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ADV Films presents
Plastic Little (1994)

- Tita (Yuriko Fuchizaki)

Review By: Dan Lopez   
Published: January 23, 2002

Stars: Yosuke Akimoto, Yuriko Fuchizaki, Hiroshi Inaka
Other Stars: Takanori Nakao, Shou Otsua
Director: Kinji Yoshimoto

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (lots of nudity, some language, violence)
Run Time: 00h:45m:36s
Release Date: February 15, 2002
UPC: 702727006821
Genre: anime

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
A B-AB+ C+

DVD Review

It's been awhile since I've seen an animated, Japanese feature that was so short. Many ofthem are made with great regularity, but Plastic Little's 45-minute running timecaught me a bit off guard. It builds up a great deal of steam and once it starts to getreally good, it's over. Such is the nature of shorter anime works, and in this case, the short length may have saved it from tumbling headlong into disaster. Not that the program is bad—far from it—but it's very simplistic and rather fluffy; it could not have sustained much more screen-time.

Plastic Little (and I have no idea where that title really fits in) is the story of Tita and the crew of her futuristic skyship. The setting is a future where people live on floating islands and thick clouds between them are considered the 'sea.' Tita's crew are Pet Shop Hunters, which basically means they cruise the clouds searching for exotic flying animals to catch and sell to pet shops. While docked one day, the crew has a run-in with a strange, young girl named Elysse, who is on the run from the government military. Tita, who hates to see anyone pursued by authorities, rescues her and takes her in. They discover that Elysse is the sole survivor of a failed military project to make the hovering devices on the large island into weapons. Only Elysee knows the code to re-activate the weapons and the military leader, Guizel, wants it (for unexplained reasons). Tita and crew decide to take on the military and destroy the weapons system, making a change of pace from animal hunting.

At first glance, judging from the general presentation and atmosphere presented byPlastic Little, one might assume that it's one of those T&A movies with nothingelse really going for it. Actually, that would only be partially correct. It does bearmentioning that not only do the central female characters spend an inordinate amount oftime completely nude (including the 16-year-old girl, Elysse) for a 45-minute film, but theyall have breasts that defy the laws of physics—maybe things are different in the future.... Anyway, it's handled with relatively good humor, but it will also result in unintentionallaughter from most Western audiences, I would imagine. The number of excuses the filmcomes up with to either show a character topless or show them excessively jiggling isquite funny. Plastic Little shouldn't be dismissed for this, though.

Despite the 'fanservice' factor, the quick storyline, fantastic action sequences, gorgeous art-design and animation make this worth sitting through the obligatory nudie shots. The short length is well spent providing a base-level plot by which we can see the crew of Tita's ship fighting off huge ships (in cloud-based combat that likens to submarine battles) or dealing with Guizel's evil henchmen. The ships, robots, and other assorted mechanical elements are creative and stunning, offering a visual aspect that melts the eyeballs, thanks to the high frame-rate animation. I'll grant that Plastic Little breaks no new ground and is fairly stereotypical of most quick and flashy anime, but at least it's entertaining. The action is solid and exciting, and the copious nudity is not used as an excuse to make softcore porn. It's just a quick dose of anime boiled down to its most basic, and in that, it is definitely successful.

Rating for Style: A
Rating for Substance: B-


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: The animation transfer is very impressive, offering a near-pristine image that really feelslike it's leaping out of the screen. While the source print does have a few marks on it, theydon't really take away from the solid representation of detail and colors. The artistry isdefinitely above average here and compression artifacts or shimmering just don't make anappearance to alter the detail level. The film is crisp and sharp without causing dot-crawlor moire on sharp patterns, so I would assume no sharpening was used, which is good asit would have shown very bad here. Black level is also very solid, which is importantgiven the usage of shadow detail as part of the overall style.

Image Transfer Grade: A


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Japanese, Englishyes

Audio Transfer Review: The English and Japanese 2.0 Surround tracks are about what you might expect from anaction/anime feature. Surround channels are used on a few occasions for some ambience(like echoes or wind), while the front soundstage handles most of the heavy work. There'ssome generous directional effects and lots of theatrical power to give the action sequencessome charge to them. The dialogue is always clear and audible, never obscured by otherchannel activity. The English dub is not to my taste, but isn't horrible. Some of the toneof the female characters doesn't quite get across their teenage enthusiasm the way theJapanese track does, but as dubs go, it is serviceable.

Audio Transfer Grade: B+


Disc Extras

Animated menu with music
Scene Access with 8 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
6 Other Trailer(s) featuring Excel Saga, Sakura Diaries, Dai-Guard, Robotech: Masters, Burn UpExcess, Dirty Pair Flash
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extra Extras:
  1. Storyboard and production sketches.
  2. Jiggle Counter
Extras Review: Thrown in just for the sheer humor of it, the most noticable feature is the inclusion of the"jiggle counter", an optional feature that runs throughout the film. A small logoappears in the upper right-hand corner of the screen (shaped like a pair of breasts) thatcounts every occurrence of a jiggle. It keeps a running tally, and by the end of the featureyou'll be able to authoritatively state exactly how many breast jiggles are featured, thusenabling you to enter the truly highest ranks of "otaku-dom." It's nice to see a feature ona North American DVD that pokes a bit of fun at anime's own odditites, and while it haslittle substance, I applaud the creation of it. Additionally, there are some conceptual andstoryboard sketches and a batch of ADV previews with the original Plastic Littletrailer. The menus are pretty stylish and fit the tone of the film well. The keepcase insertcontains a chapter listing and, on the other side, a textless piece of art featuring 3 of thefemale cast members in bathing suit poses.

Extras Grade: C+


Final Comments

Plastic Little is not for the kiddies, but it makes a good, fast punch with lots ofthings that make anime great—nudity aside. It isn't pretentious enough to imagine thepaper-thin plot could actually support an entire film, so it ends before it has time to getboring or predictable. Probably only worth purchasing for Kinji Yoshimoto fans, but as arental, it works perfectly. I'd love to see more adventures with Tita and her crew, justwithout all the locker room stuff.


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