Sgt. Keroro has established a perfectly good living on Pekopon reading manga, watching anime, and assembling Gundam models. So what reason would he possibly have for actually doing his job and conquering the planet? His platoon’s platoon’s still trying to figure that out…
What They Say:
Keroro is Sergeant Frog, the leader of a platoon of warriors sent to conquer planet Earth. But when the amphibious invaders discovered how much humans enjoy dissecting their comrades, the troops were scattered, the mission was aborted, and Keroro was abandoned. Now, this once proud soldier spends more time wielding a vacuum than he does the weapons of war.
It’s a far cry from the glory of battle, but hey, at least he’s got his own room. And though the invasion may have slowed to a hop, Sergeant Frog still occasionally yearns to overcome his karaoke addiction and reassemble his troops. Watch out world, the frogs are taking over!
Contains episodes 27-51.
As with most releases nowadays, this series sports a 5.1 surround sound track in English, and stereo in Japanese. The mixes are solid, and I experienced no technical issues in either language, which is definitely a good thing. It’s always nice that FUNimation makes the extra effort to upgrade their own mixes to match today’s expectations, however, I’m also quick to point out that as nice and undistracting as this mix is, this isn’t exactly the series to showcase your 5.1 prowess. As evidenced by the 4:3 ratio of the picture, it isn’t quite going for cinematic quality. But for what it is, it works very well.
Like the audio, the picture of this series is solid. At 4:3, there were no issues of color, disc errors, or anything. However, the animation itself isn’t necessarily the greatest of quality, and as such its presence on your 1080p HDTV won’t make you the envy of your friends. The video transfer works, looks good, and doesn’t distract. That’s about all you can expect from a show like this.
This is a big ‘un. The whole package clocks in at about an inch and a quarter thick, so it’s about the size of a medium-sized book. It comes in a big cardboard sleeve, and inside the sleeve are four thin DVD cases, which are essentially carbon copies of the DVD cases found in the half-season releases.
The cover of the cardboard box has a red and yellow color scheme with a nice-looking picture of Giroro with his trademark rocket launcher and ruggedly macho battle belt. Smartly, FUNimation decided to display which episodes season two actually consists of (27-51) in big enough font so it’s easy to find. The back of the cardboard has a picture of Giroro and Ms. Furbottom at the upper left hand corner. It’s a simple picture, but it works. To the right of that is a blurb from Play Magazine that helps capture the spirit of the English dub. Below that is the tagline “Little Frog. Big Mission.” And below that still is the obligatory synopsis with some screencaps to the left. Below that, the minimal extras are listed.
As mentioned earlier, the DVD cases in the set are recycled from the earlier releases, but if you haven’t seen them before, I suppose it wouldn’t make much of a difference to you. Because season one accounted for discs one through four, this sets starts off with disc five and runs through disc eight. Each case has a character and color theme. Discs one, two, three, and four have the Natsumi, Momoka, Fuyuki, and Aki as their respective characters, and dark red, purple, blue, and light red as their respective colors. Each case has the designated character up front surrounded by random supporting and lead characters. On the back, the top half has a picture of the designated character of the disc from a scene on the DVD. The bottom half of the back has the disc number in big letters, followed by the list of episodes on that particular disc.
The insides of the case keep things consistent with a big nice picture of the designated character on the inside left flap of the case. The disc itself also has another picture of the character on it. All in all, I’m honestly decently impressed that FUNimation–considering each disc has its designated character on the case at least four times–made sure that each picture was different. In a world of Photoshop, it’s a nice little touch to keep things from feeling cheap. They actually took the care to make sure things didn’t feel repetitive. Largely unnoticeable, but definitely important on a subconscious level to most consumers.
If you’re double-dipping from the half-season sets, you may be a bit disappointed how similar this set feels from the previous releases, but if this is your first time, I think the packaging should more than suffice. It’s solid and it’s consistent while still feeling fresh, especially when just comparing it to the season one set.
The menus on this set are identical to that of the previous releases. Simple. That is how I would best describe. The main menu is a modification of the cover of each individual DVD case with the three options “Play all,” “Episodes,” and “Set up.” Some mildly annoying music plays in the background to these still photos, and that’s about it. Like the bulk of the presentation of the series, it’s good enough, and simple enough to be thoroughly practical. It does, however, feel a bit lazy on FUNimation’s part to recycle the pictures from the cases of the DVDs, but that’s only a minor complaint. As long as the menus navigate well, it shouldn’t really matter, right?
As expected, the extra features in this set are underwhelming. Since they didn’t much exist in the previous releases, I didn’t think there’d be a lick more than what was in there, and I was right. It has the barest bones of extras consisting of FUNimation trailers, textless songs, and Pekopon Invasion Recon Data (which are the character notes that you can read through the menu. But, honestly, who actually reads those?). No bells and whistles here. Pretty much what I expected, but still a tad disappointing.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Normally when I’d say a second season of something is “more of the same” it would be with a mild tone of disappointment. When it comes to TV, despite what we think we want, “more of the same” usually translates to “I wish it were a bit more than more of the same.” In the case of Sgt. Frog, however, I could hardly say it’s a bad thing. There was enough to love in season one that “more of the same” can certainly go a long way.
Sgt. Keroro remains as incompetent as ever, slouching about his underground lair reading manga, watching anime, and using every seemingly sinister plot as a thinly veiled attempt to obtain more Gundam models. He’s very much a character one would feel would grow old after so many episodes, but he’s balanced out with such a well-rounded supporting cast that his stupidity and selfishness never grow too irksome.
Every character has their opportunity in the spotlight, yet in such a way that it doesn’t detract from the title character. It’s a wonderfully balanced act, and it’s easy to overlook how well it’s actually handled since the show is so incredibly silly. It is, in my opinion, why the series continues to get a huge following. Behind the somehow cute-yet-ugly Keronians, the slapstick humor and one-liners is a well-thought-out pattern that may very well carry the show for years to come (at least in Japan).
Since this season no longer has the weight of introducing the main cast of characters, it’s able to cover a lot greater area in terms of episode content. There are simple episodes that tend to do some decent relationship-building, such as the one where Keroro gets himself lost, only to be later rescued by Natsumi. Then there are more complex plots that usually tend to throw out the laughs with minimal character building, such as the episode where the Keronians and Pekoponians square-off in their own Olympic-style events. But where this series surprised me most is in the last couple episodes that wrapped up the season, where Sgt. Keroro and his platoon must say their farewells to the Hinata family for good. It’s the perfect amount of sappiness and self-referential silliness to work. It may also surprise you in how much you’ve grown to care for these characters. In a way, you wish they could continue on with their sitcom antics forever.
The English dub continues to be a revelation to me. Despite FUNimation’s claim that they are only localizing the jokes, it’s very clear that this is not the case. Rest-assured, if you couldn’t already tell from the first season, this is pretty close to a complete rewrite (minus the changing of the general plot). Jokes are thrown into every gap and orifice in the Japanese dialogue, resulting in more rants from the narrator or more offscreen dialogue from the characters. Clearly they didn’t change their style from the first season, despite many fans’ complaints. Their shotgun approach to jokes is still wildly in effect, and as a result, the jokes are fast and furious, and the age demographic of the series seems to be upped a bit (I’d recommend this series more to twelve-year-olds and up than kids). They also seem to be going for a darker type of humor, one that has no qualms in taking jabs at the common decency of humanity. With a few short lines they take an innocent mother from the Japanese dub and turn her into a crazy lady holding a little girl for ransom.
While many would complain at the disloyalty the dub has to the original series, I feel that it actually adds to the experience. At every moment I felt the Japanese dub got overly-sappy, the English dub would throw in a self-deprecating jab to help even it out a bit more. It brings together two sides of a coin, and honestly practically doubles the content of the series. Performances continue to be strong in the English dub with standouts such as Cherami Leigh as Natsumi and Todd Haberkorn in the title role (it’s terribly hard to imagine him as other characters whenever I hear his voice).
My only real complaint of the series is pretty much what you can expect in any sitcom: the occasional dud of an episode. There is the occasional one that, for some reason or another, seems to fall completely flat on its face. It usually happens whenever the plot somehow becomes more ridiculous and convoluted than normal, or when the jokes aren’t there for more than a few minutes at a time. It’s in the latter situation where the English dub usually sweeps in to add some of the much-needed self-deprecating humor, so in some of the cases, in manages to turn its weaknesses into strengths.
But regardless of whether you watch it in English or Japanese, most would agree that the series is a whole lot of fun that a good number of people can enjoy. Sure, it may be silly and shallow, but it never pretends to be otherwise and has a great time exploiting that fact. After fifty-one episodes, it continues to be an enjoyable experience.
It seems I’m always pleasantly surprised whenever I take a moment to sit down and enjoy it, even when it should be expected at this point. Clearly by this point it’s obvious that I’m a big fan of the show, but if I were to peg its weaknesses, it would be its general forgettability. While absolutely hilarious, nothing about the show, from its mediocre animation, typical stories, or random sense of humor really stands out from itself. It all blends into one seemingly-unique experience that is ultimately thrown out of your mind soon after viewing. However, I’ll reiterate that the series never ever tries to be that series that sticks to you forever. But despite all that, it’s still a great, fun time, and after not seeing the series for awhile, this re-release of season two has definitely succeeded in getting me excited for FUNimation’s release of the third season. Bring it on, I say.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English 5.1 Language, English Subtitles, Pekopon Invasion Recon Data, Textless Songs
Released By: FUNimation
Release Date: April 26th, 2011
Running Time: 625 Minutes
Video Encoding: 480p MPEG-2
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Sony KDL-40EX400 BRAVIA EX400 LCD hdtv 40 inch. Sony SLV-D370P DVD Player. Electrohome ELE-HTB920E 5.1 Channel Surround Sound Home Theater Speaker System