What They Say:
They’re bold, they’re beautiful and they’re barely wearing anything as they save the world from sexual conquest! What began as a crazed experiment in anime fandom has escalated beyond the control of its otaku dojinshi creators, and now the underground fan phenomenon parodying a certain sailor-suited battle team leaps to home video in seven sense-exploding, skin-baring, “cover the kids’ eyes quick” videos of utter animated insanity! Can high-school student and part time underwear model Tsubomi save Japan from the monstrous villainesses who seek to suck it’s men dry of… um… sexual energy? How do her talking cat Rama and the mysterious stranger who calls himself “Dandy Lion” fit into the picture? And just how many magic girls who fight evil in their underwear does Japan have anyway? They’re not knock-offs, they’re knock outs, and they’re fighting wrongs in their thongs in PAPILLON ROSE – The Complete Collection!
Papillon Rose is presented in just the original Japanese language format with a stereo mix encoded at 224kbps. The show is very simple overall with a straightforward center channel performance where the music and some of the action effects are the main things that get utilized in the stereo format. Everything else is rather basic but it serves the material well and even fits with the kind of throwback nature of the show that it’s parodying. The audio here doesn’t have much to stretch with but it does a nice job on the bigger action sequences while dialogue doesn’t become overwhelmed by anything as it’s still mostly on top of all the other sounds and music. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout and we had no problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.
Originally released in 2003 for the OVA and 2006 for the TV series, the transfer for this release is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 but is not enhanced for anamorphic playback. I believe that this mirrors the Japanese releases which were not anamorphic either due to their overall budget and the kind of presentation they wanted to have. The seven episodes for this release, one OVA and six TV episodes, are all on one disc and look pretty good outside of a few minor issues. Colors generally look solid, though some of the night time scenes don’t hold up as well, and there’s a touch of cross coloration in a few scenes. There’s a lot of vibrant colors throughout this, though I think the OVA has a higher looking budget overall, but the TV series looks good as well. The animation is much more fluid in the OVA and it has a richer look overall in the transfer.
Papillon Rose has a really nice cover for it though it’s going with something predictable. It’s letting you know exactly what’s inside; slightly slutty magical girls in lingerie outfits. I really wish they had included the Lingerie Soldier part of the original OVA title to this just to make it a touch more overt so it would catch the eye of those who would be interested in it. The character artwork is all nicely detailed and definitely filled with fanservice while the background is overly simply with a pink shading and some mild rose and magic sigil imagery. The black border feels a bit forced though and would probably work a lot better with a full pink background to draw you in. The back cover is largely the same in its overall layout except it has Tsubomi with a fuller shot along the left side that highlights her assets. The right side has a decent summary of the overall premise along with a few shots from the show. The bottom has the standard production information section and a technical grid that covers all the basics. No show related inserts are included nor is there a reversible cover.
The menu layout is kept very simple for this release as it uses the black border with a pink background as the main layout design while also using some of the character artwork from the cover along the right. The artwork looks a bit more vibrant and detailed here which looks good while the left side has the individual episode selection going from top to bottom. There’s nothing else to the disc overall so the menu is kept pretty basic and with nothing to really make it stand out. It’s not a bad menu and it works well as it’s quick and easy to navigate and without any problems, but it’s lacking any real style of its own. With it being a monolingual release, player presets are a non-issue.
There’s been a host of magical girl and Sailor Moon style parodies and adult shows over the years for good reason. A lot of them aren’t all that good though since they’re trying to parody and provide comedy with little else. And for a lot of them, they’re actually hentai so they’re focused on something a little different. This was the first release from Maiden Japan and it gives us the slutty Sailor Moon show with a good dose of comedy and some basic story elements to try and tie it all together.
But let’s be honest. The story itself isn’t of any real concern. We’ve seen it before, in more detail and stretched across numerous episodes. With the OVA and six TV episodes, Papillon Rose condenses all that we’ve seen of the original Sailor Moon series and tells relatively the same tale with several twists. Strangely, Maiden Japan’s release is pretty awkward as we get the uncut OVA as it was originally seen while the six episode TV series is the broadcast edition as opposed to the DVD edition, which had its own strange release in Japan that was stopped and then put out in a full box set with some changes to music because of licensing issues. For better or worse, this is likely the only edition that was available for licensing, or it may be similar to Sakura Diaries from years ago where a completely different company owns the rights to the DVD edition.
Papillon Rose tells two stories and manages a neat feat while still keeping true to the style of the shows its parodying. The OVA episode introduces us to Tsubomi, a young woman who through meeting a particular cat, is able to change into Lingerie Soldier Rose so she can fight against the Dark Advisor and her generals that come down to Earth in order to sow chaos and the like. Tsubomi has a little help from her friends, Lily and Margarette (which has a very Wedding Peach kind of feeling, amusing in and of itself) as well as a fancy man who steps in once in awhile to save the day named Dandy Lion. Tsubomi has a rough time learning the trade as she’s thrown into some bad situations, but with her transformations involving lingerie and her weapons being a sexual device, it plays to the dirty minded viewers pretty well as the OVA gives us an introduction to the world of Papillon Rose.
What surprised me is that the TV episodes didn’t exactly reboot the series, yet it did. Taking a cue from Sailor Moon, the show starts off with Tsubomi having lost her memory before an incident with one of the generals causes it all to come rushing back. She takes up the mantle of Papillon Rose again and does her best to get her friends to remember their lengthy career together fighting against the Dark Advisor we saw hinted at in the OVA release. The six part TV series runs through familiar material, dealing with a new incarnation of Dandy Lion known as Tarokage, attacks by the generals and just a lot of mischief involving the New Papillon cafe where they work. It’s all very familiar material in terms of structure and design, but where it stands out is in the characters.
Or, more specifically, the slutty nature of it. Not surprisingly, the TV show is tamer than the OVA and they do mock the OVA at times because of it. When Rose tries to use her special weapon, she’s stopped and told that she can imbue her spirit into any item and use that instead, with a little wink and nod toward the viewer. Rose can get away with a lot more in an OVA than in a TV series. And with this being the broadcast version, there are likely other edits as well and it’s an interesting disparity between it and the OVA. But the kind of fun and lightly sexually free nature of the TV show gives it a certain kind of life. While it is tamer than the OVA, it’s still pretty sexual in its own way, though like the OVA there is no overt direct sex, so it’s not hentai, though it tries to skirt close to it at times.
With the dirty nature of it, tame as it is at times, the fun of the show comes in the animation and character designs. The OVA goes further because of the freedom it has to use all sorts of toys and the like while the TV series goes for more campy fun. The character designs are spot on though with great looking female leads and some really good lingerie-ish costumes for them when they transform. And obvious we get a really good transformation sequence as well since it deals with the lingerie wrapping itself around them. Both the OVA and TV series have some good looking animation to it, the TV series being a big simpler overall by its nature, and the vibrancy of it and general fluid nature of the animation lets it have a pretty good life which makes it fun to watch and to pick out the details.
Papillon Rose serves up just the right kind of parody of the Sailor Moon and magical girl world with this release. I do admittedly prefer the OVA more than the TV series because it’s concise and has a much dirtier mindset to it. The TV series tones things down for obvious reason but it still has a good deal of fun and manages to get dirty in its own way. This was the kind of show where its reputation certainly preceeded it and you always fear it may not live up to expectations. With the broadcast version of the TV series here, that’s a definitely downside. But for what we do get, it’s a lot of fun and a good way to spend an evening watching pretty anime girls doling out justice in a slight smutty way with smiles on their faces. It’s a title for discerning tastes, to say the least.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English Subtitles
Content Grade: B
Audio Grade: B
Video Grade: B
Packaging Grade: B
Menu Grade: B
Extras Grade: N/A
Released By: Maiden Japan
Release Date: June 8th, 2010
Running Time: 175 minutes
Video Encoding: 480i/p MPEG-2
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
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.