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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Nerima Daikon Brothers: Complete Box Set
Nerima Daikon Brothers: Complete Box Set
FUNimation // Unrated // February 17, 2009
List Price: $49.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by John Sinnott | posted March 7, 2009 | E-mail the Author
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Highly Recommended
E - M A I L
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The Series:
Although the first volume of Nerima Daikon Brothers that ADV released received mixed reviews, I was interested in seeing the show because of the director, Shinichi Watanabe.  He was behind one of my favorite comedy animes, Excel Saga, where he had a role in the show as the show's director.  (You'd have to see Excel to understand.)  That first show was so outrageous and off the wall, I had to see how this musical comedy would fare.  (Yes, you read right, this is a musical.)  Turns out it is hilarious.  With all the irreverent and bizarre occurrences that you'd expect from a Watanabe show and some wonderful catchy songs this show is a must-see.

Hideki is the owner of a daikon (a variety of large radish) farm in the Nerima area of Japan.  He, along with his brother Ichiro (who works entertaining ladies in a host club) and their cousin Mako (a self-proclaimed former pop idol) have a dream of erecting a large domed concert arena in the field where their farm is now.  There they'll perform sold-out concerts every night for their legions of fans.  The only thing stopping them?  Money.  They need about $36 million dollars to build the dome.  So the trio, along with a panda that happened to wander into the daikon patch and decided to stay, have to come up with some way to raise the cash. 
What they do is discover someone who is ripping people off, stop the criminal activity, and then try to make off with the criminal's ill-gotten gains before anyone notices that it's gone.  It's the last part they have trouble with, always ending up with less than they started with.  When they run into trouble fighting the baddies, as they always do, they turn to the bizarre owner of a rental store, played by the director of the show.  For the price of a song, he rents them just what they need to foil the plans of the worst criminals.

Added to this strange mix after a few episodes is Inspector Widgett, a sexy but bumbling and pretty incompetent detective who is sure that the group is somehow involved in the crimes that have been plaguing the city.  She just isn't sure how and starts to tail them.
These shows are very formulistic, but that's not a bad thing.  They come across as one big running gag.  When Hideki and Ichiro run into trouble with a crook, you just know they're going to run to the rental store and receive some bizarre object.  (The get such seemingly useless items as cream pies, a giant boring drill, and some large vegetable costumes.)  The jokes are broad and often crass, yet hilarious. 
One word about the two language tracks.  I viewed the first episode in the original Japanese with subtitles, and found the show rather dull.  There the jokes just didn't work and the songs weren't funny.  That's because the translation was fairly literal and the humor just didn't survive the language change.  For the second episode I tried the dub and found it hilarious.  I went back and screened the first episode again in English and it worked much, much better.  That's because the dub track changes some of the dialog so that jokes work in English.  This is especially true for the songs, which are outrageous in English and just dub if you're reading the subtitles. 

A good example of this is the closing song.  The subtitle track give the following lyrics:
Is it a dream or an illusion?
Or could it be money?
It's a trap of sweet seduction
My girl's heart wavers
I jump right into the fantasy
With a special feeling
Melt together more!
Oh I just can't stop anymore!
Nerimas Very much
A Nerima-style senorita
Nerimas Very nice!
A Nerima style que sera, sera
The feelings that communicate the strength
To believe are very max!
Don't go away
Don't go away
A barrel of laughs, huh?  Compare that to the English dub:
Now you've seen
What I think we mean
When we say "don't think too hard today."
And it's true that the things that we do
mean a lot to the people we play.
But we're just some actors
Drinkin' beer after work just like you
We're glad that you bought this
We can pay for our beer thanks to you!
Very much, very much
We have jobs thanks to you
Thank you very much
Very much very nice
Very much now we'll go
Work on the next show
In the show you see on TV
In Japan originally
Very much
Don't go away
Don't go away
The dub is just much more humorous.  If you've seen an episode in Japanese and didn't enjoy it, I'd strongly recommend watching a show with this dub.

The one complaint that I do have is that there's a lot of repetition over the course of the show. Animated segments get used over and over again in different episodes, which may not be as noticeable if you're watching one show a week, but when you zip through these in a couple of days it sticks out like a sore thumb.  I was also disappointed that there weren't more song in the show.  Each episode did have three or four songs, but the tunes are used over and over again. While the lyrics are changed to match the situation I would have appreciate a bit more variety over these 12 episodes.  

The DVD:


As I mentioned in the main body of the review, I really enjoyed the dub on this show.    The Japanese actors sounded fine, but the subtitle track was much more humorous.  The English voice actors did a good job with their roles too and the comedic timing was very good.  This is one of the few series where I think the dub is significantly better than the original language track.
The full frame picture looks pretty good.  The colors are bright and the lines are tight.  There is some aliasing in the background, but it's not significant.  This looks like a typical anime of recent vintage.
A lot of the extras that ADV put on their volumes have been stripped from this FUNimation release, which is too bad.  There's still a clean opening and closing, and commentary tracks on every episode with the director Shinichi Watanabe and various members of the cast and crew.   These were generally fun and much more interesting than English commentary tracks.
Final Thoughts:
A hilarious and outrageously funny show, even if it does get a bit crass at times, this program is a winner.  Just make sure you give the dub track a try, since the show works much better in English than it does in Japanese do to cultural differences.  It's only too bad that a second season was never made.  In any case getting the whole series in one set is great.  Highly recommended.
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