DVD Review: Super Sonico: The Animation – The Complete Series
23/06/2015 Leave a comment
Is Super Sonico a star-performer or is it a one-hit-wonder? Find out in our Review of MVM Entertainment’s DVD release for Super Sonico: The Animation – The Complete Series.
Saying Sonico is an incredibly busy young woman is an understatement. She juggles a modeling career, part-time work at her grandmother’s bar, and performs lead vocals and guitar in an all-girl band all while attending college! Not to mention taking care of her five cats – or is that the other way around? When her workload gets a little too heavy, she can count on her fellow musicians Suzu and Furi and the rest of her friends for a stabilizing influence. Get ready for the bounciest adventure ever as this three girl band shakes, rattles, rolls and takes Tokyo by storm!
What originally started off as a mascot for Japanese videogame studio Nitroplus has now sparked into a fandom of its own and after a few short years the phenomenon known as Super Sonico has arrived into the UK; albeit in its anime form, but how does it fair to someone that knows nothing off it – well not very good actually. Super Sonico is unlike any other anime out-there; it offers no real incentive to watch, it doesn’t have a progressive story to tell and it makes you feel like an outsider looking into an unknown world.
These may seem like harsh words; but this is how I felt while watching Super Sonico: The Animation and despite It I still found myself adoring the character and I guess this is the purpose of the show – to get an inside look into the fictional world of Super Sonico and further boost her popularity within the industry. How is this achieved exactly? Well each episode contains an individual story surrounding Sonico’s busy life-style, with the first episode being a prime example of what you can expect; as she is a part-time model, a college student, a lead guitarist in an all-group band and a waiter at her grandmas pub – and that’s before she takes on any extra activities.
Put simply she is very busy; but even then there is still more on offer as while some episodes take an inside look into Sonico’s lifestyle there are also episodes which are completely “left-field” and feel disconnected from the universe she is supposed to be living within. For instance one particular episode sees people turned into zombies on a cruise ship after applying slimming-down lotion, where as another episode sees Sonico’s friends attempt to unravel the mystery of her being found unconscious, finally there is an episode which sees Sonico travel halfway across Japan for a relatively unknown reason. These particular stories not only feel completely random but they feel pointless and time wasting; even if they can add a few cheap laughs in the process.
Of course the real value of this show is found within the episodic stories that cover Sonico’s backstory; the ones which take a deeper look into how she became the person she is today. Basically each activity she does has a backstory and within selective episodes these backstories are told, either via flashbacks, a journalist news article or discussion between friends; with each one offering an a relatively emotional story – if only very briefly. It’s a shame really; if Super Sonico was more mainstream within the UK this anime may have connected better with me but as a stand-a-lone product it feels like a mediocre story (if it can be found) within a real-life-location that everyone wants to visit and unfortunately for us the English Dub doesn’t make it any more bearable either.
It seems Sentai Filmworks went ‘all-out’ on this release of Super Sonico as majority of content included in the bonus materials has been produced by them for an English Auidience; but on the plus side we receive a variety of bonus materials that I never thought I would see on a Sentai Filmwork releases.
Excluding the inclusion of Trailers and Textless Songs the rest of the bonus content has been produced especially for this English release of the series and as such we are treated to English Narrated Trailers, a blooper reel, outtakes, radio pots and a ‘mini-documentary’ on the English voice actor for Super Sonico; Jessica Nigri. I’m extremely impressed that Sentai Filmworks went out of their way to record, and include, all of this content but at the same time it feels undeed; especially the blooper/gagreel videos which seem more intentional than accidental.
Of course the inclusion of bonuses such as this should never be considered a negative; but considering they are all English-speaking bonuses does make it slightly disappointing; especially the Radio spots which, unless they are another English speaking exclusive, could’ve been made available in Japanese with subtitles.
Media: DVD 9 x2
Running Time: 2:22:03 (Disc 1 & Disc 2)
Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0 224kbps (English & Japanese)
Subtitles: English (White)
Resolution: 720 x 576 (576i)
Aspect Ratio: 16:9 Widescreen
Frame Rate: 25 fps
Super Sonico: The Animation follows the daily exploits of Nitroplus fictitious videogame mascot known as Super Sonico whereby we see her attend classes at college, pose for the camera as a part-time model, preform for her fans in an all-girl rock band and, last but not least, help her grandma at the bar. It’s a relatively strange story with no direct start and finish point; but if you are a fan of the Super Sonico character than it’s a unique ‘imaginary’ inside look into what she does on a daily basis.
There’s nothing new to really see her; she is your typical girl leading an extremely busy life-style and each episode has an individual story to tell; be it future events, backstories and random side-stories that make less sense than the show itself. In retrospect unless you are a fan of the Super Sonico brand then you’ll probably find yourself looking for a reason to continue watching; as there really is no incentive to keep going – is her career in danger? Is she going to fail college? Is her grandman ill? Nope – its just a look at her imaginary life. I guess I’m being harsh, as nearly all anime shows are ‘imaginary’ but at least they had a story to progress and characters to become involved with; Super Sonico on the other hand is just a character to look at and wait… for something to happen.
Ironically it’s not just the show itself which left me unentertained as despite the positive vibe surrounding the English Dub it is actually just as bad, if not worse, than other Sentai Filmwork releases. Jessica Nigiri does a relatively fine job, and so do some other supporting actors, but by the end of the first episode I just couldn’t embrace it as much as I thought I would – I’m sure it has something to do with the studios voice equipment. As expected the Japanese audio seems natural and more complacement with the characters on screen and the white English subtitles are pretty readable aswell; although at one point some translated text was completely mirror/reversed and it’s still unclear if this was a mistake or intentional, either way it was off-putting. The biggest “pro” of this release is the large amount of extra features; but unfortunately it’s a double-edged sword because if you didn’t like the English Dub then you won’t necessarily like the long-list of English Dub-scentric bonus features – even the gag reel feels like it was fabricated.
All in all Super Sonico: The Animation is a pretty mediocre show; there is a non-existing storyline that takes a look at a fictional character if she lived within the real world but while her personality, her friends and backstories provide some entertainment everything else is just becomes a bore. Ideally it would’ve been better to see a progressive story which sees her grow from nothing to success – or at least moderate fame – but alas that is not to be and we are instead treated to one-shot stories throughout her career. If you are a fan of Super Sonico then this series will brighten your day and get you one step closer to your digital idol; but as a newcomer to the Sonico franchise It left me slightly baffled and wanting to move on; which is a real shame.
Super Sonico: The Animation – The Complete Series will be available on DVD and Blu-ray from the 29th June 2015.