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Tokyopop presents
Real Bout High School #1: Enter the Samurai Girl (2000)

"My, what a filthy mouth you have! I'm appalled to even be a member of the same gender."
- Azumi (Satsuki Yukino)

Review By: Joel Cunningham   
Published: May 30, 2002

Stars: Ikue Kimura
Other Stars: Megumi Nasu, Satsuki Yukino
Director: Shinichi Toukairin

Manufacturer: Cinesite
MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (cartoon violence)
Run Time: 01h:34m:05s
Release Date: May 21, 2002
UPC: 645573013721
Genre: anime


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
B+ B+AA- C-

DVD Review

Real Bout High School is a place where disagreements or misunderstandings between students are translated into K-Fights, where the offended parties use martial arts to settle the score once and for all. Schoolgirl Ryoko is the K-Fight champion at the moment, but her undefeated status has brought her much unwanted fame and adulation.

One night, after yet another successful match, Ryoko finds a mysterious pendant in her locker. When she puts it on, she finds herself in another dimension, where a mysterious floating being tells her that she is the Demon Warrior and that it is her duty to defeat a host of fearsome, monstrous adversaries. At first, she isn't sure if the battles are real or a dream, but when her friends, including a confident former K-Fight opponent, are drawn in as well, she begins to uncover the truth about her new calling.

Real Bout High School is an enjoyably bit of fluff. Ryoko is a very likeable main character, quite loudmouthed and impulsive. Her various adversaries, including her older schoolmate Azumi, are amusing, constantly berating her, while her throng of adoring fans (including one boy who photographs her every move) provide a few laughs.

The animation, especially during the frequent battle scenes, is very strong, with fluid movements and creative staging. There's a lot of wacky exaggeration for comedic effect (probably my favorite thing about anime), and, thankfully, minimal fan service. The plot, such as it is, is fairly simple, especially in these early episodes. Shows are only loosely connected, and Ryoko is still just starting to discover the meaning of the pendant after the first four shows. Luckily, the fast pace, frequent battles, and constant comic relief keep things moving. And I assume the story can only get better, right? I mean, something has to happen eventually.

Rating for Style: B+
Rating for Substance: B+

 

Image Transfer

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


Image Transfer Review: Real Bout High School looks beautiful on DVD. Colors are eye-popping and solid, the image is stable, and the source material is impeccable. None of the problems that plague many anime releases, such as a graininess, line jitter, or an overall washed-out appearance are evident in the slightest.

Image Transfer Grade: A

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0English, Japaneseyes


Audio Transfer Review: The audio mix is likewise strong. Both the original Japanese and a very strong English dub are presented in DD 2.0. The mix is spread nicely across the front soundstage with directional effects during the battle scenes and clear dialogue throughout. The audio is very well supported, features good dynamic range, and never sounds harsh or tinny.

Audio Transfer Grade: A-

 

Disc Extras

Animated menu with music
Scene Access with 24 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
3 Other Trailer(s) featuring Initial D, Reign, GTO
4 TV Spots/Teasers
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extra Extras:
  1. Outtakes
  2. Translator's Notes
Extras Review: Real Bout High School contains some unique extras. The included four-page booklet features brief notes from the translator on 27 different phrases, explaining why they were difficult to translate and what options were available.

An outtakes reel of flubs captured during the recording of the English dub is also included. The segment only runs a few minutes, but some of the mistakes are quite amusing. Four TV spots, in Japanese with English subtitles, are present, along with promo spots for TOKYOPOP properties Initial D, Reign, and GTO.

A brief "making of" clip (called the "Special End Corner") is included with each episode, covering some aspect of that particular story. The first is an interview with the girls who performed the live action footage that runs over the credits, and I hope the producers told them to act that dumb, because wow. The second features footage of the pop stars who sing on the soundtrack posing for the jacket photo (hmmm... interesting?), and maybe I just don't get j-pop, but why are these people acting like such complete morons? The third features more stupidity in a "special talk" with the vocal cast. They tell us that their favorite part about voice acting is that each script has a different cover. The last one is a big ad for the official website. Fans are encouraged to visit it every day, several times a day, to avoid missing out on the fun of different pictures and a message board. Drop out of school if necessary.

Since most of the fights in Real Bout High School feel like they were pulled right out of a videogame, the fighting game-themed menus seem very appropriate. Each episode includes a generous six chapter stops. The packaging is nice, too, with a cool see-through blue case (first pressing only) and double-sided artwork that shows through when you open it up.

Extras Grade: C-

 

Final Comments

Real Bout High School seems a diverting series that is pretty to look at, and even if the plot is developing a tad slowly, the characters keep things interesting. TOKYOPOP has done a very nice job with the transfer, extras and packaging, and I look forward to the next volume in the series. Recommended for fans of bubbly, action-packed anime.

 


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