07 May 2016

Quickie TV DVD Review: "The Law of Ueki: Volume One: The Battle Commencement"

Synopsis: Ueki seems like your everyday junior high kid...but, he has a special power: to turn trash into trees! His teacher, Mr. Kobayashi, gave him that power to enter into a competition; if Ueki wins, he'll get any talent he wants, while Mr. K will become the new Celestial King.  Unfortunately, there are ninety-nine other competitors vying for the same title, all with special powers of their own! Ueki isn't much of a fighter, but, he decides to face the challenge head-on! Can he emerge victorious despite the deck being stacked against him?

My Review: Other than Japanese cartoon adaptations of Marvel superheroes, this is the first anime series I've watched since Yu-Gi-Oh! in high school.  However, I have to say that I really enjoyed it! The plot may seem weird, but, it's actually very fun and exciting! As for the production values, the animation is great, and the English voice actors do a wonderful job.  I wish the final episode didn't end on a cliffhanger, though; it'll likely be a while before I can get my hands on the rest of the series.  As good as it is, though, one big flaw with the DVD itself: The subtitles during the opening and closing credits during the second and last episodes merely transliterate the Japanese lyrics being sung instead of actually translating them.  As someone who knows about zero Japanese, I wished they could have done like they did on the other episodes.  That, however, is a minor complaint.

Content Concerns: The back of the DVD warns of "cartoon violence," but, this is a far cry from Looney Tunes.  While not bloody or gory, the battles are intense, and some of the brawls are of the street variety.  Also, the subtitles feature about three or four uses each of the d-word and the b-word--that is, the one used for an illegitimate child--though such language is strangely absent from the dubbing.

Score: 4/5

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