Greetings from college and relentless gaming – I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving a few days ago. If you follow my Twitter, you’ll know that I recently acquired NISA‘s Blu-Ray release of Yuru Yuri season 1 on RightStuf (about three weeks ago?). Thank god I have a PS3 now, for I now have the luxury of enjoying my daily dose of “Akari~n!” in 1080p Blu-ray (no matter how abysmal her presence is). Tales of Xillia, Tales of Graces f, THE iDOLM@STER, watching Yuru Yuri, and trophy whoring back-to-back? Yup, I’m the worst person in the world for wanting these more than a healthy gaming PC with a Blu-ray player.
Anywho, as a person who has our lovable
ignored side-character protagonist with hair-buns as my Twitter image and my Gravatar, it’s pretty self-explanatory about how I feel about the series itself. If you like an endearing slice-of-life with an innocent dash of yuri thrown in, then go for it! The question I’m tackling here, though, is: was this release worth the money?
Nothing missing in the mail, as far as I can tell
As with every other NISA special package releases I’ve owned, this “premium” edition boxset (which is, in fact, the only edition of Region 1 Yuru Yuri that exists…) comes with one those physical extras that exists in the highest affordable tier of the world of physical extras: a really nice hardcover artbook, which I skimmed over ten times (it never gets old). Needless to say, it’s pretty sweet. And it’s packaged nicely with the two Blu-Ray cases, in a very pleasant-looking and sturdy box. It’s practically made to be displayed.
In terms of digital extras? Not much, aside from textless versions of the opening and ending themes, a collection of episode previews, and a few trailers for other anime series NISA has licensed, like Daily Lives of High School Boys Boys (shoutout!). I’m not complaining though, for a fifty dollar Blu-ray I wasn’t expecting much on the side of features. Besides, the artbook has plenty of content and fan satisfaction to make up for it. Oh yeah, and the menu design manages to be pretty simple and fun in spirit of Yuru Yuri, so nothing too flashy or confusing in terms of navigation.
As expected, the video quality is really gorgeous and crisp. However, one downside to this release is that the subtitles are encoded as hardsubs, possibly as an extra countermeasure to keep Japanese fans from trying to get their hands on our cheaper release. If you’re simply watching the show, do not understand Japanese (this is only in Japanese, so no English dub for those who enjoy them), and are watching it subtitled anyway, it’s no big deal. But if you want the show in its original raw format, then the subtitles will probably be redundant and distracting. Personally, I feel that subtitled screenshots are the worst screenshots to take of such beautiful frames because they detract from the artwork (as sort of an irony, I was planning on taking my usual screenshots of this set, but my computer lacks a Blu-ray player). Also, the subtitles make use of Japanese honorifics, so if you’re one of those nuts that goes crazy about words and semantics not being fully localized into “proper” English (i.e. san —>Mr./Mrs.), then it might make your head spin. Thankfully I’m not.
Overall, as long as you’re a fan of Yuru Yuri (it has a cult following for a reason!) and don’t mind not being able to turn off the subtitles, I’d say this is money well worth spending. There’s nothing wrong with the video/audio (
nothing could be worse than the BS FUNimation has pulled with their Orange Bricks set for the Dragon Ball series, besides the self-explanatory 4Kids) and it receives the good ol’ NISA TLC in regards to being a premium edition boxset. I’m looking forward to purchasing the second season boxset that’s coming out several days after New Years, especially since the second season contained some of my favorite episodes.
Tangent: Keep up the good work, NISA. Keep doing what you do best. Even if you got some unreasonable dub “fans” on your back for not providing expensive English dubs for niche anime series.
Like this guy. who somehow has never heard of Tomokazu Sugita (hrm). To be honest, I’d rather them releasing a neat artbook with extra material we wouldn’t get otherwise to them producing an alternate language track that would cater to a wider audience rather than just existing fans (sounds so money-grabbing, right? Oh please).
I might not like what NISA does with some of their video game translations, but I do appreciate them bringing over niche titles for niche fanbases in way that’s both affordable to the company and of watchable/playable quality to the fans. Really, I stick the middle finger at types of fans like that guy. They’re the reasons why the real anime fans overseas get very little obscure titles in favor of the top dogs. It’s fine to enjoy English dubs, but damn.