Do you remember how Trigun had a major change in tone midway through? It really threw people for a loop at the time. Sometimes this accomplishes great feats of storytelling, and sometimes a it falls flat. Much like Trigun, Punch Line has a major shift midway through the show. Did it make it better or worse? Let’s talk about that, shall we?
I’ll admit up front, this was actually a pretty tough one for me to get through. Trigun was a good hilarious time to start with and then got serious, but engaging. The whole way through, I was able to enjoy the show. I didn’t really know what to expect when I started Punch Line. I didn’t realize how much cheesecake ecchi I was really getting into when I got the package from our editor.
I’m not really much for ecchi myself, but I have to try to judge it on it’s merits rather than just my preferences. Also, the side of him saving the world left me thinking there could be something interesting within the series for me. So, I popped it in and gave it a run.
The overall idea is simple, but with some deeper and more complex concepts woven in. We find our hero is now a disembodied spirit. He also lives in a house full of young cheesecake women. We find that he is easily excited by provocative shots of these ladies and seeing their underwear.
Our hero is also the key to saving the world. He is an ubermensch, as are some other characters in the show. One way that he goes “uber” is by being excited by seeing these ladies’ underwear. However, as a spirit, he can be overloaded by seeing too much of their underwear. When this happens he passes out and will not awaken in time to save the world. He needs to overcome this so he can be awake to stop the meteor that will destroy the world.
One would think that this would be a problem in an ecchi anime where the hero lives with a bunch of women… and it kind of is. Before he gains control over his spirit and life, we keep seeing throughout these episodes that he fails and sees too much. When this happens, we cut to seeing the world ending.
I really hated the beginning of Punch Line. However, I thought I saw something interesting in the story. There is a little weird arc about how our main character was the secret to the destruction or salvation of the world. I liked some of the interaction between the two disembodied spirits. While pretty typical, I also enjoyed some of the ideas and restrictions they added to his abilities.
I really didn’t like the humor. Like I said before, I’m really just not an ecchi kind of guy and Punch Line was really hitting that ecchi line hard. It seemed at times like it was trying way too hard to work it into the show in ways that weren’t necessary and didn’t flow. There was enough that would happen naturally in the environment, but they went an extra step far too often to put more of it into the episodes.
The efforts they went to really took me out of it. Really, it felt like that aspect was unnecessary to make things happen. I feel like they could have done it better without the fan service being the ubermensch trigger; that would have just made it much better.
It took some time, but I did come to appreciate Punch Line in a few ways. I thought the change in tone midway made it significantly better. The last few episodes were actually quite engaging. They toned down the amount of time focused on bending over backwards for fan service and instead focused on developing the characters and the dire aspects of the situation. The fan service after this change is used to bring levity to the dire situation presented in the main piece of the story, and in this capacity it is actually useful to the story.
The show even comments on it’s tone change in the stinger of the next to last episode. As it gives us a quick look at some of the heavy stuff that is coming in the last episodes, the voiceover jokes “I thought this was just a glance at panties anime”. To me, my enjoyment was a story of two halves of the show. I really enjoyed the second half while the first half was not fun for me at all. Definitely brought the show up a mark for me. While I would prefer things differently, I will admit it works in the end.
Punch Line is a very nicely animated show. The art looks great throughout the show and the animation is very cleanly done. This disc does a great job of presenting the quality of the animation. Detail on this release is beautiful and is pretty much never held back by the transfer. The colors look great and really pop on the screen. The ubernization sequences and color changes always look sharp.
What I see as the biggest downside on the image is the subtitles are burned in. While I think having to read the subtitles is better than a dub for this anime as it forces one to pay close attention to what is happening in the story, burned in subtitles are not my preference. Due to these being burned in, even those who can understand the Japanese audio track have to see it. I’d rather they be removable for those who don’t need them.
Picture Quality: 4/5
The audio is also quite good on this release of Punch Line. We’re dealing with a DTS HD Master Audio track here. All of the dialog sounded clear, despite my inability to understand Japanese. Every action scene is lively and bouncy on this track. It wasn’t the most impressive use of surround, but it certainly does the job well.
Audio Quality: 4/5
Packaging and Special Features
Clean Opening Animation
Clean Closing Animation
Punch Line comes in a pretty standard blu-ray double disc case. Nothing special to see here, really just functional and simple. The special features don’t really excite. We get a clean opening and closing animation which some might appreciate. The trailers are just a look at some other shows Sentai is putting out. Pretty limited selection of extras, but pretty normal for a TV show.
Packaging and Special Features: 2/5
In the end, Punch Line is not good or bad. It has some good things and some bad. The overall story is interesting. The ending is pretty good. However, the beginning is not so great. The fan service drags it down and isn’t very well done, resulting in a distraction more than a supplement. In the end, the whole ends up being simply so-so.
I can’t give it a pass because of the strong ending, but I can’t knock it for not being my thing. I just think those who buy in for ecchi will probably be disappointed with the later portion of the show. Honestly, I think the ecchi will probably not be satisfying to those who want it. Those who want the experience provided by the second half of the movie will probably be disappointed by the overwhelming fan service in the beginning. Punch Line is just very uneven. The story is worth it, but I certainly can’t recommend it over other anime series as many do so much of it better. Technical merits are fine and supplements are non-existent. It is serviceable, but in this day and age, go watch something better tailored to your style.
Final Score: 2/5
If you feel like grabbing a copy of Punch Line, you can do so quickly and easily here.
Note: This Blu Ray was sent to us for review. This has not affected our judgement or editorial process in any way. Please contact us if you have any questions regarding this process.