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 audio quality for Punch Line is pretty decent. It’s Japanese Dolby Digital 2.0, which I’m guessing is something of a standard. That said, the audio only comes in Japanese, so anyone who wishes to watch this in English is out of luck. There’s nothing too bad or too good about the sound here. The voices come through clearly enough, and the sound effects tend to be well-balanced. I do think that there are moments when the music or background noise overpowers the voices, but since I’m reading subtitles since I don’t know Japanese, this didn’t bother me.
The video is 4080i / 16×9 Anamorphic, so it’s not gonna be high-definition no matter how much people might wish otherwise. That said, it’s not the end of the world. The line quality isn’t the greatest, and some of the scenes that are heavy on the line art look a little odd, but most of this series is visually appealing enough that I didn’t mind the drop in quality from the standard 1080i I’m used to watching anime in.
The front cover for Punch Line is pretty full. The main feature is a combination of the main protagonist’s face with the entirely female cast in front. The main character’s right side has glowing red hair and a yellow eye, while the left has black hair and a brown eye, along with a bloody tissue shoved into his nostril. The girls in front of him are all in provocative poses that flash their panties, expose their breasts, or somehow do both. Below the characters is the title in English. The background is purple, and it looks like there’s some images hiding behind an opacity map, but they are so hard to see, the people who created this probably shouldn’t have bothered. The back is a lot more colorful and clear, with yellow, purple, and pink in the background. The female love interest(?) is featured on the back. So are several clips of various panty shots and boob shots.
The menu for each disc features a list of the episodes to choose from, plus the ability to select the language and whether or not you want subtitles. Each disc features a standard character on one side, while the episode selection is on the other. The character you get depends on which disc you put in.
There are only three special features: Clean opening animation, clean closing animation, and Sentai trailers, which feature some of the latest anime that are coming out or are already out. The opening and closing was fairly interesting. I was actually a big fan of the music and animation for this. It was pretty funny.
Content: (Please note that this portion of the review may contain spoilers):
What is there to say about Punch Line? It’s like a train wreck that you can’t look away from. The beginning of the series is a complete mess and makes absolutely no sense, but it’s so entertaining that you keep watching anyway. What starts off as a guy who gets caught up in a bus hijacking and becomes a disembodied spirit because he saw a pair of panties soon turns into an epic quest to save the world from annihilation. The threat? A comet that’s falling to earth. Apparently, the main character somehow summoned the comet because his power went out of control when he saw a girl’s pantsu.
Pantsu. Such an odd English/Japanese word.
The series is about Yuta Iridatsu, a normal but not normal teenager who, through bad luck or fate, is on a bus that gets hijacked by armed robbers. Fortunately, the superhero/vigilante, Strange Juice, arrives to save the day. The animation for the fight scene is pretty well done, all things considered. The animators kept an eye on their visuals and all of the objects and characters within the scene, which allowed them to animate Strange Juice kicking butt without running into errors of images overlapping. In fact, all of Punch Line’s action sequences are quite impressive, especially when the plot’s original panty-clad premise is taken into account.
What I really liked about Punch Line when it came to visuals was the use of colors and angle shots. Because it starts off as a fan service anime, the series always has numerous shots that are angled to create an appealing visual of female undergarments, which are quite colorful. However, it’s also the presentation of colors within each scene that creates a strong overall visual. If this story had one thing going for it, outside of the organized chaos and crazy story line, it would be the art. It’s very vibrant and energetic. The bedrooms that everyone lives in at Yuta’s boarding house lets you feel that particular characters personality, with some using slightly muted tones and others being cheerful. Through the art, one gets the sense that this series is supposed to be chaotic, which helps the otherwise zany story line feel a tad more cohesive.
The main plot of this series is that a meteor is falling to Earth. I mentioned before that it was somehow called here by Yuta’s powers going out of control after he passes out from becoming too excited at seeing a woman’s panties. Not only is a meteor coming to Earth, but Yuta has been thrown out of his body for the same reason. The entire first half of the anime is watching him as a disembodied spirit trying to get back into his own body, which has been possessed by someone else. To be honest, it kinda sucks because he couldn’t do anything. Yuta is essentially a silent observer to what’s happening around him. However, as time passes, he gains spiritual powers that allow him to occasionally change events, which is good, because the story gets really intense and dark later on.
If there’s one real issue that this series has, it’s that despite having a cast of interesting-looking characters, none of them are very memorable. Outside of Yuuta, I couldn’t tell you the names of the mostly-female cast. It’s a crying shame, too, because I generally have a predisposition to remembering female characters over males, and this is sort of like a fan service harem series, so the girls should have been even more memorable. However, even Strange Juice, who is a resident at Yuta’s boarding house, is more or less forgettable. I can’t even remember what her real name was. This lack of memorability with its characters has also caused an issue with the emotions later episodes try to push onto you. Because I didn’t really get into any of the characters, I couldn’t feel sad when one of them died, especially since the character would be brought back to life by the next episode.
That said, it does do a good job of expressing Yuta’s emotions during these scenes. While I didn’t really care when a character died, I did feel awful for Yuta because I knew that he cared. This helps somewhat mitigate the female characters not being memorable. I think another issue in this regard might have been how characters rarely ever called each other by name. It was actually rare for a character to say, “Hey, X-character, come help me with something.” for whatever reason, which meant their names didn’t become engraved in my mind.
I wouldn’t say that Punch Line is a bad series, but I will admit that it’s a very niche series. Fans of this particular genre, chaotic fan service with a side of harem, will enjoy it. People who don’t like this kind of anime will not. I was able to enjoy it, and I think it was a good series overall, but there were enough issues within the series that it wouldn’t surprise me if several people watched a few episodes and decided that it wasn’t for them.
Content Grade: C
Audio Grade: B
Video Grade: A
Packaging Grade: A-
Menu Grade: B
Extras Grade: B
Released By: Sentai Filmworks
Release Date: August 16, 2016
Running Time: 300 minutes
Video Encoding: 480i/p MPEG-2
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
55″ Class AQUOS HD Series LED TV LC-55LE643U, Xbox 360 DVD player