Rurouni Kenshin OVA Vol. #3 (of 4) (Mania.com)
Review Date: -
What They Say
Every six months or so, I make a list of my favorite twenty animes - using the criteria that I must have seen at least six episodes/OVAs of a given series (I do a separate list for movies). I do this so I can recommend these titles to my fellow anime fans, and have done so for the last three years. Every time "Rurouni Kenshin" tops the list. The TV series has some of the same elements that made "Ranma 1/2" and "Tenchi Muyo" popular - nice animation, solid character designs, engaging stories laced with action and humor. When this series is released domestically, it will be a "must-have". The OVA series takes this several steps beyond.
As has been mentioned in reviews for previous episodes, the animation is as smooth as is currently possible at this time - the computer animation (CG) that has been mixed in is handled much better than the CG seen in other features. In the Kenshin TV series, the scenes of water (notably later in the series) looked incredibly realistic in both its movement and the way light reflected off it. Kenshin OVA has one-upped it. Water is no longer realistic, it is real. Lots of little effects like this make this a real enjoyable viewing experience.
The story won't be discussed here. Other than to say this chapter deals with the love that bloomed between Kenshin and Tomoe (I use the past-tense, since this story takes place in the past. Don't read into it too much!). The other major surprise occurs near the end of the OVA. Having read the original manga, I was somewhat surprised to discover the OVA does not follow the manga exactly and the surprise ending of this chapter will give a new slant to the big conclusion next time.
The sound on this disc is as nice as anything I've heard, but the video wasn't as flawless as the first two. As for the packaging, Japanese DVD jewel cases are definitely sturdier than the jewel cases we know and hate, but not as nice as the Amaray keepcases most US releases provide.
Finally, what's the cool feature of this disc? (OVA 1 had tons of sketches, OVA 2 had alternate angle studio performances and concept animation) This time out SPE's made it possible for you to play your favorite character (well, Kenshin or Tomoe) in a three minute long scene in which you can drop out either voice and voice the dialogue by reading the Japanese subtitles (which, are only presented in the bonus - the main feature does not have subtitles, Japanese or otherwise).
Overall, if you're a Kenshin fan and region 2 equipped, purchasing this disc is a no-brainer. As with all such discs, if you don't understand Japanese, you're missing out on a great story. However... For those who watch all aspects of the anime community, you may notice that fansubs of Kenshin aren't as easy to find as most unlicensed titles. This is, mostly, because Sony has issued several letters to people who were fansubbing it to cease and desist, as they are trying to sell this series to a US company. This has not stopped some groups from placing translated scripts online. This is great for you Kenshin fans without a working knowledge of Japanese as you can read the script as you watch what might otherwise be a foreign language. (er.. yeah!)
Japanese Language,Character sketches,Voice actor biographies,Staff comments,Bonus voiceless track scene
Mania Grade: A
Audio Rating: A+
Video Rating: A-
Packaging Rating: B+
Menus Rating: B
Extras Rating: N/A
Age Rating: All
Region: 2 - Japan
Released By: Sony Music Entertainment (Japan) Inc.
Running time: 34
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Rurouni Kenshin (aka Samurai X)