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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Shuffle, Vol. 5
Shuffle, Vol. 5
FUNimation // Unrated // July 29, 2008
List Price: $29.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by John Sinnott | posted July 25, 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:

The harem show Shuffle takes an unusual twist with volume five of the series.  Starting out as a typical romantic comedy, the program becomes more serious as the story starts getting closer to reality.  Rin wants to please all of the girls that like him, so he's friendly with all of them.  Some of them start to think that he's just stringing them along, which is pretty much the case, and decide to make a play for the bashful guy, with disastrous results.

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:

The volume starts with a show that set the tone for what's to come.  Sia wants to go out on a date with Rin and have him spend the whole day with her.  She asks him to skip class and play hooky with her, and when he refused she screams that he tried to molest her.  The only way to escape going to jail is to take her out.  Rin is uncomfortable with Sia whose acting quite differently; she's more outgoing and aggressive and while trying on a new outfit in a store, she even flashes her tits to him.  Later she tries to kiss him and confesses that he can "see it all" if he wants to.  What has caused this sudden shift in Sia's personality and what can Rin do about it.

Since it's obvious that Rin doesn't like Sia in a romantic way, Itsuki, Mayumi, Nerine, and Sia push Rin into going out with Asa, his sickly childhood friend.  They want to know who Rin does like so that they'll know who their competition is.  The quartet plans out the whole date, from where they will go (an amusement park that caters to couples) to where they'll eat and even where Rin will confess his love.  Of course things don't go as planned.  No one asked Rin about scary rides, which he hates, and Asa doesn't want to keep to the secret schedule that Rin has been given.  That's bad enough, but Rin really blows it when Asa questions his bizarre behavior.

Rin finally does start going out with someone, and ignores Kaede and the food she makes him.  This doesn't go over well with the young girl, who thinks back on the past and reveals just how Rin came to live with her and what happened to her mother. When Rin brings his new girlfriend home, Kaede attacks her in a fit of rage.

The show started getting a bit more serious in the previous volume, and it continues that trend with this one.  Kaede is no longer just a doormat, and the way the other women who like Rin act is, while not totally realistic, much closer to reality than you're average harem series.  This is a nice change of pace and it really sets the show apart from the others in the crowd.

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:

With this volume the show starts to get serious and Rin finds himself knee deep in trouble.  Making the women who like Rin start to act a little more like real teenage girls would is a nice change that most harem shows never try.  That puts a unique spin on the show and makes it more interesting than some of the earlier volumes.  If you've followed the show this far, you'll be pleasantly surprised at the changes.  A strong recommendation.
 

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