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Place to Place Complete Collection Blu-ray Anime Review

8 min read

Place to Place Blu-ray CoverThe simpleness of life among a group of friends is explored in cute and adorable ways.

What They Say:
Everyone has a circle of friends they hang out with. But even within a small group there are smaller groups of friends, best friends and – here’s where it gets complicated – boyfriends and girlfriends. Sometimes relationships just develop in a way where you’re not exactly sure what you are to the other person, which is the problem Tsukimi has when it comes to Io.

Io’s as tall and easygoing as Tsumiki is short in both temper and stature, but he also seems to be totally clueless about how she’s starting to feel. Yet, at times, he’s almost too affectionate. It’s just confusing and irritating. Their prankster friends Mayoi and Sakai aren’t much help, especially Mayoi, as it gives her one more thing to tease Tsumiki over. Hime, the fifth member of their usual gang of five, isn’t much better, because she’s not really well-connected to reality anyway. That leaves Tsumiki stuck in a quandary. Are she and Io just best friends? Is it worth risking that for what Tsukimi wants? It’s a puzzle she’ll have to solve as they live from one moment to the next.

Contains episodes 1-12.

The Review:
Audio:
The audio presentation for this release is simple and straightforward as we get the original Japanese language only in stereo encoded using the DTS-HD MA lossless codec. The show is essentially all about the dialogue with some wacky moments along the way, accented well by the music throughout it, so it’s not one that’s going to make a huge leap by being lossless here. That said, everything does feel sharper overall and a touch louder as well. There’s often a lot of characters talking at different times, often over each other as well, along with some background phrases and gags that come into it. There’s a good use of the forward soundstage here here as the characters move about and and the various bits of action throughout it as well. It may not be the most active mix you’ve heard, but it’s a solid one that handles the busy material well with dialogue that’s clean and clear throughout with no noticeable dropouts or distortions during regular playback.

Video:
Originally airing in 2012, the transfer for this twelve episode TV series and OVA is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 in 1080p using the AVC Codec. The show is spread across two discs in a nine/four format that gives it a decent bit of space. The series is one with lots of color to it and some pretty good designs for the backgrounds. While the detail is still fairly basic overall, the color quality here definitely is raised a bit and is the main attraction. It’s a lot more solid here and it stands out in a way that gives it a good deal more pop and vibrancy, which is a big part of the draw with the animation. The character animation is good throughout with how it handles all the fast moments and fluidity, but there’s also so many solid areas of color that some noise does bleed into it pretty regularly. It’s not distracting or hugely noticeable, especially at a normal distance, The series has a good look overall and it definitely comes across well with the transfer.

Packaging:
The packaging for this release comes in a standard sized Blu-ray case where the two discs are held against the interior walls. The front cover is a cute piece that has a lot of pink to it from the background and some nice white aspects brought into it that makes it come alive a little bit more. The foreground is given over to just Io and Tsumiki with him petting her as he always does and you get a good feel for their relationship. The back cover carries over the pink aspect with some purple as well and it has a busy, bright feeling to it with all the character artwork and the shots from the show. The premise is easy to read with it being on a white background and we get a clear listing of the episode and disc count along with the extras. The production credits are laid out clearly and we get a solid technical grid that breaks down this aspect well without any problems. No show related inserts are included nor is there a reversible cover.

Menu:
The menu design for this release goes with a fairly expected design as we get a lot of pink and purple in the background with small fireworks exploding with the first disc while providing some cute character artwork of Tsumiki where she’s got the whole moe thing going in a big way. It’s not an overly busy menu but it has enough to set the tone well enough. The second disc goes for a holiday themed piece for Christmas with a white background and that helps to brighten things up in a different way. The layout is straightforward with the navigation along the lower right that breaks down the episodes by number and title in a clear way that’s easy to navigate. With no language options and minimal extras, it’s an easy menu to get around in that works without problems.

Extras:
The only extras included with 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 seinen manga by Ishiki which began back in 2006 and has five compiled volumes as of this writing, Place to Place (aka Acchi Kocchi) is a twelve episode series and OVA that brings us into the lives of a group of high school students once more. Animated by AIC, there’s definitely an attempt here to try and fit in with some of the other shows of this nature from the last few years as you can see bits of Hidamari Sketch in it and others where it’s all about a small group of characters that have some silly views on things, have a good relationship with each other and there’s quite a few instances where various bits of animation show up to really give it a kind of special feel with its quirkiness. Unfortunately, we’ve seen so many series like this over the last few years that it doesn’t really stand out all that much like it once did.

The series revolves around the group of friends that has as its social glue Io. He’s a pretty nice guy with a good bit of personality to him that you don’t always see with male leads in shows like this. He’s got the glasses thing going on, is good at a lot of things and generally knows how to manage the group. He’s joined by the only other male in the group, Sakaki, a pretty nice guy in general who has a goofy sense to things but doesn’t hugely contrast Io, which is nice. It’s easy to see why the two of them are friends and how easy they get along and mess with each other. The group has three girls to it, with the pint sized Tsumiki who has plenty of mild cat characteristics to her, the shy and cautious Hime and the outgoing prank oriented Mayoi who often comes across like a mad scientist in a way, especially since we almost never see her with her eyes open.

There are a few other supporting characters that come into play, from a cute teacher that doesn’t always have things together to a few friends from classes that get involved here and there, but not consistently. The main focus is on the way the core group of five interacts as they go through their current year of school. Taking place over quite a few months, we get a lot of the usual stories you’d expect with holidays, white day and other such instances. There’s not a lot in the way of surprises when it comes to the story ideas as it hits the familiar on a regular basis. But the dynamic of the group is what can make it work, and in that regard Place to Place manages to do it fairly well. There’s a certain comfort level between them that makes it all quite playful as they go through things and goof on each other. Especially since you have someone like Io who makes a good bit of fun with things by prodding others along sometimes.

The show does work a bit of a relationship angle into things as well here, but it’s done in a way that’s really fun to watch. While you can tell that Io does like Tsumiki as something more than a friend but not quite up to where they’re a couple or anything. He has a sort of aloofness to it in a way, almost parental in some manners in how he treats her, but she is just completely in love with him. It’s adorable since she’s not heavy on the dialogue and there’s a lot of hearts floating about her at times with the ways that he’s hands on with her in a way that really pleases her. There’s an adorableness about the two that works very nicely and the others get in on it as well. In fact, the girls all have a certain admiration for Io and when he puts on the charm just a little bit, they all get nosebleeds as they can’t handle his nature.

In Summary:
There’s no overreaching story to Place to Place as it deals with the small moments of life as it goes along. The fun of shows like these is in watching the characters and how they interact with each other and the way they can make simple situations fun because of the slightly skewed ways they deal with everything. AIC put together a good looking show here and as it goes on, it has a pretty good rhythm about it and the characters are fun to watch as time marches on. The relationship between Io and Tsumiki is what sells it for me, especially since Mayoi is hard to watch and we really don’t get enough time with Sakaki overall, but the group dynamic is a positive all around and the group is just a pleasure to watch. One that’s made more so by the high definition release here as the show has a lot more pop and life to it, which is what these kids are all about. But it is like other shows of this nature where it’s generally best to watch it a few episodes at a time rather than barrel through the whole thing.

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: March 24th, 2015
MSRP: $59.98
Running Time: 325 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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