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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Shuffle, Vol. 3
Shuffle, Vol. 3
FUNimation // Unrated // May 6, 2008
List Price: $29.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by John Sinnott | posted May 17, 2008 | E-mail the Author
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C O N T E N T
V I D E O
A U D I O
E X T R A S
R E P L A Y
A D V I C E
Recommended
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P R I N T
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The Series:

In volume three of Shuffle the plot starts to thicken, well...as thick as a harem show ever gets, and some problems crop of for poor Rin that don't have easy solutions.  When he gets lost with Sai, he says some things that will come back to haunt him, but he has it easy compared to Mayumi who has to wait tables in a mini-skirt with no underwear. With a good amount of comedy, a dollop of fan service, and an interesting plot twist or two, this light show is a lot of fun to watch.

Series Background:

Rin is an orphan who lives with the hottie of his high school class, Kaede, and her father who is always away.  Kaede (who has a fan club consisting of guys who hate Rin) is totally devoted to Rin, getting up early to make him a fancy breakfast every morning, packing his lunch, and generally waiting on him hand an foot.  Rin, though he appreciates it, doesn't seem to care all that much.

Things change one day when two new transfer students join Rin and Kaede's class.  Sai and Nerine seem to be normal high school girls on the outside, but they are rather special.  Sai's father is king of the gods, and Nerine's dad is king of the demons, making both of them princesses.  In addition to that, they've come to Earth to find a mate, and both of them have their eyes on Rin.  Their father's both promise Rin all of the powers of their respective empires if he'll marry their daughter and Rin is barely able to fend off the pair of forceful kings.

When Rin goes home he discovers that Sai and Nerine have both moved in next door, one on either side.  With both girls now wanting to walk him to school every morning, it's enough to drive poor Rin crazy.  Things just get worse however, as he runs into a quiet young girl on the street one day who follows him home.  This girl, Primula, is from the Realm of the Demons and won't leave, so she ends up moving in with Rin and Kaeda.

This volume:

After the rather generic quartet of episodes on the last volume, this one has some stories that advance the plot and develop the characters just a bit.  The disc starts off with the mandatory (for harem anime) trip to the beach!  The whole gang makes a pilgrimage to the shore where the girls get to show off their new bikinis and the guys get to ogle them.  Everything is going well until Rin and Sai fall asleep on the shore while lying on a raft.  When they wake up, they discover that the tide has come in and they're out at sea.  They paddle back to an island, but they can't find any people and Sai's afraid they may have gone to another dimension where there are no people at all.  Rin slowly comes to see her point of view and promises to stay by her forever in this alternate reality.  That's when their friends walk up, naturally.

That seems to be that, but Sai's father has heard what occurred on the beach, and he can only assume it means one thing:  a wedding.  And a really big wedding too, as would befit the daughter of a king.  When Rin gets back to town everyone is talking about his engagement to Sai and what a cute couple they make.  As the rumors start to fly it looks like it will be impossible for Rin to talk his way out of this trouble.

The third episode on this disc is a hilarious romp.  Mayumi has been stuck in summer school during the whole break, and when her classes are finally over she can't wait to celebrate.  Going to a favorite restaurant she orders a big Sunday, but can't pay because she lost her wallet.  To make up for the eats, she has to wait tables in a cute waitress uniform with a very short mini-skirt.  Something goes wrong when she changes however and she forgets to put on her panties.  This starts a hilarious (so what if it's predictable?) sequence where the poor girl has to wait tables, clean up spilled drinks and even climb a ladder to change a light bulb without flashing the whole place.

The disc ends with a more serious story that was a bit unexpected.  While everyone's rushing to finish their summer homework, Primula falls ill with a very high fever.  Rin isn't sure what to do with the young girl from another realm, and both Sai and Nerine are unusually close-lipped about the situation.  Going to their father's Rin learns Primula's secret, something that comes as an unexpected shock.

I think the series picked up a bit with this volume.  It's still light and a bit silly, but they've started taking some things a bit more seriously.  The end of the Primula episode came as a surprise and one that should affect the cast significantly.  That's good.  It's nice to see some characters go through changes and grow a little, even in a sitcom-like show such as this one.

The DVD:


Audio:

The disc offers viewers the choice of the original Japanese audio track or an English dub, both in stereo.  I listened to various episodes with each audio track and they were both solid.  The English voice actors did a good job with only one supporting character having an irritating high-pitched voice.  I tended to prefer the Japanese track, but not by much.  The quality was similar on both tracks, with no common audio problems being evident.  The mix itself was pretty sedate with the voices firmly anchored on the screen for most of the show.  There wasn't much use made of the soundstage, but that's not too surprising given the nature of the show.

Video:

The 1.78:1 anamorphic image looks pretty good, which shouldn't come as a surprise since this series was made in 2005.  The lines are generally tight and the colors are solid.  On the digital side things also look pretty good.  There is a little aliasing here and there, and a tiny bit of posterization, but these are hardly worth mentioning.

Extras:

Not much in the way of extras....only a clean opening and closing.

Final Thoughts:

This is a funny show, in the spirit of other harem series.  It's not too realistic, but it does have a good amount of humor and all the fun associated with the genre.   This volume moved things along a bit, with some interesting events taking place between Rin and Sai as well as some unexpected twists involving Primula.  If you enjoyed the previous volumes, you'll certainly like this one too.  Recommended.
 

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