In the spirit of Christmas cheer, Judge Bryan Pope gives this stray kitty another chance and a saucer of eggnog.
Happy holidays from Hello Kitty!
Perhaps this disc's Christmas spirit made my heart grow three sizes today, or perhaps I have a natural aversion to criticizing anything involving Santa Claus, but I found a weensy bit more charm in the Hello Kitty universe this time around than I had previously.
It all comes down to personality. The six (mostly Yule-themed) shorts on Hello Kitty & Friends Vol. 6—Holiday give the characters a chance to show some personality. Finally, they express shades of real human emotions, even some of the not-so-good ones. Take "Santa's Missing Hat." In this story, which revolves around a search for a hat that has blown off a large Santa Claus ornament, the twin sisters Kitty and Mimmy pitch a hissy when their friends laugh at the existence of Santa. In "Mom Loves Me After All," Kitty suddenly feels forgotten and unloved when her mother agrees to take care of a baby for a friend. A scene where Kitty walks home alone in a downpour verges on poignant, and "poignant" is not a word I ever expected to associate with a Hello Kitty cartoon.
Keroppi the frog is featured in "The Christmas Eve Gift." He tries to help Twinkle, the smallest Christmas Star, learn to shine in time to help light Santa's way on Christmas Eve. The adult Christmas Stars resemble aliens out of a Whitley Strieber novel, but the story is still sweet. In the incredibly short "Our Treasure," Keroppi and his friends are given a lucky rock—and actually, that's pretty much all that happens. Like I said, it was short.
In the spirit of giving, the disc offers up two innocuous bonus "mini episodes." "Santa and His Reindeer Kuppi" finds baby reindeer Kuppi pitted against a dozen other reindeer in a knock-down, no-holds-barred race to see who will get to pull Santa's sleigh Christmas Eve. Meanwhile, Santa sits on his front porch wearing spandex and drinking tea, waiting for the results. My blind allegiance to Santa waned a little during this segment. The second bonus episode, "Find the Secret Treasure," stars a duck with the unfortunate name of Pekkle. Pekkle and his sister Lucy find a treasure map and go on an adventure with their friends, including a duck with a head shaped like a Dairy Queen Dilly Bar.
If it sounds like I'm lavishing more affection than necessary on this modest holiday offering, don't go booking me on the Hello Kitty love train just yet. The full-frame transfer is still a mess, and the audio is merely passable. Like most of the other DVDs in the Hello Kitty series, the colors are too often faded, giving a bland tone to what should be a colorful viewing experience. Subtitles not included.
Kitty and company: You pass with a D-. Merry Christmas.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: ADV Films
• Two bonus mini episodes
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