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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Happy Lesson - Mama-Palooza (Vol. 2)
Happy Lesson - Mama-Palooza (Vol. 2)
ADV Films // Unrated // March 16, 2004
List Price: $29.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by John Sinnott | posted March 23, 2004 | E-mail the Author
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C O N T E N T
V I D E O
A U D I O
E X T R A S
R E P L A Y
A D V I C E
Highly Recommended
E - M A I L
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P R I N T
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The Show:

Five beautiful women living with one guy sounds exciting, right?  Well not if the women are your teachers and they want to mother you.  That's the predicament that the orphan Chitose finds himself in, and it's enough to drive him crazy!  More maternal pampering abounds on ADV's second volume of the outrageously funny show, Happy Lesson.

I was pleasantly surprised to find five episodes on this DVD.  Usually companies will make the first disc in a series longer, to better hook the viewer.  ADV didn't cut down on the episodes on the second volume, giving us another five half hour shows.  The episodes on this DVD are:

Episode 6 – Nervously, Conquer the World:  Mama Kisaragi wins a large boat in a contest.  While she takes the group for a ride, they encounter a strange island that causes the boat to go out of control and crash on the beach.  Stranded, the five mothers and Chitose make the best of the situation, until a strange woman appears who seems to have a plan for the family.  (Easily the funniest episode on the DVD, this show will make you a fan of the series.)

Episode 7 – Exciting!  Mina Does Her Best:  Chitose's little sister Mina wants her brother to win MVP at his school's field day.  (A day of track and field contests between the students.)  To achieve this end, she rigs a race so that he'll win, with disastrous results.  As each 'mom' finds out what she's doing, they all join in, but can even all these people make up for Chitose's lack of ability?

Episode 8 – Floating!  Uzuki is an Angel?:  Uzuki goes to the park one Sunday (in her usual costume) and meets a small boy who thinks she's an angel.  She plays with him and has a great time.  They agree to meet the next day, and everyday after that.  While the other members of the family think the Uzuki is meeting a man, she continues to play with the child until he tells her that he has to go away and won't see her again. A more quite and touching story.

Episode 9 – Exhausting Club Activities:  When the principle decides that there are too many clubs to fund, the one with the lowest number of members has to be disbanded.  The class president starts to panic because her Language Arts club only has one member.  All the 'moms' are afraid for their clubs too, so they try to get Chitose and Mina to join.  But if Satsuki's strenuous Swimming Club doesn't do Chitose in, Kisaragi's dangerous Chemistry Club certainly will.

Episode 10 – Hazuki Announces Her Retirement:  Chitose's older sister Hazuki is a Japanese pop star.  But after she plays the large venue that she's always dreamed of, she starts thinking about quitting show business.  After all, she's worked hard her entire life and finally achieved her dream, why go on after that?

If you saw the first DVD, then you know what to expect: Wacky comedy with some serious and touching moments.  I ended up enjoying all the shows on this disc.  The DVD starts off right with a very funny show that introduces a new secondary character, and keeps going strong from there.  The sporting events during field day are a riot, as are some of the clubs that Mina checks out.  But this series isn't all wacky humor.  The Uzuki episode was much more sedate and solemn, while the show dealing with Hazuki's career was serious too.  These more sober episodes flesh out the characters and serve as a good contrast to the more wacky shows.

While this show is very reminiscent of Tenchi and Love, Hina, there is not an overall story arc in this show.  This raises the bar a little.  If there is no overall plot or problem to overcome, there is little reason to return to the show each time a new DVD is released.  A couple of dud shows could easily make people decide to spend their money and time elsewhere.  Fortunately, this show is consistently entertaining.  There hasn't been an episode yet that I felt was a waste or poorly done.  Funnier than Love, Hina this is a great entry into the five-girls-and-one-guy genre of comedy.
 


The DVD:



Audio:

This DVD has a Japanese stereo soundtrack with optional English subtitles and an English dub in 5.1.  Both were very good.  While I wish that the original language track was in 5.1 also, I can't complain about the sound quality.  The dialog was clean, and there was no distortion or other audio problems.  The English 5.1 track had a bit more punch to it, and used the soundstage a bit more.  The voice actors were very good.  I was quite impressed.  There were not any stupid accents or phony sounding voices.  While I prefer the Japanese track, I enjoyed the English dub as well.

Video:

The full frame picture was acceptable if not outstanding.  The colors were bright and vivid, as one would expect from a recent show, but the lines were fuzzy.  It looked like the picture was ever so slightly out of focus.  There were more than the average amounts of digital defects too.  This took the form of a good amount of aliasing, and tightly spaced parallel lines would shimmer as the camera moved over them.  It wasn't distracting, but it was very noticeable.  Other than that, it was a great looking DVD.

The Extras:

This disc has some of the standard extras that usually appear on the better anime DVDs.  There was a section of character sketches; clean opening and closing animation; and a selection of trailers.  There was also a mini poster insert that included character profiles and voice actress interviews on the back.

Final Thoughts:

I really like this series.  It is not deep or meaningful, but it is a very entertaining light comedy.  There are a few good laughs in even the weakest episodes, and the characters are wonderfully quirky.  If you have enjoyed series like Tenchi Muyo or Love, Hina, I'm sure you'll find this right up you alley.  Highly Recommended.

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