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Yuyushiki Complete Collection Blu-ray Anime Review

14 min read
Yuyushiki
Yuyushiki

The life of high school girls is endlessly entertaining.

What They Say:
Everyone knows you can learn a lot on the internet, and some of it is even true. But if you want to know what’s REALLY going on and important, then there’s just one place to go: the computer club!

Okay, so maybe it’s not the club itself, but the three girls you’re most likely to find there. And maybe they do spend more time chatting about their social lives and debating things like the virtues of ketchup versus mayonnaise than they do learning about the ins and outs of a keyboard, but whatever they’re up to, it’s sure to put a smile on your face.

So come learn what the mysterious YuiYukari Formula is all about and join serious Yui, hyperactive Yuzuko and lovable but not quite in touch with reality Yukari as they experience life’s ups, downs, surprises, and occasionally, the internet!

Contains episodes 1-12.

The Review:
Audio:
The audio presentation for this release comes with just the original Japanese language only, which is done in DTS-HD MA lossless encoding for the stereo mix. While some shows like this may use flights of fancy to liven things up, for the most part we get a straightforward dialogue driven piece where the girls are just chatting with a bit of whimsy from time to time. That keeps this from being a really immersive track or anything that goes beyond the basics, but it handles it well. There’s some minor placement across the forward soundstage at times with the girls and sometimes the supporting characters, but mostly it’s one person at a time talking and it has a kind of center channel feeling to it. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout and we didn’t have any issues with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.

Video:
Originally airing in 2013, the transfer of this twelve episode TV series is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 in 1080p using the AVC codec. Due to there being only one lossless track here, the twelve episodes are kept on one disc. Naturally, the bit rate varies since there isn’t a huge amount of motion in this show, but it manages it well and we largely get a very clean and appealing transfer here. Colors are bright and vibrant, white areas are very solid and the backgrounds maintain well throughout since they’re given basic but standard school building colors. The character designs aren’t filled with a lot of detail but we get some good stuff here overall and some fun things with the things that they deal with on the computer. The transfer definitely captures the look of the show well and it comes across as pretty much problem free.

Packaging:
The packaging for this release brings us the show show on one disc in a standard sized Blu-ray case with one of the more expected cover designs. While it could focus solely on the main three characters, it includes several others so we get a nice above shot of them all laying down with faces up as they hang out together. The background is done in white with a few heart and flower widgets strewn about so we get a lot of white on the cover due to their uniforms. But they use a blue shaded white so that it stands out a bit more. It’s cute, simple and girly in the way you’d expect. The back cover provides a shot of the three leads along the left while a few shots from the show are spread around the upper half where there’s also the tagline and the breakdown of what the show is about. The discs extras are laid out clearly as are the number of episodes. The remainder is given over to standard fare with the production credits and a solid and accurate technical grid.

Menu:
The menu design for this release keeps things simple, which is expected with the amount of episodes here, as it gets a decent split screen design. The right side has our three leads as they walk along, with a bit of cuteness included of course, that has a star filled background behind them. The left side breaks down the episodes by number and title, with the special features menu at the bottom, and it does it as a curve in order to fit it all in nicely without feeling too scrunched together. It’s about what you’d expect from a release like this but it does it nicely and is easily accessible and functional.

Extras:
The only extras included in this 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 four panel manga series of the same name, Yuyushiki is a twelve episode series animated by Kinema Citrus and directed by Kaori. The show is based off of the manga that began back in 2008 by Komata Mikami which has six volumes to its name so far. And it kind of breaks a recent trend where four panel comics were getting adapted as short-form anime series, which has generally worked out fairly well from my perspective. Yuyushiki instead goes for the more traditional full length episode format, but it breaks it up with varying length stories within each episode. And that does help to make it enjoyable as it’s not overplaying any particular gag and lets the characters all have their individual moments to shine. But there’s the downside in that there feels like there’s less of an overall narrative to really bind it all together.

The series introduces us to three different girls as they enter their first year of high school. Of the mix, we’re initially introduced to Yukari, a quiet girl who is excited about the new uniform and is generally looking forward to her high school career, something that at the commencement ceremony is talked about being something that they’ve all worked hard to achieve over the years. Yui ends up eventually meeting a pair of other girls that she’s known in middle school, hoping they all have classes together again, Yuzuko and Yui. Yuzuko is your typical friendly and outgoing type with some amusing personality quirks with how she views the world and she often draws the tall and somewhat serious Yui into situations that she’s not exactly eager to be in.

The trio are basically pretty good friends and the dynamic is relatively straightforward with Yukari being a bit naive, Yuzuko getting them into a few comical situations and Yui trying to keep them all in line but being swept up by it. There’s a bit of cute crushing going on from Yui’s perspective at times as well since they’re all so close together, but it’s just under the surface. The opening episode runs through some simplistic things as we get to know the base personalities and a look at how they all interact with each other. The school gets a bit of a nod itself, but mostly it’s just seeing how the girls deal with it all. The main thrust that comes in during a good part of the second half is the introduction of the on-hiatus Data Processing Club, which is a small clubroom with a couple of computers. You can see the interest in the girls in having their own space, but mostly it’s just them screwing around online and making all sorts of non-sequiturs. Which is, admittedly, pretty cute.

With the girls having essentially taken over the data processing club, they’ve got their small but really cozy club room now and a place to hang out. And talk about boobs, among other things. The discussions about how they get to be so big, how to handle having them and other things come up, which is cute. And a big grab at Yui’s breasts to get some hands on time that just returns to its attacker in a bad way. This does eventually lead to a comical attack on the teacher that they still call Mom and there’s a desire to grope her to get some real mature hands on experience, but they can’t bring themselves to do it even when it’s given a bit of an okay. Lengthy discussions of breasts is always amusing in some ways when you get them with high school anime girls, and this one definitely has its moments, especially with how the teacher manages them across it.

Being that they are the Data Processing Club, they do spend some time doing some Internet research and their time is spent trying to learn about whales, at least through their weird point of view. Which is certainly amusing but it doesn’t lead them anywhere interesting, though it’s fun to watch as a viewer. The biggest laugh of one of the episodes though is when the trio are walking home, Yuzu raises her hand, and a pigeon lands on it. It’s just such a calm, quiet and surreal moment that it had me in stitches for the rest of the episode. Like previous episodes, the show spends its time doing lots of silly things in school and we do see Aikawa drawn into it a bit more, but it really is all about the core girls. When things start to come together a bit more towards the end with Yui and Aikawa, it does provide for some laughs, especially with Yui’s near hysterical reaction

The series does a nice job of progressing time and we get events with winter vacation and forward movement there. Everyone knows school is just around the corner, but there’s not a lot going on and it’s easier, especially in winter, to just huddle inside and do little of nothing .Hence why the girls end up at Yui’s place after a while, or at least it kicks off with Yuzuko going there first with her and ending up falling asleep, which leads to her having some wild dreams about the things she does to Yui in them. You have to feel for Yui at this point with the friends she has as they subconsciously try to inflict harm on her. Sometimes with gorillas.

When Yukari finally arrives back home from her own trip, she makes her own separate visit to Yui’s as well, which includes her falling asleep .Again, sympathy is paramount for Yui as everything goes on, but there’s just some good hilarity when Yukari ends up falling asleep as well – since it’s apparently so warm in Yui’s room, and she has the same kind of dream involving a gorilla. Or at least that’s the impression you get. When the trio are together, it’s just plain smiles and simplicity though as they juts enjoy each other’s company, even when they end up calling themselves out over gaining a bit of weight over vacation since they’ve not been on a regular schedule and eating too much.

While the show doesn’t go as far as I’d like as the girls are interesting in learning to drive on their own on private property, we do eventually get back to school and engaging in the fun of that setting. Getting back into routine at school is pretty easy for them and it doesn’t take long for them to go on weird tangents, including talking about skulls which leads Yuzuko to smacking people left and right across theirs, which is a mistake when it comes doing that to Yui at least. The show does have the girls doing a little club time, which again is its own tangent, as they deal with what a cat can see through their eyes, and it’s definitely cute seeing how they deal with new information and the way they can play it up a bit to just be plain silly, especially when it comes to Yuzuko.

As the second year of school continues on for the girls, things are still relatively the same for them and there’s some comfort in that. We did get a mild expansion in the previous episode that brought in some new characters, which gives the core trio a bit more to play off at times, but they still feel more like a distraction than someone that’s full defined. Kei and Fumi have particular styles and attitudes about them that definitely works in their favor since they’re not like the main trio of girls, and their relationship is different with them, but there’s something that has me a little uneasy about them drawing a bit more time from the core trio. That happened with YuriYuri for me and the show started to drag the more characters they introduced.

Seeing Chiho with both Kei and Fumi helps to give Chiho a bit more of a personality since she’s been around the edges of the show for awhile now and has had a hard time getting closer with them. Seeing how Fumi and Kei get along has her trying to do some of the same kinds of greetings with Yuzuko, which strikes them all as quite odd and unusual, which is as it should be. While we get some fun with Chiho making mild inroads with the core trio, the show does spend more of its time with our leads than anything else, which is fun when they have their lunch breaks and the like and end up just being close together with what they do. And that actually gets Yuzuko to wonder if their conversations sound silly to others, just like she thinks other people’s conversation sound silly to her.

The girls interact well with each other throughout, but we also see Chiho drawn in a bit in a way that’s really fun as just she and Yui hang out in the club for a bit while the other two run off to get some things. Chiho’s coming out of her shell is slow and steady, as she’s still shy and nervous, but there’s a lot to like with her and her innocent nature. The girls in general continue to be fun to hang around with and it’s amusing to see how Chiho goes back to her group and in her own way talks up the Data Processing Club girls and how friendly they are. There’s an adorableness to Chiho that works here so that even as she smiles and thinks fondly on what she experienced, it doesn’t come across as bragging or something to make the others feel small.

Some of what makes the show the most fun is when “Mom” gets involved in it, especially since she often just can’t believe the kinds of things the girls say or do, leaving her speechless. There’s also the usual array of online discoveries that crop up, but they don’t leave much of an impact on this episode, though there are cute bits along the way, including Yukari with a health meter above her head for awhile. This episode also runs with some other basic stuff, which while cute in its own way because of the personalities, just doesn’t add much to it overall, such as when they play rock paper scissors and then go on about mouth crying and other strange oddities of existence in a way. It’s surreal and amusing in its own way, but it just reinforced things for me that there wasn’t a lot to work with this week.

Yuyushiki does have a good bit of fun along the way overall here as the girls go through their routines as the warm weather hits and they manage to get things set up for some good vacation events. Of course, a good part of it is going to be focused on just hanging out together, which we’ve seen before on previous vacations, but there’s cuteness abound, especially with the simplistic routine about watermelon and sharing that just goes overboard with the girls reactions to what Yui says about it all. They’re such watermelon fiends and bringing that and ice cream into the mix pushes the other two over the edge. It also reveals a few quirks along the way as well when it comes to certain types of speech.

Like past episodes, it naturally bounces around a bit and just has fun with the trio as they spend time together. Often it comes at the expense if Yui’s sanity a s she watches how Yukari and Yuzuko act together, but there’s fun as they decide what to do over the summer and the two of them come up with wacky suggestions while doing all sorts of wild eyed expressions. It’s simple but adorable as they do their exploring, spending time together and doing something that teenagers are able to do during vacations that adults never seem to remember to be able to do. While it does keep it simple, you have to appreciate that they give in to the fanservice side a little with an extended beach visit, complete with swimsuits, while not going overboard with it. It’s that kind of restrained nature that has certainly both helped and hindered the show.

In Summary:
Yuyushiki has had a pretty steady season overall with only a few dips and rises along the way depending on particular circumstances that came up. Part that is just the nature of marathoning a series like this though as I didn’t have as much of a problem with it during the simulcast side. That said, as the show hits its last episode, I once again find myself glad to bring things to a close for this particular group of girls. While it’s been fun, ending at this phase is certainly better than dragging it out and I still have this nagging feeling that the show as a whole would have worked much better as short form show that could have run for a number of seasons. It’s definitely a very fun show and one of the better ones for dealing with a simple girls club at a school, but it also lacks that extra little something to make it truly special. It’s a good show though and definitely a very enjoyable way to spend time with these kids.

Features:
Japanese DTS-HD MA 2.0 Language, English Subtitles, Clean Opening, Clean Closing

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

Released By: Sentai Filmworks
Release Date: August 5th, 2014
MSRP: $59.98
Running Time: 300 Minutes
Video Encoding: 1080p AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen

Review Equipment:
Sony KDL70R550A 70″ LED 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.

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