When it comes to Shin Chan, the entire world at large can be grouped into two camps: those who get it and those who don't. On the surface it's a poorly animated, seemingly disconnected series of juvenile crudeness. Dig a little deeper and you realize that while all of that is true, the show's persona is the culmination of using very little to achieve quite a bit. Love it or hate it, Shin Chan has used its abundance of personality to establish quite a niche in the American psyche. This review centers on the forthcoming Funimation release labeled "Season 2, Part 2" although further research reveals that the title is a bit disingenuous, but more on that later. For now let's take a look at the presentation of the collection.
Released in an attractive twin disc collection, Funimation chose a very appropriate look for the cover art in combining overly simplistic character models with a gold-plated logo (complete with hydraulic-hopping 1964 Impalas, a pair of gold tigers, and of course, a crown). Inside the discs are housed in a cardboard tri-fold case decked out with the requisite pimp-meets simplicity motif. Disc 1 contains episodes 40 thru 46 and the second disc holds 47-52. Extras are pretty impressive with a commentary track over episode 51, a look at the minds behind the magic in a piece called "From the Bowels of Booth", original storyboards, a music video for "Long Grey Winter" and Funimation's most recent trailers.
I began by saying the label, Season 2 Part 2 isn't entirely accurate and here's why. Even back in the beginning of the dvd releases of the show, Funimation made the decision to base the episode count in terms of the Adult Swim airing and not the original production order. Hence seasons are relative here. However, considering that the show consists of a bunch of little 3-10 minute skits, it really doesn't make much of a difference in the end.
So how about the actual show content? Well viewers seeking depth, realism, or even coherence should probably skip over Shin Chan altogether. However, those who feel fondly about South Park, Family Guy, or even Beavis and Butthead (google that one kids), there may be some qualities here to warrant picking up this collection.
The story never takes itself too seriously, in fact even the episode narrator often confesses to having made parts of his introduction up since he himself didn't make it all the way through the prior episode.
What we do have is a kid named Shin and his neighborhood cohorts who do a whole lot of nothing in their small town. Of course nothing is a bit of an exaggeration since Shin spends a good deal of the early episodes training for his career as a boxer despite the fact that he comes up to the knees of many of his opponents.
Humor comes in several forms from typical slapstick to some dialog that can, at times, prove to be pretty darn funny. Because of the show's Japanese origins, the creative staff was able to get away with a lot of language that even the most risqué of American animated efforts could dare dream. Although it should be noted that the Japanese source material is not nearly as off-color as what we Americans managed to turn it into. As such there is only a Stereo English track (dub) for the audio here.
Breaking up the Shin Chan bits are some really strange little skits like the superhero Action Bastard who does battle with a case of crabs that have infested his bed sheets (yeah, those kind of crabs).
In all there's a slight dulling in the shock value as many episodes of this particular era is lumped into "The High School Years", which isn't near as controversial as say, a kindergartner cracking a succession of gay jokes or racial slurs.
If you happen to be in the camp that prefers their anime raunchy, raw, and a bit wacky, Shin Chan will deliver in spades. If you're a fan of political correctness, rich art, or even a bit of depth, stay as far away as possible and erase all knowledge of this show's existence from your cerebrum immediately.
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