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DearS 1 and 2

DearS Volume 1&2
Release Date: August 2/October 18 2005
Released By: Geneon Entertainment
DVD SRP: $24.98 – 100/75 Minutes
Video: Full Screen (Standard) – 1.33:1
Audio: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo), Japanese (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo) & English Subtitles

Volume One:
One year ago an alien spacecraft crashed into Tokyo Bay. With no means to return. The aliens obtain Japanese citizenship and begin a home-stay program with regular families and schools. They are given the names “DearS” meaning “beloved friend”. However, Takeya, an opinionated teen doesn’t trust the aliens one bit. But when Takeya encounters a mysterious girl who is cold, hungry, and wrapped only in a blanket, he takes pity on her. As he brings her home to care for her, he finds that she is quite possibly one of the DearS. Add an alien cat-girl, an over-sexed teacher, and the fact that this DearS considers Takeya her master, life is beginning to become a little more than he can handle.

Volume Two:
When it comes to knowing about the DearS, its clear that Takeya doesn’t know much… it’s too bad that Ren is just as clueless! This alone is enough of an insult to push Miu over the edge as she takes it upon herself to properly educate Ren in all that it means to be a DearS, much to Takeya’s dismay. As if having two DearS in his house wasn’t enough, throw Takeya’s sister into the fray and you have a fracas worth fretting for!

DVD Features:

V.1
• Art Gallery
• Non-Credit Opening
• Geneon Trailers

V.2
• Art Gallery
• Non-Credit Ending
• Geneon Trailers

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INTRODUCTION
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DearS is a strange anime about a group of aliens that are, in a sense, slaves. The content is peculiar to say the least. The title is very adult in nature, despite only having a suggested 16+ rating. In the first four episodes the viewer is introduced to a boy who receives his very own DearS. The adventures that await him and his DearS are also strange for he has become her master and she has become his slave.

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STORY – Rating: 7.0 (out of 10)
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This is probably one of the strangest anime series of the year. If that automatically makes you interested in watching this than this is likely a cup of tea worth tasting for yourself. If that makes you turned off, or more interested in knowing exactly why it is strange, then keep reading.

This is a series that possibly makes slavery into a lighthearted issue. Not intentionally. At least that was my take on it. The characters all seem to love the DearS and none of them even seem to recognize how the aliens behave in an abnormal way. That all they want to do is please others. There are tons of puns and jokes of a kinky nature when the teenage boy Takeya is called “Master” by the DearS living in his house. She follows him, only does what he says, and while he objects to it a lot it seems like this series thinks the idea of having a cute girl following around at one’s command is a nice idea. There is even a sort of eerie vibe from the opening theme. “I’m Your Slave”, as part of the lyrics, with that high-pitched female voice, and with a woman wearing a chain and leash, comes across as bizarre and even disturbing. Each episode seems to try to mix humor, fan-service, and some deeper message together. It feels like half the time the show doesn’t take the issue seriously at all while the rest of the time they are actually (possibly) trying to make it a serious issue worth examining. The end result is a show confused of its own identity and one that will make people shudder more than smile. This does not mean the episodes are altogether bad. Heck, by the end of this series it could turn into something great. After seven episodes, however, I’m still left feeling cold.

This DVD Contains Episodes:

V.1
• 01 – I Want to Nibble Sweetly
• 02 – Was it too Small?
• 03 – Ball! Ball!
• 04 – Wipe Your Mouth

V.2
• 05 – Partners
• 06 – I’m Frustrated
• 07 – Pervert

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ANIMATION – Rating: 8 (out of 10)
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The art is DearS has given off a mixed vibe. While the character designs are of a high quality and are distinctive (something which strongly helps aid the show) the actual animation used on the characters seems to be about average. It’s nothing amazing and yet it’s also certainly nothing to complain about having to watch.

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AUDIO – Rating: 7 (out of 10)
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The audio was messed up on this release for a number of people. While the dub and general sound quality to the track is okay the problems some faced with this release is worth mentioning. However, Geneon took the right action in offering replacement discs. Both volumes sound fine in this critics opinion and the VA’s cast for this anime did outstanding jobs in getting into their characters persona’s.

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EXTRAS – Rating: 2 (out of 10)
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Good grief. The number of extras on this disc is pretty low. It’s a shame as I would have been interested in some interviews with the VA’s or the director. This show deserves some extras along those lines. The standard inclusions are here with only Creditless Opening/Endings, Art Gallery‘s, and Trailers.

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OVERALL
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While DearS is nothing amazing it is far from being a downright bad show. The first two volumes demonstrate the shows ability to underestimate and confuse its own identity. The show suffers from some of its slow pacing in the story department and the concept is enough to make many be turned off from the get-go. Yet anyone desiring something different, and interesting, may find this series worth checking out.