Problem Children Are Coming from Another World, Aren’t They? Complete Series
Publisher: Hanabee Entertainment
Format: DVD (reviewed) / Blu-ray
Release Date: January 7, 2015
Price: $59.99 – Available Here
Japanese light-novels are frequently adapted into anime series. Such animated adaptations are typically produced just to serve as an advertisement for the original work. These adaptations sometimes end up running for multiple seasons, usually with a multiple-year break in the middle, but most of them only run for a single season. Some of them do not even get a full 12 or 13 episode season, however, such as Problem Children Are Coming from Another World, Aren’t They?, which only received a 10-episode adaptation and a single OVA episode. Many adaptations waste the potential they had, but despite its short run-time, is this one worth watching?
Izayoi Sakamaki, Asuka Kudou and You Kasukabe are from three different locations on Earth in space and time. These children possess incredible psychic powers and are quite bored with their individual lives. When they are transported to Little Garden, a place where supernatural powers are more common, they find themselves developing an interest in exploring this new world and contributing to the betterment of its society.
Black Rabbit is the person that summoned the three ‘problem children’ to Little Garden, and she explains to them how Gift Games work. Along with Jin Russel, she gets the group to help the community of No Name out. In order to play a Gift Game, a person must offer a Gift in return. These games can be extremely high-stakes, and a game issued by a Demon Lord resulted in No Name losing its name, flag and much of its land. Izayoi takes it upon himself to defeat many powerful enemies, including the Demon Lords. Despite their large egos and tendencies to mess with Black Rabbit, especially Izayoi, who constantly makes inappropriate sexual comments aimed at Black Rabbit, the three ‘problem children’ are impressively strong and capable of effectively strategizing against even the most devious enemies.
The use of real legends, mythology and historical details adds to the depth of the series, even if it does not make much sense for the inhabitants of Little Garden to know so much about Earth’s history and tales. Those familiar with Greek mythology will recognise the Helm of Invisibility worn by Perseus in real-life and by the character Perseus in this series, who happens to be the leader of a community of the same name. Many people will be familiar with the story of the Pied Piper of Hamelin, whether that is because of other anime or not, and it is fundamentally important to the plot. Instead of simply telling the original story, or recreating it in some way, the writers adapt it for their own purposes. The end result is an emotional story that helps end the season on a high note. It is also at this point where the supernatural elements of the series feel more believable than at any point prior in the series.
Clearly, the original creator of the series was not afraid to borrow details from all types of fiction. There seem to be parodies of other Japanese series, for example. You’s male calico cat is one such example, as it is apparently quite rare to come across a male calico cat in real life, as mentioned in a certain fan-favourite series. Another apparent reference to anime is with Dean, the mecha that Asuka controls. All it can do is say its own name, which may remind viewers of a certain long-running franchise. There are lots of little references throughout the series, so observant viewers may notice a reference to something they are familiar with.
The series looks great. Of particular note is the detail that went into the visual representation of Little Garden, a rather beautiful world that has been ravaged in certain areas. The character designs are not particularly unique, but it is easy to tell the characters apart. Fan-service in the main season is surprisingly tame, visually speaking, as the Thousand Eyes Floor Master Shiroyasha has placed a spell on Black Rabbit that makes it physically impossible to see her undergarments. She also forces her to wear somewhat revealing clothing, much to the enjoyment of Izayoi, but this is never taken too far in comparison to other anime series, at least.
Music can be fairly hit-and-miss with straight-up adaptations of light-novels or manga series. Fortunately, this series features background music composed by the talented Shiro Hamaguchi, a composer many anime fans will be familiar with. The expectations on his music for this series are high, and he certainly meets those expectations. He is as skilled as ever at creating music for all kinds of situations, and his music always adds to the atmosphere of the show instead of feeling like it is there simply because it can be. One thing to note is that background music is used abundantly throughout the series; periods of musical silence rarely last for even 30-seconds, an unusual practice for a Japanese production.
The theme songs are typical anime fare: decent pop songs with lyrics that are mostly relevant to the series. The song lyrics are subtitled, however one of the insert songs remains un-subtitled, likely due to a rights issue. One issue is present with the romaji transcription of the opening song’s lyrics, but this can be easily ignored by those with no knowledge of the Japanese language.
The dubbing work by Sentai Filmworks is excellent this time; the entire voice cast is perfectly suited to their roles. The script is not as faithful to the original as Sentai’s dub scripts usually are, though, so it comes as no surprise that the ADR script was written by Josh Grelle, a person who has worked with FUNimation on many of their less-faithful dubs. Plot details are not altered, but plenty of colloquialisms make their way into the script, making it feel more westernised than it should. The OVA episode is also dubbed into English.
There are several on-disc extras included with this release. The textless opening and ending animation sequences are included on the first disc. Episode 10 has a special ending sequence, however the textless version of it is not included. The bumpers, Blu-ray spots, TV spots, promotional video and OVA episode are included on the second disc. This OVA episode does not further the plot much, as is typical of OVAs like this one, but it is entertaining nonetheless and a good incentive to purchase the home video release. Potential buyers should note before buying this series that the OVA features girls being covered in milk and dirt in an inappropriate sexual manner, girls being molested by tentacle monsters, girls hypnotised into wearing extremely revealing loincloths, acid rain that eats away at the clothing of everyone present, including Izayoi, and more. Given the tendency of the series to go overboard with the perverted sexual references, this shameless female sexualisation is not particularly surprising, but a disturbing disappointment nonetheless considering that the OVA could have been spent exploring the world of Little Garden and its inhabitants more deeply without treating the female characters as nothing more than sexual objects.
Problem Children Are Coming from Another World, Aren’t They? is an enjoyable series for the most part. Despite its short length, it is able to explore its characters and its world just enough to keep things interesting. Though it may take the sexual references and the female sexualisation in the OVA to a disturbing degree, the music and the clever plot make this one of the better anime adaptations in recent years. More importantly, the focus on actual historical events, myths and legends makes this series even more interesting and even educational to a certain extent. Fans of fantasy and supernatural series will likely find something to enjoy in this series, but people who respect women will need to skip several of its scenes.
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