Arjuna Vol. #3 - Mania.com



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Info:

  • Audio Rating: A
  • Video Rating: A
  • Packaging Rating: B
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: B+
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Bandai Entertainment
  • MSRP: 29.98
  • Running time: 110
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Arjuna

Arjuna Vol. #3

By Chris Beveridge     February 01, 2003
Release Date: February 04, 2003


Arjuna Vol. #3
© Bandai Entertainment


What They Say
With Chris out of danger for the moment, things begin to settle down for both Tokio and Juna. As Juna begins to grow into her newfound powers, a new threat looms overhead putting both Juna and her family in grave danger. An important mission for S.E.E.D is about to begin, an important turning point in Juna's new life, and with it all, the fate of the Earth hangs in the balance.

The Review!
After two volumes of exposition and some very well done action sequences, things go a bit slower here as we look into the relationship side of the characters.

Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this disc in its original language of Japanese and in the 5.1 mix of it. The amount of dialogue and sounds in general sent to the rear speakers really increases with these episodes and the added clarity of the 5.1 mix helped bring about a warmer feel to the program. Dialogue is nice and crisp and the music sounds fantastic throughout. Also included, in addition to an English 5.1 track and 2.0 tracks for both languages is an isolated music score in 5.1, which was what we listened to while writing the review.

Video:
Presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and is enhanced for widescreen sets. This release also utilizes the directors’ cut of the show, as the original broadcast version has not been released in Japan. This provides one immediate inconsistency in that the original previews from the first two episodes were removed and placed in the extras section, which also happens here. The transfer itself is as flawless as I can find it to be. Colors are rich and vibrant while the darker sequences, such as at night in the forest during a rainstorm, maintain a very solid look without any macroblocking. Cross coloration and aliasing are non-existent. If everything looked this good, I could eliminate this part of the review process.

Packaging:
While the soft images continue, this time things are a bit lighter as we have the three psychically powered characters posing with smiles, something that’s not seen often on these faces, while fire bands wrap around them. The back cover provides a small collage of animation images as well as the discs features. There are several paragraphs of summary and the usual listings of production and technical information. The insert provides the front cover artwork again but without the border while it opens to provide summaries for each individual episode. The back of the insert provides the main credits for both languages, but once again fails to match up the English actors to their respective roles.

Menu:
The main menu is a nice if simple piece, with a flowing array of colors in the background while the centerpiece is the “power stone” or seed where animation from the show plays. Selections are lined around it, though there’s only one pattern of movement. The layout is pretty standard and access times are good.

Extras:
There’s a small but nice selection of extras included in this volume. The first is the original previews, which were moved here due to the reworkings done on the home video/directors cut version. The Shoji Kawamori interview continues again here, with another eight-minute installment that goes into some of the more personal aspects of the shows origins and what was going on in Kawamori’s life that influenced the storyline. The final extra is a rather filled dictionary of terms for the show, which helps to flesh out some of the concepts Kawamori tosses into the mix.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
With the first two volumes, the exploration of what constitutes nature and what was wrong with the natural world made up most of the storytelling as well as going into the things that people like Chris and Juna can do as well as the SEED program and its goals. The series itself however started off with the relationship between Juna and Tokio, and these episodes return us to there to see where they stand now.

Their relationship has certainly been an interesting one. From Juna’s own death sequence to the way Tokio chased her out into the countryside and lived with her and the old man for a while on natural foods and all. But even though the two are definitely close, there are problems within the relationship. He’s trying to get closer, most obviously by giving her a ring that symbolizes how he feels, but she can’t bring herself to take it from him since there’s just so many chances of him being caught up in the danger if he’s close.

In her own teenage way, she’s trying to push him away while keeping him close. While he tries to understand the rejection, she ends up talking with him at length on the phone, but also amusingly manages to create an astral projection of herself that ends up in his house, watching everything he does while they talk. The dialogue is perfect here, with plenty of starts and stutters as they each try to get the other to talk more and to say what’s really bothering them.

Juna’s having problems dealing with people in general, as she finds herself continuing to be at odds with her sister when they do come across each other at their house. Their mother is only mildly frustrated in dealing with the two of them, more so for having to cook separate meals with Juna having gone as natural as possible. To make matters worse, her friend Sayuri is starting to make some less than subtle moves on Tokio while he’s in his confused state, all while saying that she’s not really doing anything.

Thankfully, there is some action presented here, and it’s one of the more interesting sequences to come yet. Whisked away in the middle of the day by SEED, Juna ends up in New York City where a surprisingly powerful Raaja surge has started up. Her arrival in New York City is interesting in how she looks at everything with such a sense of awe and wonder, but when the Raaja force starts kicking in, her confidence level shoots very high up and she becomes as professional as she ever has been so far. The chase sequence through the streets of the city is a visual treat, though I’m sure those who live in the area will find some reason to complain about the streets and locations.

This quiet time was an interesting phase of the series after all the big concepts of the earlier episodes. Focusing on the more simple things, such as Juna’s attempts to even try to eat a Merika Burger are hilarious, though it ends up leading into more somber material. There are lots of new revelations made very subtly throughout these episodes as we see the larger picture of what’s going on in the world start to come into focus. Very good stuff, very enjoyable on many levels. I can’t wait to get the final volume.

Features
Japanese Language 5.1,Japanese Language 2.0,English Language 5.1,English Language 2.0,Isolated 5.1 Music Score,Arjuna Dictionary,Previews Collection,Shoji Kawamori Video Interview

Review Equipment
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Panasonic RP-82 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.

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