Review by: Brenda Gregson
Publisher: RightStuf!/Nozomi Entertainment
MSRP: $59.99 US
Running Time: 1300 minutes
Release Date: Available Now
This is a Must-Not-Miss comedy, that’s an ironclad rule for anime fans.
You know you have a really good comedy anime series on your hands when a room filled with boys that much rather watch Death Note or Black Lagoon are laughing at a girl from Shibuya who smacks all three Ganguro girls with a single slap. If you don’t know what a Ganguro girl is then you will find out because The Complete Collection of Super GALS! will show you what it’s like to be a Gal and you’ll actually come to like it more than you’d expect.
Covering the series’ two seasons on ten DVDs, The Complete Collection is quite a package but you won‘t mind it at all. You see, whether you call them Kogals or just plain Gals, the life of these Shibuya girls makes for some crazy yet entertaining fare thanks to it’s star attraction, a 16-year old Gal named Ran Kotobuki. Ran is a girl who has taken it upon herself to proclaim herself the “Number One Gal” in Shibuya that is famous for its amazing shopping and entertainment centers as well as the famous statue of Hachiko. Along with her friend, Miyu Yamazaki, they rule this ward and are well-known by everyone.
The first season quickly introduces us to the third Gal in the series named Aya Hoshino, who Ran saves from making a mistake from accepting subsidized dates to the possibility of jumping into something far worse. You see, Ran might be obsessed with shopping, good-looking boys (or, in Gal slang, GL boys) and having such a good time but she also has a good heart. Aya quickly becomes close to Ran and Miyu and they form a friendship that makes her just as popular in Shibuya.
Aside from giving their teacher – or Naka-Teach – much grief, the girls relish in annoying Ran’s older brother, Yamato. There’s a romance between Miyu (who refers to herself in the third-person) and Yamato that’s actually quite cute and as it is for the rest of the series the romances never get too cheesy or overly sweet. Well, there is a romance between Aya and one of two handsome boys that show up often in this series. They are Rei and Yuya and later on in the first season we are introduced to a young monkey-like boy named Tatsuki who – like Yuya – is in love with Ran.
Half the fun of watching this series is the numerous mishaps that befall Ran and her friends as well as watching Ran piss off her enemies like the trio of Ganguro girls I mentioned and later a debutante named Mami who comically is trying to ruin Ran as well as take over Shibuya. Even Ran’s little sister and her boyfriend are actually fun to watch as they make up a junior detective league complete with their own self-written theme song.
While the first season is filled with a number of fun episodes, there are also some rather weak ones as well. I could stomach a good personality-switch episodes but two of them is just too much. I might not also be crazy about the lessons in the end of some episodes either such as who cares about school when there’s fun to be had. Then again, there’s nothing written in stone that says an episodes has to have a moral. These girls aren’t role models but they are sure fun to watch.
Then there’s the second season, Season 2: The Heart of Shibuya, that seems to be less structured than the first season and is made up of random stuff that happens to Ran and her friends. It simply lacks the elements that made the first season so much fun such as the flashbacks (like the one that looks into Miyu’s gangster past) and the uncertainty of certain romances (such as the complicated twists and turns of Aya and Rei’s relationship). On top of that, no English dub was recorded for it … although the original Japanese voice cast is back and thankfully so. Still, there are plenty of really great moments in the second season such as Mami becoming far more interesting and a lot more likeable.
Say what you will but together the 52 episodes that makes up Super GALS! is still well worth your time and money. Sure, we’ve seen series like this before but this series has fun in its own way thanks to the wonderful cast of characters. The comedy mischief is of the crazy variety and it just works and Ran Kotobuki in particular really is an interesting and likeable Gal that deserves her title. It’s great to see such a strong yet absent-minded girl stick to her guns no matter what she’s doing.
As I mentioned, if you don’t know what a Ganguro girl is or exactly what is a mat-gal, the series explains it during the show but also in each DVD’s bonus features. It also explains a few of the sight gags scattered throughout the series.
Just like the girls in this series, Super GALS! just want to have fun and manage to be considerably entertaining in the process. The Complete Collection set has its weak moments (see Season 2) but it’s hard to complain when the characters are loads of fun to watch and the comedy is handled good enough to make even those who aren’t fans of the series laugh out loud. Don’t let the girly appeal fool you, comedy this good shouldn’t be ignored. Now that’s an iron clad rule.
DVD REVIEW BREAKDOWN
Ran Kotobuki considers herself Shibuya’s “Number One Gal” and that may be the truth as she and her collection of friends watch over the place in true Gal fashion. Whether they’re trying to handle relationships with boys, defending their turf from other Gals or simply having a blast, Ran and her friends are all about having fun and keeping true to their rules.
VIDEO QUALITY: B+
The episodes look great on DVD just as it did when the series was first released and that’s a very good thing, indeed. The animation is a wee bit on the dated side with backgrounds that range from nicely detailed to somewhat lazy but it does the trick nicely either way thanks to some great sight gags.
AUDIO QUALITY: A
The first season contains an English dub cast that includes the always-wonderful Luci Christian as Ran as well as the voice talents of Greg Ayres, John Swasey and Chris Patton just to name a few while the second season sticks with just the same awesome Japanese voice cast. The original score is lively and the opening theme song, “H.I.M” is still a personal favorite.
Each of the 10 discs comes complete with extras that include the helpful Liner Notes, trailers and the clean opening and closing tracks. On top of that, certain discs contain character bios, GAL slang explanations and six The Super GALS! Explain It All extras.
A lively and genuinely hilarious anime series with a healthy dose of girl power, The Complete Collection of Super GALS! is simply too much fun not to miss. Sure, the first season is considerably better than the second one but with a great collection of characters and enough crazy comedic moments, it’s hard to ignore just how much you’ll enjoy this series or love Ran Kotobuki Shibuya-styled craziness.
Review copy provided by RightStuf!/Nozomi Entertainment