various Japanese terms and numerous cultural notes. I really, really, really wish these were on the disc however and not here.

The main menu has a cute image of Otohata leaning back with the small eyes blinking as he's likely wondering who is going to try and take advantage of him next. 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.

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)
Now into the late teens and early twenties, Super Gals is a series that you just really feel comfortable with, providing you enjoy it of course. Going into these episodes, it's like visiting good friends again and seeing what's going on in their lives and looking forward to hearing about it. There's always a lot going on when Ran's involved, so the stories are fun and there are usually some good twists with it at that.

This volume is no exception. Right from the start we get a lot of fun with Ran deciding that she needs to get a job, which times out well since Tatsukichi's birthday is just around the corner. And since he is her boyfriend, he's all joyful over the prospect of getting something from her. Things time out just right so that she ends up working at a beach restaurant for the weekend selling cold snacks and dealing with the cooking and other chores. She's never alone though since both Yuya and Tatsukichi come along with her. It's hard to not feel bad for Yuya though as he tries to help her out so much that she ends up ditching him and goofing off with Tatsukichi for much of the time. But even Yuya gets to remind Ran just how popular he is when most of the kids there realize who he is.

One of the amusing side stories in this episode is watching Miyu and Yamato take a day off to themselves, which of course means they're at the same beach and are completely surprised by Ran and friends being there. The two are trying for some quality time together but just seem destined to not get it, which while clichéd, is just really nicely done with these two. Yamato does end up something of a dork in a few areas, but with sisters like he has, it's not surprising.

Another area that starts as a subplot here is the growing friendship of sorts between Ran and Mami as she shows up on the beach as well. The two have their own strange way of talking, not only in Gal-speak but also in more honest ways, which just kills their friends. The two end up working together as much as they can to win a volleyball match and then share the proceeds of the watermelon, but it's just watching how they interact that's so good here now that they're more friendly rivals than outright mean-spirited rivals.

This led to an actual Mami-centric episode where we see just how bloody rich her parents are and how they're working her over during the years to be the best she is at everything under the sun, which really helps to understand why Ran so gets under her skin and vice versa. Mami's life is thrown off course when a former boy she liked ten years ago is coming back to Japan after being abroad for studies and work, so she takes on the proper demure nature of a woman with her families background to it and sets to spend quality time with him to see if he's grown into the right kind of man. Her voice and wardrobe changes are perfect as she shifts from street wise girl to debutante. What's really the best is when she realizes she's ended up in the same place as Ran and wants to avoid any kind of confrontation only to realize herself just how their relationship has changed. The Mami material, while over the top with her abilities and wealth, really works well and has made me a fan of hers.

One of the important parts of the previous volume isn't blown off here though, and that's the relationship between Aya and Otohara. There's some good natured concern give to both of them by their friends as they watch how the relationship was progressing and then seemed to stutter out after their last encounter, but Aya finds herself given another chance to try and get close to Otahara after getting a ticket to the school festival that his school is putting on. Combined with the sports festival that Aya's own class has taken a serious nod towards, the two find themselves learning more about each other and themselves in a way that doesn't really feel all that forced.

And best of all, the kid detectives get to take the last episode here by storm, datchu!

In Summary:
On a day when we got in over a dozen discs, Super Gals was the first thing that went into play. This show has its hooks in us nice and deep with its fast paced comedy, fun wild-take moments and just the way the characters so smoothly interact with each other. Add in that it tends to avoid some of the more common plots elements, of particular note is that continuing lack of romantic movement between the two lead characters of each gender with Ran and Rei, and it brings a new dynamic. There's just something more interesting how the lead female character is more interested in someone other than the lead male character and so forth. Super Gals has its own conventions it follows, but it plays with all of them so well that it's just a hell of a lot of fun to watch. Very recommended.

Japanese 2.0 Language,English 5.1 Language,English Subtitles,The Super GALS Explain It All,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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