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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Girls Bravo 4
Girls Bravo 4
Geneon // Unrated // January 3, 2006
List Price: $24.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Don Houston | posted January 25, 2006 | 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 three previous reviews; Girls Bravo 1, Girls Bravo 2, Girls Bravo 3, and today's review of Girls Bravo 4 was also quite cute in my estimation though it lacked the more fantastical elements of the original two volumes. 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 three 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 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 four episodes this time were 13) Fight Bravo!, 14) First Date is Bravo!, 15) Clean Up Bravo!, and 16) As Long As We're Together Then Bravo!. The series was now into the second season of episodes and some changes were definitely noticed. The storyline about Miharu coming from another planet was greatly downplayed in favor of more standardized romance anime clichés seemed to be the biggest change. They didn't re-write her history so much as drop the majority of references to it and downplay the fantastical powers she displayed prior to this. Fukuyama's role as the spoiled rich guy who wants all the gals to love him was upgraded a lot to make him a main character in almost every episode here. The shows went from the competition Kirie must join to satiate Fukuyama's blackmail scheme to Yukinari and Miharu going out on a date that ends up disastrously handled by all parties, to the group running into the class nerd whose life mission is to keep the world clean to the schemes of the rich antagonist as he co-opts one of the gals in order to carry out his latest plan.

To sum up the volume, I suppose I'd have to say that I noticed a lot more nudity on the part of the ladies and well as a lot more sexual content, to the point where the warning at the beginning popped out at me more than usual. Still, I wanted to see more of the interplanetary elements that differentiated the show from numerous others. That's why I kept the rating as a Rent It instead of elevating it back to the former status since I thought there was far less replay value this time. I almost wonder if this volume of episodes was made after a hiatus or did it come from a slump period in production since it so often seemed played out but the next volume will likely reveal that truth soon enough.

Picture: Girls Bravo 4 was presented in the same 1.33:1 ratio full frame color it was shot in for airing on Japanese television a few years ago by director El Aoki. 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, an alternate opening sequence, some art, and the original Japanese credits with a minimal paper insert included too.

Final Thoughts: Girls Bravo 4 had more nudity than I've seen outside of a porno or adult sex comedy but the use of the innuendoes seemed to be at an all time high too. In general, the characters have yet to grow in any way and the situations they were placed in this time made me wonder if the show was trying to dumb down for a wider audience. It had some bright moments but I'd be misleading you if I said the changes were pleasing overall but your mileage will vary according to what you're looking for in an anime. LCD sex shows are a dime a dozen these days which is why I liked the fantastical elements to prop it up on other grounds but this could work too if the repetitiveness is fixed in later volumes.

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.

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