Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Video Backlog: "Keroro Gunso the Super Movie: Gekishin Dragon Warriors de arimasu!"

Publisher: IVL (Intercontinental Video Limited, Hong Kong)
Format: Region 3 DVD, NTSC, Japanese Dialogue with optional Cantonese dub and English, Chinese (Traditional and Simplified) Subtitles.
Length: 78 mins (feature), 16 mins (short)
Production Date: 2009
Currently in Print (as of writing): Yes

For whatever reason, I’ve been having a lot of trouble with my mail recently. The package of discs from Hong Kong took around four weeks to come, even though it usually takes a single week. The package was pretty banged up with one disc’s case/cover slick being split. Urk. And people wonder why downloading is popular. Lately with the problems in the US market in terms of anime companies falling over and the general cheapness of releases (in particular the flimsiness of cases and shoddiness of cover art work, coupled with typos in subs etc), I’m seriously considering giving up buying discs altogether. It’s utterly frustrating.

Anyway, this film, it’s the fourth in the series. This time around giant blue semi-transparent arches appear over the world, suspiciously resembling the bodies of traditional Asian dragons. However world governments deem them not to be a threat and people continue on with their daily lives (I mean after the crazy shit which happened in the first three films, is it any wonder that the general population just shrugs off these weird and regular worldwide happenings?). However the Keroro platoon decides to investigate and the members are sent the four corners of the earth, with the exception of Keroro of course. He’d rather fight with Natsumi. Tamama isn’t helping either. He’s travelled to France with Momoka to visit her friend, Sion. However Tamama mysteriously disappears, and Keroro, Fuyuki and Natsumi head to France to find him. However en route they attacked by a dragon looking not too dissimilar to Tamama. After a crash landing they reach Sion’s estate, however it becomes quite clear that Sion may be the one controlling the dragon as well as being the one behind the arches. Soon Giroro, Kururu and Dororo are also turned into dragons and begin attacking various cities. It looks like Keroro might be next on Sion’s list.

Accompanying this movie is the short “Kero Zero: Depart! Assembly of Everyone!!”. This takes place before the first TV episode and depicts the preparations for the invasion of Pekopon (i.e. Earth). Predicably not all goes well, with Keroro being subjected to some sort of weird curry test by Kururu, and the rest of the platoon has to deal with its own invaders trying to conquer Keron. I think there’s a point with long running series like this one, where it just becomes a bit formulaic and tiresome. I think “Keroro Gunso” hit that point long ago. To a large degree, the cast are going through the motions. Everyone conforms to their assigned personality traits and the Keroro platoon appear with afros etc. Perhaps this franchise should have been put to rest a couple years earlier than it was. The plot itself isn’t all that great. It’s fun and provided some laughs, but rather silly. Compared with the action spectaculars of previous films, this one seems rather subdued. The short, like previous shorts, was rather uninteresting.

As I said before, there were some laughs in the film, most of which involve “Keroro Gunso’s” infamous anime and manga parodies. In particular “Tales From Earthsea” (considering the theme of this movie, it makes sense), “Gamera”, “Street Fighter II” and of course Gundam, in particular “Gundam F91” and “Zeta Gundam” are up for a bit of satirising. Unlike the last two IVL discs, the English subtitles here are relatively good, in fact as good as the first movie, though they seem to have an aversion to subbing any of the on screen text. There’s an amusing subtitle where Keroro first meets Sion and greets her with a “Sieg Zeon!” (as a pun on her name). In parentheses, the IVL subbers incorrectly inform the audience that “Sieg Zeon” is a “Gundam character”. Yeah, uh huh... In the end I was entertained for sure and there were a few laughs, but it really felt laboured and worn out. I can only give it 6 out of 10.

Remaining Backlog: 26 months (it's much easier this way than listing the number of discs).

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