What They Say:
The Sakuradas are a perfectly normal family living in a perfectly normal apartment. Ex-cept that their father happens to be a king, making them all royalty. And they’re watched by over 200 surveillance cameras and are kind of their own reality show! There’s also the fact that each sibling has their own special power. Ok…maybe they’re not so normal after all!
The nine Sakurada siblings have a common goal-to become king! But only one can hold the throne, so they must compete to win the hearts and votes of their people. For one year, they’ll campaign their hardest and prove who is most fit to be king. That means making speeches, showing off their special skills, and even becoming…pop idols?! But campaigning is easier for some than others. Especially with powers like transportation, creating clones, or even materializing anything you want! But for middle sister Akane, even the power to control gravity won’t be enough to help her. Between the constant surveillance and embarrassing situations galore, Akane has a long way to go to prove she’s a worthy candidate.
Only one super-powered sibling can take the throne! Who will win the crown?
Set up in a 5.1 English Dolby Surround release and a Japanese 2.0 stereo release, I watched it in the dub mainly because has been a while since I had a 5.1 on a DVD release surprisingly, and it was a fantastic quality, no adjustments required with no issues in terms of the sound being out on sync with the subtitles or the video. A good dub combined with no issues with the subtitles synching (as was able to turn on the subtitles even with the dub on) also helped out a lot as this is good in both languages.
The video is quite a high quality again for a DVD release, 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, adding a lot of colour with the characters and making it shine really well whether it is the idol segments or anything Aka…I mean Scarlett Bloom does. Aside from some obvious sequences, it tends to use mostly traditional animation; 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. Done in full-screen format, it is definitely one of the better non Blu-Ray releases out there.
There was no packaging for this test release.
The menu is pretty basic – the first disc has all the siblings on the menu, whilst the second has Aoi, Akane and Kanade together, both menus have the main title whilst the selections are on a pink speech bubble like effect – with Play All, Episodes, Set Up and on disc 2, Extras. Easy to access and use, but nothing groundbreaking as a DVD release (you can get back to the main menu when watching the show but obviously not pop-up level a la Blu-Ray).
The only extras are on Disc 2, with the clean opening and ending, and trailers for some really good series to be honest – I haven’t seen Laughing Under The Clouds, Jinsei or Ultimate Otaku Teacher, but I confessed to have a smile when Psychic School Wars, Assassination Classroom and especially Snow White With The Red Hair trailers came up…
Castle Town Dandelion, aside from having a very strange name, is not a show I had any knowledge beforehand and doing the research it seems like quite a strange but not overly strange series. Based on an ongoing manga, this short anime is one of those that could have gone a far more awkward note and whilst there are definitely moments of silliness, stupidity, and going the direction you don’t want it to go, it does actually surprise you with some interesting reveals whilst also going a bit for the comedy route.
What surprises you is that it manages to get all the cast (9) enough spotlight that you can remember them and each of their personalities and powers and you can pick a favourite outside of the lead quite easily, and yet despite the ‘competition’ element the fact that it isn’t taken out of hate is a surprise and well…dare I say, pleasant change?
Our main cast is the Sakurada family, a large household with her mother and father having 9 children…oh, and the father is the king of the town. To his credit, he wants his children to have a normal life and tries to make sure that happens.
Expect for the fact each child has a unique superpower, and one of them will be a successor to the king, chosen via an election from all the power living in the town. With bodyguards, cameras watching every move, it isn’t the easiest to try and be a normal child.
Take our lead Akane – a typical schoolgirl in her late teens – she is INCREDIBLY shy and hates attention (she even says if she were king, one of her first rules would be to abolish the cameras ^^)…especially considering her ability is to change the weight of herself and anything she touches (so she can do things like flight)…and manages to also stop purse snatchers whilst flying and showing over her underwear…the first episode pretty much introduces the cast and their powers – ranging from super strength (the youngest boy Teru) to cloning (Misaki, probably my favourite of the bunch), to creation (Kanade…though hilariously creating what she can costs her money), calculation (Haruka, Misaki’s intelligent twin brother), speaking to anything (the ADORABLE Shori, the youngest daughter, who can talk with inanimate objects as well as animals), teleportation (Shu, who at first seems the outsider but not through any fault of his own) and the most intriguing Aoi, who is the current favourite – her ability seems to be memorisation…but that actually becomes a surprising plot point…
The series basically focuses on Akane going through life as she decides whether to try and focus becoming king…whilst at the same time trying to avoid dealing with embarrassment (a hard job when public speaking for the election is one of the things…) and usually involving one of the siblings. Outside of Akane, the ones who gets the most developments are Shu and Kanade – Kanade seems a very off-putting character at first, has a pleasant face for her friends but is quite sarcastic with Akane and yet she is also quite kind as we learn and especially for her reason for why she wants to be King (which in turn is also the reason Shu wants to stop her when we learn it)…Shu get this because of his relationship with her, as well as a good older brother (albeit very slightly off-putting when we learn he is #2 of an Akane fan-club) and even gets a girlfriend in Hana, a normal girl who is quite funny and cute – but these three along with Aoi become the core focus.
Not to say the other characters don’t get their moment – the contrast, and am impressed in 12 episodes they managed to make them all quite likeable and well known. Hikari, for example, has the ability to age herself or other living objects – usually making herself older or making others younger (like Akane when another embarrassing thing happens) – she laters becomes an idol which brings up a fine side story with a rival/friend in Saccharin who seems to not like how royalty get a free pass in life, and part of their story is changing that idea. The kids, Teru and Shiori are SO CUTE that even though they don’t get as much as the older kids, they still get their moments (Shiori talks to a dog to avoid one problem, but when another is a bit more violent, Teru uses his strength to save his little sister) – of course comedy is still order of the day, one episode has a segment where Akane actually forgets she put on her skirt and is…stared at a fair bit (showcasing she has a fanclub) whilst another segment has the gang at a private beach, and another showcases Misaki in the limelight as we see she uses her clones as best as she can to help friends and family…but also the clones are representatives of Misaki’s personality as seen by the 7 deadly sins so….
It comes to play though when Aoi, Kanade and Shu are focused on. Kanade’s reason for wanting to be king is that she never forgave herself when she accidentally was the cause of an injury to Shu’s leg, stopping his dream of being a soccer player so she wants to be king to advance the medical industry to help him whilst he isn’t happy that she wants to be King just for him and wishes he would do it for her own reasons. Aoi on the other hand, is by far the favourite – beautiful, kind, outstanding student…yet clearly doesn’t want to be king. This ties in to what her actual ability is – which actually makes others do her commands and she stops using it as she fears as king if she used it on her subjects, giving her a good dynamic about the fact that she is a genuinely lovely girl, yet worries that she has no true friends. This is why Akane despite her shyness, is such a likeable lead, because for her family, she is upstanding and always helps out – reassuring Aoi that she does have true friends and family…
The story eventually gets to the election – with Haruka calculating that Aoi is going to win – with all the cast getting their chance, the big one is Akane starting to catch up mainly due to the fact that to avoid her nervousness out in public, she dons the outfit of a superhero known as Scarlet Bloom – with the joke that everyone knows it is Akane but they play along – making her even more lovable to the citizens (and audience to be fair) whilst also exploring her past and why she hates the spotlight. She noticeably becoming more comfortable with people, with Kanade, Shu and Aoi all getting their moments with them, and the rest getting some fun moments as well, but the finale is basically Aoi revealing her true power…and the conclusion to the election when something threatens them all, the siblings work together and one of them manages to cause an upset…
I will admit that the premise of this series definitely could have gone some really dodgy routes (and looking at research, subtext is still there sadly…) but fortunately the anime doesn’t go that route and instead focuses on quite a cute comedy with some surprisingly characterization. I’m impressed as Akane, Kanade, Shu and Aoi all get some good development, and everyone else at least gets a moment in the spotlight (HIkari gets some good ones as an idol in particular, the punch line is that she is going under an assumed name…so getting popular won’t make a difference in the election as no-one knows it’s her) – all the siblings also hold no grudges, in fact a lot help others (Aoi and Kanade try and help Akane with her shyness, whilst little Shiori helps her big bro Teru with his speeches, Misaki and Harada are twins so they genuinely stay together (albeit with some amusing circumstances when the clones pretty much control what they do) whilst the Shu/Kanade relationship is always interesting – especially when you see at the beginning of the series Shu is in last place but slowly climbs up (maybe due to his new relationship?) once any chains have been removed so to speak…
I can’t say this is one of these series that is destined for my top 50 – it’s not exactly rocket science and some of the comedy moments can insight a bit of cringe. But to be honest, I laughed more though this than I had a right to. Combined with Akane being such a likeable lead (and getting good character development) in her cute, clumsy way, especially with Aoi as a counter lead as a popular beauty but scared of her powers and thinking that’s the only reason when she is popular (the birthday episode was a minor tearjerker when it showcase that Aoi is genuinely loved…) – and the fact the show manages to get the story done, making well known characters (and likeable ones too) and concluding surprisingly but also effectively, I can’t really fault it either.
It’s a turn your brain off series whilst you smile. And sometimes that’s all you want.
Castle Town Dandelion is definitely a pleasant surprise out there. Not exactly amazing, but not bad in the slightest, it is one of those fun little comedies that even adds some surprisingly character develops with quite a number of the cast, and with little stories there, whether it is Kanade’s reason for wanting to be king, Hikari’s fun journey as an idol, Aoi’s true power, Shu getting a girlfriend, Akane being braver, or just awing at Shiori whenever she is on the screen, it is a fun little series that should get you a smile once per episode, and more often a chuckle or two. Sweet, yet insightful, a surprising gem.
Content Grade: B+
Audio Grade: B+
Video Grade: B+
Packaging Grade: N/A
Menu Grade: B-
Extras Grade: C-
Released By: Anime Limited
Release Date: October 30th, 2017
Running Time: 300 minutes
Video Encoding: PAL
Aspect Ratio: 16:9 – 1.78:1
Playstation 4, Sony Bravia 32 Inc EX4 Television, Aiwa 2 Way Twin Duct Bass Reflex Speaker System.