Hello Kitty and Friends, Vol. 1: Fairy Tale Fantasy (1976-2004)
Review by HTQ4

Produced by John Ledford and Mark Williams

Released by: ADV Kids
Rating: NR (suitable for young audiences)
Region: 1
Anamorphic: N/A; appears in its original 1.33:1 format.

My Advice: Avoid it like the plague.

Hello Kitty and her friends have gotten together to tell the classic fairy tale stories Cinderella, Snow White, Sinbad, and Robin Hood. In Cinderella, Kitty learns the benefits of having a fairy godmother. In Snow White, she learns that there is a reason you don't eat apples from strange people who look like witches. Her friend Pekkle learns how to pilot a ship around the sea in Sinbad, and Keroppi learns that, if the government has confiscated your money, it can be a good thing to take it back.

I am thankful to say that I missed the whole Hello Kitty craze that occured in the early 80s because I was too busy playing with my Star Wars and G.I. Joe toys. However, now that I've got a young daughter, I've gotten caught in the trap. Unfortunately, my daughter loves these damn shows. These shows are filled with bad Japanese animation and horribly voiced English language charaters and narration. From a little kid's perspective, these stories are told pretty well. However, from a parent's perspective, I would much rather sit down and read these stories to my little girl until she is old enough to read them on her own. I have never gotten into anime (and, honestly, I don't know that these count as anime, per se), but I can tell you that the animation and cheesy sound effects just bug the crap out of me.

First, the animation. Granted, I grew up on Looney Tunes and Disney, but the animation of these cartoons just seems too jumpy for my tastes. Not only that, but the sound effects sound like the are put together on a cheap synthesizer. Are you getting the picture that I can't stand these cartoons?

On one hand, I'm thankful that there are no special features on this disc because that means I don't have to subject myself to even more Hello Kitty. However, for my daughter's sake, I'm sorry that there are no more special features. There are only five options on the main menu of the disc: one for each of the episodes and one that takes you to the credits for the DVD itself. That's it. Nothing more. I would have thought it would have been interesting to see how these cartoons look when they are aired in Japan with the original Japanese language track, or maybe to see the transition process between the languages. As it stands, there is nothing to support these episodes whatsoever.

Try to steer your kids away from this one, especially if you are not a fan of Japanese animation yourself. You'll save yourself quite a bit of what's left of your sanity.

(UK!) (CAN!)

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