Going to school with a professional assassin is filled with humor and silliness. Makes sense, right?
What They Say:
Yasuna Oribe isn’t your typical Japanese high school girl. For one thing, she’s a little slow on the uptake, and for another, her best friend, Sonya, is actually a highly trained foreign assassin who’s in Yasuna’s class as part of her assignment. Though perhaps Yasuna’s definition of “best friend” is a bit strange, as Sonya has the habit of regularly attacking Yasuna, especially when startled.
However, as noted, Yasuna isn’t exactly the sharpest tool in the shed, and while Sonya knows precisely what to do with every one of those sharp objects, even she is hard pressed to deal with the day to day oddities that seem to fill their class schedule. Things like: escaped bears, voodoo curses, juggling and killer mosquitoes. And puppet shows. And just in case Yasuna’s life wasn’t weird or hazardous enough, there’s her ninja classmate, Agiri, swarms of bees and assassins targeting just about everybody, a mysterious red-haired girl with a personal vendetta and the perils of slipping in the public bath.
Contains episodes 1-13.
The audio presentation for this series is pretty good as we get the original Japanese language in stereo along with a new English language dub, both of which are in stereo and encoded at 224kbps. The series is one that’s got some action and wacky moments to it where the forward soundstage is well utilized and has a full feeling to it with some decent placement. A lot of the show is all about the back and forth dialogue and banter between the three main characters and that’s generally center channel based, which is well handled. There’s occasionally some noticeable placement that’s worth doing and occasionally a bit of depth when various characters get flung into the distance. But mostly it’s just a straightforward series without anything that stands out on a regular basis but it’s a clean and clear presentation without any dropouts or distortions during regular playback.
Originally airing in 2012, the transfer for this TV series is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and is enhanced for anamorphic playback. The thirteen episodes are spread across three discs in a four/four/five format. Animated by JC Staff, the show is fairly simple with its design as it works with young looking characters without a lot of detail in fairly standard settings. The show has a good look to it with the way the transfer captures the original source material where the colors are vibrant and bright with a mostly solid feel to it overall. There’s some noise to be had in a few scenes which is rather natural in some ways but it never reaches a problematic stage of being too distracting or introducing any macroblocking. The show is pretty standard DVD fare overall and it serves the material well.
The packaging for this release comes in a standard sized DVD case that holds all three discs with a hinge inside. The front cover gives us a cute shot of Sonia riding on top of Yasuna while Sonia has her weapons out looking all serious and intense. The other two girls that have roles in the show get much, much smaller shots here and the cover as a whole just has a slightly odd feeling to it with he sparseness and color design, especially since it goes with a lime green and yellow. The back cover goes bold with lots of red for the background with a dash of yellow for part of the alphabet tagline along the top. The premise is well covered with a good bit of information here and some cute shots from the show arrayed around it. The discs features and episode count is clearly listed and we get a good rundown of the production credits and the technical grid which covers it all cleanly and clearly – but most importantly accurately. No show related inserts are included nor is there a reversible cover.
The menu design for this series is pretty bold and colorful where each of the discs goes with a different color, but starts off with a bright red for the first one. The design has character artwork on the left, the first showing the two main leads upside down which is kind of odd looking. The navigation is in theme a fair bit where it has the episode numbers and titles while the cursor is done as a gun which shoots into the episode numbers as well. The three discs have a decent look to them and the character artwork on the other volumes works better than the first. Submenus load quickly and the language selection is easy to set up, though the discs didn’t read our players’ language presets.
The only extras included int his release 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 manga of the same name by Kaduho, Kill Me Baby is a thirteen episode series animated by JC Staff. The original manga is one of many four panel comics that have been adapted into anime form and it takes that kind of flow and works it fairly well here. With five volumes released since the book began in 2008, there’s a fair number of gags and mini arcs to work with and the show spends its time where each episode has a number of shroter story runs through it. Some shows try and pad out an episode while others keep it very short, but Kill Me Baby manages to find a decent balance in what it does.
The premise of the series is simple and definitely works in the original four panel format where we’re introduced to Sonia, a cute foreign girl who is going to high school in Japan. Sonia claims to be an assassin and is just spending time in the country for awhile, but we don’t see her doing any jobs during the series. What we do see is that she has a lot of good skills and reaction times in dealing with all sorts of events, which makes it clear that she does have some training. Sonia is very much the straight man of the show and one that gets easily frustrated at times with the way that her main and seemingly only friend causes her so much trouble.
That friend is Yasuna, a classmate who knows all about Sonia and what she is but just has fun with it. Yasuna is pretty much the kind of character that’s not all that swift in a lot of ways and it gets her close to being in some serious trouble at times because of it. She wants to hang out with Sonia a lot and and enjoy the way she’s so dangerous since it can lead to a lot of hilarious moments for her. She’s constantly trying to get Sonia to show what she can do with all her assassination skills, but she also just gets caught up in weird things and draws Sonia into it against her will. Yasuna is that kind of overall good-natured kid who has her quirks but also doesn’t quite understand how the world works in some ways simply because she doesn’t think things through.
Though not quite as much of a regular, the show also includes another girl in the class named Agiri. She’s the resident ninja character who works in the same organization as Sonia but she’s more interested in selling ninja goods to rubes than anything else. And with Yasuna around, she’s regularly trying to sell her regular items and claiming that they’re ninja goods. Agiri does have some skills but she also has a certain lazy side to her that lets her get away with some hilarious little quirks as she sets up all sorts of gimmicks. Agiri has a light feel about her as she’s kind of just gliding through life and enjoying it with the kinds of impacts she has on others. You can pretty much watch her with the idea that she’s just messing with everyone in different ways in order to simply enjoy it.
The series works the multiple stories per episode idea pretty well so that any particular story doesn’t get run into the ground. The banter between the characters is what makes it fun since they have such a cute relationship at times, but there’s just not a lot really there in terms of meaningful story ideas. A lot of it is just Yasuna trying to get Sonia to do things with her skill set and Sonia not falling for it. Though there are times that you can see Sonia wanting to just take Yasuna down outright. When Agiri gets involved, it just kind of spirals into stranger directions which fits with the way the cast works and it even plays occasionally with an amusingly named “unnamed” character that is just frustrated by her lack of appearances in the show.
I knew nothing about Kill Me Baby going into it but the show has a decent bit of fun here as it adapts the four panel manga series. While it starts off with some decent fun as you get to know the characters, it’s the kind of show where small doses are a whole lot better than marathoning it. There’s some good, simple fun here and it does what it does well, but with it being all about the smaller standalone stories without any kind of real meaning to it, it’s just a basic comedy. What doesn’t help it as it progresses is that it doesn’t really give us much to the characters to rally behind. You laugh at the silliness of it but it’s without any real meaning to it, no connections to the characters beyond their archetypes and cliches. It works for what it is, but I kept finding myself wanting to know more of them and who they are, and just to see Sonia actually hit a few missions to see if there’s more to it than just the talk. The release does things right for the fans, especially in going the distance to give it a dub with a very fun cast, but it just left me wanting more from the show itself.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English 2.0 Language, English Subtitles, Clean Opening, Clean Closing
Content Grade: C+
Audio Grade: B+
Video Grade: B+
Packaging Grade: B
Menu Grade: B
Extras Grade: B-
Released By: Sentai Filmworks
Release Date: June 18th, 2013
Running Time: 325 Minutes
Video Encoding: 480i/p MPEG-2
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic 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.