Saekano (Saenai heroine no sodate-kata) (2015) (NTSC)

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Released 7-Sep-2016

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Anime More…-Web previews for each episode
Trailer-Promotional videos
More…-Textless Opening Song
More…-Textless Closing Song
Trailer-x 4 for other anime releases
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2015
Running Time 297:95 (Case: 325)
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered
Dual Disc Set
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Kanta Kamei
Studio
Distributor

Madman Entertainment
Starring Yoshitsugu Matsuoka
Saori Onishi
Ai Kayano
Kiyono Yasuno
Sayuri Yahagi
Chinatsu Akasaki
Case Amaray-Transparent-Dual
RPI ? Music Hajime Hyakkoku


Video (NTSC) Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None Japanese Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 480i (NTSC)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.78:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English (Burned In) Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes, after episode 12

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

   Japanese high school student Tomoya (voiced by Yoshitsugu Matsuoka) is a nerd (the Japanese term used in the series ‘otaku’ has more negative connotations) whose life revolves around anime, light novels and computer games. He prefers 2D girls to real 3D ones despite being friends with the two most beautiful girls at his school; cute childhood friend and great illustrator Eriri (Saori Onishi) and the super intelligent, cool girl who is also writer of best-selling teen romances, Utaha (Ai Kayano). Tomoya has an ambition: to develop a Gal-ge (boy meets girl game) that will enthral the gaming audience. But he needs a model for his heroine, a girl that all the guys will fall for. Then, one spring day as the cherry blossoms fall, he spies the perfect girl to be the perfect heroine in his game.

     Tomoya tries to enlist Eriri and Utaha to help with his game but their response is initially chilly, even more so when Tomoya discovers that the girl he saw amid the cherry blossoms is in fact his quiet and unassuming classmate Megumi (Kiyono Yasuno), who has been in his class for a year although Tomoya had never noticed her! Nevertheless, Tomoya is convinced that Megumi is the model for the heroine of his game, every boy’s perfect girlfriend, although she needs a bit of coaching on her personality and individuality. Megumi is prepared to be enlisted and although Eriri and Utaha are not so happy with the choice of heroine they do set aside other projects to help. Not that things go smoothly; there are deadlines, artistic differences, jealousies and romantic situations as the girls vie for Tomoya’s attention. And, to Eriri’s chagrin, two other girls appear who challenge her for the clichéd role of childhood friend / love interest: the younger illustrator Izumi (Chinatsu Akasaki), who idolises Tomoya, and his very sexy and very vivacious cousin Michiru (Sayuri Yahagi), a girl band member who reluctantly ends up composing the music for the game.

     Saekano (Saenai heroine no sodate-kata aka Saekano: How to Raise a Boring Girlfriend) is based on the light novels by Kurehito Misaki and is every nerd’s delight and fantasy; an anime about anime, light novels and video games with lots of humour, in-jokes and in-references, a nerd in glasses surrounded by delectable girls competing for his attention and an anime style that has the camera panning over long female legs, peering up short skirts, adding panty shots and curved breasts. That the series succeeds in general is because it is so totally self-aware and tongue in cheek, full of stock characters and stock situations but where parents are totally absent. Spending a night with a high schooler? No problem! For characters we have clichés: the geek with glasses, Tomoya, disdainful of girls but seemingly irresistible to the super intelligent, super beautiful and super cool Utaha, the bubbling blonde buddy Eriri and his vivacious and sexy cousin Michiru. The only female seemingly almost impervious to Tomoya’s enthusiasm and charms is the dull and boring Megumi, who is perhaps the most reasonable and matter of fact person in the show. Saekano also has a dreamy style of animation, and flirts between “real” and “game” animation by sometimes reverting to game graphics in the middle of scenes.

     Saekano aired on TV in Japan between January to March 2015. This release, Saekano: Complete Series contains episodes 0 – 12 on two discs. It proved popular: a second season was announced early in 2016 while a PS Vita game was released in April 2016.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     Saekano is presented in the original broadcast aspect ratio of 1.78:1, in NTSC format and 16x9 enhanced.

     This is a dreamy style of animation with generally soft pastel colours, drifting pink cherry blossoms or white snowflakes and green trees. However, lines are firm, the blacks solid and shadow detail fine.

     The English subtitles are a clear white font. They are sometimes at the bottom and sometimes at the top of the screen, sometimes both at once which requires rather fast reading. The subtitles are burnt in. I noticed no errors.

     The layer changes are not noticeable.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

     Japanese Dolby Digital 2.0 at 224 Kbps is the only audio choice.

     The audio is surround encoded but the surround activity is mostly limited to music and occasional effects, such as rain, although they became more active during the music performances in episode 12. Dialogue is clear.

     The music by Hajime Hyakkoku is varied and reasonable effective.

     This is anime so lip synchronisation is approximate.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Disc 1

Textless Opening (1:32)

     The opening song without text.

Textless Closing (1:32)

     The closing song without text.

Web Previews

     Previews for the next episode. They are quite long, ranging from 0:54 to 1:49 in length, and are quite funny with the cast complaining about things or getting stuck into each other.

Disc 2

Promo Videos

     Two trailers for the series (2:07, 1:12).

Web Previews

     Previews for the next episode, ranging from 1:47 to 1:57 in length. They are amusing and worth watching as sometimes they do anything but promote the next episode.

Trailers

     Trailers for No-rin (1:01), LoveLive School idol project (2:17), Lord Marksman and Vanadis (1:41) and Blade Dance and the Elementalers (1:41).

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

     Our Region 4 release of Saekano is similar to the Region 1 US, although that release apparently includes some postcards. Hardly makes it worth importing.

Summary

     Saekano is an anime about anime, light novels and video games with lots of humour, in-references and clichéd characters and situations but it succeeds in being funny because it is so totally self-aware and tongue in cheek. Plenty of cute girls in short dresses if that appeals.

     The video and audio are fine. The extras are minimal.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Monday, September 26, 2016
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S580, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 55inch HD LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderNAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationNAD T737
SpeakersStudio Acoustics 5.1

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