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Di Gi Charat OVA Specials Anime DVD Review

7 min read

Di Gi Charat OVA
Di Gi Charat OVA
Dejiko just can’t be stopped as she has more adventures to go through across the seasons.

What They Say:
You never know when the chance for a new adventure is suddenly going to pop up, and even if you were born here, our world can be a pretty strange and unusual place. However, when you’re an alien princess like Dejiko, who came to Earth to break into the music industry, it’s almost impossible to go out walking without it becoming the start of something wild and wonderful.

Whether Deji’s just hanging out, going on a Christmas Cruise or being kidnapped by her new arch rival Pyocola Analogue III (just call her Piyoko), you never know what might happen next. The one thing you can bet on, however, is that Dejiko’s stalwart companions Genma and Puchiko will be right alongside her… and usually in trouble up to the tips of Puchiko’s cat ears!

Contains the following specials:
Summer Special
Christmas Special
Ohanami Special
Natsuyasumi Special

The Review:
The audio presentation for this release uses the same materials as we saw previously as we get the original Japanese language track only as these episodes were never dubbed, all of which are in stereo and encoded at 224kbps. The series is not one that stands out all that much and is basically a center channel based work where it’s straight dialogue and silliness with a touch of music along the way. It’s not a badly done mix, but it is representative of the short form material of the time and what they did. The music is what stands out since it uses both channels well, but that’s not really saying all that much. The language tracks themselves are solid and we had no problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.

Originally released back in 2000 and 2001, the transfer for this series is presented in its original full frame aspect ratio. The episodes are spread unevenly over the two discs with three of the seasons specials on the first disc and the rest on the second, which are generally shorter ones. The transfer itself looks good and is representative of what the show looks like since it was done in very small quantities. There’s plenty of the Madhouse charm to how it’s animated but each episode is still just less than five minutes. Colors look good, cross coloration is non-existent and overall the animation just has a certain feel to it that works well for what it’s trying to get across.

The packaging for this release is done in a standard sized keepcase which holds the two discs, one against the back wall and the other on the hinge. The front cover works a good dynamic as we get the main cast of characters spread across here in a very clean and vibrant look while set against various shades of pink for the background. It has a lot of pop and vibrancy to it that definitely works nicely while making the characters look cute. The back cover carries over the pinks nicely with some good white for the premise of the release that takes up a good chunk of space. There’s some good bubbles that have various shots from the show across it and it makes it clear what specials we’re getting in this release. Production credits are straightforward and the technical grid lays everything out clearly and cleanly with an accurate list of information. No show related inserts are included nor is there a reversible cover.

The menu layout here is certainly cute and colorful as it works with the design of the front cover and the kind of clean and appealing character artwork. Unfortunately, the layout of the navigation itself doesn’t work too well as it lists just the seasonal names for the specials and not easy access to each of the episodes contained within, making it hard to tell how many episodes there are on each and making it even harder to go to find a particular one you want when you go back to the release. The submenus are pretty non-existent here unfortunately and the access of episodes just makes it a difficult release to deal with overall.

The extras for this release are minimal but we do get a cute five minute segment that shows us some of the live action promotional material done for the Gamers Japanese store. It’s not a lot and it’s definitely old but it’s cute seeing bits of the location.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
After the first brief but fun run of Di Gi Charat as a TV series that was short but effective, it was something that didn’t light the ratings on fire. It worked well enough for fans but it was admittedly fairly niche, even if it spawned a lot of merchandise that continues to this day. Revisiting the series after so many years definitely had me enjoying it more than I recall, part of which comes from being exposed to a lot more short-form anime in the last few years. The simple silliness of the show is what sells it and that TV show definitely did just that as it introduced the characters, setting and simply went with it episode after episode. So while it did well enough overall, it didn’t get more episodes. What it did get instead was a series of seasonal specials of varying length in terms of episode and run time that expanded the whole Di Gi Charat universe.

The first couple of specials run with a particular theme as we’re introduced to Piyoko, a rival of Dejiko’s that has come to Earth with the Black Gema Gema gang. Piyoko’s pretty fun as an excitable blonde rival and her gang is pretty different from Dejiko’s since Dejiko is largely followed by cute girls who are just plain weird in general. For her, she has mostly a group of guys, including some tall ones, that are part of her gang. Piyoko’s arrival begins a lot of chaos and confusion and it just goes from there across most of the episodes as she does her best to insert herself into Dejiko’s life. My favorite is the piece that involves Piyoko and the gang essentially squatting in Dejiko’s apartment and seeing how Dejiko does her best to get it back after the whole place has been ransacked and tormented by the Black Gema Gema gang.

With the later specials, things are a bit more random and less about Piyoko and the others and instead the core group. One episode focuses on Usada as a new transfer student in the school seems to know who she is and keeps calling her by her costumed named. The two end up on a quirky adventure together and it was fun watching Usada handle all of this since it gives her a chance to shine on her own for the most part. We also get a two part story that has Puchiko going out for errands and ending up in America of all places where she meets Rod Young, a young fan of Dejiko’s who knows Puchiko and just begins a whole lot of idolization. Of course, Dejiko sees Puchiko being there as a way to begin her movie career – even if Puchiko is in New York City – and that brings everyone there for some simple hilarity. The view of America through the characters eyes isn’t deep but it hits a lot of the expected and regular gags.

In Summary:
As much as I like Di Gi Charat, the OVAs are a good bit of decent fun but it’s a show that I think struggles more when it’s not working short form stories. The length of the stories in the episodes do vary of course, but when it’s not just a couple of minutes and done for a story, it starts to feel like it drags. The characters are fun and while there’s obviously no growth, everyone has a lot of good material over the course of the whole thing. Piyoko is the bright spot in the series for me since I had enjoyed the Leave it to Piyoko series that was released years ago as she and the gang here definitely add a little more challenge to Dejiko’s life rather than it just being all about Dejiko getting into trouble. The collection here has a lot of material and treats it well, though the main failing with the release for me is the way the menu functions with the access to the episodes. If you’re just plowing through it though, there’s a lot of good material to watch here that’s fun, light and enjoyable.

Japanese 2.0 Language, English Subtitles, Clean Opening, Clean Closing

Content Grade: B-
Audio Grade: B+
Video Grade: B
Packaging Grade: B+
Menu Grade: C
Extras Grade: B-

Released By: Sentai Filmworks
Release Date: December 17th, 2013
MSRP: $24.98
Running Time: 194 Minutes
Video Encoding: 480i/p MPEG-2
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1

Review Equipment:
Sony KDL70R550A 70″ LED 1080P 3D HDTV, Sony PlayStation 3 via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.

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