Review by: Faith McAdams
Publisher: FUNimation Entertainment
MSRP: DVD: $39.98
Running Time: 300 minutes
Rating: TV MA
Release Date: Available Now
Party, Party, Join us, Join us!
When it comes to animated comedies, I have a continued disagreement with my closest friends that throw around the names of shows like Family Guy, American Dad, South Park or – a true classic – The Simpsons. Yet the minute I mention Shin Chan, we’re all in agreement that it is, without a doubt, a truly unique and outright hilarious show that happily crosses the line other comedies fear to cross. Yeah, I said it once and I’ll say it again … Shin Chan makes the overly hyped Family Guy feel like a lame joke you laugh at only once.
Shin Chan, Season 2 Part 1, starts off its 13 episode collection with a nod to Star War’s original trilogy along with opening scrolling letters that let viewers know that Star Wars was met with some slight confusion in Japan so this episode – the warning goes – will seem way out there. The episode manages to cram bits and pieces of all three films with Shin as the Luke Skywalker role and his mother, Mitzi, in the Princess Leia role with a surprising twist at the end. With jokes about clones and the cantina turned into a gay bar, this episode is definitely a highlight.
Like previous episodes, each of the episodes has bite-sized stories that don’t often revolve around Shin and sometimes some of them don’t even have a point. For example, one story finds a drunken Hiro coming home to make a number of awful dishes using potato chips, soy sauce and rice pudding or the one where he saves an attractive woman from a pervert on a train. In other episodes, Shin and his school friends come to strange conclusions and thus spread false rumors about their teacher such as the time they think she’s pregnant and another where they spread the word that she has AIDS. Our favorite nerd next door even makes a return in this season’s Part 1 as he attempts to pass an entrance exam.
In another story, Shin is, once again, forced to play an embarrassing game his classmate Penny blackmails him to play. Penny is also the star of another story (one of my favorites) where she falls for Ai’s adult bodyguard (known only as Mr. K) and makes Shin deliver love notes and flowers to him. To make matters worst, Mr. K thinks the letters and flowers come from Shin instead. In another, she practices her skills for applying makeup on the boys (who then poke fun at the “Sex in the City” girls).
This season’s set also makes includes a series-within-a-series five-part look at a typical Action Bastard episode. I can definitely see why this is Shin’s favorite show seeing as it is a fun but also a funny take on old Japanese superhero shows including a hero with a cheesy alter ego, an ageless Japanese schoolgirl and zany villains that include a Hitler clone. In another episode, Shin and his mother change bodies when they collide. At last, Shin gets to see how difficult it is to be in his mother’s shoes, especially when he’s forced to breastfeed his own baby sister.
Half the fun of the series is that the jokes move from underlying sexual to blatantly sexual within seconds. Shin Chan doesn’t dance around the potty humor but rather it flat out pushes it in your face and damn if it isn’t funny as hell. Shin makes it clear that all he thinks about is boobs – especially those belonging to any hotties like his major crush – and his bulbous rear end that he proudly displays. He’s the type of kid that savors the fact that he has to go to the toilet very often. Shin is the kid a teacher has to sedate in order to keep him from being unruly and who marries his dog, Whitey, to a female pooch that wanders into his yard. In a look into his future as a High school student, we can see that he’s way too stubborn to change as well.
I have to say that broadcast version of Shin Chan over the Adult Swim lineup in the Cartoon Network channel is good but the jokes and language on these DVDs lets loose so even if you seen the episode before you’ll find some new lines. This is definitely the way to see Shin Chan and while we wish there were more extras here, the two-disc set is presented nicely enough.
Season 2 Part 1 of Shin Chan deserves a place among your collection if you’re looking for a great animated comedy series that is not afraid of going too far. With some truly witty and off-color jokes that poke fun of Japanese and American culture, Shin Chan is a laugh-out-loud funny show that raises the bar for animated comedy shows. If you haven’t tuned in to the show on cable, the series is best enjoyed on DVD so do pick this one up.
DVD REVIEW BREAKDOWN
Whether it’s lampooning the original Star Wars trilogy or giving us a peek into what life would be like for Shin in High school, Season 2’s first part delivers more hysterically funny and memorable moments that are even funnier than the broadcast presentation.
VIDEO QUALITY: B-
The animation is as crude as some of the jokes but they work nicely for this series and gives it its own sense of identity.
AUDIO QUALITY: A+
The cast of Shin Chan really does a magnificent job bringing all these characters to life as well as keep the jokes rolling with perfect timing. Once again, Laura Bailey really shines and the closing theme song is the type of song that gets stuck in your head … like forever.
There’s only one audio commentary track in this Season 2 set and you’ll find a few trailers included as well. Still, the best extras come in the form of the absolutely funny “From the Bowels of the Booth” feature with outtakes and bloopers. Karaoke fans will enjoy the closing song sing-along and karaoke version as well.
Season 2 of Shin Chan keeps up with the momentum that began with the first season sets and that’s saying a lot right there but, for my money, Shin Chan still outshines a lot of animated comedies on network television. If it’s hysterically over-the-top lewd and witty humor you’re looking for then I know a little boy who isn’t afraid of shaking things up. Trust me, you will definitely want to pick this one up right away.