What They Say:
Open the door to your mind’s eye and take a mystery trip with Shin and his merry band of buds. You’ll get so high on cosmic comedy that you’ll never come down – but don’t freak out. Try to maintain, man. This ride’s not about bummers. It’s about butts. Shin’s butt, man! He’s unashamed to drop his pants and live free, at peace with the universe.
Come along on Shin’s interstellar caravan of laughter. The journey will take you from the beaches of a tropical pleasure island to the depths of the toxic Ench Cave and beyond. Your fellow travelers will include slutty Young Republicans, a mutant or two, and athletic adult entertainers. Joy will bloom in your consciousness like mushrooms after a sacred rain!
Contains episodes 53-78.
This release of Shin-Chan only comes with Funimation’s English dub, which I gather is very different from the original Japanese release. The audio is presented with a stereo 2.0 mix. The mix is pretty basic, with very little in the way of directionality, but Shin-chan doesn’t really need any more than that. With the rapid fire humor and relentless pace, anything more would have been lost anyway.
Shin-chan is an older show, so the visuals are muted somewhat in the transfer. That said, the visuals were already designed to be intentionally poor, and the transfer is pretty clean. The only real issue I had is that it’s presented in 4:3 aspect ratio, but the episodes are letter-boxed, which suggests to me that they were actually designed to be widescreen. It wasn’t a big deal, but it was a little odd to watch a show that was occupying only a small area right in the middle of my TV. My only guess is that where Funimation reordered a lot of the series, perhaps it was just easier to letterbox newer, widescreen episodes than go back and forth as needed.
This set comes with four discs which are housed in two, double-disc thinpaks. Unlike early Funimation double-disc thinpaks, these are sturdy with disc clips that won’t break easily. The in which box the thinpaks are kept has a picture of Shin with some psychedelic designs under him. The back has some screen shots and the series summary. The thinpaks themselves have more pictures of Shin on the front, with pictures of other children on the backs. It’s a nicely designed and compact set; the psychedelic designs match the inanity of the series well.
The menu for this release is pretty basic. It has a still picture of Shin at the top with similar psychedelic designs from the packaging. The series logo is in the middle with the selections offered at the bottom. In a nice move, the series theme that plays in the background plays on a full minute loop so it doesn’t get too old if left on for a few minutes. It’s nothing special, but it’s functional, and that’s what matters.
All that’s available on this release are some original trailers. It might have been nice to have some stuff that highlighted some of the changes they made to the script and whatnot, but it’s not a big deal.
Crayon Shin-chan is a long ongoing TV series in Japan that features a lot of wordplay, double-entendres, and just plain weirdness. This set contains the third and (likely) final season of Funimation’s release of Shin-chan. While the series is technically still ongoing in Japan, Funimation has mostly done their own thing with their English translation, and seem to be leaving the property behind now. The original Crayon Shin-chan in Japan is full of direct cultural references and situations (not to mention out-of-date in many cases since it’s been on the air since 1992), many of which wouldn’t translate to a general American audience, so Funimation has basically rewritten the script to appeal to a greater American audience. Since there’s no real continuity from episode to episode, either, they’ve also apparently taken liberty with where episodes fall. In a lot of ways, Funimation’s Shin-chan is a different TV show from TV Asahi’s Crayon Shin-chan, and it’s likely the reason this release is Dub-only.
Now, all that said, that doesn’t mean that Funimation’s version isn’t good. I can understand why some people get upset when dubbing companies change a script to fit English better, but I think it’s pretty warranted in this case (I love Shin’s friend Georgie as the uber-conservative, Fox-News worshiping, Republican who sees liberal conspiracy in everything). I hadn’t seen any Shin-chan before watching this set, but I had heard quite a bit about it over the years. I have to admit that when I first put it on, I really had a hard time settling into it. I found bits and pieces funny, but for the most part it was a chore. After the third or fourth episode, I honestly wondered whether or not I’d be able to put up with 26. But it’s so relentlessly absurd, that I soon began to appreciate it for what it was and really got into it. Now that it’s over, I definitely want to go back and check out the first two seasons. I could see it getting old after a while, but right now, I am hooked.
There really isn’t much in the way of story, because it’s all about rapid fire and unexpected humor. What story there is tells of a young boy named Shin and his daily adventures at school and at home. Shin himself is very strange and is a bit worldly for his age, but it all fits well with everything that goes on around him. Much of the humor of Shin-chan isn’t so much whatever oddities Shin creates, but rather in the reactions of his friends and family to whatever it is he is doing.
So much of it as well is based in wordplay and double-entendres. This also plays into Shin’s worldliness as he often says things that adults often misconstrue as being innocent, but he really means them. I also love the jokes that sneak in the background that you might miss if you aren’t paying attention too, such as a scene where Shin walks past two women, and all you hear of their conversation is “My therapist says I should stop hating on other women, but I think she’s just a bitch.” It’s these little moments that make this so much fun to watch.
Shin-chan took me quite a while to get into. Frankly, if I wasn’t reviewing it, I’m not sure that I ever would have finished it. But as the episodes progressed and it continued to be unabashedly be whatever it is, I soon started really enjoying it for what it is. This definitely isn’t a series for everybody, but if you like clever writing, humor based in puns and double-entendres, and aren’t afraid of almost non-stop perverted humor, then you’ll likely enjoy this. Just be willing to give it a chance. Recommended.
English 2.0 Language
Content Grade: B+
Audio Grade: B+
Video Grade: B+
Packaging Grade: A
Menu Grade: B
Extras Grade: C
Released By: Funimation
Release Date: January 29, 2013
Running Time: 650 minutes
Video Encoding: 480i/p MPEG-2
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Magnavox 37MF337B 37” LCD HDTV, Sony PS3 w/HDMI Connection, Durabrand HT3916 5.1 Surround Sound System