animefringe july 2003 / reviews

DNA^2 Vol.3: Mutation
Format: bilingual DVD, 3 eps., 75 min.
Production: Central Park Media / Masakazu Katsura
Comments: Another cute entry into this sci-fi romance series from Masakazu Katsura.
Animefringe Reviews:
DNA^2 Vol.3: Mutation

Sent to the past to avoid an overpopulation explosion, DNA Operator Karin had a rather simple mission. She was to find the notorious Mega Playboy (a man who sired a hundred sons that each sired a hundred sons themselves, generation after generation) and put an end to his rampant procreating using a DCM bullet (a special projectile that can alter a person's genetic makeup). However, when she found Junta - the man destined to be Mega Play - she ended up turning him into the Mega Playboy instead of stopping him.

Before he met Karin, Junta couldn't face any girl except his childhood friend, Ami, without throwing up. Really. He gets so nervous when the idea of anything sexual enters his head he has to clear his stomach. Talk about awkward. After getting shot by the DCM bullet, however, he now turns into a new man when dealing with a sexually arousing situation. His mere presence attracts the interest of any female near him, and even his personality is changed from that of a goofy high-school kid into a suave, manly, stud.

Toss in a love...rectangle...between him, Ami, Karin, and another girl with an equally embarrassing condition when dealing when the opposite sex, and you have the makings of another great series from Masakazu Katsura, creator of Video Girl Ai and Shadow Lady. The interpersonal relationships develop nicely as time goes by, keeping viewers interested in what's going to happen next. The ninth episode in particular involves a nifty plot twist, the effects of which won't be apparent until the August release of the fourth DVD in the series.

As usual, Junta is a nice (if occasionally obtuse) guy who doesn't ask for much. Even with his newfound powers as Mega Play, he doesn't abuse his position and treats women fairly and with respect. However, that doesn't stop Karin from trailing his every move, hoping that she can stop him if he attempts to have sex with a woman, beginning the cycle of overpopulation that threatens to doom the future of Earth. Yet, as the story progresses, it becomes hard to tell if Karin doesn't want Junta to make other women fall in love with him because she's worried about mankind's destiny, or if she's simply jealous.

The animation for this short series (a half-season long) is good enough, but the character designs are where the show truly shines. As usual, Katsura's artwork is distinct from other works, and it comes across as both cute and sexy at the same time. The personalities of each of the protagonists are dynamic and complex, and the humor that arises throughout the show tends to be pretty funny.

Both the English and Japanese language tracks are good, though interpersonal relationships are better defined with the characters' use of honorifics in Japanese. Either way, they're both on the disc, so no complaints.

Extras include an informative biography of Masakazu Katsura, art & sketch galleries, the DNA2 trailer, and some previews for upcoming shows. There is an artbox available for this show (I found mine at The Right Stuf), though it's the fold-it-yourself type, and thus not the same level of quality as Bandai's Love Hina box.

This is yet another fun romantic comedy with a sci-fi twist, and fans of Katsura's other works should appreciate this show at the very least because of his interesting character designs. The story is up to par with his other works, as well, and features enough twists and turns to keep viewers interested in the action as the fate of the planet is determined by the Mega Playboy.