I'll fess up- the first volume of Sgt. Frog took me my surprise and that's saying a lot considering I pride myself on being quite jaded. Here was a show that took some adorable Japanese animated material and basically retooled it in the English dub to become a barrage of pop culture inspired humor. Kind of like what was done with Shin Chan, only less random and far more subdued.
Funimation has wasted very little time in getting this, the second part of the first season (Episodes 14-26) out to the North American public after a successful first-part release a little over a month prior. Coming in at a total runtime of 300 minutes, Sgt. Frog Season One Part 2 spans 2 discs and comes packaged as a pair of thin packs within a cardboard slipcase.
The show wears an appropriate if slightly conservative TV PG rating, which is presumably based more on adult-themed references and cartoony violence over nudity, foul language or gore.
Language options are typical sub & dub meaning the option of original Japanese dialog track (stereo) or an English dub (5.1 Dolby Surround) and English subtitles available under either language choice.
Extras include Pekopon Invasion Recon Data, textless songs and a host of Funimation trailers.
The story continues where the first part left off with misguided militant alien frog Keroro in a bit of a bind with orders to conquer the planet earth even though he's growing ever-more attached to its inhabitants. This time he's got a five-man, er I mean five-frog platoon to keep him on track. Even still the sarge manages to go and blow his allowance on Gundam models which means that the mission's financial backing is in big trouble. Rather than buy into the invasion, the frogs find themselves seeking out a weakness within the human populous to exploit: Ghost stories, rigged bikini contests, a sabotaged field day, hey desperate times call for desperate measures.
The show, as was the case in the first release, works due to its wit far more effectively than it does a straightforward plot. The grand mission is nearly constantly interrupted by moments of sheer zaniness but it's tough to fault the show for that. In fact, it's the wackiness (coupled to some really slick dialog) that makes the show succeed. Like before the real laughs here are nestled within the dialog. The viewer needs to listen carefully as the jokes, puns, and zips come quick and constant.
I can't help but feel the first release was a bit tighter in terms of its sociological references but in keeping in mind that the writers are forced to work against visuals that are beyond their control, props are definitely due to the FUNimation team for maintaining the tone.
Again expect a virtual overload of cultural zingers (and even several mentions of one of my all time unsurpassed American animated series, Exosquad). In all, the outrageous English script warrants the continued devotion to this series. Even on those gray days when the rain's falling and all the bills are due, it's tough to come away from this one without cracking up at something. And on the brighter days, prepare to be cracking up at everything!
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