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Yuru Yuri: Premium Edition, Vol.1
Yuru Yuri is yet another anime series that sets out to be a slice-of-life gem of a story set in a school establishment with a cast of kooky and wacky characters to carry everything to a successful destination in the end. This is another entry in such a 'ordinary' anime world, supposedly something that aims to tell the story of a group of school-girls in their daily environment, with nothing particularly different to set it apart: oh, expect that all of the characters have girl-crushes on one another, and... that's about it. Seriously.
The main characters of Yuru Yuri are Akaza Akari, who is a slacker extraordinaire who doesn't even realize that time has come to switch schools at the beginning of the school-year; Toshino Kyoko, who seems the most energetic and who has an immense love for comics, Funami Yui who is a quiet character in mood, and Yoshikawa Chinatsu, who supposedly resembles a main character of a popular anime series.
The series is a massive disappointment in basically every regard conceivable. There is very little which this series has to offer. It's attempting to be entertaining and heartfelt like other slice-of-life dramatic shows with a school background setting, like superstar anime K-On! and another successful NIS America acquisition, The Daily Lives of High School Boys. It even models the concept, as simplistic as it might sound, as students being involved in a school club-setting.The main setting of this storyline is supposed to be centered at a "Amusement Club" where the characters essentially sit around, goof off, and don't get much done. They utilize an old room which used to belong to a tea ceremony club that was disbanded. This is where much of the storylines seem to focus upon or around. It's all pretty much a drag though; there isn't much interesting about these characters: I found these characters were not humorous nor well-written, with the "depth" of the cookie-cutter characters being slim-to-nothing. The characters seem too bland, the stories too generic, and the only thing supposedly "different" is that these girls have crushes on one another; an element that I wish wasn't a part of the show considering the ages of these characters.
Luckily, the show is rather tame for the most part when it's compared to other anime series out there, which means it's not something that should be super bothersome to most people: it's not anywhere near as offensive as many of the anime series FUNimation has recently released for example, including the horrendously offensive series Strike Witches. Yet that doesn't stop this element of the series from feeling unwelcome.
I don't expect this series to be one that would appeal much to anyone regardless of this aspect, because the storytelling, characters, and overall effort simply isn't there, and it really makes a person wonder how so many people came together to work on a show such as this: with great animation.
There was a lot of work that went into the animation department side of the production. This is unfortunate, as I never enjoy seeing anime series being made with immense talent found in the animation department but in few other areas of production. It feels like it's just wasted efforts. The directing, writing, and other elements don't succeed. This simply isn't a good production overall. To cut to the chase, this is a bad show -- bland, generic, and lacking in creativity. It certainly won't appeal to most anime fans.
I suppose young girls might enjoy seeing a show featuring an entire cast of female-characters as friends, but with classic anime like K-On! to enjoy, why even bother with something this bland? Yuru Yuri is a anime series that doesn't succeed. It simply isn't worth one's time.
The 1.78:1 widescreen presentation preserves the original aspect ratio. The 1080p presentation preserves the image quality with a nearly pristine PQ. The colors and animation are vibrant to behold with good levels of detail and clarity.
The lossless uncompressed PCM 2.0 presentation is an adequate lossless one, but nothing too stellar: the sound-mix is rather bland, which the only emphasis seeming to be on the dialogue and occasionally the music score. Yet the clarity of the boost to HD audio is notable for easy dialogue reproduction (just not much else).
The main extra is an art-book, which is the norm for the deluxe NIS America Premium Edition sets. The other on-disc extras include clean opening/ending animation and trailers promoting other NIS America series.
Yuru Yuri is an uninspired and bland anime production which has little to offer. It's not good filmmaking, storytelling, or anything that would entertain most anime fans. It's boring and it doesn't succeed with its generic characterizations. The only good aspect is the quality of the animation, which is certainly not a good enough reason to check out this show.
On the positive-side, NIS America continues to prove why their quality of presentation is the best anyone can find for anime in North America: with solid PQ/AQ and deluxe packaging, featuring an art-book and collector-box to house the set, they continue to demonstrate their commitment to a premium package for anime fans and collector's. It's just too bad this is a disappointing series that isn't worth the premium treatment or price-tag.
Neil Lumbard is a lifelong fan of cinema. He aspires to make movies and has written two screenplays on spec. He loves writing, and currently does in Texas.