What They Say:
Soji Mitsuka of Gonna Be the Twin-Tail is an ordinary high schooler with an extraordinary obsession. Twin tails are his fire, his air, his will to live! But when a mysterious woman from another world enlists his help to fight hideous monsters with various moe fetishes, Soji must transform into a powerful pigtailed…girl?
With the help of his childhood friend, the class president, and his endless devotion to pigtails, Soji and his crew form a twin-tailed threesome to take on the monsters who feed on the “attribute power” of humans. But Soji’s new pigtailed powers come with a price; his surging popularity as the new heroin in town makes the twin-tailed trend explode, giving the monsters ample attribute powers to feed upon! Don’t miss the action in Gonna Be the Twin-Tail!
The audio presentation for this release is a little surprising as we get the original Japanese language track in stereo while getting the new English language track done up in 5.1. Both tracks are encoded using the lossless Dolby TrueHD codec and that helps with the action sequences in giving them a bit more noise and notice as they play out. There’s a kind of silly feel to it in a way but the mixing is done well with both tracks to give it a solid forward soundstage while the English mix throws a bit more to the rears in order to boost it all up. With the transformations, the battles, and just some of the sound effects, the mix here has a lively feeling about it. The dialogue side of it is pretty solid as well as there are a few good uses of directionality to be had, but mostly it’s a straightforward piece that gets the job done well with a clean design that comes across without any problems such as dropouts or distortions during regular playback.
Originally airing in 2014, the transfer for this TV series is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 in 1080p using the AVC codec. The twelve episodes are spread across two discs with eight on the first and four on the second. Animated by Production IMS, the series has a really good look about it, particularly with the color design. The animation itself is pretty strong with some really great fluidity in the action and detail throughout that makes it a bit richer than you might expect for a property of this nature. The color design is what really draws you in as it works some very vibrant pieces that just pops on the screen and makes it engaging to watch for that alone since it uses the primary colors so well. The transfer handles all of this very well with solid color fields throughout and no noticeable breakup or other problems as it plays. The show definitely looks really great here overall and that makes it all the more fun to watch.
The packaging for this release works a slightly bigger than standard Blu-ray case to accommodate the four discs include for the two formats inside on hinges. The first pressings come with an o-card that replicates the cover artwork but does it with a lot more pop of color that’s very appropriate for the show. The front cover is a great piece that has the four main characters along the back in slice poses while they’re also in the foreground in fully transformed mode ready for action just behind the logo. It’s a very busy and colorful cover made all the better by the slipcover that brings it to life and really catches the eye. The back cover goes for a white background with some strong blue for the block where the summary of the premise is located. It’s got a clean look and using the colorful and cute artwork of Soji in transformed mode with the reds doesn’t hurt either. The slot of shots from the show along the bottom is nicely done and the technical grid captures everything cleanly and clearly. The case itself doesn’t have any inserts or anything, but we do get artwork on the reverse side with a vertical poster style presentation of the three main characters.
The menu design for this release isn’t the usual for Funimation in that it’s a static screen as opposed to clips playing throughout it. The image is definitely good where we get the cast shot from the front cover along the bottom of the main girls all together in their transformation look with clean colors and a good sense of vibrancy through the bright colors. The navigation strip along the bottom uses a good shade of blue with white text and everything is quick and easy to access both as the main menu and as a pop-up menu. It’s a simple but effective menu that just feels odd because it’s not the norm for Funimation with this kind of design.
The extras for this release are fairly standard but very welcome as we get a couple of newly created English language commentary tracks from the production team as well as the clean opening and closing sequences.
Based on the light novel series by Yume Mizusawa that began in 2012 and has eleven volumes to its name so far, Gonna be the Twin-Tail! Is a twelve episode series that came out in the fall of 2014. Animated by Production IMS, the show didn’t get a lot of attention when it landed as it just felt like one huge pander sequence when you got down to it. Colorful character designs, some fanservice, twin-tails, and all the predictability that you could imagine. I heard little about the show beyond the lead-up to the simulcast and I’ll admit I went into the series not expecting much of anything in general just because of how it looked and the basic setup for it. I won’t go and say that the show is a fantastic piece or anything, but it damn well surprised me because it plays to the self-aware side quite well and it ended up being a lot more fun than I expected.
The premise for it is definitely simplistic enough in that a roaming gang of aliens essentially scour the universe for worlds to conquer based on the various types of strengths of interest that dominate there. They feed, like psychic vampires, on the passion and love for something that’s beyond the usual. Love between people, for example, doesn’t cut it because it’s common. But a true and deep love of the twin-tails that girls have? Now there’s something narrow and passionate that just gets them to want to suck up the energy. Naturally, there are different types of these energies that they’re after and we see a glasses oriented version along the way, but the main focus here is on twin-tails. Which I get because it in anime form they make it pretty appealing and it’s something that a lot of characters can’t actually pull off. So putting together a show where we get several characters and designs that make it work certainly is a plus. I can’t remember the last time I saw this many twin-tails together at once.
Naturally, humanity isn’t going to have to face these aliens alone – aliens that look like a range of different things in humanoid form such as lizards, owls, and general “monster” types of creatures that are very passionate about these different strengths as well. What helps humanity to face the alien invaders is a young woman named Twoearle whose own planet faced off against these creatures but seemingly lost. She’s come to find a passionate lover of twin-tails to gift her powers to in order to fight against the enemy. That lands her with Soji, a fifteen year old boy whose all about the twin-tails to an obsessive fashion. So much so that he essentially sees them everyone and is just adoring of them. That doesn’t quite extend to his childhood neighbor friend Aika who has twin-tails herself as he’s kind of oblivious to her in that form even though she’s obviously stupidly in love with him. Soji’s your standard male lead in all of this as he ends up being given the ability to transform into Tailred so he can use heightened abilities to face down the enemy. Amusingly, he gets twin-tails himself when he transforms – and he transforms into a flatchested girl at that. It’s an easy gag and one that plays well enough since you can go a lot of ways with it.
Twoearle is all about setting up shop at Soji’s house and his mother is all for it since she dreamed of this happening to herself when she was Soji’s age. So much so that she encourages Twoearle to sleep in the same bed as Soji, make a man of him, and signs off on a sprawling underground lair to be built underneath the house. She also makes it clear to Aika that she has to step up if she really wants to win her son’s heart, which makes Soji’s mother one of the better characters in the show. She, like Twoearle, readily admit every trope and cliche here and embrace it just shy of actually winking at the camera. And I wouldn’t be surprised if they did. The both haul out these cliches and run with them in order to make it clear what kind of show it is and that they’re not going to be too serious about it. They’re making fun of the cliches along the way while using them to do so. And, strange as it may seem, it works.
Naturally, Soji gets some help along the way as Aika eventually becomes Tailblue when she realizes that Twoearle has more power to distribute and Soji needs an ally, and we also get the addition of the student council president with Erina taking on Tailyellow as both she and Aika have twin-tails themselves. Honestly, it’s not to say it in a bad way, but it’s so transparent and obvious that it should be bad but it’s not with how predictable it is. And this is because the characters with the humor just embrace it and grin and laugh throughout it as they hit every mark with ease. The first half of the show is all about the team additions and basic introductions while dealing with the enemy – which doesn’t have a solid opponent throughout it until it gets just past the halfway mark.
And that opponent is Dark Graspar, a young woman who knows Twoearle and her backstory and is intent on defeating her because of how Twoearle wronged her. Dark Grasper is after a similar kind of energy as the others but hers is focused on glasses. An easy gag with her main attendant being named Mega Ne. Hoo. Yeah, that should be awful but the show is grinning its way through so much that you end up grinning at this obviousness as well. Dark Grasper is all about revenge with a wink and a smile and you can see how she’s not really great at what she does but has enough clout to handle it. She’s a minor foil for things and mostly just adds something for the viewer to latch onto as an opponent because the small parade of aliens that we get with their designs doesn’t really stick. They’re more like the one-off villains we used to get in 70’s and 80’s action anime than anything worth investing time in. But they do provide the basic understanding of how all things work in the show.
While a lot of the show is very familiar if well executed, there are two areas that just worked even better for me. The first is a team building exercise that Twoearle sets for Erina in that she has her researching to find the best porno mag. This has the shy and quiet Erina doing copious amounts of research by asking all the boys in school what they like, doing online research, and then trying to buy one. It’s cute how she tries to not blush and just seeing the reactions from everyone else since this is not a normal storyline. The other is that in the last couple of episodes as it goes into the expected end arc (which is like the closing of a chapter more than anything else) we get a situation where Soji is transformed into a girl during his non-Tailred time. This has him coping with the fun issues, such as trying to go to the bathroom but not wanting to expose himself to his new plumbing, and the kinds of closeness that can come from being a woman in anime. Things also get heightened when one of the opponents near the end here has tornadoes that hit the city and turn men into women, which makes for some comical transformation sequences. When the show plays to the humor of sexuality and gender, it succeeds. And it does that more than you’d expect.
Gonna be the Twin-Tail is not a series that will work for a lot of people. There’s a good bit of snark and winking going on here with the setup and obviousness of it and I like that it’s actually playing that angle rather than trying to play it straight. It’s loose and silly and it knows what kind of goofy project it is. But it’s done with some pretty polished animation and design work, along with some really great color design that’s vibrant and full of pop, that just takes it up a few notches. I can see this being a show that a lot of people will pass over for a range of reasons, but it’s one that I think a lot more people would enjoy than they realize if they gave it a few episodes and got into the weird and goofy groove that it has. Funimation’s release is solid across the board and they treat it just as well as most of their other properties, resulting in a very well put together title that will definitely please its fans and likely catch a few new ones.
Japanese Dolby TrueHD 2.0 Language, English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 Language, English Subtitles, Episode Commentaries, Textless Opening, Textless Closing Songs
Content Grade: B-
Audio Grade: B+
Video Grade: A-
Packaging Grade: B+
Menu Grade: B-
Extras Grade: B
Released By: Funimation
Release Date: June 7th, 2016
Running Time: 300 Minutes
Video Encoding: 1080p AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 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.