Chance Pop Session Vol. #3 -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: A-

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  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: A
  • Packaging Rating: A-
  • Menus Rating: B+
  • Extras Rating: B+
  • Age Rating: 12 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: ADV Films
  • MSRP: 29.98
  • Running time: 100
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Chance Pop Sessions

Chance Pop Session Vol. #3

By Chris Beveridge     March 28, 2003
Release Date: April 08, 2003

Chance Pop Session Vol. #3
© ADV Films

What They Say
With their new single "Pure Blue," R3 race to the top of the charts. Photo shoots, public appearances, and interviews with top magazines become routine for Akari, Yuki, and Nozomi. Caught in a whirlwind of publicity and fan adoration, the girls discover that the reality of stardom is even better than their dreams! Is it possible that they are even competing with their idol, Reika, for the world music industry's top award?

It all seems too good to be true until a meddling family member jeopardizes R3's entire future. As controversy threatens the group, Nozomi learns of the past kept hidden from her, and the girls are finally united in song and spirit. R3 sing their hearts out at the awards show, but will even their best effort be enough to beat superstar Reika? And what of the final missing link to the girls' past? Can a family torn apart by tragedy finally be reunited by the power of song?

The Review!
With this third volume, Chance Pop Session comes to a satisfying close in the way you know it will.

For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in its original language of Japanese. The show features a very solid stereo mix that makes good use of the left/right channels for dialogue but also very well for the music, giving it a nice full warm feeling. Dialogue is crisp and clear throughout and we noted no distortions or dropouts on either track.

These episodes of Chance Pop Session looks fantastic. The shows colors are lush, backgrounds solid and overall very detailed. The folks from Mad House are behind this production, so there are a lot of similarities in design and feel to another popular shoujo series they worked on. Cross coloration creeps into a few sequences in a very minor way while aliasing is practically non-existent. There’s hardly any issue to be found with how this transfer came out.

The final volume naturally features Nozomi on it and much like the past two, it’s a very refreshing cover with the mix of feathers, song notes and all the flowers. The pastel colors work very well with the overall look and the character design for Nozomi. The back cover has a few good shots from the show and a nice sketch of Nozomi with the shows summary and the discs features. Inside the keepcase is some rather good material. There’s a four page insert that has character art but also an extensive print piece taken from a press conference at their recording session. Lots of interesting revelations there to be sure. The “How to be a Popstar” insert makes a third appearance here and provides more helpful tips for aspiring popstars. There’s also a last round of stickers with the one-sheet featuring all Nozomi stickers except for a nice photo of the trio together.

Definitely in tone with the show and very light and almost airy, the main menu has a brief selection of the opening songs instrumental piece playing along to the image of Yuki set against moving clouds and falling feathers. All five episodes are listed along the musical note page while regular selections are below it. Access times are nice and fast and things are laid out in a pretty standard smooth flowing way.

For the final release, there’s a decent selection of extras here to flesh out the final volume, though some are what we’ve seen before. The production sketches is a video art gallery that runs just over three minutes, showcasing both black and white pieces as well as full color ones. The background gallery is roughly the same but running just over two minutes with backgrounds relevant to these episodes. The textless opening and ending sequences are presented again here as well as the special end sequence for the final episode. The final new part is the rest of the collection of original Japanese TV promo spots that run about six minutes in length and show the various advertising used for the show and its video releases.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
With this final volume of the series, four episodes that bring everything to a satisfying conclusion, it really does play out very much like you’d expect a movie would on Lifetime or some teenage after school special. As said in earlier reviews, that’s not a bad thing since you know exactly what you’re getting. And this is done rather well, all told, so that even if the material is average, its execution and style can help it rise up higher than one would normally expect.

With only four episodes to go, it’s pretty much a rush towards the end with the expectations to be met. After their past successes, things open well for them as they get to actually enjoy becoming popular and dealing with all the singing engagements, press and other fun aspects of it. The hard work is alluded to, but for a lot of this it’s just time for them to really enjoy what all their effort has led them towards.

Once that’s dealt with, things start to focus on the past as we get to see the rise and subsequent fall of Akiba Kisaragi. With her debut in the 70’s, we see what she was molded into by those who controlled her as well as her discovery of a first true love. This newfound love changes her over time and her priorities become different, to the point where she essentially vanishes for a few years with her man, and they raise their children in a far off location in Hokkaido. Knowing what we know from past episodes, this does not end well, and we see the effects of this relationship on both Akiba and her three children.

Though it’s all quite easily foreshadowed, these are very somber and depressing scenes. Disturbing enters into it as well as Akiba deals with her loss in ways that many will find impossible to understand. I myself can’t imagine the mindset that it would require for such a thing to occur, but such things do happen around the world. Akiba’s reflections on her past come from an interview with a reporter, a reporter who manages to tie some information about the two sisters of R3 and the fact that they were found in an orphanage in Hokkaido.

While this may seem, well, blunt, for Akiba it brings back a recollection of other memories. It turns out that it was the same orphanage where she eventually went to meet Reika at and where the two of them started to bring each other to life again. Through this recollection we see the reasons behind how the two of them relied upon each other and how their relationship was built up from that to the way they interact as adults. But there’s always that edge of depression about Akiba, and it’s certainly understandable.

The bulk of the remainder of the series focuses on Nozomi and her relationship with her parents, particularly her now overly eager to help out father. There are of course very obvious reasons for the way he acts and why her parents are as nervous as they are about her success, though equally proud and excited about it. A lot of the tension that comes out of their encounters is due to the pampered life that Nozomi has had, so that when she actually starts to assert herself it ends up being even more hurtful to her parents, especially with what they’re going through.

But as all the revelations come out, much like they do at the end of a murder mystery drama, it just rolls along and it all comes spilling out. The final half of this volume is a real pleasure to watch, again, even knowing exactly how it will all play out. The final moments of this show are extremely satisfying and provides one of the better endings to a series, even as sappy as it is.

Chance Pop Session has been a fun show to watch. I had no real expectations of it after I realized the basis of it and simply instead just enjoyed it for what it is. This is the kind of show that I can easily give to my own daughter to watch as she grows up as it’ll teach her things in addition to entertaining her. Because it is in the end entertaining. There are drawbacks of course, the biggest of which is the overly heavy reliance of the opening song as the main song of the R3 girls to sing. Now, I will give that most new bands really hit it big on one song and then eventually break out from there if they’re destined to have any life to them, but in a TV series like this is just gets very overwhelming. When we get the rare Reika song, it’s like a breath of fresh air.

The show also manages to throw up things out of the blue at times that just sends it spiraling into a new direction. The death of Akari’s potential love interest in the second volume is a prime example of such a thing. But once you get past those problems and just get into the groove of the show, it’s very enjoyable and kept me smiling. It doesn’t have the genre crossing ability of a show like Princess Nine, but it’ll definitely appeal to a large number of those fans. I’m definitely glad that I’ve seen it and hope for an eventual soundtrack release.

Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Character Arwork,Production Artwork,Textless Opening,Textless Ending (2),Original TV Promo Spots,Press Conference Insert,How to be a Popstar Insert,Sticker Sheet

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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