Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Kyo Kara Maoh Season 1 Box Set|
Actors: Edward Villa, Jimmy Benedict, Yuri Lowenthal, Dorothy Elias-Fahn, Doug Erholtz
Director: Steve Kramer
Genres: Anime & Manga, Animation
Yuri is an average baseball-loving high school student. One day, Yuri tries to save his former classmate froma group of hoodlums. Turning on him, they drag Yuri into the bathroom and push his face into the toilet. When the... more »
As Fun as it is Strange
ONENEO | Buffalo, NY | 07/25/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"You could certainly be forgiven if you were initially suspicious of any title that opens with the premise of a schoolboy getting a "swirly". In case you aren't familiar with the technique, it is one in which a bully or group of bullies take a weaker individual, flip them upside down, dip their face into the toilet and flush. In normal circumstances, aside from being terribly unhygienic, the only long-term affect to the victim is a bit of a tall, twisted hairdo. Believe it or not, Kyo kara Maoh! Opens with our lead character on the receiving end of one such tactic only rather than simply twisting his do, this toilet happens to be a transporter to a magical realm. We don't even want to know if it worked on the same principle for countless not-so-pleasant flushes, but either way...
Released in full season collections, Funimation is once again bringing the Geneon classic title to the masses. At the time of this review's writing both the first and second volume have been released. The first box set (Season 1) contains 39 episodes across nine discs (thin packs within a very attractive cardboard slipcase). The second box set consists of the 37 episodes that constitute the complete second season but since this review if of the first release, let's stick to those specs for now.
The collection comes in at a whopping 975-minute runtime and packs a nice host of special features. Among these are a conceptual art and image gallery, textless themes, memory slideshow, promos, and previews for upcoming Funimation releases.
Language options are of the sub & dub variety; original Japanese dialog and English dub each presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 and the choice of English subtitles below either.
The show wears an appropriate13 & Up rating. Appropriate because while there's nothing extremely offensive for the youngsters, it's quite possible that children around the age of 13 will get the most entertainment out of the multitude of gags presented here (after all, its doubtful they would have needed my above definition of a swirly).
The story goes something like this: Yuri Shibuya happens upon a new and wild world once bullies stick his head in the toilet. After encountering some nobles and discovering that the world as he knew it was no more, our hero discovers that he's the long-awaited Demon King (and here you thought he had it bad enough just surviving high school).
It turns out that in this new world (called the "Great Demon Kingdom"), humans are the enemy and though considered a human in our world, Yuri is classified as a demon there. Not just any demon at that; but rather the one who could balance out the tension between the humans and the demos.
After a brief return to Earth, Yuri is forced to contemplate which world is more to his liking. Long story short, thus begins young Yuri's reign as Demon King. Did I mention that magic is a fact of life in the Demon Kingdom but the catch is it only works in the thralls of battle? Yuri will learn these things just as the viewer does and more often than not: it's too little, too late.
If your still with me after all of this, let me just say that it was all be completely and hopelessly ridiculous except for one redeeming quality; It's pretty darn funny at times.
Kyo kara Maoh! has the distinction of combining fantasy elements with comedic charm to such accord that it harkens back to some of Monty Python's earlier works. Each episode is driven along by a fantasy inspired plot structure (find the magic sword, figure out a way to get back home, learn how to cast spells, etc.) but actually consists of dozens of silly humorous moments to connect the grander dots. Need examples? Well Yuri ends up accidentally getting himself engaged to be married (to another man) by the second episode, encounters some jiggly sumo wrestlers, pirates in schoolgirl uniforms, and gets up close and personal to a g-string by the fifth episode!
The offbeat and prevalent humor presented here depends heavily on its cast of characters. Luckily it works, much to the credit of the show's writers. Wolfram's snappish attitude makes a great counterpoint to Yuri's easygoing nature. The women aren't forgotten either, take Celi (the former Demon Queen) and her forceful personality and the eccentric inventor Anissina who has more tricks up her sleeve than a Vegas poker pro.
The music works really well with upbeat rock beats in the lighter moments that switch subtly to orchestral scores when the tension goes to red alert phase. Geneon's dub, though pale to the efforts of Funimation's more recent stuff, maintains the comedic intentions of the program. The script, however, does take a few ugly twists in effort to "Americanize" some of the jokes and puns. It is serviceable if you've only experienced the show in English but starts to lose ground once you compare it to the original Japanese script.
In all, this is a show that could be considered an instant classic or a blend of sheer strangeness depending entirely upon your mood going in. The fantasy elements work really well in both languages and the humor is equally addicting (especially in the Japanese version). However, if you were seeking a well plotted, fantasy adventure, you would probably better off looking into the much-less gimmicked One Piece series.
I came in not knowing what to expect and came out quite amused. It's silly for sure, but sometimes that's exactly what you were looking for, even if you didn't know it."
An interesting start to a good show
F. Caldwell | 06/26/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Kyo Kara Maoh is the story of Yuri Shibuya (or Shibuya Yuri if you're watching in Japanese) a 15 year old high school student who gets sucked into an alternate world. And yes, he gets there through a toilet the first time. But stay with me here. Yuri awakens in a medieval type village and is informed shortly thereafter that he is the new Demon King (the Maoh of the title). It seems that Yuri, with his black hair and black eyes, is an extremely rare type in this world. He also has incredible magical abilities that he never knew about. Included in the story are conflicts between the humans and demons, unusual creatures (flying skeletons anyone?), swordfighting, a reluctant king, and a healthy dose of humor. Actually some of the side stories are downright silly. But despite it all Kyo Kara Maoh is a really great show.
Season one starts off well and treads water for a while in the middle but it ends on a high note. A few filler episodes are to be expected when one season has 39 episodes so it's forgiveable. Filler aside, it's really grown on me. The main plot that's begun in season 1 carries over through all of season 2. It works out in a very interesting way too despite a slightly slow start. I can't recommend it enough. I'm also biding my time until the Season 2 set is available and holding out hope that Season 3 will be released for the English speakers eventually too.
Kyo Kara Maoh has a great cast of characters and has a fun sense of humor. It's also suprisingly little kid friendly. With a bit of editing, even younger kids can enjoy it which is nice. Most anime is really not child friendly so it's always good to find one that is.
Now for the details of the set: Season one is 39 episodes which are split into 9 different discs. The discs are packed into slim line cases, two to a case (except for the 9th which is by itself). As with all slim line cases, the discs are liable to pop out of the cases but the packaging is otherwise pretty nice. The cases include the original cover art from the previous set (this is a rerelease) and list the episode names with a few screenshots. All of this fits into a box which is a little on the thin side but keeps them together and neat all the same. And all 9 discs have both Japanese and English audio along with subtitles. They also include a few extras like slide shows and trailers for other shows. So the pricetag might be a little high but you get a lot of show for your money. You hardly even need any extras.
Oh and I have to say, the Japanese audio is way better than the English dub for this show. I watched most of season 1 in English the first time around and couldn't stand Wolfram (Yuri's accidental fiance. Yes, a man. In the Great Demon Kingdom they do that). Many of the voices are better in Japanese so I recommend watching it that way. Plus if you're a fan of the Gravitation anime, Gunther shares a voice with Yuki Eiri."