Keroro Gunso Season 1 Review

Based on a popular manga, the series known in English as Sgt. Frog is one of anime's longer-running pure comedy series, with more than 290 episodes aired in Japan over the past five and a half years as of this writing. ADV originally licensed it late in 2006, but for various reasons it languished in their care until it became one of the victims of ADV's licensing problems in early 2008. Funimation picked it up when they picked up many other former ADV titles in mid-2008, but after streaming a dubbed test episode late in 2008 the title again languished until the fall of 2009, when its first season finally started coming out in DVD sets. Whatever difficulties might have delayed its release, fan impatience with the handling of this title has been justified: this is quite a funny series, even in its original Japanese form, and thus is well-deserving of a more rapid turn-around than it got.


Although the original manga slanted more towards teen audiences, producer Sunrise tweaked the anime series to be more family-friendly. In base form its approach resembles that of the old Hanna Barbera shorts: offer plenty of slapstick and silly humor to entertain younger kids and all manner of parodies, puns, and topical references to hold the interest of older teen and adult viewers. It even manages to dump in loads of otakucentric homages without making the title feel like one has to be an otaku to get it. Certain parts will certainly go over the heads of younger viewers, but who would not appreciate the absurdity of being shrunk down to microscopic size to go into battle with Cavity Aliens inside a subject's mouth? (Yes, apparently for Keronians, cavities are caused by miniature alien infestation, not natural tooth decay.) Or the notion that randomly shooting around even microscopic guns and missiles inside a subject's mouth is probably not good for the subject? And yes, this whole sequence is even funnier in execution than it may sound, especially for anime fans who peg all of the Gundam Seed references present in it.


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