Giovanni's Island is as powerful as it is predictable. It may be one of the few films to focus on the Kuril Islands, but its tale will prove immediately familiar to anyone acquainted with cinema's typical treatments of war-torn children.
Reviewby Bamboo Dong, Aug 9th 2003
Burn Up Excess
DVD 2: Crimes and Missed Demeanors
There is only one reason to watch Burn Up Excess—jiggling breasts. Generally, that's not a good sign for the anime series in question, and this show is no exception. It's certainly cute enough and packed with enough humor to make a good rental, but the episodes suffer from a severe problem with pacing that makes them hard to watch even once, not to mention more. There's a point when the only thing that drives the series forward is watching ADV's Jiggle Counter bounce around at the top of the screen. This feature is, of course, one of the extras on the disc, and also one of the most amusing ones. Once turned on in the Extras menu, it will pop up on the top of the screen and tally up all the times each character's breasts bounce. The idea is goofy, but it sure makes the series more comical to watch.
Lame as the idea of a meter for bouncing body parts may be, it's one of the best features on the disc. Also included is a collection of production sketches, with translated notes for all of the comments written in. This is a pretty fun feature for fans who are looking for either drawing references, cosplay hints, or masturbatory material (i.e. Rio's stripper outfit). The only two other worthy extras on there are the clean opening and ending themes, the former being a generic J-Pop song set to scenes of token explosions and mammary-fondling, the latter being another take on the cheap and very overused cartoony-crayon-and/or-cut-out-freeze-frame-animation-that's-supposed-to-be-cute idea set to equally generic J-Pop.
Sadly, the enthusiasm anyone could garner from the show is about on the same level as one would gather from looking at the extras. Try as the writers might, they just can't force the story to go anywhere. The episodes are filled with miscellaneous examples of slapstick and lewd humor, punctuated every few minutes by poorly done scenes that pretentiously try to give the characters more depth, or the story an angsty edge. For instance, the plot points for the episodes vary from Rio being the underappreciated bodyguard for an idol who learns how to Pursue Her Dream For Her Own Happiness™, to the girls being in charge of solving a trivial series of blatantly unfunny office mysteries.
But wait—just in case viewers are under the impression that the episodes are nothing but fluff, there are poorly written deep scenes that try oh-so-hard to inject some character development into the series to show people that it's not only about b00bi3z. These scenes would be appreciated in normal circumstances, but they drastically break the flow of the pacing. Clips of crying girls moaning over their dead husbands are thrown into the middles of hyperactive slapstick fests, creating non-existent transitions between fast-paced comedies and slow, dull, angst-moments. One of the episodes is done almost entirely as a flashback to show Rio's past, and the history of the Warrior team, but rather than being enlightening, serves only to be a dull tangent with cheesy cloud-filters to give it a “flashback” look.
While the story for Burn Up Excess may be nothing to get excited over, the artwork may well be—though it's more of a misplaced, perverted sexual excitement than anything else. Simply translated, the art, notably the character designs, are absurd and scientifically illogical. The characters are unique and cute enough from the shoulders above, but the females are simply ridiculous from the sternum down. All of the female characters possess breasts that are made highly elastic by the way the uniforms are designed. First of all, uniforms like that aren't even possible, much less probable. To begin with, every button on the uniform would burst open from strain. Secondly, it's not only inefficient to run with unrestrained breasts, but also highly unprofessional given their occupation. Obviously, this was not very well thought out beyond the intended purpose of cheap laughs and fanboy fodder.
Aside from that, the art is rather tacky. The backgrounds are detailed and well-drawn, but the foreground art looks hastily drawn. At least the animation can back up the visual aspect of the series slightly. While the character movements are stilted in many areas, the animation is adequate enough that the eye isn't distracted by blatant jerking and skipping. It is of worth to note that the smoothest animated scenes involve panty pans and breast shots, which is rather amusing.
Luckily, the whole production is saved from being flushed down the crapper by the stellar voice acting. The Japanese cast delivers a strong performance, with the characters all packing enough energy to match the exaggerated action on the screen. Rio's voice is especially well done, giving the character the punchy attention-craving drunk-girl sound that works so nicely. The English dialogue track is done rather commendably as well. For the most part, the script matches the original Japanese script, with the exception of a few vernacular changes to make the characters sound more “American.” The one casting oddity is one of the more gun-loving girls who packs an incredibly deep and butch voice. There's something dreadfully frightening about watching your screen fill up with breasts, with a manly voice saying, “All I want is guns!!!”
All told, Burn Up Excess serves its purpose of providing cheap giggles and fanservice, but beyond that, doesn't do much. The animation is mediocre, the art is ridiculous, and the story is silly and pointless beyond comparison. Oh, but there are breasts. Lots and lots of breasts. That justifies its existence long enough to watch once. So, if you're looking for something to butcher off 75 minutes of your time, this disc might be somewhat fun for you. Just don't expect much of a satisfied feeling afterwards.
Overall (dub) : B-
Overall (sub) : B+
Story : C
Animation : C+
Art : C-
Music : C
+ Jiggle Counter!!!!!
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