The third season, presented in its entirety in this new box set (which collects two previously-released separate volumes into a slimmer package), was not produced by adult swim but by FUNimation, who took over after Cartoon Network lost the rights. This version of the series follows Shin Chan (Laura Bailey), a 6-year-old who acts more like a 13-year-old, cracking wise and trying to get every hottie he sees to take her top off, while his dad (Chuck Huber) surreptitiously eggs him on, and his mother (Cynthia Cranz) grumbles about both of them.
"Shin Chan" has a unique, loose animation style that allows Shin to contort his body (and his butt) into unusually angular shapes. Each brief little episode (akin to the length of other Cartoon Network shows, which fit two "episodes" inside a half-hour block) tackles a miniature story with some continuity, although they have been re-ordered to fit the needs of the new dub. Two years also passed between the final adult swim episode and the first FUNimation episode, which is frequently referenced in the dialogue as an unusually long summer vacation. The American dub also re-dates the show firmly into the late 2000s, frequently referencing modern American pop culture. Political humor is also not out of bounds, as evidenced by an episode in which Shin crashes his friends' triple date with three Young Republicans (who are defined as "Republican, but also sluts").
Although plenty of well-placed, unexpected one-liners (primarily from the dad) got a chuckle out of me, I have to concede that "Shin Chan" doesn't strike me as particularly funny. There's no overarching bent or governing idea to guide the show. Each episode is basically a little joke factory built around its premise, and other than that, it's hard to tell two episodes of "Shin Chan" apart from one another. Like most cartoons, "Shin Chan" is not a show about character growth or transformation; each episode basically hits the reset button for a new adventure even when the background story (such as "summer vacation") progresses.
Beyond that, on a basic level, the toilet humor on here just doesn't strike me as that witty. Shin Chan says outrageous things, but nobody really reacts to them. Scatological humor is a running theme, with one episode centered around a trip to see Bowel's Moving Castle, or a flashback episode where you learn Shin's first words included "boobies" and "ass." Personally, I'm not a fan of catty humor, but that is a constant theme whenever Mom is involved in the story, with her frequently sniping about other women who her husband is busy ogling. It's clear that in this final season of the show, the creators had the mechanics of American "Shin Chan" down to a science, and I'm sure anyone who became a fan during the first two seasons on adult swim will have nothing to complain about: it meets its goals efficiently and professionally, and it certainly never pretends to be anything else. If you're a newcomer like myself, though, just make sure you've got a clear idea of what those goals are before diving in.
The Video and Audio