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Hello!! Kinmoza! Complete Collection Blu-ray Anime Review

9 min read

hello-kinmoza-blu-ray-coverIt’s time to revisit the cuteness once again!

What They Say:
Although learning different languages continues to be an interest for Shinobu and her friends, the new school year brings unexpected difficulties. Not only is there always something new and different to distract them from their studies, but Alice and Yoko also are having trouble adjusting to being in a different class from Shinobu and Aya.

Meanwhile, Karen isn’t getting along at all with her new homeroom teacher, and it doesn’t help that the teacher is having trouble figuring out how to make herself seem friendlier to her students as well. Craziness may ensue, but sometimes, all it takes is the right mutual experience to bring everyone together.

While some of those experiences may not be as well-thought-out as others (like when Alice and Aya act like juvenile delinquents to seem more grown up), the gang’s new adventures are certain to warm everyone’s heart as the fun and friendships keep growing in HELLO! KINMOZA!

The Review:
Audio:
The audio presentation for this release brings us the show in its original Japanese language only where we get that track in stereo encoded using the lossless DTS-HD MA codec. The series is essentially all about the dialogue with a couple of wild takes here and that but nothing serious in terms of action to give it a workout. The dialogue aspect of it is handled pretty well since we often have a decent sized cast to work with on screen as it all flows from person to person without a problem. The music helps to give everything a little more of a boost but that doesn’t take it to another level or anything. Placement is decent throughout where needed and the show as a whole hits all the right notes with what it wants to do. We didn’t have any issues with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.

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 the show are spread across two discs with nine on the first and three on the second, unlike the first season that kept it all to one disc. Animated by Studio Gokumi, the series has a very bright, colorful and appealing look to it with its design as the colors are solid with the right level of pop to them that lets them stand out without being oversaturated. The main area that deals with are the girls themselves and their outfits and they have a great sense of definition and depth about them throughout, especially for Karen. The series works a generally simple real-world approach for its design and the detail for it is well handled with a clean and clear approach that doesn’t suffer from line noise or aliasing. It’s a pretty good looking transfer overall for a show that definitely has a better look with the bright and more solid colors.

hello-kinmoza-image-4Packaging:
The packaging for this release gives us a standard sized Blu-ray case that holds the two discs against the interior walls. The front cover artwork is pretty much what you want from a show like this in that it uses the main key visual from the season with the main group of girls all together looking at the viewer with cute expressions and a simple design overall. It has a good kind of softness to the designs and color palette that works well to set the tone and give it that whole cute feeling that it needs. The logo is kept simple along the bottom side with the full series name listed as well. The back cover goes for a little bit of that school and scrapbook feeling with the widgets and overall design to it with the stamps for the pictures and more. The premise is nicely cover and we get a clear listing of the episode count, though not for the disc count. The extras are presented clearly and the technical grid covers everything cleanly and clearly.

Menu:
The menu design for this release works a similar approach to the front cover but goes with a cuter and brighter method that works. The navigation is kept to the right as it’s done as a pair of air mail where we get the episodes listed by number and title where it has a good handwritten style to it along with the right colors. The rest of the menu is given over to a great full color image with the main cast of girls all done up in various costumes with hearts, rainbows and other pretty designs that really makes it stand out in a great way with its illustration style There’s little in the way of submenus when you get down to it but it works well here and looks good as a pop-up menu as well.

Extras:
The only extras included for 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 by Yui Hara that began in 2010, Kiniro Mosaic previously had a twelve episode series animated by Studio Gokumi that hit in the summer of 2013. With the manga continuing on, up to six volumes now, a second season was commissioned with Hello!! Kinmoza!, which landed in the spring of 2015. As we mentioned back in 2014 when we saw the first season, some four-panel shows try to pad out to whole episodes and reconfigure what it is they want to do. Kinmoza takes the approach of doing a number of varying length stories in each episode that are sometimes lightly connected to each other. The lets the humor work a bit more naturally and doesn’t try to force larger storylines or issues to the foreground that the concept can’t handle. The end result is more laughs, more cuteness and more enjoyment overall.

hello-kinmoza-image-2With this season the show doesn’t have to deal with some of the setup material that we had before and instead can just move forward with what it is and wants to be. Which, as stated, is simple cuteness. I’ll admit that I don’t find myself particularly fond of any of the characters and the all too cute high school element that they have just kind of grates a little but, but the show is simply so harmless because it’s intended to make you smile and feel good that I’m hard pressed to truly complain. These are the epitome of nice girls doing nothing but enjoying the basics of life that you realize you do need to introduce things like this to your viewing schedule because otherwise, it would get pretty grim. Kinmoza handles all of this really well and this second season really does just incrementally move a couple of very minor things forward.

With this being their second year, there are some minor changes that are a little frustrating for the characters. The biggest is that Shinobu and Alice aren’t in the same class anymore, something that would be a given. Alie and Yoko even have the same teacher as last year so they don’t feel like they’ve moved on at all while poor Shinobu is just feeling so alone a couple of rooms down the hall that you almost expect to hear a death wail at some point from it. This isn’t something that’s overplayed or really dragged out throughout the season, but I like the small shift as it provides for some different interactions early on and helps to nudge Alice more about standing on her own rather than constantly leaning on Shinobu. I like that the two are close because of their traded home stay visits but you also want to see Alice really discover what life can be like here.

hello-kinmoza-image-1The season gives us some familiar stories that won’t surprise, such as discovering that Honoka’s family owns a restaurant where she helps out in a maid style costume. That everyone gets in on helping out for a bit is no surprise. We also get some cute stuff with Karen later imagining herself working at a fast food chain where you know her personality and looks would have her stand out in a big way for customers. There’s also some great if far too short imaginary moments where Alice and Aya think they need to becoming and look like delinquents in order to not be mistaken as elementary students. That they go as far as they do in their vision of it is just all the more adorable. Small moments to be sure but they’re fun moments that help take you from the quieter and less interesting scenes to other ones. The opening half deals with these kinds of stories and I like that Honoka is drawn in a bit more since she wants to be a part of things but isn’t a true member of the group.

There are a couple of episodes that stand out a bit more. One is the obvious beach episode where the gang head out to have fun. While we get some really cute stuff with the two teachers, Sakura and Akira, as a subplot as they’re in the same area to get away themselves, the real fun is just in watching these kids. They do all the usual stuff you’d expect but it has such a layer of sweetness about it and cute exaggeration at times that you can’t help but to love the way they interact with each other. The other one that works really well is the last episode where Karen and Alice head back to England for a bit and we see how they all cope with the separation. It’s small moments of personality shining through in good ways, though Alice and her making Karen dress up as Shinobu borders on creepy, which delivers the reminders that we need as to what kind of foundations are here with these friends.

hello-kinmoza-image-3If there’s an area that kind of leaves me a little cool with the show overall it’s with the adoration that Alice has with Shinobu. There’s obviously a strong bond between them that works well and is enjoyable to see because the two have experienced things that make them close in this way. But there are so many scenes, looks, and insinuations about just how much Alice admires Shinobu that you kind of want them to either dial it back some so as to not give a false impression or just embrace it more and let them really explore things in a bigger way. Yes, there’s that simple thing of it being a deep non-sexual love relationship, but at the same time, there are so many moments where it’s presented as though Alice is unconsciously wanting to take it far more physical through the way she expresses herself verbally and physically. And since none of the girls are dating boys in their co-ed school it just feels all the stronger.

In Summary:
Hello!! Kinmoza! is pretty much what I expected for a second season of this kind of property and it’s one that works well as it delivers what the fans want. Without having to go through the setup or really expanding or introducing new characters, it’s kept to the same small level and works the familiar smaller stories and events to please fans. They girls are cute, the animation is spot on, and it generates the right kind of feelings from it so that it hits you in the right spot. I enjoyed the first season well enough and this one is just as well produced overall. Fans of the show will enjoy the presentation we get here from Sentai as it delivers all around, sans dub of course, and makes for a fun experience.

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

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

Released By: Sentai Filmworks
Release Date: October 18th, 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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