DVD Review: Heaven’s Memo Pad – The Complete Series

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MVM Entertainment UK’s latest Anime release is none other than Heaven’s Memo Pad, a complex story involving gangs and NEET’s, but what exactly did we think of their DVD Release? Find out in our DVD Review of Heaven’s Memo Pad – The Complete Series.

Synopsis:

Narumi Fujishima isn’t your typical high school student. He’s never really fit in and has become increasingly more isolated from his fellow classmates. But he’s not alone, and when Ayaka, the sole member of the Gardening Club, introduces him to the reclusive girl who lives above the ramen shop, Narumi enters a whole new secret world. Alice is a NEET, someone who is Not Employed, being Educated or in Training, but as Narumi quickly discovers, that doesn’t mean that she does nothing all day.

In-between tending to her small army of stuffed bears, Alice is an expert hacker and a very exclusive private detective. To his surprise, Narumi finds himself drafted as one of the strange-but-elite team of associates that Alice has assembled from her NEET acquaintances. Together they’ll battle gangs, thieves, murderers, and drug lords. And in the middle of it all, Narumi will find his life changing forever!

Our View:

The synopsis provided pretty much explains what Heaven’s Memo Pad has to offer, however in a nutshell the story follows Narumi Fujishima who, after not wanting to stand out within the world, gets involved with the daily activities of the NEET Detective Agency and the Hirasaka Gang, during which Narumi ends up becoming a dependable person with strong bonds to the group members. Of Course while Narumi Fujishima’s character development is the ‘centre’ of the story, it is actually the cases that the NEET Detective Agency, led by the mysterious young girl named Alice, take on that provide the most entertainment in the series.

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The NEET Detective Agency itself consists of four active members (Alice, Tetsu, Hiro and Major), each of which having a unique skill, such as Major who provides military grade surveillance on targets, but more importantly all of them are NEETs, with each member dropping out of a school or college. This detective agency also works in partnership with the Hirasaka Gang, a small NEET styled Yakuza group led by ‘The Fourth’.  Throughout the series these two groups work together in order to solve a variety of cases, with large scale objectives taken care of by the bulk of the Hirasaka Gang members.

The story progresses rather naturally, with the story being ‘moved on’ with each passing case completed. Each case usually spans around 2 to 3 episodes, excluding the first episode (which was 44 minutes long) and the Renji Hirasaka story arc (which spanned over 4 episodes), with each case exploring a ‘mature’ theme, such as money laundering with the Yakuza, Prostitution, Drugs and Murder. The stories covered within these cases are all unique and entertaining, but more importantly it progresses the main story along without leaving the viewer feeling bored. The Renji Story arc for instance provides immense detail into the history of the Hirasaki Gang, while at the same time Narumi develops stronger bonds with The Fourth, Renji and more importantly a flustered Alice.

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While the series itself covers ‘mature’  topics comical relief can be found via our main female protagonist, Alice, who throughout the series becomes easily flustered and embarrassed (or even scared) – espiecally when her Teddy bears get damaged or put into the wash. It’s this ‘comical’ side that makes Heaven’s Memo Pad an even more  entertaining series to watch, as it provides a nice balance of seriousness and comical antics, but it does makes you wonder how a NEET Detective can be so childish when not on a case.

Extras:

There are no extras included with this release, which is a shame as the opening and closing songs are highly enjoyable and would have been interesting viewing them in text less form.

Specs:

Media:  DVD 9 x2
Region: 2
Running Time:  2:44:38 (Disc 1), 2:20:40 (Disc 2)
Video: MPEG-2
Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0 192Kbps (English & Japanese)
Subtitles: English (Yellow)
Resolution: 720 x 576 (576i)
Aspect Ratio: 16:9 Widescreen
Frame Rate: 25 fps

Overall:

Heaven’s Memo Pad is an entertaining series that mixes realistic animation with realistic issues, but while the cases themselves seem like the main story it is actually the developing life experience of Narumi Fujishima and the sacrifices he needs to make in order to protect the people that he cares about.  Overall the story is entertaining, but some segments in the final stages of the series (such Narumi’s classmate Ayaka) do make it feel like a relationship was rushed into the timeline, especially when she hardly has any screen time during the bulk of the series.

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While the series itself is good, the presentation of this DVD is rather poor, and this is mostly down to the menu layout.  The font and colours blend in too easily making it viewing from distance an eyesore, but more importantly the menus are just extremely basic and look unprofessional, not to mention there are no extra features either,  it’s like a homemade DVD.

As you’d expect both English and Japanese Audio languages are available, both of which are presented in 2.0 Stereo. Optional (removable) subtitles are also included and these are provided in Yellow and at times can be difficult to read as they seem slightly pixelated. Interestingly the DVD defaults to Japanese Audio with English Subtitles, usually I’d be slightly annoyed but the Japanese Audio presentation is much more enjoyable than the ‘Sentai’ produced English Dub,  with the regular voice actors being used for similar roles (Hilary Haag for instance).

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This UK Release of Heaven’s Memo Pad has mixed opinions, the series is good and is ‘visually’ as expected for a DVD release, however the menu layout and lack of extras is an issue. It’s a shame to not see a Blu-ray release of this series either, as the improved HD Video would have been noticeable throughout the series, but at least the series did make it over here into the UK, even though it feels like a ‘watered down’ version.

Score: review-stars-3

Heaven’s Memo Pad – The Complete Series will be available on DVD from the 28th October 2013.

About Scott Emsen
Scott is the Founder and Executive Editor of AnimeBlurayUK but in the past he has worked at ZOMGPlay, Rice Digital and Funstock and was once a Community Moderator for the Nokia N-Gage forums. Based in the UK, he loves anything related to Games & Anime and in In his spare time you'll mostly find him playing on one of his many gaming consoles; namely the PS Vita, PS4 or Xbox One.

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