Super Milk-Chan Show Vol. #4 - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: B+

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: A-
  • Packaging Rating: C+
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: B
  • Age Rating: 17 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: ADV Films
  • MSRP: 29.98
  • Running time: 132/120
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Super Milk-Chan

Super Milk-Chan Show Vol. #4

By Chris Beveridge     December 30, 2004
Release Date: January 11, 2005


Super Milk-Chan Show Vol. #4
© ADV Films


What They Say
Things are getting a little... kooky. First, Milk and her team go on a globe-trotting trek to stop a murderous bear. Then, they get sucked into a Satanic Time warp. And finally, we get a revealing look into Milk and her friends' deepest, darkest dreams.

The Review!
Coming to a conclusion with more episodic tales of everyone's favorite foul-mouthed toddler super-hero, Milk-Chan also takes the actors to a convention.

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. My favorite character from the series hits the cover this time with an amusing shot of Dr. Eyepatch in his full length glory while the foul-mouthed dog is next to him. 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 some moving around of the various items that are on the front cover and using the original Japanese English language logo. With this being a two disc set, the second disc reverts back to what it was in the second volume and is attached with a flippy. The case overall feels pretty poor in just how it latches and opens in general, but usually these kinds of things are up to the replicators with whatever keepcases they have on hand.

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. An addition to this volume is the haiku's.

On the 100% disc, the extras are both minimal and plentiful for the last volume. There is an amusing set of promotional celebrity photos that were done of most of the English language cast as they're all dressed up in their best and goofing off a bit. It's a cute set and something that most casts never get to do since they're rarely together for the actual show. The other extra is the final commentary track for the series which goes into even more of the dirt behind the show and explains some of the gags, decisions and other interesting things that were done to get this created.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
With this volume of the series, Milk-Chan comes to an end as both the vintage and newer material has finally been exhausted and all the live action footage has been put to bed. The anime side of things concludes with something of an epic episode and goes for a big climactic feel while the live action side goes on a road trip for a (local) convention where Milk-Chan's getting a premier and a good number of the voice actors are brought along to help promote it.

In terms of the anime, these last couple of episodes are a good bit of fun but there is some effort to get through a chunk of it. The opening episode is fairly humorous as Dr. Eyepatch is accused of being a bad business owner as all of his robots and other electronics start suffering from Y2K bugs five years after the fact. So he enters damage control mode, which is hilarious right at the start as his leather clad goons beat the snot out of the reporter in her comfy anchor desk chair. With most of the robots not working properly, even Tetsuko starts acting up and is even less useful than usual. Like most episodes, the resolution isn't exactly a high piece of work since Milk often doesn't even actually resolve any of these things.

The middle episode was a bit more difficult to get through but it did have some good material. In a method meant presumably to save a bit of money but also to have some fun with the script, it's done as a series of multiple-takes with the characters flubbing their lines differently each time. Sometimes it's a simple flub and sometimes the dialogue is completely different and has varying levels of jokes. This works in some of them but when they do between three to five takes for some of them, the repetition starts to wear down as you get towards the end and it almost becomes a chore to get through. The saving grace is of course the humor itself and there are some good jokes mixed in.

The last episode really goes for the big finale extravaganza idea as Dr. Eyepatch has created a magic mushroom that distorts time and space, only like everything else that he's involved with, it gets out of control and starts to spread all over the place. There's some more repetition here as time and space are warped but it's mostly kept to a minimum. The real fun is the way things start to warp and some of the gags used, such as Tetsuko becoming a diva start and Milk being her helper as well as the numerous Star Wars gags and outright rip-offs. Seeing X-Wings that use their front ends as missiles is something I hadn't thought of in years. The best though is Hanagi becoming a DiGiCharat character and being so excited about his perky breasts and being a female now.

The live action material is just as amusing to me at least, much like the previous volumes were. This time the idea is that the bulk of the cast is headed off to a convention in Dallas to promote Milk-Chan for its premier showing and they're taking to the road on a bus to get there. The humor is a lot of fun since there are plenty of pokes about what fandom is like and what it's like for fandom to interact with voice actors. Marcy in particular gets to have fun with Ben since it's his first convention and she paints a completely different image of what they're like than his idea of it, so much so that he's afraid of getting killed once he gets there. Some of the other bits involved who is sleeping with who since there aren't enough rooms for everyone and more of the cat fighting between Hilary and Taylor. I really was amused when Hilary gets asked about fans and what they're like just because of some of the folks in our forums here that have dealt with some of these actors and it just felt like it could get really surreal. But that was more the commentary track for me more than anything else.

In Summary:
From the first volume to the last volume of this series, it's been an interesting journey. Our initial impressions of the show were so bad that we weren't going to watch the rest of the series since we just didn't find the Japanese episodes funny since they were just so culturally layered and referential that it didn't work for us. The 100% Milk version though is pretty much the same thing but aimed just at anime fandom itself with the live action material and western pop culture with the rewritten dialogue. As we said in the first volume review, this is not something that would work with most shows and we're really glad that ADV provided both versions here since it really left the viewer with the choice. If all shows were done like this, I doubt things would be like they are now and I know I'd probably not be much of a fan. But the occasional one-off's like this are actually quite fun.

While I doubt Steven Foster wants to get "pigeonholed" into doing things like this, I hope he gets a chance to do something equally creative with the talent pool that's at these offices in the future. The people who worked on this show look like they had a good time with it while doing the hard work and the payoff is definitely there. Segments like these really couldn't have been done even just a few years ago since the critical mass level of dub fandom wasn't there yet but now that it is, it's great to see these things. And shows like this will only help as it gets the viewer to identify more with the actor and lets them become even more of a fan. Experimental or not, this was a really fun release and one of the more unique releases in my collection that I enjoy showing off.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 5.1 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,Original video haiku breaks,New opening "Disco Milk" animation,Original opening and closing animation,Commentary track,Photo Gallery

Review Equipment
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.


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