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Animation Runner Kuromi 2 (a J!-ENT Anime DVD Review)

August 6, 2008 by  



“An enjoyable parody of the anime industry, ‘Animation Runner Kuromi’ 2′ continues where the last OAV left off. An enjoyable OAV featured with a lot of laughs plus a lot of special features to make this another ‘Kuromi-chan’ OAV definitely worth owning!”

DVD INFORMATION:

DVD TITLE: Animation Runner Kuromi 2 (aka Anime Seisaku Shinko Kuromi-chan 2)

DURATION: 45 minutes

DVD INFORMATION: Dolby Digital Stereo, English and Japanese language, Region 1

CATALOG #: USMD 2334

RATED: 16 and Up

COMPANY: US MANGA CORPS

Released back in 2004

STAFF INFORMATION:

DIRECTOR & STORYBOARDS: Daichi Akitaroh

CHARACTER DESIGNER & ANIMATION DIRECTOR – Watanabe Hajime

SCRIPT – Itami Aki

SEGMENT DIRECTOR – Tamano Harumi

ART DIRECTOR – Shibata Chikako (Studio Kanon)

MUSIC – Masuda Toshio

PRODUCED BY Yamaguchi Satoshi

ORIGINAL CONCEPT/PLANNING/PRODUCTION by YUMETA CO., LTD.

CAST INFORMATION:

Oguro Mikiko (Kuromi) – Asoh Kaori/Lisa Ortiz

Shihonmatsu Hamako – Yasuhara Reiko/Carol Jacobanis

Takashimadaira Rei – Ishii Koji/Dan Green

Hassaki Hozumi – Matsumoto Yoshiaki/Wayne Grayson

Tanonaka Mizuho – Ito Eiji/Eric Stuart

Haryu Sheiichiro – Ichijo Kazuya/Dan Green

Fukami Aoi – Okamura Akemi/Angora Deb

Horaguchi Mai – Misawa Mayumi/Rachael Lillis

Kuromi is Back!

And more determined than ever to make it in the anime business. But all hell breaks loose when the boss quits smoking just when the workload burst out of control. Can Kuromi overcome this almost insurmountable obstacle?

I really enjoyed the first OAV and getting a chance to see the behind-the-scenes of an anime studio from the animated parody and the abundant of special features featured on the first DVD.

With this second OAV series, “Fruits Basket!” director Daichi Akitaroh, Watanabe Hajime and Itami Aki are back together for round II of the adventures of Studio Petit. And again, the OAV was a winner at the 2005 Tokyo Anime Fair.

This time, Kuromi’s boss decides to have the staff work not on just one series but three series.

For Kuromi, in her mind, more anime series means more staffing but not for Studio Petit. It’s more of everyone shifting their to different priorities and working on three anime series all at once.

Of course, with the staff being pushed to their limits and having to work on three series that are so different from each other, there is worry that the episodes for the series will not be completed in time.

Kuromi tries at first but everyone continues to have their excuses and leave work early.

But things change when the boss of Studio Petit brings in a veteran producer who will do what it takes to make sure the staff completes their deadlines in time, even if that means sacrificing quality. Even if it means firing the staff.

After watching this series, I actually had the same impression of Kuromi that anime studios, when they work on multiple series, more staff is brought in. But after watching this series, I can see how difficult things are if there are no staff hirings and the same staff have to work on multiple series.

This would probably answer why we have seen quality differences in animation (ie. the beginning half of “Ranma 1/2” and the latter half) why a series was not as good as it use to be.

But all in all, how this is handled on this latest “Animation Runner Kuromi 2” is hilarious, fun and enjoyable.

VIDEO:

The original OAV series was released back in 2004 and unlike the last series which kept switching from animation to character sketches, this one doesn’t do that. And I didn’t mind that one bit.

AUDIO:

I watched the OAV series both in English and Japanese and both are well done. There is no true action and if anything, it’s more or less an anime that is full of dialogue. But audio for the voice work and music came clear and found no problems.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

Central Park Media/US Manga Corps really delivered in terms of special features on the first OAV DVD release. The same with this second DVD.

Included are alternate angles, storyboard features, interview with Daichi Akitaroh, A segment titled “A Day in the Life of Kuromi”, art gallery, sketch gallery, Kuromi trailers and more.

The intervew with Daichi Akitaroh is around eight minutes long and he goes into why a sequel was created and how he wanted to tie up a few loose ends left from the first. How he also wanted to go deeper by adding a rival for Kuromi for this episode.

My favorite was a 10 minute feature with Japanese voice actress Asoh Kaori (Kuromi) having to work as an animation runner for a day at an anime studio.

In this featurette, Asoh goes to the residences of the animators to pick up completed pieces and just running back and forth from the office. Also, a message from the staff behind the second OAV series. This was very fun to watch and although everyone was in a lively mood for this feature, I can only imagine how things are during deadline week at an anime studio.

But again, CPM delivered on the special features for this second DVD.

Similar to the first episode, a parody of what goes behind-the-scenes at an anime studio and the second OAV continues the craziness of the first but also gives some insight on anime studios, dealing with budget and handling multiple series.

It was great to see the first OAV accepted by so many viewers in Japan and thus warranting a second version.

But the good news is that because the first and second OAV series came out years ago, you can find it for a cheaper price online.

The fact that this series parodies an actual anime studio, it is a pretty unique anime series. With the first OAV being a bit more straightforward anime of staff against time, the second OAV is the same but now the staff has to deal with three anime series at one time and the episode has a more of a dramatic storyline as there is now an antagonist who is making life rough for Kuromi and staff.

If you bought the first, you would definitely would want to buy the second OAV. For those wanting a collection box set with both OAV’s, with the state of the anime DVD industry right now, not sure if Central Park Media is interested in doing that. But again, you can find both OAV’s for a low price online if you look.

So, all in all, another cool OAV episode in the life of Kuromi and the staff at Studio Petit. Check it out!

+ A hilarious parody on what goes behind-the-scenes at an anime studio!

+ Really good voice acting on both the Japanese and English dialogue

+ A lot of special features that are enjoyable and informative

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