Boys Be... Vol. #3 - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: B+

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: B
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Nozomi Entertainment
  • MSRP: 29.99
  • Running time: 75
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Boys Be...

Boys Be... Vol. #3

By Chris Beveridge     June 12, 2006
Release Date: May 30, 2006



What They Say
Just another love story? No way! After ages about hearing what girls have to say about relationships, BOYS BE.. steps forward to reveal the flip side of love " what's really going on from a guy's point of view! Meet Kyoichi, Makoto and Yoshihiko " three normal high school guys with just one thing on their minds: girls.

Autumn has arrived and its bitter winds are echoed in the void of Kyoichi's shattered heart. As he struggles with his sadness, a new girl takes the stage: Shoko Sayama, a hot-tempered redhead who dreams of being lead singer for the indie rock band SAIL. As Kyoichi reaches for comfort, she reaches for support. What will happen when they discover they're both searching for the same thing?

Meanwhile, Makoto has already discovered the secret to finding true happiness " Dr. Kirara Mitsuboshi's Love Diagnostic Software! This miracle program will sort through all of his carefully-collected data on girls, and pick his perfect match! But when the result is Erika Kawai, a girl that's pretty far out of his league, Makoto refuses to give up. After all, the only thing he really needs is a few pointers on how to court her, and the one who's going to help him out is.. Yumi?!

The Review!
As the Autumn arc kicks off, the men and women of the series experience more varied romances and potential entanglements.

Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in its original language of Japanese. The series has a fairly straightforward stereo mix where the majority of it is focused around dialogue as there is precious little real action to the series. There are a number of good ambient sounds used throughout such as traffic or general school sounds that come across well while the music track makes good use of both channels. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout on both tracks and we had no problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.

Video:
Originally airing in 2000, the transfer for this series is presented in its original full frame aspect ratio. Boy's Be is one of the shows that had managed to get to the point where digital productions started to look good and not quite as poorly layered during its original airing and it stands up well over the last six years since it came out. The show is set in standard school territory and is done in a real world color palette that allows for some very vibrant areas but keeps to mostly standard muted colors. The transfer comes across very well overall though there are a few moments where you have the boy's school jackets showing some blockiness. Colors otherwise tend to be very solid and full while the print overall avoids cross coloration and very little aliasing.

Packaging:
Using artwork from the Japanese release but changing the background a bit to add more color and life to it, this installment lets Shoko take the cover as she's got on a skimpy outfit with plenty of tears on it that provide a good bit of fanservice. The back cover continues the background style and provides a number of paragraphs covering the basics of the shows premise as well as a few shots of the various characters. The discs features are clearly listed and most of the technical information is covered in the grid along the bottom. The reversible cover is essentially identical to the front one other than its use of the original series logo for the front cover and spine. The included booklet is great with a few pages that provide designs of some of the characters combined with full color pictures of the Japanese voice actresses alongside comments from them about their joining the production. There are a couple of pages of just designs and comments as well as a section with comments from the series director.

Menu:
The menu layout for the release uses the same elements as the front cover but with a slightly zoomed in shot of Shoko while still using the same background and shifting it to the right so the logo can take up a good part of the image. There's a brief loop of some of the opening vocal song included here while selections are lined along the left in standard form that are easy to navigate. Access times are nice and fast and the disc correctly read our player's language presents and played without issue.

Extras:
A bit more than the second volume, the third installment provides us with a pair of promotional clips for the show as well as the newest line art gallery. For English language fans, there's a commentary track on this release which is easy to miss if you don't use the language section which is where it's located, and not in the extras themselves.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
It's back to school time and the relationship issues from the summer are still causing problems, mostly in that it looks like Chiharu and Kyoichi are formally apart now after he saw her make the kiss that didn't mean what Kyoichi thought it did. With nobody talking to each other and basically ignoring each other, they find different things to focus on in order to take their minds off the pain.

For Kyoichi, a lot of it tends to fall into an area where he moves on to looking for someone else to be with and he comes up with another of the semi-social outcasts like Chiharu in the form of Shoko. Shoko's a fairly average teenager in this but he notices her when she catches the ire of a teacher for falling asleep in class and listening to an MD player at that. When he manages to get closer to her, we find out that she's actually the leader singer in a band and rather good at that as she's now on her third band. Kyoichi's view of her changes as he sees her on stage and the kind of different personality and energy and he finds himself very drawn to her. What makes it problematic is that she doesn't quite believe that he's over Chiharu and she's grappling with her own self worth issues as she prepares for an audition with a much larger band. This one is more music filled with some great lyrics that help to tie it together emotionally in a stronger way and making it a very good episode all around.

Makoto gets himself another interesting episode since he's even more easily the type to fall in and out love, or casual love as it may be since he hasn't found that one true love yet. With his efforts to use his computer to determine the best women to go after, he finds his sights set on one of the more popular girls in the school now, Erika. But in order to really carry it off, he finds that he needs Yumi's help since she's her best friend. Yumi would know just about everything about the girl of his dreams so he ends up taking Yumi out on a date and it's a mix where Yumi doesn't want to be there but she does and she doesn't want him to go out with her friend so she tries sabotaging things along the way. But in the end she can't help but want to do right by those two that she cares about so even though she made some bad choices, she tries to set things right for Makoto and let him make the kinds of blunders and mistakes that only he can make. Yumi's a really fun character and the kind that you can't help but to root for even when she does things she shouldn't, so seeing her and Makoto paired isn't really a surprise but falls under that category of him not realizing how lucky he'd be if only he really knew.

The volumes rounds things out with an interesting episode that brings more male bonding to it as Kyoichi helps a friend he works with, Takaya, to work through his own relationship issues which in ways seem to mirror his own troubles from the dreams he's having. The episode provides for some good material into the quasi-fantastic as it delves into his dreams and they avoid getting overly weird which helps to cement his problems in reality more. This episode does a bit more to bring the three guys back together as friends and having them talking together to work things out rather than individually. It also has a bit of fun with Makoto accusing Kyoichi of falling for the male side of things as he catches him spending more time with his co-worker and dealing with his problem. It does a good job overall of having Kyoichi working through his problems and showing him an avenue from which he may be able to go forward.

In Summary:
While keeping to the themes of the manga from which it came but work through a more serial oriented storyline with a recurring cast of characters, the anime version is still a very enjoyable show even though it's been years since I first saw it. The romances and issues that the kids face are really timeless in their own way and it's just the set dressings that change over the years. This volume works Kyoichi over nicely with his broken heart and starts to move him down the path of healing as well as greater understanding. This is good stuff and the kind of anime that I simply enjoy a lot.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles, Line Art Gallery, Character Bios, Japanese Voice Actor Reports, Boys Be.. Japanese Promo Commercials 1 + 2, Audio Commentary from the English Directors, Japanese Director's Commentary

Review Equipment
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Toshiba HD-A1 Progressive Scan HD DVD player via HDMI -> DVI with upconversion set to 1080i, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.

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