What They Say:
This Kinmoza! collection contains episodes 1-12 across 1 Blu-ray disc and 2 bonus DVD discs.
Shinobu Oomiya once left Japan to participate in a homestay in England. During her time there, she became close friends with Alice Cartelet, the daughter of the family she was living with. However, when it was time for Shinobu to return to Japan, the two were able to express their sorrow despite the language barrier between them.
Five years later, now a first year student in high school, Shinobu receives a letter by air mail in a language she does not understand. This letter is penned by none other than Alice, detailing her own homestay in Japan. In fact, Alice will be attending Shinobu’s high school and living with her! Alongside their friends Youko Inokuma, Aya Komichi, and Karen Kujou, the five girls attend school together and learn about what their different cultures have to offer, day after day.
Reviewing the DVD version which was set up in Stereo 2.0 in Japanese only so no 5.1 release but is still an acceptable quality but a bit of tinkering of the volume was needed to make it of an acceptable quality, though there weren’t any issues in terms of the sound being out on sync with the subtitles or the video. Sadly no dub (though understandable as half the jokes probably wouldn’t work because of a couple of actual English speakers in the show) but with the no issues with the subtitles synching also helped out a lot as this helped during the change of scenes from Japanese to English in particular, making it quite fun to listen to.
The video is of a decent quality, with no noticeable issues with lag or video in poor resolution during viewing – it actually considering the series is fairly recent feels like a Blu-Ray release, being very colourful and flowing, there are no delays with timing with subtitles with animation in either language or slowdown with normal rates or via pausing where the animation can become fuzzy.
There was no packing for this test release, however if you order the special edition, the release is packed inside 14 mm Blu-ray Case, with a Plastic O-card, and rigid Collector s Box.
The menu on all three discs is pretty basic – each disc has all the girls on in a smiling pose which is pretty much diabetes on the screen – the selections are done episode style on the left hand screen with the options below (which is just special features as there’s only one audio option though you can if you wish turn the subtitles off). Easy to navigate and like a lot of the more recent DVD releases the selections are at near Blu-Ray speed so no delay when selecting nowadays which is always welcome.
On Disc 1, we have trailers for the following shows; From The New World, Yuyushiki, Uta No Prince Sama 2000%, Mayo Chiki, Fate/Kaleid Liner Prisma Illya and Fantasista Doll. We also have DVD credits and on the second disc we have the clean opening and ending.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Oh god…this series. ^^ Being a more recent series with a prominent British character in it, I of course was asked about this series more than once. The first episode which is legit based on a British Bread & Breakfast made me interested especially as it had a reputation as a cute slice of life series, which are my bread and butter in terms of just wanting to enjoy a show, and am glad to say Kiniro Mosiac (full title) did that.
The first episode draws you in immediately with great animation and a mostly accurate representation when it comes to UK sights before our lead, a naïve but lovable Japanese girl named Shinobu who is on a homestay visit in England, and is staying with a family named the Cartelets, and of note is their adorable daughter named Alice. A combination of the language barrier and culture clash (Alice: JAPANESE GIRLS ARE SCARRRYYYYY!!!) makes for good comedy, but the two manage to communicate with their actions and become friends despite that. The two bond until Shinobu has to return to Japan, with Alice saying she will visit Shinobu in Japan….
Cut to 5 years later and Shinobu received some air-mail but despite her running want to be an interpreter, fails to read it as in English (with her older sister Isami just smiling off to the side) and meets up with her best friends Aya and Youko. Cue a blond haired girl asking in perfect Japanese where the class is and if they know a girl named Shinobu…
So we have the reunion between Shinobu and Alice, and it is so sugary sweet, cute and lovey duvey that you need to put a diabetes warning half the time…the other half it’s just comedy gold. Being a slice-of-life, there isn’t a huge plot of the show, it is basically the girls having fun, studying, etc. However you have Shinobu’s British/Blond Hair fetish combined with Alice pretty much joined at the hip with Shino and you get some real fun moments…
With Alice staying at Shinos’ house, there are a lot of moments for fun. Asami, Shinobu’s sister, is a model and photographer and seems to delight with all the cute girls available for photography, whilst Alice tries not to get homesick but also create rivalries with her teacher over the affection over Shnobu. We get in episode 3 a wonderful new character named Karen Kujo, a half British, half Japanese girl who taught her Japanese back in England…with Alice not realizing she was in Japan. Whilst Alice is quite reserved and shy, Karen is much more outgoing and fun loving to the point Alice even gets jealous as Shinobu seems to like her more…on the flip side, the show DOES actually talk about how Karen doesn’t seem to fit in being an outsider which leads to Aya and Youko (who have the dynamic of a shy girl and outgoing girl and Aya definitely seems to have some sort of feelings for Youko as well) talking how they become friends despite their different dynamics. The girls are a lot of fun, and it also helps that their teacher Karasuma also has her moments as well, making it quite the comedy troupe.
It does have its moments of development as well – Alice for example learns to curb her jealousy as he has equal feelings for Karen and Shinobu and works round it, whilst Aya also worries about Youko when she gets a love letter (again, you can definitely tie in that this show has a definite girls love vibe) and then you get Aya’s relationship with Shinobu so despite the short length (though a sequel is available and coming soon as well to the UK) it does go round the main girls and their relationships with each other…but of course also give us fun cute things like the western vs. Japanese café that the girls wanted to do (guess who wanted to do what…).
It is a pretty much standard slice-of-life series with a strong focus on cute girls and comedy. But there is some depth in there of the friendships – there is one episode where Aya invites everyone for the night as her parents are out, and she accidentally slaps Youko’s hand away when she touches her hair. She thinks she’s ruined their friendship…when Youko didn’t even consider it and seeing Aya’s worry and especially when they get matching notebooks shows that in terms of a friendship story, they may be a boke/tsukkomi dynamic but it is really sweet and moving at times.
The key dynamic though is Alice/Shinobu – near the end one of my favourite episodes is the Xmas one where Alice gets a nightmare that Shinobu doesn’t love her anymore because she is becoming more Japanese. So the next day she speaks in English throughout which actually makes Shinobu more worried for her. Like Aya/Youko, the dynamic of the two is incredibly sweet but also can be moving. Granted, the comedy usually offsets these moments but it does tie in the two genres together surprisingly well. When they try to be dramatic, it is for more mundane things (like when the girls are in separate classes in their 2nd year…only realising they can easily be reunited during their breaks, Alice still gets depressed though ^^) and it just adds to the humour.
There is nothing hugely thought-provoking about Kinmoza and it isn’t going to win any anime of the year award in terms of being in-depth or intelligent. But sometimes you don’t need that all the time and just want a chill fun series, and this is one of my favourites. There is nothing I can say that is actually bad about it – the humour is spot on, the characters are fun and surprisingly developed when it comes to their relationships and characterisation (Karen’s representation is spot on for example) – it’s just not going to be a series for everyone. But as a pure slice-of-life comedy with some relationship development, it will definitely be slipped into my player when am feeling a bit down.
Kinmoza is one of those series that you’re only not going to like if the concept of the ‘moe’ girls or shoujo-ai hints isn’t your thing or you want an in-depth intelligent series. It isn’t thought provoking or makes you go wow, but it is one of those nice in-between series you can watch after something like Ghost In The Shell or Psycho-Pass to get your smiles in – it is a good comedy, the girls are a lot of fun, and with a sequel on the way, I do want to see more – plus where is it when we actually get English characters in anime that aren’t either villains or jerks? Karen and Alice? GOOD JOB!
Cleaning Opening/Ending, Trailers, Episode Commentaries
Content Grade: B+
Audio Grade: B+
Video Grade: B
Packaging Grade: N/A
Menu Grade: B-
Extras Grade: C-
Released By: Manga Entertainment UK
Release Date: October 9th, 2017
Running Time: 291 minutes
Video Encoding: 480i/p MPEG-2
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Playstation 4, Sony Bravia 32 Inc EX4 Television, Aiwa 2 Way Twin Duct Bass Reflex Speaker System.