Ah, My Buddha, Complete Collection – DVD Review

Review by: Brenda Gregson

Publisher: Media Blasters (Anime Works)
MSRP: $49.99 US
Running Time: 650 minutes
Genre: Comedy/Romance
Rating: N/A
Release Date: Available Now

Who thought the life of a Buddhist Priest could be this much fun or sexy?

Having been a fan of Love Hina and other harem-styled anime, I just had to review the Complete Collection of Ah, My Buddha. Sure, some series don’t surprise you with anything usually different and there are other series that are just by-the-number harem fare with plenty of fan service scattered throughout but some series do have some redeeming quality that makes it worth the watch. Ah, My Buddha follows the same familiar formula but that doesn’t mean you won’t have loads of fun watching this one.

Having been sent to the Saienji Temple that is looked after by the Chief Priestess, Jyotoku Kawahara (who also happens to be his grandmother), Ikkou Satonaka finds life as a priest-in-training rather arduous and strange. For starters, he has heavy cooking and cleaning duties and he has to learn complex sutras to cleanse the world of the spirits of those unable to move on to the afterlife. On top of that, he lives with six attractive young girls studying to become Buddhist nuns. One of them, a sexy redhead named Chitose Nanbu might even have a crush on him … when she’s not kicking him in the head and accusing him of being a filthy pervert.

While the boy is target of many a misunderstanding that involves him walking into the girls’ bathroom, walking in on them while they’re changing or accidentally yanking down their skimpy robes. Besides that, Ikkou has a most unusual power within him that allows him to cleanse all spirits around him. The problem, however, is that he must be in a state of, um, excitement that involves somebody disrobing or flashing their bosoms. On top of that there’s no controlling Ikkou so the only way to put an end to the pervert within is a swift kick, punch or supernatural flame to return the boy to his usual goofy self.

As Ikkou tries hard to make sense of his ability, he goes on a number of jobs for the temple and we get to know each girl a little better … although the majority of them aren’t given enough background to flesh them out. We know Sakura is the brainy one with glasses and Yuko is the tough tomboy of the group and yes there’s even a very bosomy one named Haruka. The ones we do get some background story on do actually stand out because of it.

In the first season of the series, we follow Ikkou and the girls as they take care of evil spirits and friendly spirits unable to cross over. In one episode they go up against a possessed doll during a Burning Ceremony and in another Ikkou and Chitose cleanse a haunted arcade of a group of boys that just want to spend all of eternity playing video games. We also meet the ghost of a young perverted panty-and-bra-stealing student in their High school who develops a crush for one of the girls named Sumi.

Of course, a series like this also brings out the familiar anime elements such as the sports festival and, yes, even a trip to a hot springs is in order. There isn’t anything we haven’t seen in other anime series featured in Ah, My Buddha but what makes this series fun are the little moments that make up the adolescent High school antics. In one episode we find that the tomboy of the group finds out she has an admirer and doesn’t know what to do about it or the episode dedicated to Chitose’s love for horror flicks.

In the second season, a new girl named Kazuki is added to Ikkou’s harem but this girl makes it clear that she is attracted to Ikkou as well as his power, which makes Chitose jealous. The first season introduced two mysterious monks trying to get Ikkou to unleash his power and this time they play a much bigger role in a conspiracy that involve other temples and a secret behind Ikkou’s power. The second season is also a lot more funnier than the first with Kazuki’s many attempts to seduce Ikkou (and failing) being one of the comedic highlights.

The Complete Collection set also includes the two OVA episodes, one for each season. While the fan service in the regular series isn’t too revealing, the opposite can be said about the bonus episodes so if nudity isn’t your thing then you might want to skip these episodes.

Despite its unoriginal elements and few weak plotlines, the Complete Collection of Ah, My Buddha still manages to be entertaining enough to be a series you should check out either way. The comedy is actually quite good in this series and there’s plenty of worthwhile moments found in both seasons of this set. Depending on your tastes, the fan service might be too much for some but if you’re able to overlook it you will find yourself liking the harem comedy.

DVD REVIEW BREAKDOWN

MOVIE/EPISODES: B
A young priest-in-training named Ikkou joins the Saienji Temple run by his overbearing grandmother only to find lots of chores, strange rituals and a collection of very attractive priestesses living with him. It all sounds good but Ikkou has a power that can only be awakened be seeing female nudity. In the second season, a rival priestess will stop at nothing to seduce Ikkou.

VIDEO QUALITY: A
Media Blasters does the series justice with a crisp and colorful picture that makes the animation stand out nicely. While the character design isn’t unique, you can tell each character apart and – if you don’t mind it – the fan service can get overwhelmingly excessive. Only the OVA episodes display nudity.

AUDIO QUALITY: A
The original Japanese voices are handled beautifully thanks to a great cast with Mai Nakahara pulling double duty by voicing Chitose wonderfully but also singing the closing theme songs “Happy Days” and “Lonesome Traveler.” The English dub is excellent as well with talent that includes Tara Platt and Stephanie Sheh just to name a few. Even the original score a good, especially in the second series.

EXTRAS: B+
There are clean opening and closing theme songs to look forward to and each disc contains various different trailers as well. The best extras, however, come in two OVA episodes for each of the two seasons in the Complete Collection set.

OVERALL: B
While it might not be original, it is hard to overlook the good qualities and over-the-top hilarity of Ah, My Buddha and if you give this Complete Collection a try you will find yourself liking this quirky fan service-filled series. Still, you can’t help but think that this series could have been a lot better.

Review copy provided by Media Blasters/Anime Works

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