Hanamaru Kindergarten was one of the big surprises of the current winter season for me. I expected an enjoyable show because I normally like Gainax shows but it was even better. I was a little bit afraid that the whole show only consists of cute children that do cute stuff for 12 episodes but they avoided such repetitions by introducing a large cast and telling the story more from the view of the adult characters.

While the first episodes more or less focus on the children the latter episodes moved more to the adults but it stays a very cute show. It’s more like a romantic comedy that takes place at a work place and this work place is a kindergarten. It’s really a show with a lot of heart that only has the well-known Gainax-fanservice in a few scenes that make sense in regards of the story.

I find it very refreshing to see a show with adult anime characters in contrast to the normal high school comedies but it retains a naive quality. This it not a typical show that really needs to watched in high definition but the Blu-rays were nevertheless for me a must-buy because I like to support Gainax and such shows that are little bit different from the most recent anime shows that most times totally rely stereotypes and fanservice.

By the way, I had to watch the show via fansubs / Crunchyroll rips because Crunchyroll doesn’t stream it to Germany (like most shows).

Details of the Disc

Publisher: Starchild / King Records
Item number: KIXA-29
Publication Date: March 24th 2010
Volumes: 1 of 6
Price: 5775 Yen

Packaging

The Packaging is very simple but at least the white case is something new for me. It’s funny that the English name of the show is used on the cover and not the Japanese ones (Hanamaru Yōchien / はなまる幼稚園).

Supplements

In the case is a 8 pages booklet contaning some artworks, an interview and some more information from the staff. Furthermore, the pictures that were shown at the end of the episodes were also put as cards into the case.

Disc Contents

Region Code: At least AB (I can’t test if it also works on C, but I would guess it’s region free)
Disc type: BD25
Video Codec: AVC
Audio Codec: PCM
Disc Title: BD-ROM

BD Info about Main Title:

Disc Title:
Disc Size:      17.089.861.090 bytes
Protection:     AACS
BD-Java:        No
BDInfo:         0.5.3

PLAYLIST REPORT:

Name:                   00001.MPLS
Length:                 0:47:32 (h:m:s)
Size:                   14.338.056.192 bytes
Total Bitrate:          40,21 Mbps

VIDEO:

Codec                   Bitrate             Description
MPEG-4 AVC Video        34928 kbps          1080p / 23,976 fps / 16:9 / High Profile 4.1

AUDIO:

Codec                           Language        Bitrate         Description
LPCM Audio                      Japanese        1536 kbps       2.0 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps / 16-bit
LPCM Audio                      Japanese        1536 kbps       2.0 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps / 16-bit

There are no subtitles on the disc, but some (typical) extras: The creditless OP, both creditless EDs, some photos of a person in the Pandaneko costume and a commentary by Satoshi Hino (Tsuchida-sensei),  Kei Shindou (Anzu) and Seiji Mizushima (Director). I can say about the commentary that the participant seemed to have some fun^^;.

The Menu:

The Pandaneko Photo Gallery:

Picture Quality

I expected  that this show won’t have a very crisp picture and it really isn’t a very sharp show. Especially on screenshots a lot of noise is visible. However when watching it on my 42 inch Philips 7404 it looks far better than the raws or fansubs and better than every DVD transfer. On the TV the noise isn’t visible at all in the scenes I checked. I can’t say how this show was produced but it doesn’t look like a typical upscale to me. The noise gives it a more softer feel that suits the content, so I don’t really want to criticize this. The typical Shaft show (e.g. ef or Bakemonogatari) certainly looks sharper but also more digital produced (which produces other problems).

Audio Quality

There’s only a stereo PCM track but I think more isn’t really necessary for this kind of show. It sounds fine to me^^.

Screenshots

I used DGAVCIndex this time to create the screenshots. They are PNG files and because of the noise they are very big^^;.

Conclusion

The disc probably isn’t a good show case to show the advantages of anime on Blu-ray but it looks fine, so for fans of the show with Japanese skills it’s a good purchase. I will probably re-time some fansub subtitles to it soon and will provide them here for download.