Key the Metal Idol Vol. #3 (of 3) (Mania.com)
Review Date: Monday, October 30, 2000
Release Date: Monday, October 30, 2000
What They Say
Will you be one of key’s friends…?
The robot development project that has stalked Key ever since she came to Tokyo actually has roots deep in her past-roots reaching back two generations in her family, with a discovery made by Key’s “grandfather,” and exploited by his business associate Ajo. The same Ajo used the discovery to link Miho’s music to his own dreams of the perfect artificial being. But understanding the past doesn’t help Key and her friends avoid the deadly danger now presented by Ajo and his project-danger threatening both Key’s closest friends, and every member of the audience at a climactic Miho concert. As Key’s awakening as a human teeters on the brink, it’s finally time for everyone to hear her song. Contains 2 movie-length episodes (#14-15)
The final two episodes, both close to 90 minutes each, fill out a very packed disc. These two episodes, often referred two as movies, bring the OVA series to its completion with a fair amount of finality.
Much like the first two volumes, both audio tracks sound pretty good. We did our primary listening with the Japanese track and were very pleased by. This show really excels with its score and it sounds great here. We spot checked the English track as well and didn't notice anything out of the ordinary during it. There's a fair amount of directionality in some sequences, but the majority of both episodes is dialogue driven, so the center channel continues to get a solid workout.
The video side of things are a bit more iffy. The first problem is mostly evident during the second episode, where the quality of the source material comes into question. During the first disc, a lot of people noticed a lot of jumping in the animation itself, which comes from the original Japanese source material. This doesn't appear to occur again in this final episode, but the source material has some issues. First, there's a lot of grain throughout it. During the final act, there are a bunch of still frames of close ups of peoples faces. During here you can practically pick out the grain piece by piece. There's also a couple of sequences where you can see dirt, specks and nicks. The second source material problem that's noticeable is the coloring used. Whereas with a lot of anime the colors are pretty solid, there are several instances where you can see where the color was painted. Kind of distracting, but only to those who really notice this kind of stuff.
What was more noticeable was the amount of artifacting throughout the disc that can be seen in certain sequences. There are a lot of dark scenes where you simply have murky backgrounds and a darkly colored face of the character talking. In these scenes, you can see the majority of the artifacting that's on this disc, where the face looks almost alive at times. Your mileage may vary however in how much, if at all, it will bother you.
This volume probably contains my favorite cover picture of the three volumes. The bright white background with the two variants of Key looks great. The back cover is pretty much straightforward text, with a good synopsis of where things stand and all the technical details of the disc. The insert provides a couple of nice pictures as well as a list of the 36 chapters available on the disc.
The menus are pretty much identical to the previous volumes as well (why mess with what works?) and we had no issues with it at all. Selections are made quickly and access times are very very good.
After the conclusion of the second volume of Key, I was pretty much pretty hyped for the final volume to see where everything comes together and gets resolved. What I wasn't prepared for was 90 minutes of exposition, which sums up what episode 14 is all about.
The exposition is good overall, with lots of flashbacks to the various discoveries between Shuichi and Wakagi as they both explain what they know, weaving a very dense story for the viewer. Revelations are made about just about every main character and their full relationship with Key. It's a dark episode overall, as the conversation between the two men take place late at night and in hushed tones.
After the first episode was over, I napped for two hours. It was just far too much for my poor brain to handle. In fact, it was a whole day later before I felt up to tackling the final 90 minute episode.
The final episodes does seem to bring things to a conclusion. There's some lengthy exposition scattered throughout, but there are definitely more active moments in this episode as things begin their mad dash to the conclusion and characters are tossed to the side and the pace gets even more frenetic.
When the credits started rolling at the end of the final episode, I felt rather unsatisfied by it. It wasn't as mind numbing as I felt after watching the final episodes of Evangelion for the first time and it wasn't as clean cut (to me) as the ending to Serial Experiments Lain was. I simply can't put my finger on what this series was trying to say with its ending.
Is it simply about naked idol chicks?
There definitely seems to be more to it, but the ending leaves far too much out and not enough clarity in their message, if any. Key was a wonderful journey, which is something that a lot of series try to aspire to. And a good many anime series have mediocre to poor endings. After the second volume of this series, I had high hopes for a good ending. Maybe a second viewing of the series in a closer period will shed some light on it.
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Conceptual Art,Character Profiles & Art,Interview with the director
Toshiba TW40X81 40" TV, 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: B-
Packaging Rating: B+
Menus Rating: B+
Extras Rating: B
Age Rating: 16 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: Viz Media
Running time: 180
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Key the Metal Idol