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Plastic Little Anime DVD Review

7 min read

Twenty-five years later, it’s still a whole lot of nostalgia – and jiggling.

What They Say
Plastic Little has it all, from epic undersea battles and entire cities collapsing, to a ruthless villain to end all villains and the roughest, toughest, tomboy heroine to ever strut her stuff in a spandex wet-suit! Plastic Little is set on the breathtakingly beautiful planet Yietta, which supports a thriving metropolis of colonists who make their living by exploiting tourists and by exporting the planet’s unique resources to the omnipresent Galactic Federation.

The Review:
Audio: 
The audio presentation for this release brings us the original Japanese language track in stereo encoded at 192kbs while the English mix has the remastered 5.1 mix encoded at 448kbps. This release came during the 10th-anniversary period for the show which with this re-release earned it a boost with the Ensligh language dub. The score is much fuller here and enveloping than the original stereo mix. Dialogue throughout the show comes across pretty much just as a forward soundstage setup, but overall this is a good mix. Both mixes are pretty good overall and the Japanese side handles what it has pretty well with some mild directionality at times but a good clean presentation overall. We didn’t have any problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.

Video: 
Originally released in 1994, the transfer for this OVA is presented in its original full frame aspect ratio. The release is a bit of a mixed work when you get down to it because of its age, but the good outweighs the bad. The 45-minute OVA was animated by KSS and was quite a popular one at the time of its original release. It’s got some great production values to it with good coloring that it’s overly vibrant and overall very realistic style. There’s jaggies to be seen during camera panning sequences, but the main offense you’ll see in various places is cross coloration, and I’d almost say it feels like there’s more here than the original release, but that’s more due to the changes in our setup over the two years than anything else. It’s not overly strong or annoying thankfully, but it does show up throughout the program.

Packaging: 
This release, the inaugural title in the Essential Anime line at the time, finally moved beyond the artwork that was used for all prior releases. This instance works with a really clean and detailed full cast shot of the crew of the Cha Cha Maru. While I really like the cover that was used before since it shows off Tita’s round shiny posterior, it’s good to see something new here. The front cover also has the additional changes of a small strip along the top listing it as part of the ‘Essential Anime Collection’ in purple while a similar purple stripe along the bottom mentions it being remastered in 5.1 audio. The spine also gets these stripe, but it takes up about 30% of the space here. Interestingly, this actually looks fairly decent when stacked against multiple Essential Anime releases as it gives them a group feeling. The ‘EA’ logo is a curious piece, it looks like a ghost from pac-man but with straight line eyes and looks pissed off while each ear has an E and A in it.

The back cover uses the Tita artwork from the original release set against a really nice image of Elysse with stars in her hair. The discs features and technical information is all very well laid out and easy to find. The front side of the insert is the same as the original with three of the women in their bathing suits, highlighting just how nipple-tastic they are. The reverse side lists the chapters and extras with a grayscale version of the front cover.

So. You don’t like the front cover because of the purple stripe, eh? Offends your artistic sensibilities? Makes the package feel cheap? Just gets your panties in a bunch? Well, not only did ADV provide a reversible cover, they made a dual one, allowing you to have your choice of up to three different covers. In addition to the main one with the Essential Anime logo, you can get the nipple-tastic swimsuit insert image as a cover or an enlarged version of the back cover artwork with Tita and Elysse that simulates the original release to some extent. No mention of Essential Anime is found on the reverse side and the text is left to just the title itself and a single ADV logo on each piece. Covers like these are going to make people demand them be the norm I’m gambling.

Extras: 
With this release, the rating for the extras is skewed by one particular piece. The infamous “jiggle counter”. When selected via this submenu, the way you view the show changes fairly dramatically. During playback, the show goes on as normal. In fact, it’s almost ten minutes before the jiggle counter gets underway. When the character’s breasts begin to jiggle, the counter (shaped like a pair of breasts no less) appears in the upper right-hand corner of the screen and starts adding with each new jiggle. It’s hilarious and its application to so many other shows is limitless. The disc also features such steady extras such as the sketches & storyboards.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Plastic Little definitely has a feeling of nostalgia for me and a fondness for the early days of domestic releases, one that I felt years and years ago and even more so now as we get into the 25th-anniversary of it. At the time, the animation was probably close to theatrical level at times with gorgeous looking colors and beautiful character designs. The designs were so good that I even sought out a book that Satoshi Urushihara had put out that showed off his great skills.

Plastic Little is definitely a simple story that’s made better by the characters, even if half of them are left pretty shallow. The show revolves around Tita, the captain of the Cha Cha Maru, a pet shop hunter ship. Pet shop hunters are people who take their craft into the clouds of the colony they’re on and hunt out various weird creatures that live in there. These creatures sell for good money, so it’s a profitable if not dangerous line of work.

The ship that they use is currently undergoing some final repairs while the crew enjoys a much-deserved break. Tita and company are staying at a great hotel, which is where we first meet her waking up alone in bed. She heads off into the city to grab lunch for everyone and then to the ship. But it’s here where things start to go wrong for her. A group of black-clad soldiers end up chasing a young girl right by her and begin to use force to capture her. This doesn’t sit well with Tita, who knows better, turns her bike around and takes out the soldiers and rescues the girl.

This, of course, is no ordinary girl. She’s the daughter of a scientist who’s been working on a project for a segment of the military that operates the floating colony. Apparently said scientist learned after he completed his work on a new type of gravity drive that it was going to be used for evil purposes. Those gents in full black getups didn’t tip him off at all. So in a mad dash to prevent catastrophe, he hides the password in his daughter’s DNA and sends her to the colony while he gets butchered. So in-between bath scenes with young nubile girls and those peeping on them, we get a decent chase/adventure tale where Tita must protect Elysse from the black suited goon squad while also trying to save the colony. It’s a typical tale in that respect that makes out with some better than average style and character designs and a bit of an attitude.

The jiggle counter ends up changing things a lot though. You start to argue with it over what constitutes a jiggle. And when you start doing that, expect your wife to have a few choice words for you. This little extra perk is a lot of fun with this release and definitely adds to its charm. Satoshi is definitely known for his characters ability to jiggle and bounce at near-Gainax levels.

In Summary: 
At the time ADV Films released this back in 2004, the main focus was primarily on how it fits into the then-new Essential Anime line and the upgrades it had gotten due to it being a 10th-anniversary release. It may be childish but I still laugh at the jiggle counter and the kind of creativity that came from it, which pushed studios to figure out more tricks with the DVD format. That all falls to the wayside years later now and I’m left just enjoying a simple OVA that has a lot of fun with its characters, situations, and general unfolding. It’s not anything that goes in a big way when you get down to it but it hits a certain sweet spot as it’s a fun romp but it also harkens back to the early days of legal anime coming out and there’s a whole lot of nostalgia associated with that.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language, English 5.1 Language, English Subtitles, Sketches & Storyboards, Jiggle Counter

Content Grade: B
Audio Grade: B+
Video Grade: B
Packaging Grade: A
Menu Grade: B
Extras Grade: A

Released By: ADV Films
Release Date: March 16th, 2004
MSRP: $19.98
Running Time: 50 Minutes
Video Encoding: 480i/p MPEG-2
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1

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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