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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Desert Punk: Box Set
Desert Punk: Box Set
FUNimation // Unrated // July 1, 2008
List Price: $49.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by John Sinnott | posted September 4, 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
Highly Recommended
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P R I N T
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The Series:

When Desert Punk was first released the show held little interest for me.  It just didn't look that much different from countless other shows.  A guy roams a desert with a gun kicking ass and taking names.  Yeah, I'd seen that before.  So I passed on reviewing the series, and the subsequent boxed set.  When FUNimation released it again in a nice economical slim-line set I finally broke down and got a copy to review, and I'm really glad that I did.  Desert Punk is a very fun, funny, and enjoyable show, especially if you can handle a lot of breast jokes.  With a good amount of action, a hero you're never sure if you're supposed to like or hate, and a story that's unexpectedly rich, this show is great entertainment.

The Great Kanto Desert covers a lot of the planet Earth.  There was a great war, and humanity was almost exterminated and the world was changed for the worse.  Thousands of years later, the decedents of the survivors are still trying to scratch a meager living on the arid, inhospitable planet that is left.  Most technology is gone, and what's left has been reverse engineered from artifacts left behind from the time before the war.

This desert is home to Kanta Mizuno, better know to the masses as Desert Punk, a young but skilled and tricky mercenary.  He eeks out a living by rescuing people in trouble (for a fee of course,) and by taking dangerous jobs that the locals can't handle; cleaning out a nest of crooks and the like.   Using his electric winch to pull his fat out of the fire when things get too hot and a supply of look-alike balloons to fool his enemies, the Punk is known as the "Demon of the Desert", at least by those who have run across him.

The Punk does have one weakness, and that's a large set of hooters.  Kanta can't resist a nice rack and that gets him into a lot of trouble, mainly because of Junko.  Junko is an extremely attractive merc with a pair of gravity defying tits that would make most Playboy models feel inferior.  She doesn't risk her life like Kanta does however; she uses her feminine attributes (and the implied, or sometimes stated, promise of sex) to trick the Punk into risking his life and then running off with the profits.

After a few adventures, Desert Punk takes on an apprentice, Kosuna.  This very young girl wants to become the number one 'power babe' in the desert, and attaches herself to the best merc she can find, Desert Punk.  He's not keen on taking her on at all, but when Kosuna flashes a postcard of a large-breasted woman and lies that it's a picture of her mother, Kanta agrees, figuring he can mold her into the perfect mate by the time she matures.

One of the great things about this show is that the main character has very few redeeming qualities.  It's refreshing, in a way, to encounter such a despicable, narcissistic, money-grubbing, sex-obsessed character and have the whole show revolve around him.  Yeah, his defects are played for laughs, but you'd expect him to have some redeeming qualities.  Aside from being good in a battle and cunning, he doesn't have any.  In one episode he encounters a pair of children without water in the desert.  He leaves them, reasoning that if he shares their water, he and Kosuna won't make it out of the desert themselves.  As soon as he gets to a town however he loads up on provisions and heads back out, retracing his steps.  When Kosuna says that she's proud of him for going back to save the children, he replies that he's only doing it so he can sell them into slavery and make a quick buck.

I usually don't like fan service in my anime.  It usually just gratuitous and doesn't serve any point.  Not so with this show.  In this series most of the laughs and a good deal of the plot revolve around breasts, and they come up with some amusing terms to refer to them too:    Roller Coaster Rockets and Milk Missiles are only a couple of the inventive names that Desert Punk uses for his favorite part of the female anatomy.  The sex jokes are so over the top that they're funny.   If they reined the show in at all, it wouldn't be as hilarious, but like South Park there's just something funny about the young Kosuna calling Junko a cow-titted whore.

About 1/3 of the way through the tit jokes start getting a little tired and the show feels like it's going to fall into a rut and become obnoxious, but it doesn't.  Rather unexpectedly the tone of the show changes.   The accent isn't on the big tits anymore, rather Punk training his apprentice and some background on the world is revealed.  They start talking about the government and the rebels who want to overthrow it.  It's a rather subtle change at first, just a few details thrown in here and there, but by the time the show is 2/3 of the way finished, it becomes a rather serious show.  This is the strongest part of the series, with some good episodes and a changing perspective.  Villains become heroes and vice-versa.  It's interesting how the perspective changes and how some people are shown in a much better, or worse, light.  The show certainly keeps viewers on their toes in this last section, and it ends up being a much more interesting and complex show than it started out being.

The DVD:


The 24 episodes that make up this series come on six DVDs.  The discs are housed in three slimline cases which in turn as kept in a nicely illustrated slipcase.

Audio:

Like many current anime releases, this set offers viewers a choice between the original Japanese soundtrack in stereo or an English dub, is stereo or DD 5.1.  I alternated between the various choices for the first several episodes before settling on the original language track as my favorite.  The English dub was fine, but I found Kosuna's voice a bit grating and the Japanese track seemed to add a bit more emotion to the show.    The English 5.1 track was more vibrant and open than the two stereo tracks, though the two channel audio did have some separation.  There were no common defects such as background noise or dropouts in any of the choices.

Video:

The show was presented with a 1.33:1 aspect ratio that mimics the way it was originally shown on Japanese TV.  Mainly taking place in the desert, the colors often have a washed out or bleached look, but this is undoubtedly the way the creators intended it.  There is a fair amount of aliasing, and some minor blocking present in the picture, but neither significantly impact the show.

Extras:

There are a lot of extras included with this set, most of which are fun and enjoyable.  Spread across the six discs are:  "Desert Parodies", a series of movie posters they hypothesizes what the films would be like if they were set in the world of Desert Punk, character bios and textless openings and closings.  Extras from the Japanese discs are also ported over, with a couple on every DVD.  These include interviews with the director and cast, behind-the-scenes at the recording studio, live-action promos (which are quite fun), a tour of an animation studio, blooper reels, and even a couple of commentary tracks by the English voice actors.  It's quite a line up, and there's even an episode of Mr. Stain on Junk Alley, a hilarious show that's loads of fun.

Final Thoughts:

This was a great series.  It started off as a very rude, but funny, program filled with sex jokes.  Over the course of these 24 episodes the show matures and becomes much more intricate and full than the early episodes would indicate.  If you don't mind the raunchy jokes that populate the earliest part, this show comes highly recommended.
 

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