Visual Novels - because insomnia builds character.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

SHUFFLE! (Anime Version)

  • Title - SHUFFLE!
  • Original Story - Navel
  • Style - Harem Comedy/Drama
  • Length - 24 episodes; 600 minutes
  • R1 licensor - Funimation
  • Rating - TV-MA
  • Price - $30 per disc; $40 for volume 6 with ender box and panties

This title surprised me. I like harem comedies. I like naki-ge drama a lot more. Shuffle! has both.

Audio/Visual- The animation team transitioned Navel's excellent art to the TV very well. Character designs are lively and small details minded well. The animation is very smooth and background music is appropriate for every scene but not outstanding. The opening and ending songs are pleasant, I particularly liked the opening song, YOU. Japanese voice actors preformed quite well as to be expected from the experienced cast (Yuko Goto, Tomokazu Sugita, etc.). No complaints from the visual side but nothing amazing either. Alas, this is not the work of Miyazaki or even Shinkai, this is a harem show so it meets all expectations. The last episode seemed to shift style occasionally but it worked well and looked particularly polished. 9/10

Story - Shuffle! exceeded all expectations. Funimation's campaign of "Which girl would you choose?" may have been dumb but you do need to like harem moe stories to enjoy Shuffle! so it is a great fit. Shuffle! is not content to be just a comedy for 6 discs however, and around the midpoint the story takes a darker turn. No it is not realistic, but it is certainly the most entertaining anime I have watched in a long long time. Even when you believe it to be wrapping up, another twist will be thrown at you. Not completely randomly, the production team planned the series well, the twists will be unexpected but fit, explaining some odd comment or camera shot from earlier in the series. Unlike some adaptations of multi-path games Shuffle! does not feel formulaic going through the five girls stories, the pacing is better than any other game adaptation I have seen. 10/10

DVD - (This review refers to the Funimation region 1 NTSC DVDS; other regions discs will vary.) The DVDs are region 1 discs with 4 episodes per disc and run with out a glitch. Neither VHS nor Blu-ray editions are offered. The menu, disc, and box art is all from Navel and is superb. The menus are clean and work well on both set-top players and PC. Advertisements at the beginning of the disc can be skipped. Each disc is well packaged with art from the orginal game on the front, and a landscape layout on the back, incorporating the arrow motif from the logo. The keep cases are clear and a collage is printed on the back of the cover. Each disc comes with a poster. The ender box is especially well designed, the brightness seems adjusted slightly to give the box a very warm look that complements the spine art. I am fond of ender boxes much more than starter because they let you try the first disc out with out committing to a box. (ADVs vol.2 boxes are also excellent in this regard) Funimation out did themselves with the packaging and layout design. 5/5

Overall - Amazing show and considering the niche genre, the region 1 treatment could not be better. If you must, there will probably be a boxset eventually, but I recommend singles if you can still snag the ender box. Will not change your life, but does everything have to be serious?

Score - 24/25 - 96% - Exceptional

Ender Box Bonus : GOD Panties

For some odd reason, the ender box includes a pair of purple panties with the word GOD on them in gold (Sia wears these in disc five). A different bonus would have been preferable (though this beats a mini-pencil board... what do people do with those?) but the price is the same as the usual artbox price. Unlike the normal-looking pair on the box, these are low cut bikini-type (all but a thong) panties with a lace-like trim. Additionally they are a bit small, but if you can fit them (I am fairly petite) they are comfortable. The material chosen was 100% cotton. As a girl, I find this extra a lot more useful that a XL men's T-shirt (which seems to be a popular bundle in for anime) but since Shuffle! is aimed for guys I am a bit confused what they could do with these. Any sugesstions?

Pros - Fancier than any other panties I own, good material, cute.
Cons - Small, they look better on Sia ; what can guys do with these?


Peter Shillito said...

uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh panties? What's the betting that the same extras won't be with the UK release >_<

Apples said...

Um best extra ever? (I say that as a chick who has no use for XL men's tshirts either.)

As for what guys could do with them... it's best left unsaid.

Kamanashi said...

I'm a guy and I would have to say that the only use I have for them is to keep and sell one day. As for the X-Large shirts, I hate them since they are too big for me. It's almost like wearing a blanket.