Published: May 7, 2006
Grrl Power boasts a very attractive case. On the front is an action shot of Umi, Sora and Ao on a jet ski. Itâ€™s quite colorful and interesting. The spine has the logo, a continuation of the waves from the front, and the 3 girls in tiny circles. Iâ€™m not sure how much I like the back, mostly because of the choices of colors used. The very far background is a pale light blue, with a darker blue overlaid for the text. But, the secondary note text is a darker font than the main description, making the description hard to read. It doesnâ€™t stand out enough. I think the colors should have been reversed, with the description taking priority over the notes. A few full color circles of the girls accompany the text, along with the usual DVD info. The insert is a lot more interesting than normal, with pictures of signs (in sign language hands) for â€œGrrl Powerâ€ on one side and a full color picture of the girls on the other.
The menu is fairly boring and nondescript. A single solid and un-moving picture of the girls accompanies each menu screen, with music from the anime playing in the background. Bonus points for the cursor being a cute crab shape.
Grrl Power has a good selection of special features, though not all of them delivered on quality. Production sketches seem to be a must in any release. The interview with the Japanese creator was remarkably boring, and I had to stop it a few minutes in because I was falling asleep. Q&A with the Japanese voice actors was interesting, though would have been better with a real interview. The winners of the features section were (shockingly) the interview with the English voice actors, and the TAF presentation video with interviews with the cast and crew. I enjoyed watching both of these. In addition to the unique features, the usual previews and credits could be found on the disc.
I have a 40-inch LCD TV that shows literally any imperfection. I have to say, normally any DVD I throw in the player has significant problems on screen. In Grrl Powerâ€™s case, only a few imperfections showed through. In one or two scenes, there was minor artifacting going on (but literally only a handful of scenes). Also, in another few select scenes, there were slight issues with aliasing. I had to look very, very hard to find these problems though. Overall crisp clean colors and great transfer.
Overall the audio quality was great for both the Japanese and English tracks. However, I was a little surprised that the English track was supposedly 5.1. To me it sounded the same as the Japanese trackâ€¦ there was nothing coming out of the rear speakers that I could tell.
The dub was surprisingly well done, but I have a big issue with English voice actors pronouncing basic Japanese words incorrectly. Specifically, â€œIrukuyaâ€ was being pronounced as â€œIrukiyaâ€ by the English voice actors, the entire length of the OVA. This was like nails on a chalkboard to me. Why was this not caught and pointed out by the QA folks? Reminds me of the English pronunciation of Pokemon to Pokimon. If you want it to sound professional, donâ€™t overlook such things, in my opinion.
I have to say, I was very unexcited for watching Grrl Power. I wanted to add it to the AniRec (and get a DVD for the prize pile), and expected some sort of PowerPuff Girl-style nonsense, but instead was pleasantly surprised with what ended up being an entertaining story. The premise is simple: 3 young girls run a business called Irukuya where they complete odd jobs, no matter how big or small the task. Sort of like Get Backers, but with a younger and lighter feel (and no crazy battles). The crux of the story involves one job: to convince a young man to go back to school. Heâ€™s opposed to the idea, of course, and decides to join the company instead. After completing all sorts of unpleasant odd jobs he starts to question whether his choice was the best.
At only 25 minutes in length, itâ€™s hard to have any sort of a dynamic or complex story, but Grrl Power didnâ€™t really need one. Think of it as a brief slice of life piece that takes place in the life of three rambunctious kids. It has comedy that makes you chuckle, some light action, and a charming story line. Thereâ€™s not much to dislike, really. Itâ€™s not too kiddy for the adults to watch and not too adult for the kids to watch; so for the most part, Grrl Power has an accessible and pleasant story that will probably appeal to all ages.
Though different in nature, the animation of Grrl Power impressed me. Character designs definitely are minimal and aimed at a younger audience, with small arms with round hands, very simple shading, and a very cartoon look. Colors are bright and vibrant, and the shading on things like background objects (such as bushes) is layered in an interesting way. Plenty of emoticon type graphics are shown as well, like angry lines jutting out and other things. Overall I was quite impressed with the simple yet effective animation.
Grrl Powerâ€™s music is nothing to scream about, but it isnâ€™t bad either. Typical kiddy synthesized beats dominate the 25 minute OVA and the menu screens. It fits perfectly with the tone and feel of the anime, but doesnâ€™t stand out enough to warrant a super high score. The voice actors do a great job in the Japanese track. The English voice actors are for the most part very good, except for the annoying mispronunciation of things like â€œIrukuyaâ€ to â€œIrukiyaâ€.
I enjoyed the set of characters, which is rare for such a short piece. The girls, Ao, Umi, Sora, are likeable in their own ways. I have to say I was confused for a while at the sign language, until I discovered (only through watching the special features) that one of the girls is deaf. Wow, that was news to me! The secondary characters are entertaining as well, especially the old grumpy man who badly wants the girls to fetch his lost ring. He provides the main comic relief.
I expected Grrl Power to be shoujo girly nonsense, and came away impressed. Itâ€™s short, itâ€™s light, itâ€™s entertaining, and there isnâ€™t much to dislike about it. If you hate things like this, donâ€™t give this a watch. Otherwise, thereâ€™s not much to complain about. Itâ€™s not deep or thought provoking, but at least itâ€™s a good 25 minutes of mindless entertainment! Check it out.
Overall this is a solid release from ADV. The audio and video quality was much better than some things Iâ€™ve seen, the content of the OVA itself was better than expected, and some of the special features were an interesting watch. Iâ€™d say this is a good candidate for a purchase.
Need some help? At the Irakura agency, the young Umi, Sora and Ao take care of everything from delivering items to defeating monsters -- for a modest fee. Need a date? Having problems with your homework? There's nothing this young trio can't handle -- until now! When a distraught mother asks the girls for help getting her son to go back to school, Umi, Sora and Ao soon discover they might have a lot more to teach the boy than good attendance!