Comic Party Revolution Vol. #3 - Mania.com



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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: B-
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: B+
  • Age Rating: TV 14
  • 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: Comic Party Revolution

Comic Party Revolution Vol. #3

By Chris Beveridge     February 12, 2007
Release Date: January 23, 2007


Comic Party Revolution Vol. #3
© ADV Films


What They Say
Manga and madness abound as a group of teenagers navigate the otaku subculture of doujinshi. Trouble certainly seems to have a way of finding Kazuki and his friends. It's a good thing they have each other when things go from ridiculous to totally absurd! The dreaded "poison doijin�? appears without warning -- are all who read it truly cursed?! Will these comic book kids ever grow up and get real jobs, or will they just keep partying? Incredible revelations lie ahead for everyone, so join Kazuki and company for the final outrageous installment of Comic Party Revolution!


The Review!
As the second series draws to a close in the franchise, the show provides some mildly interesting material and filler but also one or two high notes.

Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in its original language of Japanese. Having been familiar with the voice cast from the previous series we wanted to keep with that. The Japanese mix is a fairly standard stereo presentation and comes across well. There is action of a sense in the show and those areas utilize the stereo channels well but for the most part this is a strong dialogue piece that uses the full soundstage to good effect. Music and some of the ambient effects handle the stereo channels and overall it's a solid mix. We spot checked some of the English mix and didn't find anything problematic there.

Video:
Originally airing in 2005, the transfer for this series is presented in its original full frame aspect ratio. Similar to the second volume, this third set of episodes of this series manages to strike a bit more of a balance. The first volume, notably the OVA episodes, were simply littered with dot crawl issues. The previous volume and this one manages to avoid that for the most part, and what little is left isn't quite so severe. The dot crawl seems to be fairly limited to the opening/closing sequences and not within the show itself. Within each episode, it's a fairly decent looking transfer but the series is one that looks like it never had great looking source materials to begin with. Some of the panning sequences introduce a bit of judder but the main problem is that there's a fair bit of mosquito noise throughout it with some of the stationary large areas of color. Cross coloration is pretty minimal as well. This is again a definite step-up from the first volume but it's not a solid piece across the board either.

Packaging:
Done in the same "manga style" packaging that Right Stuf did with their release, the cover artwork again feels like a flashback to some of the fifties comics as it has an all female cast on the cover with two of them being headshots inside of bubbles. Add in the adjectives applied to their names and the overall layout and it does feel somewhat dated and less like a modern day doujinshi or even western comic book. The back cover gives us some good shots of the show, several fanservice oriented ones in fact, across two strips. The shows premise and summary are nicely covered as is the discs features. The bottom of the back cover is the standard presentation we like to see that has the production information and the technical grid. While there is no insert, there is a reversible cover for this release. The reverse side front cover has a nice looking piece of art with the original logo with a pair of the girls. The opposite side has a text interview with the Japanese voice actresses for Reiko and Subaru.

Menu:
The menu design for this release is pretty good as it uses a similar design to the front cover but along the left side it has a scrolling series of clips from the show. The background is made up of papers and erasers while the paper sections have rough pencil sketches rotating out on them. The menus that ADV used during the launch of this series tended to look a little bare since it lists out the episodes by number and then just the extras and languages. It's easy to not pay the numbers much mind which makes the rest of the selections look really minimal. Access times are nice and fast though and we had no problems with the players' language presets being picked up.

Extras:
The extras for the release look to be pretty good though rather Japanese centric which will please some. The clean opening and closing kick off this section which is followed by a voice actor interviews that are done in text form. The liner notes cover some of the basic terms that come up in association with doujinshi and there is also an article that talks about the evolution of Comic Party from a game to where it is now. An amusing new addition to the extras for the final volume is a "how to" for making doujinshi. The multiple text screens cover the basics but it does it in the kind of manner you'd expect from Taishi.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The final installment of Comic Party Revolution feels like they managed to try and fix some of the issues that the series ended up having due to its origins. With this series starting off in OVA form with little continuity or real planning to it, the additional TV only episodes that were created ended up being built off of that. In a way, you can almost call it a doujinshi anime. This set of episodes manages to be more interesting in terms of characters and growth than the previous two volume combined. But even at that, they still manage to weaken it all easily enough.

Ignoring the essentially bad and completely clichéd episode revolving around a "poison doujinshi" that has the gang in a tizzy, the three episodes that make up the rest of this volume deal with keeping the cast small and much more manageable. With so many girls in the show over the course of the two series it gets to be rather unwieldy at times. What's more, it get beyond the believable that there are so many doujinshi related girls that are interested in Kazuki and form around him like this. Naturally, part of what the show is about is pure wish fulfillment so it's no surprise but when all of them are on the screen at the same time it just pushes past a certain level of believability.

The opening episode is a rather nice change of pace as the show focuses just on Eimi and Asahi for the bulk of it. Eimi's been introduced since the start as something of a foil for Yu but that's moved to the background with the way she's gotten closer to Kazuki and with the introduction of so many other girls. Her very outgoing and competitive nature doesn't endear her to many people but she still plugs away at things and doesn't shy away from who she is. In a nice twist, she ends up spending a day with Asahi the idol and they both come away from the experience learning more about each other and their goals. Each of them is unaware of what their lives are really like so having Asahi spending a down day with Eimi brings them closer together. Getting to see Eimi in something of a new light is a real plus though. Asahi doesn't get to grow too much since she's still mild and quiet.

Where things start to get back on track with the whole manga thing is in the third episode as Mizuki starts giving Kazuki grief about not thinking about his future career more. There are three more years until they're out of college and he doesn't have a plan yet! The horror! Between this and his general problems in getting his doujinshi done, he's unsure of what to really do. Aya has an idea though and takes him to meet a friend of hers who is an editor at Comic Z magazine. Aya's trying to be subtle by showing him how the professional side of things works and to inspire him to do more with his doujinshi first. The two have an interesting day together but at the same time we get to see Mizuki going through the day with an editor of the anime magazine and understanding how that world works. It seems a bit odd that she'd go that route considering she's not entirely happy with what Kazuki's doing but it shows her going the distance to be closer to him.

This growing closeness gets more of a spotlight in the final episode as she's finding herself more interested in doing things for him and just making sure he's all right. Kazuki's in the midst of working hard on his latest project for the Summer ComiPa so he's getting seriously distracted by things and forgetting to eat. The show takes a very unwelcome twist for me though in how it brings Kazuki and Mizuki together to grow their relationship. The two have been basically destined to be together since the beginning and regardless of how many other women are thrown at him, so seeing them finally starting to get there now that they're in college was very positive. To see Mizuki starting to be proactive in her relationship with him even with all the challenges was another plus, but then the way they dealt the twist just ruined a lot of it. It does have some good growth to it in the long run but with the twist and the way it was telegraphed it just left the episode feeling like it didn't fit within the established continuity of the show.

But then again, any show that has someone like Taishi in it doesn't exactly have to play within the bounds of reality or continuity. Or physics.

In Summary:
From when I first saw Comic Party I ended up liking it. Over the course of the two series it became less focused however and the storyline started to suffer a bit. With the introduction of so many girls it reminded me of why I tend to avoid so many doujinshi and amateur comics. The show has a very good and interesting core cast to it but it just got too big and didn't know where to go. In some ways it felt like that if they ran into a stumbling block it meant it was time to introduce a new girl. The concept of a doujinshi artist with the intent to take over the world is a good enough start but it suffered from what many amateurs suffer from, needing a good editor to help guide the story. This series kept me coming back because I like the core cast of characters and this volume gave me a good deal of that. But as a whole, Comic Party Revolution felt weak.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,Interviews with Miho Yamada (Minami) Akiko Muta (Reiko) and Masayo Kurata (Subaru), Masami Kikuchi (Kazuki) vs. Kouichi Tochika (Taishi): A Discussion,The Language of Doujinshi,What is Comic Party (Part 3),How to Doujinshi,Clean opening animation,Clean closing animation

Review Equipment
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Panasonic DMP-BD10 Blu-ray 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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