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Hello! Kinmoza! Complete Season 2 UK Anime DVD Review

10 min read

…O.K, even I’m a sucker for some cute comedy series – not biased at all because of the British theme…honest…

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.

The Review:
Audio:
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.

Video:
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.

Packaging:
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.

Menu:
The menu on the 2 discs is pretty basic – disc 1 has Alice in a cute outfit and disc 2 has Karen in a…cute outfit – the selections are done episode style on the right side (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.

Extras:
There is only the clean opening and ending on the special features of disc 2.

Content:
The sequel to Hello Kinmoza is a follow up to the 2013 series – the sequel/follow up was released in 2015, and for those who read my previous review, I definitely have a fondness of this series – the moe style shows tend to be hit or miss for me, but I have a soft spot for this one. Maybe it’s the British characters in it, maybe it’s the implied shoujo-ai moments…

…or maybe because it is really really funny. The follow up actually is an improvement due to the established relationships, but adding some characters to add even more dynamic (two in particular are excellent, maybe because they give Karen some needed development) and the comedy really ups combined with the friendships continuing – it is a combination of laugh out loud moments and utter sweetness – sometimes it just needs to be a pleasant show and it can be a firm favourite, not through any huge plot development or intelligent writing, just through being pure fun.

Like the previous season, it is very episodic – being a 4 koma comedy series that suits it, older fans could make a comparison to the great Azumanga Daioh series – but with the character relationships already established it just bursts in with the fun. The initial joke is that Shinobu and Aya are in a different class to Alice, Karen and Yoko, and with Shinobu/Alice and Aya/Yoko pretty much stuck to each other, just moments away from each other feels like torture which is done in comic ways (ranging from using hair to a hugging pillow of Shinobu). The one big new thing is Karen’s homeroom teacher is a woman named Kuzehashi, who may be my favourite character of the show. She is a stern teacher who seems to always catch Karen whenever she says or does something silly, but in reality, she loves her students and thinks of them as cute, and wants to get along with them, but she doesn’t know how and always comes off as stern. This added to the fact she is good friends with the laid back Karasama, means the dynamic between the duo is almost sempai/kohai (there’s even a flashback episode when the two teachers were younger) and this also helps Karen who seems to be the odd one out due to the dynamic between Yoko/Aya and Shinobu/Alice is pretty concrete. Karen was my fave of the girls but it felt whilst she could bounce off any of the girls (particularly Alice or Shinobu) it felt she needed someone personally to bounce off….Kuzehashi is able to do that well as a teacher, but for a fellow student…

…which brings us to the 2nd new character (well technically she was introduced in Season 1 but only a very minor role) Honoka, who pretty much becomes Karen’s best friend (or something more if you believe the signs considering it is very clear that Honoka has a major crush on her) – the initial characterisation was simply Honoka is one of the girls who likes given Karen snacks but it is clear she is pretty much a more mature version of Shinobu – as in they BOTH have a blond hair fetish. And it leads to quite a few comical moments when Honoka gets into the circle of friends, especially when it is revealed she works at a restaurant and tries to hide her face…and yet Karen immediately knows it’s her from her mannerisms and voice despite the disguise. Also the fact she thinks her and Alice are royalty gives some truly LOL moments throughout…

With these two characters helping to balance off the whole group along with Shinobu’s laid back but smart sister Isami, it is pretty much an adventure style anime with the girls doing things. A lot of what they do is clichéd, but with some additions. For example, Shinobu in one episode wants to do a British style tea party, all dressed up, elegant (and we remember that Shinobu has a hidden talent as a clothes designer)….and then reality sinks in as it takes forever to make the cookies so they eat them together at school the next day. Another episode is more serious when Alice is worried about a plant she planted at school…though intermixed with some comedy with Aya’s bangs and her crush on Yoko. The episode that parodies the Straw Millionaire, a Japanese tale where a man exchanged item after item before becoming rich leads to Alice getting a ring from Karen (just from a bottle of water) worth about 10,000 yen…only for sly Isami getting it by ‘trading’ Shinobu to her…who is of course, priceless.

It’s not in-depth, it’s just fun. Any interaction Honoka has with Karen or Shinobu is both cute and hilarious, Karen ‘running away from home’ over some miscommunication combined with her broken English…but then leads into a more sweet tale of Alice and Karen’s relationship back in England and it shows how much Alice means to Karen. Karen as mentioned was always my favourite of the girls but thanks to being given other characters to bounce off, she comes out even better as an absolute sweetheart.

There’s an obligatory beach episode but again, fanservice is very minimal (though Karen plays the dirty old man over Yoko’s bust) – we also get introduced to Yoko’s siblings who are compulsive yet adorable liars, and actually help out Aya in being more honest with Yoko – the beach also has the two teachers interacting (leading to one hilarious moment when Alice is away from the group for a few minutes buying drinks, Shinobu panics thinking she’s lost gets on the tannoy to find a blond haired girl who looks like an elementary student…the teachers immediately think of how cute Alice is but conclude it couldn’t’ possibly be her ^^) leading to how the two see each other and their teaching styles with Kuzehashi wanting to improve and smiling properly.

The last couple of episodes have Karen and Alice going to England during the holiday (Alice happily reunited with her dog Poppy when one episode she clearly missed the pup) which of course puts Shinobu down in the dumps, but it also proves the friendship between her, Yoko and Aya which was the original trio before Alice joins (and later Karen) and despite Shinobu’s quirks, the trio are inseparable. It leads to the fact that despite Shinobu’s skills as a potential seamstress or costume designer, her dream is to be an interpreter and despite her poor grades, the group all tell her to follow her dreams. It screams to see this being followed up to see if Shinobu can follow on her dream but for now, time will tell…

This show just clicks with me. It’s not over the top, fairly realistic but also ridiculously cute but not to the point where that’s the selling point. I’m sure it helps but the show is genuinely a ton of fun and all the cast are extremely likeable mainly due to their developing relationships – sure, Shinobu and Alice missing each other for more than a few moments can be a strange but it is quite cute and funny (it could have gone to creepier levels and yes, there are a few moments that seem to head that direction with a lock of hair or the pillow but always ends with a comeback line by whoever involved before moving onto the next segment) – I so love the new girls though – Kuzehashi wanting to be loved by her students but is shy and her attempts come out stern – it gives her a great dynamic with the happy go lucky Karen as it comes to the two getting along and Kuzehashi being embarrassed, but I really love the friendship Karen gets with Honoka. Whilst Honoka’s own blond hair love gives her a comrade in Shinobu, it’s definitely a different take seeing her and Alice as royalty and getting nervous just asking for e-mail addresses and phone numbers, despite Karen being the kind of girl who would do it easily. I really hope if they do this as a third season, we can see what she gets up as she is getting to be good at tennis (with a hilarious way to psyche herself up)…

Of course, the main girls are the key draw and because we know what they are like (unless for some reason you skipped the 1st season) – Shinobu is very ditzy with hidden talents but no school skills, Alice is the mini-moe girl, shorter than the average one and wanting to grow up yet she is more heroic than she thinks, Aya being the stern girl who is just as silly as the others and Yoko the tomboy but she gets some development due to her siblings and the Aya/Yoko relationship really hits all the buttons with Aya getting very tsundere and embarrassed a lot throughout. It adds up as a group of characters who can bounce off each other and make comedy gold throughout.

This isn’t one of those series I give a high grade because of it’s amazing story or intelligent writing, this is a high grade turn your brain off series, laugh out loud, enjoy the characters, both new and old, and feel that warm fuzz in your heart from the cute cast being fun, sweet and enjoying their life.

In Summary:
Hello!!! Kin-iro Mosiac is not a series for everyone and I’m sure the concept is very familiar as a 4-koma comedy shoujo-ai like series – the British influence adds a little difference but it’s still very similar – but it somehow works throughout that the smile on your face is throughout the 12 episodes. Nothing felt rushed, the relationships established and the new ones developed, it’s very fun, very sweet, very cute and very entertaining. Definitely one to watch after a bad day or one to chill out after watching anything dark or hard to figure out. Give it a shot.

Features:
Episode Commentaries

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

Released By: Manga Entertainment UK
Release Date: July 2nd, 2018
MSRP: £39.99
Running Time: 300 minutes
Video Encoding: PAL
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen

Review Equipment:
PlayStation 4, Sony Bravia 32 Inc EX4 Television, Aiwa 2 Way Twin Duct Bass Reflex Speaker System.

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