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Three Leaves Three Colors Complete Collection Blu-ray Anime Review

9 min read

Three Leaves Three Colors Sansha SanyouGirls gotta congregate!

What They Say:
Yoko Nishikawa lived a life of privilege until her father’s company went under. From princess to pauper, she faces life with a non-existent budget and is stuck eating bread crusts. Alone and distraught, everything changes when glutton Futaba and scary class rep Teru stumble into her life—literally. Together, they’ll discover a new friendship and survive the day-to-day trials of being in high school.

The Review:
The audio presentation for this release makes out well as we get the original Japanese language track in stereo while the English language dub gets a 5.1 bump, both of which are encoded with the Dolby TrueHD lossless codec. The series got a simuldub during broadcast which is the main reason I think this got a dub at all. The show is pretty much dialogue driven and that’s about it as there are no really big moments or areas where it has to really work the soundstage in either stereo or 5.1 formats. What we do get is pretty nice as there’s some decent placement to be had throughout since we often have multiple characters hanging out talking and the movement hits up some nice areas as well. There may not be anything that stands out here but both tracks are clean and clear and we didn’t have any problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.

Originally airing in 2016, 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 nine on the first and three on the second. Animated by Doga Kobo, the series works a really nice look where there’s a light softness to it due to the color palette and roundness of the character designs that doesn’t quite get all ethereal but comes close. The colors are really appealing as it hits a certain romantic aspect to how they’re presented which makes it dreamy. That can introduce a fair bit of noise into things depending on how it’s handled but it’s pretty solid throughout and the end result is a clean and appealing looking transfer. Details are well-handled with no breakup and the more fluid areas of animation are smooth and very appealing. Doga Kobo put together a good looking show and the encoding here brings it and its color design to life wonderfully.

The packaging design for this release comes in a slightly thicker than normal Blu-ray case where all four discs for both formats are held on hinges. The set also comes with an o-card that replicates the case artwork nicely, just a touch brighter thanks to the cardstock quality. The front cover has a very fun image of the main and supporting cast together with lots of smiles and silliness set against the leafy background while also drawing on the fun colors to give it some life. The back cover continues the white background with the colorful clovers spread across it as it has some additional character artwork of the core trio. The right side has a nice selection of very colorful and vibrant shots from the show while the rest breaks out the summary of the premise, which with the light orange on white is a touch hard to read with the font size used. The technical grid covers everything cleanly and clearly. The set doesn’t have any show related inserts included but there are two nice panels of additional character artwork from the Japanese releases on the reverse side.

The menus for this release keep things very simple with what it does as we get static screens for both discs as opposed to having various clips play through it. The images use some of the key visual material from the covers set against a white background with some of the green coming in from the widgets on the cover that’s appealing, setting the tone nicely. The right side has the logo along the top and a lot of empty space below it before it gets to the small navigation block that has the standard selections. This works well as both the main menu and the pop-up menu during playback that loads quickly and accesses everything without issue. It’s a minimal menu navigation piece overall but it does what it needs to just not with much style when you get down to it.

This release has no extras, not even the clean opening and closings, because those materials were not available to Funimation. It’s unfortunate because TOHO produced a slew of extras that they streamed with music videos and promos and other events that would have been great to see. But even cutting them out of clean versions of the opening and closing sequences is just strange.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Originally known as Sansha Sanyo, the Three Leaves, Three Colors anime series aired as part of the spring 2016 season with animation by Doga Kobo. The project is based on the manga series from Cherry Arai that’s been running in Manga Time Kirara since 2003 and has thirteen volumes out to date. The show is one that got a lot of promotion in the lead-up to its broadcast, which got a simulcast and a simuldub from Funimation, with TOHO bringing out a slew of promos, music videos, interview bits, and more. While I didn’t see the show during that run I felt like I did because we had what felt like was new promotion for it almost daily. In the end, however, the series is simply just another cute girls doing things in a school setting series, albeit one that’s done with some really nice polish and a few extra tweaks that helps it stand out just a touch. At least for me since I see so many of these things on a regular basis.

The premise is straightforward enough in that we’re introduced to the three high school girls that it focuses on with school getting underway. They’re made up with a familiar template as we get Yoko, a kind of shy girl who has had a rough life as she was from a wealthy family whose business went bankrupt and whose mother died before things began. She’s living on her own in a one-room apartment near campus and is experiencing a lot of things in a “normal” way for the first time but without it being so outlandish in her reaction to it all. She’s doing her best to not have the kind of coldness of someone from her station often has but because she’s been isolated and lonely for so long she’s having a hard time connecting with people.

What helps is that through simple circumstances she meets to other girls from her grade but in a different class than her that she connects with. The first is Futaba, a very outgoing young woman that’s all about the food and is quite the cook as well. She brings a good bit of energy to things and while she isn’t a tomboy you could easily place her in that category in a Western version of the character. Rounding out the core trio is that of Teru, the studious one among them with good grades and a pleasant personality that masks her more abusive side that she takes out on a few other students. She’s a conflict in a lot of ways because she has that element to it that comes out once in a while but we’re given more time in seeing her going crazy over cute animals and the like. The other two that she ends up good friends with helps to ease some of her meaner side but there’s still that core personality trait there.

It takes a little time before the group comes together fully and a lot of it early on is pushed by Yoko as she has to go to their classroom and try to make friends with them. It’s good to see this because it shows that she really wants to have friends and do things with them rather than just being isolated. What ends up drawing them together nicely as it progresses is the little lunches that they have on the school grounds that’s a bit away from everyone else so they have some decent privacy, not that they talk serious about anything or deal with anything of depth. These are light and cheerful conversations for the most part about nothing or just getting some basic understanding of who the others are. A decent bit of it focuses from time to time on Yoko’s background and how uncertain she is about things and there’s some cuteness in the way that a former caretaker of Yoko’s family, Mitsugu, shows up from time to time to keep an eye on her and help her while in between part-time jobs of his own trying to make ends meet after losing his main job in her family’s household.

The series is fairly standard cute girls hanging out material that at least does change up locations fairly regularly and isn’t completely bereft of men in it, though they’re not the focus and there isn’t any relationship drama coming into play. But that isolation ends up grating after a while because there’s nothing here to give it any sort of tension or drama. But that is essentially the design of these kinds of works and that’s something that was appealing when there were just a handful of them before we had a handful each season. Three Leaves, Three Colors hits a lot of familiar material here, from the girls helping out in a shop where they have to wear maid outfits, to dealing with culture festivals, holidays, and the first sleepover for Yoko. That’s at least amusing because heat’s a luxury for her and she has no idea how to even handle this kind of event because it’s never been something she’d done before. Which just reminds you of how the kids of wealth are so disconnected from others in this kind of material.

In Summary:
For fans of the genre, Three Leaves Three Colors follows the standard structure for the most part with a few minor deviations, such as a couple of guys popping in from time to time and a decent supporting cast that moves through regularly. The core trio is just that, the core trio, but it’s not solely about them to the exclusion of all others like some shows end up doing. I like all three of our leads and they have some nice little personality traits to them but there’s nothing deep or rich about them that gives them a truly distinctive personality as opposed to being interchangeable with any number of other shows of a similar nature. The same with the settings, though at least this one doesn’t spend all of its time in school or in a dorm or something. I liked it well enough and enjoyed the experience and I’m very sure that fans of the show will like how well Funimation put together the release in terms of the show itself. I’m still just miffed at how the licensor didn’t allow for anything in the way of extras for it.

Japanese Dolby TrueHD 2.0 Language, English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 Language, English Subtitles

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

Released By: Funimation
Release Date: July 18th, 2017
MSRP: $64.98
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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