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animefringe june 2003 / reviews

Colorful
Format: bilingual DVD, 110 min.
Production: ADV / TBS / Torajiro Kishi / Ryutaro Nakamura
Comments: A series of TV shorts devoted completely to mankind's unfathomable fascination with women's undergarments -- panties, in particular.
80%
Rating:
Animefringe Reviews:
Colorful

That's right. Every single short episode on this disc has to do in some way with guys getting a glimpse of a girl's unmentionables. Sometimes it's on purpose. Sometimes, it's blind luck. There are as many professional panty viewers here as there are amateurs, but in one way or another, each time someone's bound to get a peek at something interesting. From businessmen enjoying the view on the commute home, to a gaijin with a camcorder aiming for reflective surfaces, to a cabbie that keeps crashing his ride thanks to a wandering rear-view mirror, there is but one thing binding these animated skits together.

Thus, instantly, you should know where you stand on whether this is worth it for you or not. If you don't mind viewing almost two hours of panty shots for the sake of panty shots, then there's a chance you'll get a kick out of this insane show.

However, if you shudder at the thought of female exploitation, then this is absolutely not for you. Also, if you're looking for a plot, then this isn't for you. If you think this is anime porn, then you'll still be disappointed, because it's not. It really doesn't ever go beyond the quest for a glimpse of panties.

That said, this is one of the most unique shows I've ever watched. While it's perfect for viewers with a three second attention span, watching the whole show at once may be a bit overwhelming. Still, with 110 minutes of some crazy stuff, it's a really fun show to watch.

The animation varies widely in style, but all of it is rather impressive. It's obviously received some significant aid from computers, but Colorful stays true to its title by presenting eye candy in more than one way. I can't think of another show that looks anything remotely like this series. Character designs are very attractive, which is important if the producers want to sell this to their target audience. In certain situations, dramatic exaggerations are used to make a humorous scene funnier, so the look switches from highly realistic to cartoonish practically from scene to scene.

I love the theme song for the show. In fact, it's the reason I bought this DVD - I heard the wild song on a trailer with the meaningless imagery of the opening and knew I had to grab the disc. Music throughout Colorful varies as much as the visuals, and the sound effects are outstanding. Voice samples are used to accent different scenes, with oversampling effects used to push the zaniness to dizzying heights. The audio comes together very well, and for a show dealing primarily with panties, the production values are bewilderingly high.

This is perhaps the first disc that I've ever honestly felt that the English dub was just as good as the Japanese dub. This is easily the best English dub I've heard. There's quite a bit of unnecessary cursing (the F-word is used every ten words or so) which sounds more awkward than anything, but otherwise, it sounds very good in English.

Interestingly enough, the English dub is almost completely different from its Japanese counterpart. However, since this show has no true underlying meaning, changing the script doesn't really affect it at all. If anything, this is like getting two slightly different shows for the price of one. Even the credits are heavily changed thanks to the English dubbing. In Japanese, it's hard to tell what's being said as the credits roll, but in English, we're treated to some amusing ramblings from characters. I liked the way the English dub filled in some of the silent spaces, even if it is a departure from the original.

I have seen the power of ADV dubbing, and it is good.

The extras include a very long documentary, which takes viewers on a trip into the wonderfully twisted minds at ADV that domesticated this extremely Japanese experience. For fans of English voice performers, this is a great opportunity to match faces with names - it's a really fun feature to watch. There's also a very entertaining English voice actor bio section that is also good for a laugh (along with tidbits of actual information). Clean opening and endings are provided, along with the original Colorful trailer.

So, assuming you aren't offended by the content of Colorful, this is actually a really good release for people looking for something unlike any other anime out there. It may be focused on one of the most juvenile topics any anime series has ever been based upon, but it has attractive visuals, solid music and sound effects, and it's funny whether you watch the Japanese language version or the top-notch English dub. For a change of pace, try Colorful. You may be confused at first, but it doesn't get any more unique than this.

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