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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Girls Bravo 2
Girls Bravo 2
Geneon // Unrated // September 6, 2005
List Price: $24.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Don Houston | posted September 28, 2005 | E-mail the Author
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Movie: As the popularity of harem shows continues to grow, fans have had a lot of interesting fan service offered them by the various anime producers. Granted, much of it lacks the originality fans would appreciate but the main focus has always been to showcase what would be hot gals bending over, showing cleavage, and the various sexual innuendoes incumbent on a situation where one guy is surrounded by a horde of hotties desiring to hook up with him. I strongly suspect this aspect of anime to grow given the marketing adage that "sex sells". One of the guiltier pleasures I've come across in the last few months has been the Girls Bravo release from Geneon. Today's review is of the second volume in the series, Girls Bravo 2, where the cast continued to follow the usual course set previously. Here's a quick overview of the initial volume to give you an idea of what happened:

"The lead male, also called the Alpha Male in the literature of the sub-genre, was Yukinari, a student so fearful of women that he breaks out into a rash when they are around. His condition has been diagnosed as "gynophobia", something I'd usually believe was the fear of a pap smear or something similar (I'm trying to keep this review from crossing over into adult ground even though the DVD was rated as "17 Plus" by Geneon), but that sets the stage for the ensuing action. After a neighboring girl nearly drowns him in his own bathtub for allegedly peeping on her naked body, he finds himself cast into the abyss, landing on a strange planet, Seiran, which is cosmically linked to Earth but not quite in phase with it. He is saved by a beautiful gal named Miharu, whose innocence is belied by the fact that she immediately is captivated by Yukinari."

Okay, aside from the fantasy aspects of the series, especially since most men would love to land on such a planet (you'd have to pry me away by force), the main theme was on the interrelationships between the cast in things other than sex (they never really have sex but the gals sure want to do it with Yukinari). The majority of action in the latest set of episodes took place on Earth, with a few more cast members added to the mix to round out the crew. Having watched most of the various Tenchi Muyo series (which are substantially more subdued than this one), I've long fussed about the apparent need for a large group of women in the cast. I'm told this allows for each of the generic stereotype clichés to be addressed, and it's almost a given that harem shows provide the standard female personalities. On top of that, the guy is almost always an effeminate loser who refuses to take advantage of the situation. The box gave a brief summary of the action when it stated:

"One rainy afternoon, Yukinari, Kirie and Miharu come home to find a girl lying unconscious in the bathroom. Her name is Koyomi, a member of the Seiren Space Management Bureau. She has come to Earth in order to bring Miharu back to Seiren! Then Koyomi's colleague, Tomoka, shows up too, and Yukinari's life becomes messier than ever!"

The four episodes this time were, 5) Bravo on a Rainy Day! Part 1, 6) Bravo on a Rainy Day! Part 2, 7) Look For a Groom Bravo! and 8) Lots of Bravo!. With two new cast members, one of which mirrored Yukinari in her illness towards men, the cast seemed about right to fit the standard profile of the generic harem show. This isn't necessarily a bad thing but I feel compelled to point it out since many of you seem to agree with me that fewer women handled with more depth would work better. Regardless, the dynamic here was more centered on the gals and their situation that that of Yukinari. The first two episodes dealt with Miharu's sister wanting her back, followed with finding a husband on Earth for the older sister, then a comic bit where alcohol has a unique effect on Miharu, causing a lot of turmoil when she replicates a horde of exploding clones. In all, it was a good bit of fun with the more mature fan service offered up to provide the twist many of you seem to desire.

I'm not going to hose you and say this was high art or especially creative but it had just enough care put into the story to allow me to give it a rating of Recommended, even for a show that follows a pretty established path. If you liked Girls Bravo 1, you'll like this one too as it offered more of the same material but done with some flair. Sure, the fan service offered up was blatant and might offend some of the weaker hearted people out there but it was all in good fun and Yukinari got a beating every time he stepped out of line (or at least was perceived to do so by his erstwhile landlord. Check it out and I think you'll see why it has been looked upon favorably by many fans.

Picture: Girls Bravo 2 was presented in the same old 1.33:1 ratio full frame color it was shot in for airing on Japanese television a few years ago. The colors were very bright and given an airbrush look at times in keeping with the more adult themes of the show. The subtitles seemed a little noisy in the manner they appeared on the screen but otherwise the anime style used fit the subject very nicely and I thought it was eye catching to say the least. There were no compression artifacts to be seen and fans of adult anime will likely find this a breath of fresh air over the usual hentai titles they may be used to.

Sound: The audio was presented with the usual choice of a 2.0 Dolby Digital stereo track in either the original Japanese or the dubbed English with optional English subtitles. I preferred the original track this time as the dub voices weren't quite up to snuff in terms of timing and execution but also in how some of the voice actors went over the top in a manner inconsistent with their Japanese counterparts. Most of them were fine but the old saying about one bad apple came to mind here. In any case, the music was interesting to listen to and while the separation between the channels was limited, the dynamic range was just fine on both tracks.

Extras: There were trailers, a textless opening, some art, and the original Japanese credits with a minimal paper insert included too.

Final Thoughts: Girls Bravo 2 had more animated nudity than the average fan service show but the humor was well done and the characters continued to grow on me in this second outing. I look forward to future volumes in the series, especially if they're going to be as well handled as this one was. While the exploits of Yukinari and his posse of…female associates (I want to keep this a family oriented review folks) didn't tread a lot of new ground, it did seem to provide a nice mix of all the required elements done in a sweet manner. Even the feminists would be on shaky ground attacking this one as anything perverted or subservient to women given the strength of the characters. If you like this type of show, you're likely to be extremely happy with it.

If you enjoy anime, take a look at some of the recommendations by DVDTalk's twisted cast of reviewers in their Best Of Anime 2003 and Best Of Anime 2004 article or regular column Anime Talk

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