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Odex Private Limited presents
Boys Be... (R0) (2000)

"There are many books in the library. Every one of them chronicles a story that is unlikely to happen in reality, but when you fall in love with somebody, reality becomes a legend, and is more enchanting than any fairy tale."
- Kyoichi Kanzaki as narrator (Kenichi Suzumura)

Review By: Jeff Ulmer  
Published: August 29, 2002

Stars: Kenichi Suzumura, Akira Ishida, Hideo Ishikawa, Kazusa Murai, Yuri Shiratori, Miki Nagasawa
Other Stars: Junko Noda, Masayo Kurata, Rin Mizuhara, Misato Fukuen, Rika Komatsu, Megumi Hayashibara
Director: Yoshiak Iwasaki

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (some mature content)
Run Time: 05h:04m:12s
Release Date: March 25, 2001
Genre: anime

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
A A-A-A C+

DVD Review

"No one can stop time, but when you take a snapshot with your heart, no one can ever take it away." - Kyoichi Kanzaki as narrator

For those looking for a change from the standard anime fare, and something a little more mature and relationship-based, Odex serves up Boys Be..., a thirteen-part romantic comedy that comes complete in a region-free, four-disc set. Based on the ongoing manga by Shimoda Masami (Saber Marionette J), Boys Be... tells the story of six high school students through the course of a year, as they discover life and love for the first time.

As the show opens we are introduced to Kyoichi Kanzaki (Kenichi Suzumura) and Chiharu Nitta (Kazusa Murai), a pair of 17-year-old high school students who have been friends since childhood, but both are experiencing a new awareness of the other as they get older, which makes them uncomfortable. Kyoichi is a quiet, shy boy, and his friends, Makoto Kurumizawa (Akira Ishida) and Kenjou Yoshihiko (Hideo Ishikawa), think Chiharu is a bit of a freak for her athleticism. Makoto, the group's leading lech, dubs her a "barbarian" and doesn't even have her attributes included in his extensive database of the school's female population. Girls are a top priority in their daily lives, as they try to come to terms with their growing obsession with them.

Chiharu and her friends, Aki Mizutani (Yuri Shiratori) and Yumi Kazama (Miki Nagasawa), are themselves becoming giddy about boys, with the opposite sex a dominant topic for discussion. As Kyoichi and Chiharu begin to deal with their changing feelings for each other, their friends are also experiencing their first real crushes. Each character has their story revealed, with the background of the group as a whole tying things together. Broken into four seasons, Boys Be... shows the changes that make up the transition to adulthood, the turmoil of new feelings, and the dreams each has along the way.

Boys Be... is a very heart warming series. What sets this apart from other romantic comedies is that it doesn't rely on silly humor for its central appeal, focusing more on the emotional ups and downs and misunderstandings during the awkward adolescent years. That's not to say their isn't some ecchi content, but it is very much in tune with the things young boys will do—looking up skirts, noticing cleavage or finding new attentions in what were once ordinary activities. One other interesting point about this show is its use of live action footage for the opening credits and also for the eyecatches, which predominantly feature various female attributes with a Boys Be... logo. There are also some pretty cute animal bits included in the eyecatches throughout the series.

The show manages to create a plausible cast through the episodes, which intertwine the lives of each character in a realistic manner, without trying to create a dominant theme. This is more a glimpse into the transitional phase of adulthood than a single overall story arc, with the actions of each participant affecting the others. The jubilation and heartbreak of romantic relationships is handled very well, without getting mushy or overly dramatic. Character development is emphasized over the course of the show, as each member of the cast gains new perspectives on what makes up their futures. This will probably appeal more to an older audience who have left this time of their lives behind, as it offers a nostalgic look at that period of maturation we all go though.

Rating for Style: A
Rating for Substance: A-


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: Image quality is solid throughout. Colors are bright and vibrant, with rich black levels. Detail is excellent, and print defects are nonexistent. There is a bit of aliasing, but nothing abnormal. Overall this looks fantastic.

Image Transfer Grade: A-


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Japaneseno

Audio Transfer Review: Stereo surround is excellent, with a pleasing, full bodied sound and nice ambience in the surrounds. This show has some great music, which is presented well, exhibiting great separation and definition. No complaints here.

Audio Transfer Grade: A


Disc Extras

Static menu with music
Scene Access with 13 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, Chinese, Malay with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
6 Other Trailer(s) featuring Nanako: The Amazing Nurse, Strange Dawn, Tenchi Muyo in Love 2, Sol Bianca.
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
4 Discs
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extra Extras:
  1. Music videos
  2. Art gallery
Extras Review: Each disc, which is designated by a season, has a small collection of extras.

The series combined features three Boys Be... music videos and trailers, a line art gallery of 20 image , plus 15-second previews of Nanako: The Amazing Nurse, Strange Dawn, Tenchi Muyo in Love 2, and Sol Bianca.

Subtitles have problems typical to most Odex releases in the incorrect use of inflections in the translations, as well as Singaporean slang such as "Yap." This isn't a show-stopper, but does lead to some awkward passages.

Extras Grade: C+


Final Comments

Filled with the passions, aspirations and heartbreak of maturity, Boys Be... creates a touching portrait of a group of high school friends making their way through the emotional turbulence of their maturity. Well written and acted, the stories combine in a very enjoyable look at early adulthood. With the complete series available in an inexpensive, quality, all-region collection, this one gets a high recommendation.


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