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 52-65.
Sgt. Frog gets a bit of a surprising release when it comes to at least the English language track as it’s done in 5.1 encoded at 448kbps. The Japanese track, in its original stereo form, is encoded at 192kbps but does come across well. The English language track doesn’t stand out terribly much in terms of its actual presentation – it’s mostly just louder overall – but there are some minor throws to the rear channels and directionality seems a bit more precise with the forward speakers. The Japanese track is quite good as well though as it uses the stereo channels to good effect when needed, but the show is primarily dialogue and then explosive fast paced dialogue, and both tracks capture this well and free of problems.
Originally starting its run in 2005, the transfer for this series is presented in its original full frame aspect ratio. This set is being released in with fourteen episodes which are spread across two discs in a seven/seven format. The show continues to have a really good look that still holds up well with its nature. Colors are bold, vibrant and clean outside of a bit of noise/grain that shows up. The animation is very smooth and free of problems like cross coloration and major aliasing, leaving a very good looking transfer and viewing experience. My only dislike is the swapping out of title cards, but since this was being pushed more for a broadcast run it’s not a surprise.
Sgt. Frog manages another pretty cute package for its release as it follows the traditional show model for a FUNimation title. The slipcover holds two thinpak cases and is done with lots of dark colors, which works this time around as the slipcover is given over to Tamama. The front of the slipcover has him in a karate uniform doing an intense move while the other members of the platoon are ringed behind him. The logo looks good, providing a mix of military and sci-fi,especially now that it doesn’t have the pink and purple aspects. The back of the slipcover has a very cute picture of Keroro in a battle gear uniform but is mostly filled with text as it describes the premise of the show and having a big logo and tagline on it. A few small shots from the show flesh it out a bit more while the bottom is a very small section with the technical grid. Production credits are actually moved to the underside of the slipcover, which we don’t see often.
Inside the slipcover we have two clear thinpak cases done with the same kind of framework as the slipcover itself. The first volume has a great picture of Keroro in his mobile suit outfit while Giroro dominates the second on. Both of the covers change things up a bit from the previosu release as the background has various shots from the show but with text bubbles mixed into all of it with the characters being silly in their own way. The back covers are laid out the same but with different artwork pieces as it lists the episode numbers and titles for that respective disc. The reverse sides of the covers are pretty slick as well as they feature their respective characters on one side with a big pose while the right side has their rank and name. No show related inserts are included nor is there a reversible cover.
The menus for Sgt. Frog as pretty minimal though in the same theme as the packaging so there is some good consistency there. Each disc has the same layout with different artwork, pieces used from the cover such as Giroro in his full on gear, with the quasi military style font used for the navigation. As is usual, there isn’t any top level episode access which keeps the menus looking minimal but easy to navigate. Submenus load quickly and the basic design keeps it free of problems. The discs don’t read our players’ language presets and it doesn’t highlight changes made either to ensure selections were accepted.
The extras are on the second disc and are fairly basic and expected with just the clean versions of the opening and closing sequences.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
After almost a year and a half since the last collection came out, FUNimation returns to the alien invasion world after a series of reprices and promotions that helped get the Sgt. Frog franchise back out into the eyes of fans. Having enjoyed the first two collections, which made up the first year of the shows original run back in 2004, the “second season” gets underway with the third collection here and it sets things up well. In fact, it’s almost like a replay of the first season start to a degree, just shortened and concise.
With the way events of the first season ended, Keroro and the gang make their way back into the world once again to regroup with Fuyuki and Natsumi and over the course of the first couple of them, they all find their way home. You can see the panic with Natsumi over it, since she thought she was done with them, but everyone else is excited to have their friends back and to have more wacky adventures. Not surprisingly, the Kero Ball comes into play quickly, but that whole issue is resolved very quickly since it’s not an item that you really want any of them to have considering how dangerous it is. What these opening episodes do beyond the usual humor and the like is to re-introduce the characters easily, their basic personalities and to get them settled into their routines again.
The adventures here do have a lot of familiar gags but that’s part and parcel with a series like this as the structure is essentially the same. With the return of the core frogs as well as Angel Mois, there’s plenty of chaos to go around. The fun comes when they really get involved in human ideas. One episode has Keroro going to Fuyuki’s school to teach and he ends up becoming a really popular teacher for a day. Of course, it’s largely because he uses a special gadget to get them to be subdued and like him, but he also has to deal with trouble as Giroro and Tamama take the class as well and get their uniforms and bodies done up as your basic punks. There’s a lot to like here as the three play off each other along with other students mixing it up with them.
Some of the adventures are just wacky and I do like the continued use of half length episode stories, such as the one where the kids come home to the house only to discover that the whole place has been filled with a special water. It works nicely to help Fuyuki learn how to swim but the best part is seeing how into it Natsumi gets. She’s generally pretty peeved by Keroro’s antics, but sometimes she gives in. She does similar when he challenges her to a race that involves all of them shrinking down and using the whole house as the race track. Just the fact that one of them uses a converted cell phone as a race car made me laugh repeatedly.
We also get some fun visitors from the home world as Keroro’s father has come to talk about an arranged marriage, which sets off all sorts of alarms. His father continues to be fun, largely because of his reputation, since it causes so much fear among others. The real fun this time around though with the visiting aliens from the home world is with Karara, a cute, young frog who is apparently a new member sent by the high command to help out. Karara ends up really putting the fear into Tamama as he fears his position as the cute and adorable one is at stake. Karara is a troublemaker, not excatly intentionally, and adds a whole lot of cute charm to the show with their arrival.
Getting a new batch of Sgt. Frog after the way things seemed to be pretty much without hope last year is definitely welcome to say the least. This show is one that is fun, filled with plenty of in-jokes for anime fans and has a dub that definitely makes it accessible to non-fans and more. This is one of those series that I use with younger kids very easily to let them see something different and fun. While this set does have a bit of a chore at first by basically reintroducing everything again in a more concise form with the new season, it does things right and with a good sense of humor about it. Once it gets past that, it carries on as it had before and that’s all a very good thing. The wacky nature of this series, the outlandish devices and the very nature of Keroro himself leaves me very happy each and every episode. Predictable in a way as most comedies can be, it still hits all the right notes and left me smiling episode after episode while delighting my kids.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English 5.1 Language, English Subtitles, Clean Opening, Clean Closing
Content Grade: B+
Audio Grade: B+
Video Grade: B
Packaging Grade: B
Menu Grade: B
Extras Grade: B-
Released By: FUNimation
Release Date: July 26th, 2011
Running Time: 350 Minutes
Video Encoding: 480i/p MPEG-2
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70″ LCoS 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.