Review by: Brenda Gregson
Publisher: FUNimation Entertainment
MSRP: $39.98 US
Running Time: 325 minutes
Rating: TV PG
Release Date: Available Now
Who would have known that alien invasions can be this funny?
If you’re the type of anime fan who loved the outrageousness of series like Pani Poni Dash! then a series like Sgt. Frog is probably a series you should definitely be familiar with considering the zany humor is of the over-the-top quality. However, when it comes to cute space invaders that came to enslave mankind only to stick around to collect toys, go wild during Spring Break and fight cavities … nothing comes close to being as offbeat as this alien invasion as the series finally arrives to our side of the pond with its Season One Part 1 of Sgt. Frog.
The Narrator, who practically steals the show altogether, isn’t very clear about the invasion itself but what is clear is that the frog-like Keronians have come to our planet to conquer Earth (or, as they call it, Pekopon). Being the size of actual frogs, though, conquering a planet filled with being a lot bigger than you isn‘t easy and something has led the other invaders to turn tail. It is during this invasion that Sergeant Keroro, leader of the ARMPIT Platoon, takes refuge in the Hinata family residence where he is nearly squashed by tough girl Natsumi and protected by her younger brother, Fuyuki. On top of that, their mother – Aki – is an editor for children’s manga and sees having a cute frog-like alien stay with them as a source of inspiration for a new manga.
Living with the Hinata clan, Sgt. Keroro is reduced to cleaning duties at the house mainly because he’s afraid of being lobotomized by human scientists if caught. That’s Ok, though, because he likes the food on this planet and he loves karaoke and building Gundam models. Sure, he still thinks about his mission but with Natsumi keeping a close eye on him it just not happening. Meanwhile, Fuyuki has a girl named Momoka Nishizawa (who happens to come from a rich family and has a monster crush on Fuyuki) joins his Occult Club. The thing is that Momoka has a frog alien as well named Tamama.
While Momoka is busy trying to reveal her feeling to Fuyuki, Keroro and Tamama are reunited with their combat specialist named Giroro. Tough and ready to get the invasion going despite the fact that his commanding officer much rather sit at home surfing the net, Giroro is ready to pick a fight when he quickly becomes smitten with Natsumi who he sees as a warrior princess.
As more members of the ARMPIT show up, like Sergeant Major Kululu, the Hinata family find themselves taking their alien visitors on Spring Break fun and the sun as well as finding the aliens base of operation underneath the house by way of a mini fridge. At one point, another visitor from space arrives at the Hinata home, this one being a young girl named Angol Mois who has come to destroy the Earth as Nostradamus had predicted 500 years ago. They even accompany an alien who just so happens to have won an intergalactic idol contest around town.
While much of the show’s comedy is of the slapstick variety, it’s actually very good slapstick comedy. Sure, watching Momoka trying to get Fuyuki to kiss her gets old but you just have to laugh at the moment when her first kiss is with a freaky space octopus. When Fuyuki and Natsumi’s mom is transformed into a teenager for a day, she takes advantage of her temporary youth by going wild at her children’s school. They even battle the Sergeant’s cavities that, at a microscopic level, are vicious creatures.
In one of the most amusing episodes, two intergalactic reality show hosts show up to profile the Keronians only to find themselves wanting to be around Natsumi, Momoka and Aki. The jokes in English dub have been updated and reference everything from the Jonas Brothers to Blu-ray discs so the dialogue makes for a different viewing experience from the original Japanese.
Sgt. Frog, Season One Part 1, is all kinds of zany and straight up off-the-wall crazy but you can be assured that you will be laughing out loud because of it. The 13 episodes of this first part are a great introduction to a series that is out-of-the-ordinary and outrageous but if that’s how you like your comedies than you really have to get your hands on this set.
DVD REVIEW BREAKDOWN
Sergeant Keroro was sent to Earth to conquer it only to find himself living comfortably with the Hinata family collecting Gundam models and sampling delicious Earth food. Keroro soon finds out that members of his ARMPIT Platoon are on Earth as well as they add more trouble for the human family.
VIDEO QUALITY: B+
Finally, the Sgt. Frog series is released on our shore and the series looks great on DVD despite the fact the animation is a little on the dated side. These aliens are also downright adorable.
AUDIO QUALITY: A-
The original Japanese voices make for a different viewing experience than the English dub version and you’ll get a laugh out of it but the best jokes comes from the English dub voices. The Narrator practically steals the show, though.
Sure there are some cool trailers and the textless opening and closing theme songs to look forward to in the end but it’s the brief Pekopon Invasion Recon Data feature that’s the real extra in this set with a funny data on each of the human characters.
Delightfully zany and outrageously funny, Season One Part 1 of Sgt. Frog is one of those rare anime comedies that are consistently funny throughout. If over-the-top crazy is not your thing than you’re better off looking elsewhere but if you like this sort of comedy or are willing to give it a try you will find yourself glad they picked up this DVD set.