Background: Educational systems vary across the world but there is a growing idea in private schools to go to gender specific teaching; in other words, all boy or all girl schools. The idea is that absent the usual rivalries and hormone related problems, each group can learn better by focusing their attention in socially acceptable ways. Such thoughts go back to the times when only males were allowed access to such learning and also predate the tutor systems of European royalty where each gender would be taught only what they were considered to "need to know" for their stations in life. That brings us to today's review of Green Green: Coed Casualties V1, a fan service show about the merging of two such schools with the added bonus of a star crossed affair tossed in for good measure.
Movie: Green Green: Coed Casualties V1 is set in a formerly all boys school in a rural area in Japan. An all girls school is merging with them and the first episode, Hearts Pounding Deep in the Mountains opens up with the ladies being bussed into the school on a trial basis. The lead male protagonist of the show is Yusuke Takasaki and he plays the usual knucklehead boy who is learning about himself as he follows his pack of pals around through their various dumb ideas to score with chicks. He's not exceptional in any way and his grades are average on a good day with limited other characteristics to make up for his apparent lack of brains. The lead female character is Midori Chitose, a gal who knows from first sight that Yusuke is a lover of hers from a previous life with their destiny being that they are fated to live and husband and wife forever. The only down side is that he doesn't share a memory of this prophecy and that makes her forward nature scary to him. The other problem is that an older girl at her school, Reika Futaba, is also aware of the prophecy but seems to be standing as a guardian to prevent it from happening. She is older and wiser and we will presumably find out why she does so in the future but as of the first several episodes, she stands as a gate keeper of sorts frustrating young Midori endlessly as she tries to advance her feelings faster than is supposed to happen.
The episodes on the first volume of the series are 1) Hearts Pounding Deep in the Mountains, 2) You Are Busted, 3) Lost in the Forest, 4) Commotion in the Girls Dorm and after the initial setting up of whose who, the story provides a series of exploits were the harem boy is almost cornered routinely while they all face danger. There seemed to be a high panty count with a lot of camel toe action to boot and nudity seemed to be a standard aspect of the show as well. The secondary characters were all archetypal too in that Yusuke's friends spend every waking moment trying to hit on, pick up, or sexually harass the girls, usually resulting in Reika beating or torturing them to a pulp for their efforts. Reika is the strong, sullen type and the twist of the show is that Yusuke starts to have feelings for her instead of his supposed intended, Midori. For her part, Reika denies having any sort of feelings for anyone but at this point in the series it is far too early to know where she's coming from since her intentions, and knowledge of everything, is unclear. It provides an interesting show in some ways but when you get right down to it, not much is going on that fans haven't seen before, with far too much reliance on the sexual overtones and clichés to suit since they come at the expense of character development and plot.
The cover put it like this: "In ages past, a man and a woman tasted forbidden love. Even though they could not be together, they made a vow that would transcend time. When next they meet, their fire will rekindle. In modern day, there is a boy's academy located high in the mountains called Kanenone. Yuusuke is one of the reincarnated lovers, and a student at Kanenone. When an all-girls class is transferred to the school for a summer session, could one of them be his past romance?" In all, it's not a bad little anime for those of your perverts wanting something light, breezy, and full of sexual material but it meanders about more than necessary and that detracts from the fun that could've been had. Still, as a pervert myself, I thought it was worth a rating of Rent It or maybe more if you're just entering puberty given some of the many jokes (a lot of fun is made of masturbation, breasts, panties, and a variety of related topics; enough to make for uncomfortable viewings with members of the opposite sex unless you're sleeping with them) but it's worth checking out if you like this type of show.
Picture: Green Green: Coed Casualties V1 was presented in the usual 1.33:1 ratio full frame color as shot by director Yuji Muto for release in Japan. The colorful nature of the show lent itself well to the bright color palette and the relatively limited animation used to show movement and all was reasonably interesting given the subject manner. The show originally aired a few years ago and this DVD presentation looked crisp and clean in most ways with the occasional compression artifact popping up from time to time. If you like sexually oriented anime though, keep in mind that the budget reflected the nature of the material (smaller than normal as it appealed to a target audience rather than shooting for a wider appeal) so the facial expressions and frame rate were not something to show off your high end equipment but some creativity was displayed nonetheless.
Sound: The audio was presented with the standard choice of 2.0 Dolby Digital tracks in either the original Japanese or a newly commissioned English language dub. The special effects and music sounded alike on both tracks with no markedly different qualities (some companies like to boost the bass and treble on domestically made dub tracks) and the vocals each had their own charm in most cases. While I tend to be a snob in favor of original language tracks, I actually preferred most of the dub voices here for some reason. The subtitles were slightly different from the dubbed spoken language track but the variations weren't big enough to go into detail about. The dynamic qualities of the vocals aside, the majority of audio came from the center speaker with no appreciable separation except on the effects and music. It wasn't a bad sounding disc but it wasn't anything special either.
Extras: For me, the best extra was the short bonus Omake episode. It really didn't impact the plot of the story in the regular episodes and stood as something of a stand alone piece but the ladies did get more of a chance to shine in it than usual. I also liked the two music videos that were included as they used clips from the show and some funny animation with the songs reading a bit weird on the subtitles but enjoyable nonetheless. There was a clean opening, a few limited TV spots, trailers, and a paper catalog from the company.
Final Thoughts: Green Green: Coed Casualties V1 was one of the most overtly sexual anime titles I've seen from Japan in a very long time and thankfully the material was kept relatively light (no alien rape scenes, demon tentacles, etc.) It had the usual stereotypical males chasing the usual stereotypical females that played hard to get with the romance angle sufficient to take the edge off for fans of the harem genre. I'm curious to see where they go with this one given the limitations of the setting up parts of the initial episodes but typically, such series tend to stay stagnant and do very little since that might upset the apple cart for the usual slavering fanboys. In short, Green Green: Coed Casualties V1 is designed for teenagers coming to terms with their newly developing body parts more than anyone else as the males and female try their best to act cool while hooking up with someone to party with. If you like anime panties and camel toes, you're going to find this one an exceptional value but it really had as much depth as a puddle in most ways so far. Give it a look if you like sexually related anime but don't expect too much.
If you enjoy anime, take a look at some of the recommendations by DVD Talk's twisted cast of reviewers in their Best Of Anime 2003, Best Of Anime 2004, and Best of Anime 2005 articles or their regular column Anime Talk.