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Sister Princess:Vol 1 Oh Brother

ADV Films // Unrated // October 19, 2004
List Price: $29.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]

Review by John Sinnott | posted November 25, 2004 | E-mail the Author
The Show:

"I failed my entrance exam, I was kicked out of my own house, and now I'm downing."  -Wataru Minakami.

Poor Wataru is having a rotten day.  He's the best student in his class, but due to a computer error reading his test, he fails his entrance exam to high school.  Going home depressed, his butler informs him that he's been admitted to a high school he's never heard of that is on a mysterious island.  Before he knows it, he's thrown in the back of a truck, dropped off at a wharf, and ferried across the sea to Promised Island.   Things start looking up there as he encounters several good looking girls who all seem interested in him.  However his luck turns sour again when he finds out that all of these women are his sisters!  Will Wataru be able to get off the island before all of these women drove him crazy?

That's the premise of ADV's latest 'harem' anime series Sister Princess.  A fun comedy that take the 'one guy living with several attractive women' theme and really runs with it.  In this show Wataru isn't living with 5 or 6 girls, he has to contend with 13!

I really like 'harem' anime.  Shows like Tenchi, Love Hina, and Happy Lesson always leave me laughing, and this show is no exception.  There are a lot of humor in the program, and some of the running gags are great.  I like the fact that everyone Wataru runs into on the island looks just like his butler, and they seem to know it too.  At first it was just amusing, but like all good running gags, it gets more and more humorous as it goes on.

While I like the show, it doesn't quite work for me totally.  One of the problems is that there are just too many sisters.  While each of them has their own strong personality trait to identify them, it is still hard to remember just who is who.  With this many females in the show, it's also hard to work them all in so many don't get much screen time.

Wataru spends a lot of time in this volume trying to get off the island, and they really don't set up the motivation for his desire to leave.  What else is he going to do.  His sisters aren't constantly fighting like the women in Tenchi, and they aren't smothering him with affection like in Happy Lesson.  I'm not sure why he wants to leave or what he'll do if he gets off the island.

The four episodes on this disc pretty much just set up the premise and introduce all of his sisters.  The plot really hasn't started rolling yet, which I hope will happen in the next volume.  There are some interesting mysteries that have popped up, like the odd '13th sister' who is really a spy keeping track of Wataru's movements and is hoping that he'll leave the island so her assignment will be finished.  Her role wasn't explained at all.

There are some really odd things about the show though, plot defects that really keep me from totally enjoying it.  The biggest one is that Wataru has no curiosity about his sisters, or the fact that he didn't know he had them until he arrived on the island.  He actually doesn't have any proof that they ARE his sisters, only their claim.  Since the sisters seem to have all been raised separately, you'd think there would be a little curiosity about how they are related.

The DVD:


This DVD comes with the original Japanese track in stereo, and a 5.1 English dub.  I watched the show with both audio tracks, and I liked the Japanese audio much better.  The English dub was hard to take after a while.  The two youngest sisters have high pitched squeaky voices that really grated on my nerves.  Several of the sisters have foreign accents, and these sounded fake in the dub track.  Since I don't speak Japanese the accents didn't bother me in the Japanese track.

The sound quality was very good in both tracks.  There wasn't a lot of use made of the sound stage in either track, though incidental music and some effects were thrown to the rear speakers in the English track. In any case, they both sounded clear without any hiss or distortion.


The full frame video looks pretty good overall.  The image was a little soft, with the lines being not quite as sharp and defined as they should be.  This wasn't a big deal though.  Aliasing and other video defects were at a minimum.  The colors were bright and full, but they did chose some odd hues for some things.  At sundown they put an orange hue over the whole picture and colored the sky purple.  This just made everything look strange.  This wasn't a problem with the transfer though, the show was certainly created this way.


This disc includes a clean opening and closing, a three minute reel of production sketches, and a ten minute behind the scenes interview with the English voice talents.

Final Thoughts:

This is a funny show, with some good laughs in each episode.  It's still a little early to tell where the show is going and what it's all about, but I'm hoping the next issue will flesh that out.  While I have some problems with the plot and the number of characters in the show, it was still enjoyable to watch.  Recommended.

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