Blu-ray Review: Punch Line! – The Complete Series
29/08/2016 Leave a comment
Are we ready for the Punch Line? Most likely not but we take a look anyway to explore what this latest Blu-ray release has in-store for us other than the fan-service thats expected.
When your day begins with being held hostage in a hijacking, can things get much worse? How about being kicked out of your own body? Or learning that if you can’t re-possess your physical shell, you’ll trigger a panty-fueled apocalypse that will wipe out all life on the planet?
For Yuta Iridatsu, it’s just the start of the worst out-of-body experience ever. Now, if his dissed disembodied spirit doesn’t pursue the persuasions of a porn-obsessed paranormal pussycat and purloin a missing mystical manual, a meteor will collide with Earth! And to stack the odds even further, the book is hidden somewhere in the boarding house Yuta shares with a bevy of beautiful babes, but if he gets an eyeful of his ravishing co-renters in their unmentionables before he’s back in himself, it’s flash-forward to Doomsday!
The definition of Punch Line, or punchline as it is correctly pronounced in the English dictionary, is “the final phrase or sentence of a joke or story that provides the humour or some other crucial element” and ironically enough this is exactly what this series delivers; a comical story that sees the viewer waiting for the Punch Line to be delivered and it’s a pretty interesting one at that. Personally if it weren’t for the fact that I had to watch this series in order to write about it then I would have dropped it; but sit through the insanity and you’ll find yourself with a rather intuitive storyline that could rival even Steins;Gate. Confused? Honestly so was I but by the time the final episode rolls around you’ll have a clear understanding as to what’s transpired and why; some of which I’ll mostly likely spoil for you in this article.
Punch Line follows the events of seemingly average high-school student Yuta Iridatsu who, after being a victim in a bus-jacking-incident, finds himself as a Spirit lurking within the Korai Apartments unaware of what has happened and why. It’s soon explained to him, by the sudden appearance of a cat-like-spirit-guide known as Chiranosuke; that another spirit has processed his body and in order to reclaim it he must obtain the book known as Nandala Gandala. As part of this – well extended explanation – Chiranosuke also reveals that upon getting ‘sexually excited’ within quick session Yuta will explode which will cause a meteorite to crash into the earth. It’s a completely bizarre setup and one that has the rules of a perfect ecchi series filled with fun and banter; except it’s not.
Personally I expected Punch Line to see Yuta attempting to retrieve his body through all-sorts of means while narrowly avoiding the ‘sexual’ themes that could cause him to explode; in actuality however only the first episode features this ‘explosive’ nature while the next five episodes instead focus on the female members of Korai Apartments and their personal secrets. Spoiler’s aside each member of the apartment has their own story to share and while it feels like these stories do nothing they actually provide much needed context in future episodes. How can that be? You might be wondering; well Punch Line is actually a time-travelling styled series as it turns out the spirit that processed Yuta is actually the future version of himself that has returned to the present in order to stop a secret organisation known as Qmay Kai from destroying the earth; however as the future Yuta failed his missions it’s now up to the present (Spirit) Yuta to go back in time and attempt to stop them. It’s at this point the real storyline of Punch Line is revealed; a semi-time-travelling storyline with a slightly ecchi and bizarre twist.
So what exactly is the real storyline? Basically Yuta must stop the Qmay Kai from destroying the earth and this is achieved by using the experience Yuta gained as a spirit to his advantage; as by predicting what happens next he can potentially stop the attack from happening. As you can imagine we see the same chain of events unfold from a slightly different perspective; the previous six episodes were from the perspective of Yuta in spirit form but now we see it in the form of Yuta in the living. To make the story even more confusing Yuta, Mikatan (who is a resident of the apartments) and Ryuto (leader of the Qmay Kai group) are actually genetically engineered humans known as Ubers that were raised in a secret facility several years ago. Why is this relevant? Well Ubers can power-up (super saiyan style) and cause massive amounts of destruction – an ability which Ryuto attempts to recreate in order to create the perfect Uber known as W and destroy the earth in the process.
Truth be told Punch Line raises a lot of questions and provides hardly any answers and more bizarrely is that the series starts off poor but then becomes better by the second half. It’s a show I would suggest watching but it’s not one worth rushing out for. Furthermore those hoping for plenty of fan-service, like that seen in the Sentai Filmworks trailer, will no doubt be disappointed; as while the odd panty-flash is present it’s not prominent unlike other shows.
Animatsu Entertainment continues its trend of using disc assets authored by Sentai Filmworks as once again this release only features the bare minimum of content; namely textless songs and a selection of trailers for other Sentai Filmwork released shows.
As mentioned viewers will find two variations of textless songs (opening and closing animations); each of which feature more fan-service than the show itself. Elsewhere on the disc we have trailers (if you can call them that) for Momokyun Sword, Gugure, Wizard Barriastars and Blade Dance of the Elementalers being included; with the latter also being released by Animatsu Entertainment within the UK.
Media: BD 50 x1, BD 25 x1
Region: A & B
Running Time: 3:39:55 (Disc 1), 1:12:48 (Disc 2)
Video: MPEG-4 AVC
Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 (Japanese)
Subtitles: English (Yellow)
Resolution: 1920×1080 (1080p)
Aspect Ratio: 16:9
Frame Rate: 23.976 fps
Punch Line is a series that attempts to be everything but nothing at the same time and as a result it tends to suffer; especially in the early stages of the series. The prospect of a super-natural themed fan-service show gives Punch Line an interesting outlook but once the foundations have been laid down you realise that the events within the earlier episode were pretty much pointless. It’s a series that also moves along at a steady pace but at the same time feels like it isn’t moving at all, but then again Chiranosuke did explain that spirits have no concept of time and that’s why they can time travel. Whether or not I liked or disliked this series is irrelevant, just as much as the series itself is irrelevant, but it’s clear that some positive merits can be had.
In short Punch Line is separated into two halves; the first half follows the spirit of Yuta Iridatsu as he tries to claim his body back whilst watching over the residents of the apartment. The second half on the other hand sees the same Yuta Iridatsu travel back in time and posses his own body so that he can attempt to stop the Qmay Kai from destroying the earth. It’s a confusing but comical story and in some aspects it’s like watching two different anime shows within one show. The first half provides the character building and comical banter, most of which is mediocre, while the second half provides the action, intensity and drama you would come to expect from a good action flick; all of which ends on a rather sour – but kind of emotional – ending. Some laughter and surprises are in store; but for the most of its pretty mediocre if not a little bit over the top.
When it comes to this Blu-ray release by Animatsu Entertainment then it’s business as usual. For starters Animatsu Entertainment have opped (once again) to use discs authored by Sentai FIlmworks so the disc content, style and presentation is exactly the same as the US counterpart. Punch Line is presented in Japanese with English audio, so no English dub exists, and despite my concerns with the series the voice acting is superb; especially during the later stages where it sees Japanese actors speak in English for long periods of time. As with all Sentai Filmwork mastered releases subtitles are presented in Yellow; although translation text are presented in various colours (White, Brown, Grey) and it all depends on the source text. One disappointing aspect however is that during the series a selection of songs appear however no translation for those songs appear as subtitles; it’s a small disappointment but you kind of expect everything to be translated.
Overall Punch Line is another great release from Animatsu Entertainment; it’s just a shame that the series itself, albeit different and quite interesting, is presented in a mediocre manner. If you are after something ‘abit uniquet’ then Punch Line is definitely one worth checking out; for me however it’s not one that i’ll be wanting to watch again anytime soon.
Punch Line! – The Complete Series is now available on Blu-ray and DVD within the UK.