FUNimation continues on their region one anime dominance with the release of a long running comedy series that is sure to have wide appeal here in the states. Sgt. Frog Season One Part One is a 13 episode set that brings an outrageously funny show to American shores. Filled with wacky and outrageous humor the show is entertaining to both adults and kids, with a good number of anime insider jokes thrown in for all the otaku. If the series continues to be this strong it looks like FUNimation will have another hit on its hands.
The Earth is in danger. A ship full of troops from the planet Keron are in orbit and ready to invade, but first they send down a squad of five frog-like reconnaissance soldiers led by Sgt. Keroro. Unfortunately for the invaders, Keron is an idiot. Soon after landing on Earth he meets up with the Hinata family, mother and manga creator Aki, son Fuyuki, and daughter Natsumi. In the first episode Fuyuki takes Keroro's very powerful control ball and accidently sends a signal to the invasion fleet to flee the planet, leaving Keroro and his comrades behind.
Aki quickly agrees to let Keroro stay at their house, in exchange for some 'light' house work (so she can chronicle his adventures in her manga.) He agrees and basically goes from intergalactic soldier to slave in one quick motion. The frog lives in the spacious basement which sounds like a sweet deal until he discovers that the Hinata's house is built on the ruins of a mental hospital which was built on top of an old cemetery and the basement is haunted by the ghost of a wrongfully committed female patient. There's always something, isn't there?
Though he's trapped on Earth (or Pekopon as Keroro calls it) that hasn't stopped the soldier from trying to conquer the planet... his love of Gundam models has. He spends all of his free time building models and recreating famous Gundam battles, and only thinks about destroying humans when he has to.
This first collection contains 13 episodes. In those Keroro manages to find the other members of his squad: Private Second Class Tamama who goes along with whatever Keroro says; Corporal Giroro, the group weapons master who is constantly irritated by Keroro's lack of an invasion plan; Sergeant Major Kururu, the intelligence expert who invents various items at the drop of a hat; and Lance Corporal Dororo, who follows the ways of the ninja and has vowed to protect Earth, even from his team mates.
There's little continuity in the shows, aside from the introduction of new characters. That's fine, as the off the wall humor makes up for the lack of a continuing story. Many shows involve a plan to conquer Earth, which goes awry, or Keroro's quest for more Gundam figure.
A typically episode, and one that is hilarious, is Sgt. Frog versus the Cavitians of Cavity 9! When Keroro has a tooth ach, Dororo gets very worried. On Keron cavities are caused by the diminutive Cavitians, a sworn enemy of Keroro's race. The sergeant's tooth ache means that his mouth has been invaded and the Cavitians will try to destroy Keroro and then the Earth itself. Kururu invents a shrink ray and while Keroro is under they all shrink, including Fuyuki and Natsumi in Gundam-inspired outfits, and get shot into the Frog's mouth. Oh yeah, Keroro goes too. He doesn't want to miss the action so Kururu creates a robot frog that's wirelessly linked to Keroro's brain. It's strange and off kilter, and very very funny.
This show comes with the original Japanese soundtrack in stereo and a DD 5.1 English dub (with optional subtitles). I viewed the show in Japanese and spot checked the dub track and found them to be both fine, if unexceptional, mixes. There are not a lot of effects in the show, but the 2.0 track has some good separation and the 5.1 option does make some good use of the rears in the occasional action sequences. The rare explosions do sound better on the dub track though they aren't as forceful as I would have liked. Whether you prefer watching anime with subs or the dub, you'll be pleased with this set.
The show was made in 2004 and features a 4:3 image that looks very good. The colors are solid and bright, the lines are tight, and the blacks are deep. There was a bit of aliasing in the background, but nothing too tragic. Overall this is a nice looking show.
Not much in the way of extras. The second disc includes a clean opening and closing as well as a text 'database.' *yawn*
This is a really funny series. My boys and I had a great time watching it, laughing the entire time. The show is popular in