What They Say:
Hello Kitty loves learning new things, and now that Kitty and her twin sister Mimmy have three new friends, it seems like there’s never enough time for all the adventures they could have. But that doesn’t mean that they’re not going to try! From experimenting with shapes and learning to take care of flowers, to studying dance and the rules for visiting other people’s houses, it’s all very educational and exciting. If you want to have lots of fun and discover new and amazing things, come join Kitty, Mimmy and the three Berry children, Amy, Eric, and Harry, and share the friendship and wonder as they explore the world around them!
The audio presentation for this series brings us the show in its original Japanese language as well as the new English language dub, both of which are in stereo and encoded at 224kbps. The show isn’t anything really outstanding when it comes to its audio but it does have a good stereo mix, particularly for the music and opening vocal, that gives it a good warm feeling. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout and we had no problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.
Originally released via SVOD in 2017, the transfer for this series is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and is enhanced for anamorphic playback. Being that it is Hello Kitty, the materials here are very bright and colorful in nature and go for a mix when it comes to the design, where some backgrounds look like they were crayoned while others are full solid feels. Each of them maintains a great solid look to them with no noticeable blocking or pixelation to it. The transfer is also very clean when it comes to areas such as cross coloration and aliasing and is pretty much pristine across the board. The opening and closing segments have their credits translated into English which isn’t a surprise but that appears to be the only difference between this and the original.
The packaging for this release comes in a standard sized DVD keepcase that goes for bright and colorful as we get Kitty in the middle and a nice visual of three of her friends just below her, everyone mostly all smiles. There are lots of colorful balloons around them and the logo is a big messy rainbow of colors that works within the context of grabbing the eyes of kids. The back cover has a few shots from the show and a decent sized summary of the premise in the middle. The discs production information is easy to check out as is the very clearly listed information in the technical grid. The release doesn’t have any inserts nor a reversible cover, keeping things simple and basic.
I was glad to see that this is a kid-friendly release in that after the load-up trailers and company logo it went right to the show itself instead of to the menu. The menu layout, which comes up at the end of all the episodes or whenever you key the button for it, is a very basic piece that has some cute character artwork in the middle and is surrounded by all the episodes that you can select. The bottom set of navigation has things such as the languages and extras, all of which is set to a brief bit of music from the show. Kids don’t care about menus anyway but the access times are nice and fast and the disc did read our players’ language presets and played accordingly.
The only extras included are the clean versions of the opening and closing sequences.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
With the first set of this release, I had talked about how welcome it was to get something so simple and basic without it trying to overdo the lessons. Hello Kitty & Friends keeps it simple and at its intended young audience where it’s really just trying to teach them the basics. Yes, parents should do this and they do. But there’s good creative reinforcement of it through shows like this to help and the more ways you see it enacted in “real world” situations helps kids to learn. This certainly isn’t a show for most anime fans and I’m long past the time that I’ll need it until grandkids come my way someday far in the future, but I’m able to just sit back and enjoy the basic kind of silliness that exists in this show.
It’s actually a great kind of little palette cleanser in a way.
The premise for the episodes here build upon what came before where it is fairly simple and without a lot in the way of introductions since we know our core cast. Kitty has connected well with Amy and Eric along with Harry and they all get into some cute little shenanigans, finding games to play together or giving some of the group the side eye over things that they do. This comes particularly in an episode about following rules at a friends house as the boys (always the boys, it seems) played outside a lot and came in dirty but don’t clean themselves up. The girls give them some grief over it as they cause more problems with furniture and paintings by how they play and it gets them a good talking to. It’s effective in that we don’t get the mother just yelling at them but rather the group telling them that they wouldn’t want that at their house and to realize each home has its own rules.
Another episode has some of them meeting a friend that teaches dance and a couple are shy and embarrassed over it since they don’t think they dance well. Which is hard to hear since one of them was just having a real blast dancing recently but now that there’s a group he’s all shut down over it. That has everyone else encouraging them gently to join in and enjoying themselves, hoping to draw them out. We also get lessons on taking care of flowers and what it means to borrow things from people and what’s involved in lending your own items and how to handle it. It’s all good little kid stuff presented in the familiar Hello Kitty niceness that will largely connect with the bulk of little kids.
Hello Kitty is Hello Kitty. Fans know what they’re getting into for the most part and I imagine those that buy everything they find about the character will get this. But mostly I expect these are bought by parents for little kids and that they’re going to be in places where you usually don’t find anime. Sentai’s releases are nicely done with a good selection of stories to help kids learn and grow as the title says and it has a cute little dub to it that must have been a welcome change of pace for the voice actors considering some of their other projects. It’s the kind of title where it is what it is and you know what you’re getting into as it’s a childhood education project. I’m hopeful Sentai Kids will go after some other kids series (I’ve got a list of ‘em!) and that this is just the start.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English 2.0 Language, English Subtitles, Clean Opening Animation, Clean Closing Animation
Content Grade: B-
Audio Grade: B+
Video Grade: B
Packaging Grade: B
Menu Grade: B-
Extras Grade: B-
Released By: Sentai Kids
Release Date: November 20th, 2018
Running Time: 70 Minutes
Video Encoding: 480i/p MPEG-2
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen
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.