What They Say:
This world has lots of problems, but after doing grown-up things all day, adults never have the time or energy to fix them! Kids, on the other hand, have LOTS of energy and lots more free time as well. That’s why Yui, Sat-chan and Kotoha, three elementary school girls who live in Ueno, have formed COLORS, a secret organization that protects their town from whatever real or imagined menace happens to catch their attention.
A monster cat who’s also a cat burglar? They’re on the case! A horrible surplus of bananas? They’ll sell the case! And a bomb that needs diffusing? Well, they might need a little help on that one, just in case! The local cop might think they’re a nuisance, but everyone else can sleep better tonight knowing these three heroines are saving the world!
The audio presentation for this release brings us the original Japanese language track in stereo along with an English language dub, both of which are encoded using the DTS-HD MA lossless codec. The series has a few fantastical moments from time to time but largely operates in the realm of the slice of life genre. That means it’s pretty dialogue-oriented throughout and there’s some nice placement with it in how it sets the stage with the three girls. This can bring in some decent depth from time to time in how they’re laid out and what they’re interacting with, but a lot of it is a standard and natural design that flows across the forward soundstage. The music is the richest part of it as you’d expect in this lossless form and we didn’t have any dropouts or distortions during regular playback of either language track.
Originally airing in 2018, the transfer for this TV series is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 in 1080p using the AVC codec. The twelve episode series is spread across two discs with nine on the first and three on the second. Animated by Silver Link, the show is one that works with a number of vibrant colors that fit perfectly, giving it something that really stands out beautifully. There are a lot of detailed backgrounds working off real locations and that gives it a very rich and lived-in feeling as you’d expect, but it blends well with the character animation. The kids change their outfits regularly which is a huge plus and the variety of color and design is very well produced here. The solidity of the colors is spot on and the encoding keeps it from blockiness or noise during regular playback. I love the visual design of the show and the job done on bringing it to home video here is pretty strong overall.
The packaging for this release is a really great one that uses a great style to capture that feeling of spring in a way that’s incredibly hard to pin down, almost dream-like. The front cover gives us the core trio in illustration style set against s very detailed background with the stalls and it looks great under the trees. Even more surprising is that the multicolored logo works as well as it does, feeling like it blends in just right as opposed to being starkly overlaid on top of it. The back cover extends the background here and we get a solid summary of the premise, listing of extras, and a few cute shots from the show of varying sizes. The production credits are a bit minimal but we get a wonderfully colorful technical grid for a change of pace that’s really appealing as it covers how the set is put together accurately and easily. No show related inserts are included nor is there a reversible cover.
Sticking to the same style as the cover, the two menus for this release are static images that work the rich illustration style with so many colors that it’s just beautiful. There are more locations visited here where the first disc gives us an orange/fall feeling as they’re outside feeding some animals while the second disc plays to the spring with them on a swan boat ride with so many pinks in the sakura blosoms. They’re just beautiful pieces all around that sets the mood wonderfully. The navigation along the let works a few different colors with a kind of whimsical approach that works nicely as we get the episodes by number and title as well as any submenus as needed. Both work well as the main menu or the pop-up menu during regular playback with quick access and easy movement.
The only extras included here are the clean versions of the opening and closing sequences.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Based on the manga by Katsuwo, Mitsuboshi Colors is a twelve episode anime series that aired in the winter 2018 season. It was directed by Tomoyuki Kawamura with Shogo Yasukawa overseeing the scripts and made out wonderfully with Silver Link bringing it to life. The original manga began back in 2014 in Monthly Comic Dengeki Daioh and has five volumes out as of this writing, so it’s your standard slice of life kind of work that adapts pretty well into this form. Though we’ve seen dozens and dozens of such projects over the years there are those that stand out a bit more in what they do sometimes and Mitsuboshi Colors is one of those. It helps that it doesn’t lean into flights of fancy all that much, though the cast are a bit mature for ten-year-olds to be sure, and getting such a great looking design and animation production elevates it easily.
The core of the series is that it focuses on a trio of girls in Ueno that are elementary school aged. They’re very good friends with distinctive personalities that connect well together as they form a group known as “Colors.” While we see them in the shopping district a lot, they do all kinds of good deeds and things around the town to help out because of their love of the place. Most of us know similar kids when we were that age that were more community action-oriented and that’s what this is, just with it being all done on their own as a kind of unofficial club. They’ve got a fun logo, the support of many adults that see them, and then spend time having fun playing detective on occasion in order to shake things up. It’s got a lot of charm in seeing how they bring simple joys into the lives of the adults they interact with, shops or elsewhere alike, and that’s one of its best strengths in my mind.
The core group is pretty familiar when you get down to it. The ostensible leader of the group is Yui but she’s timid and uncertain at times, which makes it easy for the far more outgoing Sat-chan to take control of events and send them into all sorts of unexpected directions. Kotoha’s the quiet and relaxed type that’s along for the ride and almost always wearing a hat over her long blue hair. It’s always the quiet ones you have to watch out for and she’s extra adorable for always playing videogames on her portable while being frustrated by how bad she is. But you know people fall for that earnest type just as they love the timid nature of Yui or the energy that Sat-chan brings to the screen. They all complement each other in expected ways and there’s a nice flow to it in the way they support each other through all of this. And, as mentioned in the video section, I love that we get a handle on their personalities through their outfits as well as they’re not constantly wearing the same thing. That’s a huge plus in my book.
With a series like this, it’s something that I really do encourage watching either one episode at a time or just a couple as opposed to binging the experience. Not that it’s bad that way but because it’s all about the small moments rather than any sort of larger arc. It’s about experiencing the lives of the girls over the course of time as we see them enjoying all of the seasons, with the fun of spring to the delight of snow in the winter. We see them enjoying a whole lot of time at the zoo where they get to feed and protect the animals, from their point of view, to helping out with the local police officer that gets to know them pretty well. Saito’s amusing in how he manages his time with them since he wants to encourage the positive things. But when you have them somehow buying a rocket launcher, well, he has to set things right.
The group really does run the gamut of stories. An extended time in coming up with ways to sell bananas is more amusing than it should be all things considered. There’s some nice time spent at the bakery in the shopping district where we meet the high school sisters Nonoka and Momoka and learn about how they’re looking to handle the shop when one of them inherits it, which is amusing. That has the girls as observers and commentary for some of this since they want to ensure the great bakery will always be there and expound on their own love of bread. These are the kind of all over the map shorter stories that make up the episodes since it doesn’t generally focus on one story for the full-length run of each episode, which is a big plus. The exposure to more of their world and experiences is what delights and overstaying its welcome with a particular plot can really drag it down.
I really enjoyed their time in the zoo because they have a kind of ownership of it that’s amusing. Part of one story comes from them reading a book about how some animals starved to death and that has them taking it very seriously here, which of course is way above their pay grade but their earnestness is viewed positively in taking care of the animals. There are a lot of fun visuals when they visit the zoo over the course of the series and their love of animals is a huge plus since it lets them be silly and fun in a slightly different way. And I’ll admit to having fun with it just because they get to spend some time on the monorail that exists in the park since it’s the first one that was opened in Japan. I’ve got a soft spot for kids and animals to begin with and seeing the way they interact with so many of them is just delightful.
Slice of life shows are properties where you basically know once you’ve been an anime fan for a while whether you like them or not. And within that, there’s variety to it in terms of the age and genders of the kids in what they’re like. Mitsuboshi Colors is a delightful elementary school-aged series that keeps it very natural and fun, avoiding anything resembling unwanted fanservice, by allowing the kids to be kids. Even if they are a little more mature than most kids this age are actually like. This was a delightful little experience to have and one that is beautifully rendered on the screen thanks to both a great video encode but also a pair of wonderful language options. I listened to about half of this in the dubbed form as I like the actors involved in it and it was just fun to see them engaged with such enjoyable childish delights.
Japanese DTS-HD MA 2.0 Language, English DTS-HD MA 2.0 Language, English Subtitles, Clean Opening, Clean Closing
Content Grade: B+
Audio Grade: B+
Video Grade: A-
Packaging Grade: B+
Menu Grade: B
Extras Grade: B-
Released By: Sentai Filmworks
Release Date: April 30th, 2019
Running Time: 300 Minutes
Video Encoding: 1080p AVC
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.