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 66-78.
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 his usual uniform with a big grin on his face 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 school uniform with a punk hairstyle 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 Kululu in his detective uniform while Dororo dominates the second on. Both of the covers change things up a bit from the previous season 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 Kululu in his detective getup 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)
Sgt. Frog continues to be one of the harder shows to review simply because of its nature. While some comedies have an overaching plot to them that lets you bring it all together, Sgt. Frog is pure sitcom material that goes over the top. And with thirteen episodes to the set, there’s a lot of silliness and insanity to run with. Like the best sitcoms though, it comes down to the creativity of the situations that the writers can come up with and the way the characters handle. Though it can seem like it gets old, having a cast that works predictably is what allows it to work since you know just how bad it can go. Keroro always building a Gundam model when there’s an opportunity is simply a given and to have him give up on it is pretty much out of character.
With this batch of episodes, we do get some of the usual activities that go on. Time travel gets involved which is always fun as the gang ends up back in time where they come across a high school aged Aki. We’ve had Aki go younger before in the series, but putting Fuyuki back in touch with her when she was legitimately of that age works well, especially since the two do look so alike that it’s easy to mistake them. Well, if you put Fuyuki in a skirt. Which, unsurprisingly, becomes an easy thing to do in this series. Keroro and the gang get involved as well as they try to get Fuyuki back to 2005, but you have to love Aki even more with this as she’s a smart cookie, figures it all out and manipulates the situation to her absolute advantage. She’s definitely one of the coolest anime moms out there.
Another episode focuses on the supernatural side of things as the gang goes to an old dilapidated school to check out the seven wonders of it according to Keroro. It’s fairly standard haunted school fare but it really works it well as the variety of encounters and the use of an actual real ghost in it (show-wise) adds to the fun. Episodes like this are very, very predictable, especially with the ending, but it’s the journey for it that works. Even with the number of haunted school episodes that are out there, seeing how Keroro and others deal with it with their technology while trying to have fun with it all hits all the right buttons. The real panic they feel and the kind of silliness that permeates it at the start ties it all together well.
The weird alien side figures into this set as well in some definitely creative ways. The big one that worked for me is in Kululu and the others working on making a backup planet of sorts so they can do some practice and so forth with. This is a pretty small planet but it’s really appealing and leads to a great excursion. It follows a similar episode that has Keroro leading the charge of training everyone inside a mock city location which goes very over the top when Natsumi and the other humans show up in it to give them a proper challenge by channeling superheroes. Even more surreal is the use of lots and lots of beetles in another episode that’s pretty much an invasion all of its own, especially with the way that Fuyuki is freaked out by beetles and even the Keronions see them as a threat to their own invasion.
Sgt. Frog makes me laugh. Often and repeatedly. The show is simple in its approach but what it does is something that hooked me long term with anime back with Urusei Yatsura. The frogs get into plenty of trouble here and cause a whole lot misunderstandings along the way. Keroro isn’t as big on his models this time around but they make their appearances as well. The human cast has a great deal of fun as well, whether it’s Natsumi getting after Keroro or taking on superhuman powers in order to save the day. Fuyuki and Aki have their moments as well and even Momoka has some really neat material here, especially as she tries to get Fuyuki up to speed to meet with her father. Fans of Sgt. Frog will definitely find a lot to love here as it doesn’t really stray from the pattern much but it executes it wonderfully. After figuring that the second season would be my last encounter with this cast, getting a third season out of FUNimation has made me very, very happy.
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: August 23rd, 2011
Running Time: 300 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.