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Punch Line Complete Collection Blu-ray Anime Review

8 min read

Punch Line Blu-ray Front CoverIt’s the end of the world and it’s time to watch some panties.

What They Say:
When your day begins with being held hostage in a hijacking, can things get much worse? How about being kicked out of your own body? Or learning that if you can’t re-possess your physical shell, you’ll trigger a panty-fueled apocalypse that will wipe out all life on the planet? For Yuta Iridatsu, it’s just the start of the worst out-of-body experience ever. Now, if his dissed disembodied spirit doesn’t pursue the persuasions of a porn-obsessed paranormal pussycat and purloin a missing mystical manual, a meteor will collide with Earth!

And to stack the odds even further, the book is hidden somewhere in the boarding house Yuta shares with a bevy of beautiful babes, but if he gets an eyeful of his ravishing co-renters in their unmentionables before he’s back in himself, it’s flash-forward to Doomsday! Will the literal end of the world be wearing briefs, a bikini, or a thong? Find out when panties, possessions and extinction level events have the ultimate rear-end collision in Punch Line!

The Review:
Audio:
The audio presentation for this release brings us the original Japanese language track only and is encoded in DTS-HD MA lossless form for the stereo mix. It’s a pretty dynamic mix as there’s a lot going on here as this is a comedy series with a lot of action and expressive characters. The forward soundstage has a good bit of directionality to it with characters moving about and the dialogue carrying with it but also with the sound effects and the wacky action elements that come into play. It’s a busy mix but one that doesn’t overwhelm in a bad way as everything is distinctive where it needs to be. The dialogue is pretty crisp and clear while the opening and closing theme song sequences, along with the score in general, has a good bit of warmth and fullness to it.

Video:
Originally airing in 2015, 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 for this show are spread across two discs with nine on the first and three on the second. Animated by MAPPA, the series has a whole lot of pop and vibrancy to the color of it all to the point where I can’t imagine it looking as good in standard definition. The series has a lot of detail to it in both character and background sides of it and the fluidity of the animation is pretty strong throughout. Though it’s pretty damn busy in many places the end result is a very strong looking release that makes for a very appealing experience because of how much it dazzles. The transfer captures this really well as the colors are solid and vibrant and everything feels like it’s taken up a whole other level.

Packaging:
The packaging for this release brings us a standard sized Blu-ray case that holds the two discs inside against the interior walls. The front cover works a familiar key visual image where we get Yuta as the central focus between his two halves while the women of the series are ringed around him. Naturally, there’s a good bit of fanservice to this with short outfits, upskirt visuals, and plenty of panties in motion, but it’s cute and silly in all the right ways while having a bit of seriousness. The back cover goes for pinks and purples as its design with stripes along it as it breaks it all down in a standard fashion. The premise is covered well and easy to read as is the breakdown of the extras included with this set. There’s a decent series of slice shots from the show itself along the left while the right shows off more character visual artwork. The production information is straightforward and easy to read while the technical grid covers everything in a very clean and clear fashion with an accurate list of how the show is put together.

Menu:
The menu design for this release brings to life the feel of the show really well with its colors and vibrancy. With a black background that gives it all more pop, we get a fairly standard split screen here where the left has the colorful slotting of episodes by number and title with white text on pink and purple – complete with a pair of panties as the cursor. The right side has the character artwork that plays up the sexuality and fanservice in a great way while also using some beautifully vibrant colors to do it with. It may not sell the story itself in any way but it does connect you to the tone of it really well.

Extras:
The only extras included here are the clean versions of the opening and closing sequences.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Original anime series are definitely things that are engaging to watch since they can step away from the publishing schedule of manga adaptations of how light novels are structured. Originally broadcast in the spring 2015 season, Punch Line has its strongest note with its animation as MAPPA has been doing some fantastic work and this is no exception. With it being fairly fanservice heavy you can see this as a series that lets them cut loose a bit and have fun but for the most part their design aesthetic and fluidity of animation is the appealing part. What should drive this series is that it feels like a pervy sort of Steins;Gate type of series mixed in with a few other concepts. Written by Kotaro Uchikoshi with Yutaka Uemura directing, there’s a lot that they’re juggling here with the concept and execution.

The concept itself is fairly straightforward as we get a young man named Yuta that lives in an apartment complex where there are four other women in their own places within it. This by itself would lead to all sorts of humor, seriousness, and fanservice. But the big drama here is two-fold. The first is that in a couple of weeks there will be an asteroid that will destroy the earth and Yuta is tasked with stopping it through various forms of time travel and spiritual power that he uses when he powers up. This is all done with the help of a cat spirit named Chiranosuke that helps him as a guide of sorts to try and keep him on the right path. The other is that for a good chunk of the series is that Yuta is displaced from his own body by someone else and he operates as a spirit, wandering the rooms and seeing the girls in various states of undress. Which is problematic since it gets him overpowered and causes more issues with the incoming asteroid that most people believe won’t hit the earth.

Suffice to say, Yuta is in a tough place for most of this series since he has to be careful about what he alters in the past while also avoiding seeing things he shouldn’t see. And with people swapping bodies later on, well, let’s just say it gets complicated. And that’s the main problem I had with this series in that it really is complicated in its own way with how it jumps back and forth and changes things because of what Yuta does. There isn’t repetition, which is a nice change of pace, but how you partake of the series will really color it. In marathoning it over the course of a day it just becomes a situation where you find it hard to invest in any moment because you’re not sure what’s going to get changed or altered by what Yuta is doing as he levels up in spiritual power and tries to offset the asteroid – all while another organization is looking for it to hit in order to end humanity as part of a massive death wish of sorts. If you watched this in simulcast form, I get the feeling it holds up better simply because you take in the individual chunk of material and digest that and all the changes. When you get four episodes in a row and see the changes and loops on it, you become kind of numb to it.

What the show becomes, fairly quickly because of its overactive style and design, is something that’s all about the animation and fanservice. I wanted to connect with the characters but just couldn’t find a way to do that and with the story rewriting itself with the jumps it left me feeling more disconnected since I didn’t find enough of a foundation to work with. Instead, the animation from MAPPA makes it almost entirely worthwhile and the story something to poke at and figure out as a kind of future cult classic. There’s such great design work here, and such beautiful colors in the high definition presentation, that it’s captivating to watch unfold. Yes, the fanservice is the fanservice and it’s well presented here, but there’s so much with backgrounds and little details that you have to appreciate it. The fanservice itself with the panties and underwear and skin moments such as hot springs and baths and the like is great, but the production as a whole with the animation is just visually striking throughout.

In Summary:
Punch Line is the kind of series that I really wish I had seen outside of marathon form in order to tell if it works better in that way. I really think it does because taking in this many story changes and the little twists and reveals in short order makes for a dense and brain mush inducing experience. I really thrilled at the visual quality of it all here and the technical execution of mapping all of this out, but the time travel aspect and the changes didn’t connect anywhere near as well as it should and that left me to focus just on the characters, who were kind of thin as each new reveal had you wanting to go back and look at what they really were in previous instances. It’s an intriguing series that I think is worth exploring, however, because it’s the kind of original work that wants to challenge its audience. Marathoning just may not be the way to do it as a viewer.

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

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

Released By: Sentai Filmworks
Release Date: August 16th, 2016
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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