Thursday, October 15, 2009

Sergeant Frog Season 1 Part 1 DVD Set Impression

Sgt. Frog DVD Set 1, Part 1
Not since Alf has an alien invasion been this harmless. The frogs are coming, the frogs are coming and has it been a long time. First announced by ADV a few years back, Sgt. Frog never saw the light of day due to ADV folding. Then something wonderful happened, FUNimation. Over the past few years FUNimation has thrived where ADV and Geneon had some issues (look at their catalogue of collections and release). So before I get to the frogies props need to be paid to FUNimation as well as Viz as they’ve changed the game of DVD release. While there are titles that get single DVD ($15-25) release both companies have been taking anticipated series and putting them out first as full season sets (34-26 episodes) or as parts (12-13 episodes) meaning fans get more, faster and for less not to mention the saved shelf space. Just go to any DVD store and you’ll see less spacing for anime but actually more content. That being said lets take a look at one of the best of those saved titles, those that ADV and/or Geneon never got to release which FUNimation snatched up …

The invasion is about to begin. The Keron invasion fleet is waiting on their advance team’s word to begin, but what is this? A distress signal, invasion off, the advance team is on their own? Oh brave soldiers, we salute you for saving the fleet … or did you just press the abort button by mistake? Yeah, Keroro is not the most capable sergeant and even manages to get himself captured by an average family. First you have Keroro, a Master Grade Gundam model kit loving pushover who lives in the haunted room, and cleans the house of the Hinata family. Fuyuki is into the paranormal, Natsumi is the older sister and Aki, the mother, is an obsessed manga studio director who utilizes Keroro for her own stories and inspiration. As Keroro looks to gain the advanced over his ‘captors’ he encounters the rest of his squad including Private Second Class Tamama who goes a bit crazy when pushed too far, Corporal Giroro who could be the love child of Kermit and Rambo, Sergeant Major Kururu, an information officer who nobody really likes and finally Lance Corporal Dororo who changes his name and takes on the life of a ninja. There’s also the Fuyuki obsessed Momoka Nishizawa who lives with Tamama in her families vast wealth.

The group is odd, yes, but their adventures are anything but. Besides the strange circumstances for each reunion there’s a lunch gone very, very wrong, a toy store going out of business, a haunted island retreat, a time and space distorting base and a few side invasions from other races not to mention a very powerful, world destroying niece who slept through her assigned doomsday. Yeah, it’s a pretty odd world, one that has to be seen to be believed.

I for one have been waiting for years for the localized version of Sgt. Frog. The manga is outstanding, well designed, simple art that just nails the humor. The Gundam references are outstanding and for an invading army, yeah, they are pretty pathetic frogs. The animation follows the manga, simple but excellent. The story is very funny and simple, not little kid simple but heck yeah, I enjoy this simple but don’t feel like a kid by watching, or something like that. The voice work is great because it’s full of established actors who’ve held serious roles but now find themselves in the body of frogs. The storylines jumps all over, introduces characters and just keeps rolling. It’s not supposed to be taken serious so don’t. Where I’ve got to give major props to FUNimation is how they’ve updated the cultural reference, that each time 2004 is shown or mentioned the narrator or characters correct the date, it’s really good and shows effort was put into this set.

Overall I love this series. It’s funny, well paced and just a nice distraction from the serious stuff out there. The split box set mentioned earlier works really well and is easy on the wallet. I usually try to recommend series to fans of similar but I’ll go out on a limb and tell any anime fan to take the Sergeant for a spin.

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