Yes, you have read that right.
This is in fact, review #150. A grand milestone reached in the history of Anime Discovery. Yes, 100 reviews is passé for us at this point and we haven’t reached that grand ‘ol 200 reviews yet but reaching 150 is also something to be proud of and to cherish, too.
Plus, this is also the year that The Mind of the Hybrid One turns 5!!!…..This September. Yep, I’ve been doing this foray into anime reviewing among other things for almost 5 years now and right here is the perfect start of this.
So………what the hell am I going to review for this occasion?
I can’t just put on just any title. It has to be special……at least, to me or some fraction of that.
Let’s see…..*looks on my Anime-Planet anime database*
Did that……did that….not doing that…..nope…..later on……..not really that special…….
*sees that particular one*
Wait……….you!!! Yes, the one anime that I’ve said a lot of good things about but never made a full review about it.
Although you’re figure out why in a second, but yes, this is going to be my 150th Anime Discovery review.
Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, sci-fi anime fans, comedy anime fans……I present to you…..my 150th anime review and it is on………
Yep, it is on Sgt. Frog.
You know, one of the few anime that extends beyond 24 episodes that I like and it was #15 on my 25 DAYS OF ANIME list from last year.
Amazingly, when someone first recommend I check this out, I was exactly hesitant to give it a watch at first because comedy can go either way for me and going on a 78-episode series wasn’t my bag but soon after watching the first 4 episodes, I’m hooked and the rest is history.
So as usual……..what the hell is this show about?
Keroro is a frog-like alien sent from his home planet on a mission to conquer Earth. But when his cover is blown, his battalion abandons him and he ends up in the home of the Hinata family. There, he’s forced to do household chores and sleep in a dark basement that was once supposedly a prison cell haunted by the ghost of an innocent girl. He even spends his free time assembling Gundam model kits. During his stay, Keroro meets up with subordinates who were also stranded during their failed invasion.
So an alien along with his crew are planning an invasion on Earth (or as they referred it Pekopon) but are instantly foiled by two middle school kids?
Yeah, if I was him, I’d probably wouldn’t go back to face that humiliation.
Anyway, there isn’t much of an overarching plot in here aside from they need funding to begin their invasion and of course, they do it through wacky hi-jinks and ridiculous schemes that usually ends up failing and suffer the consequences, usually that would be Natsumi thrashing Keroro rightfully so.
With every wacky adventure in the show, you get some hilarious moments and some guaranteed laughs from the majority of each episode from the breaking the fourth wall jokes to the physical comedy animation and there is a lot of pop-culture and anime (mostly the latter – especially mecha anime) references from Super Sentai series, Evangelion and including the big one of all…..Gundam. However, while the show got a lot of laughs, it isn’t without its heart as the show does have some light-hearted tender moments although they can be slightly cheesy like an after-school special but with a twang that gives it a punch of humor in it with a unlimited amount of re-watch value.
With that said, there is only one glaring flaw that prevents it from being godly (at least for me)…..
Remember when I said the show is only 78 episodes?
I lied. It’s actually 358 episodes but FUNimation, the company that licensed the show, has only all of season 1 (1-51) and half of season 2 (52-78) despite them labeling 1-26 Season 1, 27-51 Season 2 and 52-78 Season 3 but mostly stop getting later episodes mostly to due low DVD sales and if you’re one that likes Toriko, D Gray Man and Case Closed…..then you understand what’s going on in this unfortunate situation. I did wish they could have gotten the other half of Season 2 and then be done with it since it feels incomplete on how things ended there. At least Season 1 ended on something that felt like a complete ending.
And since I mentioned Gundam, guess what studio animated this show?
Yep, it’s the famed studio Sunrise responsible and their animation style is simple and effective with gag-based animation thrown in there in its bright and colorful presentation that’s not too garish or showy and since the show does make a lot of Gundam references, there’s some decent mecha action when it comes to either the show itself or the fictional shows Captain Gerero or any other Gundam-esque show within the show.
Now when it comes to characters in this show, I have nothing but good words for all of them and there is a lot to go through, mostly the main characters. So, I’m going by group…..
First, we got the Hinata family with youngest son Fuyuki, who’s the paranormal geek and (typical) nerd; Natsumi, the oldest daughter who is your average teenage girl that’s great in sports and quite the popular one in school and the mother Aki, head of the household and a chief manga editor/designer. Keroro, the leader of the ARMPIT Platoon stays in their house while planning the invasion and most of the time, he’s….one lazy frog as he either eats, plays and builds his Gundam, watches a lot of TV and get others to do his chores. Fuyuki considers him a friend as Natsumi thinks of him a slave and/or a nuisance and knowing the antics that happen, she’s actually right over that and for Aki, he’s inspiration for her when it comes to making her own manga ideas. I like her idea on that and also Aki is one of my anime crushes.
The other frog staying at their house is Corporal Giroro, their weapons expert who’s the very opposite of his leader as he is the manliest frog of the group ready to shoot, fight and conquer anything with no hesitation…..however, when it comes to his crush on Natsumi, he’s about as silly as the rest of them.
Next up, we got Momoka Nishizawa, a shy 12-year-old girl and classmate of Fuyuki who secretly has a huge crush on him. OK, not much of a secret but Fuyuki is oblivious to it (I mean, come on, dude, really?). However, at face value, she may seem like the shy and quiet girl but whenever her crazy and expensive (oh, she’s a multimillionaire BTW) ways of getting close of him mostly fails, she gets very aggressive and violent. She also has Paul Moriyama, her butler and full-time guardian who is quite the bad-ass on this show and he has a mustache. Dat grey mustache. And speaking of Momoka, the frog staying with her is Private 2nd Class Tamama. He’s the youngest of the platoon and the most cheerful and gentle, whoever like Momoka, he is also aggressive and a rancorous, violent maniac just like *snaps finger* that, especially when someone tries to get close to Keroro.
An example of that is one other character in the show: Angol Mois – or the QUEEN OF TERROR who can destroy world with her Lucifer Spear as one big smash could split Earth in half. However, she comes off as ditzy, peppy, clumsy and actually very sweet. She is very close to Keroro as she always calls him “oji-sama” or ‘uncle’ if you watched the dub of it and so oblivious that she wants to marry him or be his girlfriend. Of course Tamama is instantly jealous of her and how Keroro always pays attention to her but of course her pure heart and charm is the reason why Tamama can’t compete with her.
Sergeant Major Kululu is the head of communication in the Platoon who is also invents weapons for the Platoon. He’s basically the troll of the platoon as he’s a sneaky and deceitful frog that just likes to mess with you for his own amusement and does his own creepy laugh. Speaking of creepy, he also likes to spy on Aki when she’s showering. His partner he stays with is Saburo (or Mutsumi Houjou). He’s the mysterious teenage boy who Natsumi has a crush on and does have a good presence in the show despite being the least dynamic main character of the show.
Last but not least, there’s Lance Corporal Dororo (or formerly Zeroro). He’s very skilled when it comes to stealth and speed-based attacks but is more level-headed than the rest. Unfortunately, he is also the one that usually gets left behind and also Keroro is a dick to him whether it be in their younger days or the fact the Platoon easily forgets about him. Yeah, you get why he doesn’t want to be a part of them. The person who founded him is Koyuki Azumaya, A kunoichi who transferred into school and Natsumi’s best friend who easily matches in their athletic skills and someone that is actually confident as a ninja. Also one of my favorite characters on the show.
On sound, the music as a whole is very catchy starting with the main theme “KERO! to MARCH” by Nobuaki Kakuda and Juri Ihata, which is a jaunty and delightful way to start each episode even with his confusing translated lyrics but you couldn’t help but stick to hearing it all the way through. The 2nd opening theme “Zenkoku Musekinin Jidai” by GAGAGA SP does have a different faster rock tempo than the first opening but still a great way to start an episode, maybe not as good as the first one but still good.
The ever popular ending theme “AFRO Gunsou” by DANCE MAN is as danceable as you imagine it would be. It’s weird as all hell but very catchy to learn to as you watch the show and the only theme to be used twice in the first season and yet the only other ending theme I like is “Katte ni SHINRYAKUSHA” by Naoya Ogawa and Mayuko Iwasa, mainly because the first few seconds of it really got me into listening to it. The other two ending themes in-between those other times are fine but I never give any second thoughts to those ending songs.
For the English dub…….yeah, this had a long process of getting it dubbed because at first ADV originally had the license and pitched a deal to air it on TV on either Cartoon Network or Nickelodeon although they had to make different versions of the show: the mass-market version, kids version or the original version.
And that worked out so well……*heh heh*
Yeah, FUNimation grabbed the license through Sojitz and their dub…….is quite good. Yes, they have taken some liberties with the script with the pop culture references although it worked out for its favor despite it being corny and can dated themselves. But then again, the show was set in 2004 (or 2009) so it was already dated in the original sub. Anyway on to the performances…..
To be truthful, I wasn’t that familiar with FUNimation voice actors/actresses around that time (maybe one or two) like I didn’t know much of Todd Haberkorn (as Keroro) or Leah Clark (as Fuyuki). I will say this is one of my favorite comedic performance from Haberkorn as I thought he was precisely funny in his role and Clark was a decent choice for Fuyuki.
Oh yeah, this is also the first time I recognized Cherami Leigh as Natsumi and she was one of my favorite performances on the show especially with her character interacting with Keroro and beating him, too. (Keroro, not Todd.) Other people I didn’t notice at first back then are Chuck Huber as Kululu and everybody’s favorite butler now benevolent ninja Dororo voiced by J. Michael Tatum.
In fact, all of the cast did excellent here from Jamie Marchi (Aki – also one of the ADR writers), Monica Rial (Momoka), Carrie Savage (Angol Mois), Brina Palencia (Tamama), Chris Sabat (Giroro), Joel McDonald (Saburo – also the ADR director) and Luci Christian (Koyuki). Also a special mention to R. Bruce Elliott as the Narrator of the show. Him and the caption were also a hilarious highlight to each episode.
FINAL VERDICT: There’s no doubt about it that I absolutely love Sgt. Frog. The reason why it’s one of my favorite comedy anime is that it has good usage of comedic timing, breaking the fourth wall jokes, the references working in their favor and touching sentimental moments that are appropriately cheesy yet effective although it would’ve been higher on my mark if the show didn’t end abruptly.
And with that said, Sgt. Frog is ranked with a…..
9/10 – First Class
SGT. FROG is available on DVD via FUNimation Entertainment. Streaming options are available on FUNIMATION’s EVS service and Hulu. Any other remaining Sgt. Frog episodes, movies and a reboot in 2014 has been remained unlicensed.
AH, 150 reviews of anime… in the last 5 years I’ve been doing this and looking back at my first batch of reviews…… I’m glad I’ve gotten better throughout the years. And of course, I like to thank my followers and fans who have been reading them whether it be from the beginning or just joining in.
I’m MAK2.0 aka The Blue Hybrid, and I wonder what I got planned for my 200th review…….possibly in 2018.
SGT. FROG – animation by SUNRISE / licensed by FUNIMATION ENTERTAINMENT