What They Say:
In Kawakami City, having a samurai ancestor and enormous fighting spirit isn’t just an interesting historical fact, it’s a huge part of how you end up being ranked on the social totem pole. That, in turn, bleeds over into the school curriculum – sometimes, literally. Fortunately, that’s something the local kids like Yamato Naoe have learned to deal with by forming small bands (of samurai, not the musical type). And while the delicate sexual balance of Yamato’s group seemed fine when there were three girls and four boys, the sudden addition of two more girls starts to send everything spinning out of control! Seven’s a band of samurai and nine is a riot as boys, girls, and naked blades all come together!
Contains episodes 1-12.
The audio presentation for this release is solid across the board as we get the original Japanese language and a new English language adaptation, both of which are presented in stereo using the DTS-HD MA lossless codec. The show has a good use of the forward soundstage when it comes to the action as it moves about but also with the dialogue as that gets some very fun moments and placement. The action tends to stand out more since it’s bigger and more in your face, but I definitely liked the way the dialogue flowed and even more so during the battles. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout and we had no problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.
Originally airing in late 2011, the transfer for this twelve episode TV series is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 in 1080p using the AVC codec. The show is spread across two discs with nine on the first and three on the second with a small selection of extras on each. The show has a very bright and outgoing look to it with lots of colors that pop and the transfer captures that quite well. It moves all over the place with what it wants to do, from dark action night time sequences to big outdoor battles and then to a ton of fanservice. The action is good throughout, though the first episode really does stand out, and there’s a very smooth, clean look to the transfer that hits all the right notes. The look of the characters, the details in the background and the solid nature of it along with all the color pop makes for a very fun series in high definition.
The packaging for this release comes in a standard sized Blu-ray case where both discs are attached via the interior walls. The front cover makes an interesting choice of characters with Momoyo and Ageha holding each other close and getting very hands on in a way that you can’t call subtle but is definitely sexy. There’s a bevy of girls in the show and I’m surprise they didn’t go for more of them showing up here. The background has a good look about it with a semi classical approach that has a lot of detail but also white space to build up the amount of attention is paid to the character artwork. The back cover uses similar red and white colors and brings in some of the younger characters as well as a few shots from the show. The summary is a bit small in tont but it presents the show well enough while the discs extras are very clean. Production credits are a bit harder to read with the black on brown but the technical grid is sold and easy to read. No show related inserts are included nor is there a reversible cover.
The menu design is quite nice here as each disc uses a different large piece of character artwork as its main image. Each of them deals with the cast in a very fanservice oriented way that’s quite appropriately dirty yet filled with such great detail that you can’t help but to enjoy. The layout is similar to other Sentai releases where we get an in-theme section along the bottom that has the episode numbers and titles, the titles being quite small here, as well as further submenu navigation for extras and languages. The layout is simple but effective and works well as a pop-up menu as well. The disc defaults to the English language soundtrack with sign/song subtitles.
The extras for this release are spread across both volumes as each episode essentially had a five minute radio segments that has the characters talking about the episode that just happened. They have a simple static image that just shows a progress meter but it’s all subtitled and has its cute in character moments. It didn’t last for more than a couple of episodes before I lost my interest though. The only other extras included are the clean versions of the opening and closing sequences.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Based on the adult visual novel from Minato Soft, Majikoi Oh! Samurai Girls is a twelve episode series from studio Lerche. I had taken in the series during its simulcast run back in the fall of 2011 and it was a show that definitely plays things a few different ways, leaving you uncertain at times what it really wants to be. When the show was announced as licensed at the time of simulcast, I expected the DVD down the road but certainly not a Blu-ray release with a dub created for it. I had a lot of uneven experiences with the show, from really disliking some episodes to being absolutely giddy with others, and I was hesitant to revisit it again a year after it came out as mostly the less than enjoyable memories are what remained.
Majikoi gives us a present day world with a few tweaks to it where we’re introduced to the Kawakami Academy. This place is pretty unique among the schools in that they have a special battle that can be fought amongst the students to settle disputes. The Kawakami Battle dominates the first episode as we see one fought between the best class and the worst class, allowing for 24 minutes of straight on action. It’s a fast paced opener to be sure as we get a rapid fire introduction of the main cast of characters, mostly coming from the worst class, as they fight against the best to prove themselves. In terms of visuals, abilities and overall presentation, you pretty much get set up for a big fighting action series with a good variety to outfits and plenty of fanservice.
What the show is really all about is something somewhat different though, as it shifts quickly into being a huge fnaservice fest. The focus is on the class and mainly the lead character of Yamato, a very good strategist with no martial arts skills. He’s the one that orchestrated the whole Kawakiami Duel and even though he could do only so much, it was his planning that made victory possible. Yamato has a lot going for him but he’s got his problems as well, notably in that his father abandoned the country years ago because of the direction it was taking, but he was unable to leave his friends. So he’s grown up now at the academy and has a number of women there that are quite interested in him.
He’s also got one that he’s really keen on, a teacher named Momoyo Kawakami, to whom he’s proposed to date twice and twice been rejected. Which lets the other girls feel like they can really try and work their efforts on him. It’s an amusing bit of minor variety. One girl, Miyako, is very blunt in her attempts to seduce him by being overly sexual and just trying to ravish him. Another, Mayucchi, is comical in that she has a pint sized pinata style horse that she talks through sometimes with ventriloquism. The horse is pretty smutty in its own right and seems to speak more of what Mayucchi is really feeling. Add in a foreign student and a go-getter Japanese girl that just wants to train and you have a good selection of characters interested in him. It’s hard to say why, but they are into him.
The majority of the series plays with this kind of fun fanservice, giving us some background on the characters but never enough to really make them feel meaty. Which isn’t a problem because the fanservice is just so much fun. Miyako goes over the top with her plans and how she pushes herself on him. But other situations arise as well in creative ways, such as half an episode where Yamato comes across Christiane naked by accident, he himself without clothes, and from underneath her foot he makes his case as to why she should let him see her naked. And how Japan has lots its traditions and ways, being too influenced by Western attitudes over nudity and shaming.
It was just beautiful in its way. A curious way to spend half the episode, but it definitely made an impression and is the kind of full on effort made by a male lead that you can get behind. The show also knows how to go really perverted with one of the best pure fanservice episodes out there when a special local festival arrives. A festival based on mushrooms where huge, towering phallic like mushrooms are brought out on display. And where mushroom shaped treats are made in the same shape to which we get to watch the girls be properly instructed on the right way to enjoy one. It’s all over the top and it doesn’t hold back in a lot of ways but was definitely one of the more memorable episodes of the series.
It’s the final arc of the show that left me cold, though when you watch it in a full season form like this you can see the seeds placed earlier than one might during weekly simulcast. With the idea that Japan has lost its way, we see some of that come to light with a program dealing with weapons come to light as a woman arrives that has been mechanized and intends to wreck havoc over past injustices. She has a grudge against Momoyo that comes to light and it leads to a few episodes worth of fighting mixed in amongst personal angst, snippets of fanservice and an attempt by the girls to understand what kind of porn that Yamato likes. Strangely, it all manages to work, but it’s weak after all the fun that was had.
While I had mixed feelings over Majikoi from its simulcast run, I was curious to see how it would hold up in this form. I’ve had series go both ways, but this one definitely does hold up better, even if the final arc feels weak and forced by going all action. The series starts off with it, but it’s done with an almost comical bent at times before it just shifts into straight on fanservice and a few nods to the underlying story to keep it moving. I really, really liked the overt fanservice and sexual nature here and this high definition edition of the series really drives it home all the more. It’s not a series for everyone to be sure, but it’s one that hits a lot of very good perverted notes and does it without any sense of shame. And I have to give it props for that.
Japanese DTS-HD MA 2.0 Language, English DTS-HD MA 2.0 Language, English Subtitles, Shorts, Clean Opening Animation, Clean Closing Animation
Content Grade: B+
Audio Grade: B+
Video Grade: A-
Packaging Grade: B+
Menu Grade: A-
Extras Grade: B
Released By: Sentai Filmworks
Release Date: October 23rd, 2012
Running Time: 300 Minutes
Video Encoding: 1080p AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen
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.