Mania Grade: B+
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- Audio Rating: B+
- Video Rating: A-
- Packaging Rating: C+
- 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 Milk-Chan
Super Milk-Chan Show Vol. #2
By Chris Beveridge
September 04, 2004
Release Date: August 31, 2004
Super Milk-Chan Show Vol. #2
What They Say
© ADV Films
With alien abductions, homeless hobos, a dysfunctional crew, overdue rent bills and an insecure ruler calling her all the time, Milk doesn't have time to relax enough to play games or watch her shows. And if you think she has it bad wait until a thunderstorm hits the studios and really shakes things up for the actors in the show. So sit down and pour yourself another sweet serving of Milk!The Review!
Alternating between live action and animation, this show just continues to generate hearty laughs.Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in its English Language dub. To be more specific, we listened to the English language version on the 100% Whole disc. All the language tracks available are in stereo so there's not a lot going on here that's really going to stand out but it's all quite serviceable and sounds solid. Dialogue is nice and clear and free of distortions (that aren't supposed to be there at least) and dropouts.Video:
This is sort of all over the map in some ways. Milk-Chan was originally released back in 1998 as fourteen episodes that ran about 4-5 minutes each. These episodes have an interesting look to them, a 'vintage' look one might say, where the quality is very much up to date but the style feels very 60's and it has some of that hazy graininess to it. Once that went over, and it must have done well enough, in 2000 they released a series of twenty five full length episodes. These are much more vibrant and colorful while using the same basic but very eye-catching and unique designs. There are a lot of dark heavy lines around the characters and the colors are very bright and it all looks fantastic. In addition, there's a lot of live action footage as well and that all looks solid as well. Cross coloration throughout is virtually non-existent and aliasing is very minimal, giving this transfer a very smooth and enjoyable presentation.Packaging:
You can tell exactly what kind of animation to expect right from the front cover. Tetsuko and everyone's favorite gay landlord strike a few poses here under the sun and against a backdrop that just screams disco to me for some reason. I blame the landlord's pants. Either way, this is a bright and eye-catching and disturbing cover that will probably have strange people standing in front of it in the aisles for hours at time, hypnotized by the pants. The back cover provides a few small shots of animation and a multi-colored brief summary of what to expect. A lot of space is given over to explaining what's on each of the DVDs as well as the usual array of production information and the helpful technical grid along the bottom. The cover for this release is reversible with this side being just about identical to the front cover except it has a gray background and Milk talks the place of the gay landlord while some different shots of animation on the back cover. With this being a two disc set, the second disc is put on a flippy piece that's hooked to the side as opposed to the spine. I've not had a crappy case like this in ages as the second disc was once again completely broken free from where it was supposed to be connected.Menu:
The menu, if left looping for days on end, must be considered a war crime. Each disc is essentially the same with a shot of Milk's house interior with her sitting in her chair with the selections lined along the left. The only real difference is the picture on the wall. All of this plays to the Milk song and it just goes on and on? The menus are pretty minimal in general and they all are done in-theme and look good. Access times are nice and fast and everything loads quickly. The disc correctly played to my players presets where applicable.Extras:
On the Original Japanese Disc, we get a few extras in the form of a new opening animation entitled "Disco Milk" which is amusing and hypnotic and you must love it. Also included are the original Japanese opening and ending sequences which have the helpful note that there is no audio associated with them and this is due to licensing issues as we've since learned.
On the 100% disc, there's a section of text Q&A done with several of the voice actors where they get to answer the truly inane questions of "favorite curse words" and "what turns you on". These are the kinds of questions that need to be asked at ADV panels for trivia question prizes.Content:
(please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
After the experiences with the first volume, and please read that review if you're confused about the two separated versions included in this release, we came to the conclusion that the Japanese version just was not funny. At all. To us. Knowing that, we opted to watch just the 100% Milk version that's done as a feature length piece rather than the original episodes as broadcast with the new opening and ending sequences. Considering how much more we laughed with that version on the first volume, it just seemed the right thing to do.
With this version, we get a variety of stories really. We get the main live action arc and we get roughly three episodes worth of animation of Milk-chan doing what she does best. Within those three stories are separate tales that don't have anything to do with the others other than they probably reuse some of the same animation and plot points. In a way, the Milk-Chan animated episodes aren't all that different in formula. Milk and Tetsuko talk trash to each other or make fun of their landlord. The President does something stupid or gives them a mission. They head off to King to get some device to deal with it. They wander around while the problem resolves itself, case closed. Amazingly enough, even with such a formula, they produce some very amusing stories with it, at least in this version. While some will argue the point, this is the kind of show where swearing somehow adds more to it.
Some of the tales are a bit stale, but there are still laugh out loud bits added into it. For example, the President finds himself kidnapped by aliens who speak only in "Pika" phrases, occasionally ending with a "Chu". Through their crappy language, we learn of their food supply problem and see how they intend to clone the President so that they can offer smaller food versions of him to the populace and save their race while at the same time guaranteeing that they'll get and endless supply of poon-tang for having done so. All of it is done through cheesy animation, cheesier than the normal Milk-chan animation that is, and just a few simple phrases. But it manages to work and it manages to make you laugh out loud, particularly as the President grouses about it and so do his half-sized clones that are being trucked around the planet.
Milk's adventures in general turn out to be little to-do's about nothing. When she actually gets out to do some searching, she's either letting the Robodog do its thing (on Tetsuko usually) or they try and get some useful device out of King Laboratories, which is where Tetsuko often rambles on about her father and how she hopes it isn't him. Most of the fun for Milk comes at the beginning of the episodes when she's doing her own thing, be it playing some hideously funny video games where she's learning about dating (I kept waiting for "put it in" to show up) or eating some great new foul smelling dish that Tetsuko has. The way she gets out of paying the rent, using Hanagae on top of her head no less, continues to be creative.
Hanagae is great. Though he has few lines, every one of them is just said with such? heart.
While as much fun as I do have with the animated material, there's a strong draw to the live action storyline that's going on here. This volume has everyone coming back to do a read-through after Luci decides that the first volume went well and she's providing them with a free meal for their efforts. This actually goes downhill pretty fast since the director can't be there due to inclement weather so Christine takes over the read-through, which means everyone bolts to different places throughout the offices and into their own little cliques.
To make matters worse, a new security system is being installed due to a recent break-in and that's set to be tested shortly since it's late at night (when most dubbing is done). Of course, in a production where everything that can will go wrong, when the security test is run the power goes off and sets the locks on permanent, keeping everyone where they are. Some have a bit of power while others are in general darkness. There's a slew of obvious jokes, carryover jokes from the previous volume (poor Ben) and lots of inside jokes as well. Enjoying this is something that's going to really vary by person, but having met a few of these folks and knowing most of the others by their performances and elsewhere, it's just a hell of a lot of fun to watch them do what they do here.
There's even one huge surprise at the end that caught me off-guard and definitely reminded me why it's better safe than sorry at conventions these days. In Summary:
Super Milk-Chan's release thankfully goes and not only attempts to please everyone but actually succeeds in doing so. Fans of the original are given a solid release, though liner notes would have been a huge help (not that I think there are many Japanese that get the jokes either), dub fans who want an accurate dub get that and those who are enjoying the feature release are getting something pretty unique. This series went from a curiosity to a dead stop only to become highly anticipated due to the feature disc for us and I can't wait to see how the next volume turns out. Huge kudos to everyone involved in this thing, it's really turning into something that I don't think will be soon repeated.
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 5.1 Language,English Subtitles,Original video haiku breaks,Cast Q&A,New opening "Disco Milk" animation,Original opening and closing animation
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Zenith DVB-318 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player via DVI with upconversion set to 720p, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.