Thursday, December 29, 2011

Video Backlog: "Girl’s High"

Publisher: Anime Works (Media Blasters, USA)
Format: Region 1 DVD, NTSC, Japanese Dialogue with optional English Subtitles
Length: 12 Episodes x 24 minutes
Production Date: 2006
Currently in Print (as of writing): Yes

Eriko Takahashi, Yuma Suzuki and Ayano Sato are graduating from middle school to high school. The three of them have been friends since middle school. Eriko, a bit of a scatterbrain, decides that it would be a great idea to visit and explore the school the day before the new term. After making their new school uniform skirts into micro minis using scissors, the trio meet another trio; Akari Kouda, Kyoko Himeji and Ikue Ogawa. The three of them are exploring the school as well, but mistake Eriko and co as seniors, which then Eriko runs with and proceeds to make up various stories about high school. However it backfires badly as the three girls end up with the other three in the same class. Eriko and Akari become enemies, but when they are mistakenly locked up in a room and left there after hours, the two of them put aside differences and all six girls become friends.

Seriously, that’s about all there is in terms of plot to this show. Apart from one quite serious two parter, it’s pretty much self-contained single episode comedy. Early on particularly and in the last episode there was a focus on some rather exploitative fan service (mostly of the panties fetish kind), but surprisingly most of that evaporates after the first couple of episodes. If you deleted the fan service shots, you could mistake this show as shoujo. Almost. Once the show becomes a bit settled after the second episode, there are some very funny interactions between the main cast members. I particularly liked the episode where everyone mistakenly thinks Akari has some sort of terminal illness. Then there’s the one where Ayano’s parents and later her friends give her boyfriend a serious grilling to see if he is worthy of her or not. The show is certainly not without its faults though. A lot of the animation it’s all that great. There is a lot of off model animation which cheapens the show. A lot of the exploitative stuff I didn’t really like. Yes, that also cheapened the show for me, albeit in a different way.

Of note is the end animation which is by Yasuomi Umetsu of “Kite” and “Mezzo Forte” infamy. He certainly makes the character designs his own and the girls truly look like they his own creations. I note that this series has been adapted from a manga and a ton of secondary characters have been cut from the show. However the staff has included Nao Koshiba and Mōri Sayaka known ij the manga as the “Takarazuka Pair” for obvious reasons. I sort of wish more was done with these two characters. Here they just sort of seem to appear do their throwaway gags then off they go again. At the very least they aren’t over used. A couple of teachers also get some time in the show; Odagiri, a narcissistic teacher who thinks his god’s gift to women, and “Macho” Matsuo, the PE teacher who shows off. Certainly the former character works a lot better and is milked for more laughs than the latter. I think overall the show isn’t too bad. There were some real laugh out moments but some of the comedy was a bit inconstant. The show probably has just enough steam to last its 12 episodes. A fun show, but not really an essential one to watch. 6.5 out of 10.

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

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