NOTE: Please keep in mind that this review is old, so while some editting has been done to make it read a little more timelessly, a lot of it is obviously dated. As such, where some things may be noted as 'spoilers', they probably no longer are.
Ah, 'The World of Narue'. I first became aware of this title because of this AMV.
After seeing it, I became interested in this title and asked some friends about it to get some feedback. I was told that it was a great little show that slipped under the radar, and that I should get it when I can. It took me a while, but I finally got around to this one.
The story of Narue follows the titular character and her boyfriend Kazuto, and their manic adventures. It all begins when Kazuto, on his way home from school, tries to save a puppy in a box from the rain. When the puppy turns out to be an alien in disguise, Narue saves him with a swift hit from her bat. After that, Kazuto is head over heels in love with her, and Narue feels for him deeply too, as he's the first person to accept her for what she is - an alien herself.
Other recurring characters pad out the roster, like Tadashi Nanase, Narue's soft-spoken father; Masaki Maruo, Kazuto's best friend and self-appointed expert at, well, everything; Hajime Yagi, a girl obsessed with proving Naru a liar about her species; and Kanaka Nanase, Narue's younger older sister. And yes, you read that right.
Each episode is pretty stand-alone, other than obviously introducing characters by and by that will appear more later on. And though there's alien devices and creatures galore, the story stays pretty grounded in being about Kazuto and Narue's relationship, both from an EArthling perspective and an alien one. Some episodes even cover a bit of Kazuto's fandom, as he was apparently a nerd for a magical girl show prior to the show's start.
Considering the dub was done by CPM, it's surprisingly not bad. Well, let me re-phrase that - it's not as bad as to be expected from them. Veronica Taylor sounds absolutely adorable as the titular Narue, and is one of my favorite characters for her now. Dan Green turns in an interesting and respectable performance for Narue's dad as well, and Rachael Lillis does an outstanding job as Narue's sister. The accolades for the dub stop there though, as Jamie McGonnigal as Kazuto takes some time to grow on you. In the end you can accept him as the character, more or less, but a worse problem is Jimmy Zoppi as his friend Maruo. The voice fits the personality pretty well, but it's grating and really doesn't fit the face much at all.
I'd like to make special mention for Michele Knotz as Yagi however. According to a bonus on the DVD (and there's quite a few, including some commentaries from the Japanese actors and director), she was a winner of a contest at a New York Anime Festival, where first prize was a role in an anime dub. That considered, she did an awesome job, and I rather hope she was able to stay in the business and continue to improve.
Even with the less than stellar performances by some, and the overall wonkiness that is a CPM dub, it's nice to hear more work from a New York casting pool. In particular, Vernoica Taylor and Rachael Lillis both should never be thrown under the same bus as 4Kids, simply because they've done some work with them. It's all further proof that it's the directors and adapters of the New York area that make some of the dubs come out the way they do, not the actors.
In the end, Narue is a cute little slice-of-life show that when it's over, you'll really wish it'd lasted longer. At a measly 12 episodes, the show is nothing groundbreaking, and I definitely wouldn't call it a must-see title. But you could do far worse for yourself in this genre, and to top it off, this title can still be found cheaply. I recommend you pick it up from RightStuf as I did, for a meager $20. It's hard to turn down a deal like that, and trust me, it's well worth it.
If you decide to pass this one up, you're not missing out on anything legendary, but I definitely recommend it to anyone in the mood for a light slice-of-life title. As our heroine says, it's a direct hit - to your heart!