Black Heaven Vol. #3 -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: A+

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  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: A
  • Packaging Rating: A-
  • Menus Rating: A-
  • Extras Rating: A-
  • Age Rating: 12 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Geneon Entertainment (USA), Inc.
  • MSRP: 29.98
  • Running time: 75
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Black Heaven

Black Heaven Vol. #3

By Chris Beveridge     February 27, 2001
Release Date: February 27, 2001

Black Heaven Vol. #3
© Geneon Entertainment (USA), Inc.

What They Say
The band is back! Oji recruits the former members of Black Heaven into helping him to defeat the aliens! Unfortunately, even though they are busy saving the galaxy, they can t tell their wives and bosses why they need to disappear at random times. The alien girls try to help, but ultimately, they cause more trouble than ever. When finding their original keyboard player may help them or hurt them?

The Review!
It's starting to seem like each volume of this series gets better and better, for different reasons. Volume three is no different. This was a great presentation all around. Good content, solid disc, great experience.

For our primary review, we listened to this disc in it's original language, Japanese. With a show focused around music, that aspect of it continues to be the strongest part of the audio presentation. When things move to the dialog side of it, it's predominantly a center speaker show, though occasionally some sound effects use the left/right speakers, but it's usually accentuated by the music at the time. Dialogue is clean and distortion free with no noticeable dropouts or other issues.

Some folks may fault the show for it's animation style, which has improved significantly since the first episodes, but its presentation here is nothing short of stellar. There were barely even a handful of areas where some slight panning shimmering was caused, and that being the only fault I really saw with the disc. Colors are wonderfully vibrant and solid, compression artifacts are very minimal to none and the show simply looks great. It continues to be one of the few shows that I can simply enjoy due to its great transfer.

Combined with the chromium insert cover, this is one fabulous looking package. The image of Layla in her uniform with a space-style guitar and the mixing of angelic wings behind her looks positively great. The back gives a brief rundown of the show alongside several animation shots. Episode names and numbers are included thankfully as there's little other way to tell what volume you've actually got.

The menus are pretty shiny looking and continue to have excellent sound, especially since they're identical to the first volume. The only real downside to the menus was in the extras submenu where it gets difficult at times to be sure what selection you're about to select. Access times are very quick throughout though, which is always a big plus.

Much like the first disc again, things are pretty good here in the extras department. Including the opening and ending again is great (especially that cute ending) and having more line art and images to check out. The new extra this time around is the pretty odd TV spot advertising the show. I've seen a fair amount of Japanese TV so I'm somewhat used to the odd way of trying to sell things, but it never ceases to get a chuckle out of me when they're just odd. This one is no different.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Simply put, this show continues to rock. These episodes were just a joy to watch as they build upon the established episodes and set up for the final batch due on the next disc.

Tanaka's starting to wear down a bit mentally, which is affecting his ability to play and be the ultimate weapon. The ships commander doesn't seem to care much as long as the battles are fought, but the enemy is continuing to send stronger and stronger forces against them. The ultimate weapon isn't as ultimate as it once was.

Tanaka makes the case that what's really needed is not a solo player, but a band. A band will bring about more "groove" that will help transform the ultimate weapon into its final phase and help them hold this sector of space. So Tanaka sets off to gather up his old bandmates...

And ten years since they broke up, they're an interesting lot. Much like Tanaka, they've moved on through their lives and are working men of varying degrees. And they do still enjoy drinking! Though quickly introduced, there's a good sense of comraderie apparent among them, and as their pasts get fleshed out through the three episodes, the gang really works well together.

Though there are a series of mistrials before the group plays together again and in the war, the end result isn't exactly what's hoped for. One band member is unfortunately absent, due to a death back in 1984. And so that past, in two variants, is brought to light.

[Spoiler: **** I have to say, while the first "death" story for Johnny Watanabe was interesting, I couldn't help but die laughing at the second one. Not only the way he died, but in the absolute surprise of the language used by his "killer". It was just so unexpected, and the voice so poorly matched with the character, that it caused a fit of giggles. What a mouth on him! **** :end spoiler]

With the addition of Mulder and Scully in the final episode, the show takes a turn to the absolute weird.... yet bloody hilarious as well. The final few frames aboard the enemy ship was yet another that caused a fit of giggles.

Black Heaven continues to surprise me. From low hopes based on the trailer/opening to a mixed first couple of episodes, it's becoming a dark horse favorite of mine. Good solid entertainment wrapped up in a great looking package. If you've enjoyed the first two discs, you're going to love this one.

Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Non Credit Opening,Non Credit Ending,Japanese TV Spots,Conceptual Artwork

Review Equipment
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Pioneer 414 codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.


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