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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Mr. Stain on Junk Alley
Mr. Stain on Junk Alley
FUNimation // Unrated // March 28, 2006
List Price: $29.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by John Sinnott | posted April 13, 2006 | 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
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P R I N T
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In a Nutshell:  A weird little show about a weird little man.

The Show:

FUNimation has been including episodes of Mr. Stain on Junk Alley on many of their DVD releases for the past few months.  These short comedy bit played really well and were a great extra to include on discs.  Interest in the series grew and now, at last, the wait is over.  The entire Mr. Stain series has come out in a nice double disc package chocked full of extras.  This is a very fun and touching show and one of the better anime sets to be released so far this year.  Otaku fans of well crafted comedy alike should give this series a look.

Stain (as he's called in the credits) is a homeless person who lives in an abandoned building off a trash filled alley.  It's an odd world that Stain lives in, a place where hermit crabs inhabit traffic cones and magic crayons make anything your draw a reality.  Every short episode, they only last 5 or 6 minutes each, has Stain discovering some new piece of discarded refuse which starts an adventure.

This is a surreal darkly comic series that is very funny.  Filled with well thought out slapstick gags and odd situations, every show has laugh out loud moments.  Totally without dialog, this show plays a lot like Charlie Chaplin's comedies as many of them are bitter sweet.  The tinge of sadness works well in the show though and really gives the program heart.

One touching episode is Heavenly Bird.  Stain discovers a big bird in a cage and thinks he's found his next meal.  After a riotous chase through the alley while he's trying to capture the animal that has escaped, Stain realizes that the bird is sad.  Instead of just eating it, he looks the breed up in a book, the little man realizes that this creature is dying and just wants to see its tropical homeland once again.  Stain works through the night to build a cardboard mock-up of a South Seas island and when the Heavenly Bird sees it, he thinks he's back home and passes away.  Like Chaplin's films, you can't help but feel happy and sad at the same time.

The most amusing episode is Toy Robot, where a remote controlled toy decides that it no longer wants to be a servant, it wants to fly in the sky like the birds it sees.  Stain, being the helpful guy that he is, comes up with several different ways of making the robot fly, all with comically tragic results.

The last episode is an epilogue to the series and lasts half an hour.  Though the last short episode was a perfect ending to the series, they decided to make one more installment.  In this show, Stain sees a woman who lives in the high rise apartment across the way and immediately falls in love with her.  After a few comic attempts to get to her, all of which fail, he accidently ends up switching places with the attractive Handsome-Stain from his mirror.  This Stain has no problems getting to the woman and seducing her, and now Stain not only has to get to his paramour but escape from a mirror too.  Though this was a good show with some funny moments I thought the shorter format work a bit better.  This show had fewer laughs-per-minute and though it was never boring, it did drag a bit.
 
These are funny and touching shows.  Add an infectious ending song to the mix, and you've got a great show.  The only bad thing about this set is that there won't be a volume two.  This is all there is.

The DVD:


This two disc set contains the entire Mr. Junk series.  The original 13 episodes are on disc one, with the half hour 14th installment on disc two.  The pair of discs come in a single width keepcase.

Audio:

The stereo soundtrack is very good.  These dialogless shows have a musical soundtrack that is clear and precise.  The range is good and there are no audio defects.

Video:

The widescreen 1.78:1 image, unfortunately not anamorphically enhanced, looks great.  The colors are bright with a wide range of tones, the lines are sharp and the detail is very good even in dark scenes.  The only problem was on the digital side.  There is a bit of aliasing throughout the show, with diagonal lines having as stair-step effect rather than bring straight.  This was mainly limited to the backgrounds and not too distracting.

Extras:

This two disc set is packed with extras.  The first disc features a three part interview with director Ryuji Masuda that runs 21 minutes all together, and another interview with producer Shunsuke Koga that lasts 14 minutes.  Both of these were very interesting and informative.

There is a featurette on the CGI process used an interview with Meyna Co. who created the wonderful music for the series, a short series of staff interviews, text cast profiles, and TV spots for the show.

On the second DVD, there are a pair of Staff Comedy Theater shorts, promos for the 14th episode, and a half hour long Mr. Stain on Junk Alley Special, which aired to promote the show on TV.  There was also a seven minute short Junk Alley goes to Pusan which follows director Ryuji Masuda on a trip to Korea to advertise the show, and five CGI shorts that run a couple of minutes a piece that take place in the Junk Alley universe.  All in all an exceptional set of bonus items.

Final Thoughts:

This is one fun show.  Every episode is funny, but they also have a bitter-sweet touch too.  If you enjoy slapstick and comedy with a dark tinge to it, this is the series for you.  FUNimation did a great job with this set, presenting the entire show on two discs that look and sound very good.  Add to that are the copious extras, and the result is a great set that comes highly recommended.

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