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Bottle Fairy – Autumn & Winter Anime DVD Review

6 min read
Fans of cute will gobble this up and revel it in while those who can't stand it will know enough to stay as far away as possible.

This is the story of four little fairies who live in bottles that are working hard to become human.

What They Say:
Kururu, Chiriri, Sarara and Hororo, the bottle-sized fairies from another world, continue to study Japanese customs and daily life as they strive to become human. Autumn brings sports festivals and changing greenery, and then winter sets in with Christmas, the new year, and Valentine’s Day all in a row. The hardest challenge, however, comes when the fairies realize that turning human means having to part ways. Will they have the courage to move on? And even if they do, functioning in the human world might turn out harder than they think.

The Review:
Audio:
The audio presentation for this release brings us the original Japanese language track in stereo along with the English language dub, both of which are encoded at 192kbps. The series isn’t exactly the most active thing out there and it’s pretty much a dialogue based piece without much in the way of real directionality needed for it. Much of the dialogue is center-channel based or full when it comes to the music and some of the sound effects. With it being pretty simple, the track doesn’t have much to it but it sounds good and the dialogue comes across clean and clear. We had no problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.

Video:
Originally released in 2003, the transfer for this TV series is presented in its original full-frame aspect ratio. The show has a basis in the slice of life vein with lots of wild outtakes to wherever the girl’s imaginations take them but it always retains that slightly soft feel to it when it comes to the backgrounds while the character animation is nice and bright though often fairly simple and without a lot of detail. Colors look good throughout here with no noticeable cross coloration and just a bit of aliasing in a few places. There’s a lot of large sections of soft pastel colors that maintain a good solid feel throughout and overall this is a problem-free transfer.

Packaging:
Letting all of the girls have a shot at the cover, it’s done in a nice soft color palette of stripes where you get a full-length shot of them as well as a close-up with them expressing their standard demeanor. It’s not terribly bright or vibrant but it’s an appealing piece with a good layout and color design to it. The back cover has similar colors and softness to it and provides a look at about a half dozen shots from the show. The basic premise is nothing more than a sentence or two and the production information has more to it than the premise. The discs features and extras are clearly listed as are the discs titles and episode numbers. The insert replicates the front cover at an angle with more artwork and it opens up to a shot from the end sequence for each of the episodes. Where the release really wins out is that the reverse side cover has two of the Japanese covers, one for Sarara and one for Hororo.

Menu:
The menu layout for this release is done in a cute way and it’s something that you can normally only do with shows with short episodes and I’d even say of a cute nature. Each of the episodes are titled by month so you have each month listed here with one of the girls next to it in different attire. You can select a month at a time to watch or you can do the play all feature. Since the extras are fairly minimal, both those and the previews are available along with the disc credits at the top level which is a bit crowded but saves on a few screens here for an otherwise slim release.

Extras:
The only included extras on this release are the clean versions of the shows opening and ending sequences – and this means all of the different ending sequences for each of the episodes.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Bottle Fairy’s second half covers the months of October through March in half-length episodes and then follows it all up with a special one called “And Then…” which brings it all to close. While in a way there isn’t a full sense of closure for the show, Bottle Fairy actually does progress to an interesting level at the very end which gives the whole series a very complete feel, particularly for it only being two volumes.

The girls in this volume hit up a number of the standard areas as they try to learn about human life in their quest to become just that. They do up the sports festival aspect with some cute bits about being athletic, particularly comical when it comes to Hororo. Their Christmas episode is actually surprisingly short as it doesn’t spend too much time on the holiday itself, though it does start with Sarara as Santa Claus dying from the cold. While the end of the year stories are simple and not terribly exciting, it does pick up a bit more with the new New Year as they go through the shrine moments and making their prayers for becoming human right down to getting their fortunes. It’s all very cultural and cute if you like a lot of it, which I do, so it’s fun to see it play out in this adorable scale.

One of the episodes that I enjoyed the most was the one dealing with Valentine’s Day as the girls go about making their own special chocolate for Senseisan. With a little help from their next-door neighbor, they’re able to pull together to do this without creating a huge mess but still having a lot of fun along the way. The girl’s simple view of the world and of what they believe love is makes up a good part of this episode and it’s just, well, precious when they all try to get each other to give him their final chocolate package since they visualize it all different ways. This is one of those moments in their lives that sets them up for the next stage, which is when it’s been almost a year since they arrived and it’s time to get going on becoming human. This leads to a very amusing twist in their goal which really puts Senseisan on the spot but it lets the girl’s personalities shine in a very creative way.

In Summary:
If ever there was a show about nothing, Bottle Fairy really deserves to be in that category since it’s very much got little to say. It’s all about the girls being cute, playing, and learning what the human world is like through some very strange colored glasses. It has a lot of charming moments and we noted in the first volume it has a lot of comedy that makes you unsure whether you should be finding it cute and laughing at it. But the small and quick parodies are on the spot, the characters entirely likable for a wide number of reasons, and the show fully has an ending to it that brings a sense of closure to their initial goal. This is a show that’s really aimed at a very specific market and those that fall into it will adore this while everyone else will give it a raised eyebrow and probably be glad that they’re not in that group. With only two volumes to it, it’s a very light commitment that has some good entertainment value to it.

Features:
Japanese 2.0 Language, English 2.0 Language, English Subtitles, Clean Opening, Clean Closing

Content Grade: B
Audio Grade: B+
Video Grade: B+
Packaging Grade: B
Menu Grade: B
Extras Grade: B0

Released By: Geneon Entertainment USA
Release Date: January 24th, 2006
MSRP: $29.95
Running Time: 105 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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