Fake (of 1) (Mania.com)

By:Chris Beveridge
Review Date: Tuesday, December 19, 2000
Release Date: Tuesday, December 19, 2000

What They Say
Dee Latener and his half-Japanese partner Randy (call me Ryo) McLane are a couple of detectives in New York's 27th Precinct. But Dee can't stop chasing Ryo, attracted to his dark hair and dark eyes - or is it something more? Tired of the daily city grind, these crime-fighting crusaders set off for a vacation in England, to relax, enjoy themselves, and to see if Dee can have his way with Ryo. But when Japanese-Americans start turning up dead outside Dee and Ryo's hotel, the ever vigilant mismatched investigators become embroiled in the local crime scene.

The Review!
Now here's a rarity in the domestic licensing scene... a soft yaoi/hard shounenai show. What's that? If you've not heard of either before, it's essentially male oriented romance. And you know what? This was a great disc.

For our primary review, we listened to the Japanese language track and spot checked the English afterwards. Throughout the show we had no problems at all with the audio track. The basic stereo soundtrack sounded quite good, noticeably during the opening song. The majority of the show is situational dialogue with little in the way of action, but sounded solid overall.

This is a very good looking release with only two minor issues in it. Overall the video quality is pretty solid with practically no visible breakup, no line noise and no rainbows. There were a few minor instances of some edge fuzzies though, but nothing really detracting in that respect. The only other problem was during two scenes, one taking place with a night sky and the other in a cellar, where things got a bit grainy and not as sharp looking as the rest of the disc. The rest of the disc just looks very good, with solid colors and great looking animation for this OVA.

Well, this is definitely an odd looking package. The front cover is sideways with the two main cast members brandishing their guns and looking serious. It's pretty nice looking, but the sideways look just makes me look at it funny. The back shows a few shots of animation and gives a good rundown of the show. Amusingly, and I know I normally don't point this out, is the warning. While being rated for 13UP, it does say it "Contains dipictions of alternative lifestyles." Heh. They said dipictions. This isn't the first typo for an anime DVD in the region 1 market by any stretch, but the entire statement just gets a chuckle out of me. The disc itself has some nice art on it with a version of the front cover that looks great.

The menus are pretty simple and straightforward, with language, scene selection and start for the options. No problems here, nothing fancy.


Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
When this disc was originally announced, it definitely spawned a lot of different reactions, from those who were excited about it, those who despised it and then the crowd of curious folk. Soft yaoi? For those who've bought few titles or just DVD's, it's something new to them. Curiosity was indeed piqued.

The show is one long 58 minute OVA that revolves around two cops from New York City who take their vacation in England. While there, a murder mystery crops up with bodies of Japanese showing up everywhere. There's a sketchy looking guy wandering around the hotel premises as well. The two cops, Ryo and Dee, both take varying levels of interest in what's going on after they discover one of the bodies in the lake, but the mystery isn't central to the show for the first half or so.

What is central to the first half and shows up pretty prominently in the second half is Dee's attempts to bed Ryo. The vacation is his best real shot to make a serious move on his partner and get beyond all the joking they've made about it in the past. Dee even bribed their traveling companion, the young Bikky, to not come along with them so he could be all alone with Ryo.

This of course fails miserably when we see Bikky back home in New York, and ends up making a bet with his friend Cal about whether Dee will score with Ryo or not. So what do they do? Fly out to England and eavesdrop on their moment. The commentary by those two was hilarious at that point.

The show focuses a lot on the comedy between the two and their feelings towards each other. Some parts of it due feel a bit rushed, where you feel as if you should have been watching episodes prior to this or have read the manga series for it all to be fleshed out. But it's not necessary by any stretch as this OVA is quite a bit of fun.

The character designs and animation is pretty nice throughout, though not a top of the line OVA that I've seen throughout the years, but definitely a solid effort. The voice actors did a great job and the script was just perfect. There was no real slow times or areas where it dragged, which just made the show feel like it flowed along really well.

Basically, my feeling is that when you get to the end of a show and you want more, you liked it and you enjoyed it. We got to the end of this and wanted more. Good stuff and hopefully more shows similar to it will start making their way here in the next couple of years. The market is indeed widening for more varying materials.

Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles

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

Mania Grade: B+
Audio Rating: B+
Video Rating: A-
Packaging Rating: B
Menus Rating: B
Extras Rating: N/A
Age Rating: 12 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: Media Blasters
MSRP: 24.95
Running time: 60
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Fake