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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Girls Bravo Vol 3
Girls Bravo Vol 3
Geneon // Unrated // November 1, 2005
List Price: $24.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Don Houston | posted November 5, 2005 | E-mail the Author
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Movie: Fan service is the type of anime where women jump around showing their ample bosoms bouncing, panty shots, and otherwise tease the camera with sexual innuendos. One of the series that I have enjoyed as it adds a measure of creativity to go with the aforementioned sexual content has been the subject of two previous reviews; Girls Bravo 1 and Girls Bravo 2, and today's review of Girls Bravo 3 was also quite cute in my estimation. Here's a bit of background for those of you unfamiliar with the series but keep in mind that you'll want to watch the first two volumes before getting this one due to the way the characters grow and situations are set up:

"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 clich├ęs 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 back DVD cover stated this set of episodes like this: "Miharu wins a trip for the whole gang to a hot springs resort! But when they arrive, they find that the springs have sadly dried up, and the disheartened group heads to a nearby river. The girls change into bathing suits and enjoy a brisk swim there instead. They get caught up in their fun a little too much, and the sun sets, leaving them lost in the mountains. After some searching, they find a lodge--occupied by Kazuharu and Lisa. What are the Fukuyamas' crazy plans this time?"

The four episodes this time were 9) Bravo at the Great Magic War!, 10) Bravo at the Hot Springs!, 11) Ping-Pong is Bravo!, and 12) Bravo at the Pool!. The same characters were now joined by yet another gal that couldn't speak (which is becoming a standard device in such shows) and they engaged in very similar pursuits; the gals chased Yukinari, Kazuharu kept chasing all the girls like a pervert, and the ending result was a lot of animated nudity and silly situations. There were some surprises this time in regards to who the ping pong champion would be, how the school virtually sold the pool to the rich antagonist, and the amount of magic appearing (which hadn't been a huge factor previously). But the biggest set of laughs I got was when the body switching took place (sorry, I couldn't resist a mild spoiler). Seeing Kazuharu feeling himself up like most of us would do when placed in a woman's body was simply too precious.

I'm going to rate this volume in the series as a Rent It since the situations, with the exception of one, were so generic, and even with ample amounts of fan service; the characters didn't grow or develop at all here. The premise needs something a bit more intriguing or the plot needs to engage with some larger picture plot device before too long or the show will remain eye candy. That may be good enough for some of you (by all means buy the DVD if this is so) but I couldn't help but want more out of it than that. As the harem grows, the need for something to utilize their skills grows too so I'll cross my fingers to hope for the best in later volumes of this otherwise fine series.

Picture: Girls Bravo 3 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 3 makes no pretense that it's a high minded show seeking to fulfill your intellectual needs but the sheer amount of animated nudity didn't work much for me either since it all seemed so gratuitous. It's one thing to relate the clothing matter into a story in a funny way (which the series still seems able to do from time to time) but to get excessive all the time renders such tactics as moot and boring. After all, a little bit goes a long way which is why tease footage seems to enhance the experience for most of us. Otherwise, the story about a girl shy guy cast into the middle of an interplanetary love triangle still has a lot of potential and I think the middle of the season was probably the slumping point (meaning it should get better if it resembles other series of this nature).

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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