Chance Pop Session Vol. #2 (of 3) (Mania.com)
Review Date: Friday, January 24, 2003
Release Date: Tuesday, February 11, 2003
What They Say
When our three young heroines sing together, their voices blend in perfect harmony. Akari and Yuki are astounded to find out they share a common past... but will this new bond exclude Nozomi? Then, just as all the pieces are coming together for the three girls, a tragic accident threatens to tear their budding friendship apart. Their passion to sing must be restored in time for the most important audition of their lives. Akari, Yuki and Nozomi, now performing under the musical banner R3 ("Resonance of 3"), must prove their star quality before the toughest jury yet! A winning performance could put them on the path to stardom... but the slightest mistake could crush their dreams forever. The cunning ploys of competitors, the resistance of families, and an embarrassing mishap on stage are enough to almost completely dishearten R3. Can the words from a gentle old man touch them and renew their spirit and passion for song?
With another four episodes here, we’re moving fast through the center of the series and quickly approaching the end already, and it’s still quite fun. Chance Pop seems to manage one of the curses of many half-run series in not having much in the way of actual filler in it so far, providing instead just a good enjoyable storyline.
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.
Similar in layout to the menu, we get a great image of Yuki set against the mix of blue, green and white of sky and trees, feathers and musical notes floating about. If you feel good just looking at this cover, that’s what the series itself is going to feel like. The back cover provides a few paragraphs worth of summary while showing several animation shots. The discs features and production information is also clearly listed. The insert for this release is actually an eight-page booklet on “How to be a popstar”. The booklet for this release goes into the clothing side of things, with the helpful hint of always try to be a trendsetter. Also included in the first pressing run is a limited sticker sheet that highlights Yuki and Jun.
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.
A nice selection of extras makes it onto this volume, with the main new ones being the sketches. There’s a small video gallery for the character design sketches, including a number of initial designs that differ from the end results. There’s also a nice looking backgrounds video gallery that goes over the full color pieces, once again really showing how nice a job they did with it. The opening and ending sequences again come in a textless format, but showing the original Chance Triangle Session logos and there’s also a small section devoted to some of the TV promotional spots.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
If the first volume of this series didn’t hit you over the head as something similar to an after school special, this one should take care of that nicely. I do have say that I’m not saying this in a negative manner, as it’s definitely been refreshing to watch a series like this and how it plays out. Enough of it may be simple and overly predictable, but sometimes that’s the entertainment that we get the most out of as we fill in the blanks ourselves.
The opening episodes here do a hefty job of causing two strong emotions, one of real happiness and one of real pain. Both of these emotions and the things that cause them are then reflected throughout the rest of the episodes, as it all ties in to the big audition that goes on towards the end of this volume. Since these are major spoilers, I’d advise skipping from here on out, because to talk about the rest of the episodes would be impossible otherwise.
The relationships Akari has changes fairly radically throughout the show here. During a casual time with Yuki, she notices that the earring that Yuki is wearing is very similar to a pendant she has, that when the two get back to her place and compare, they realize that they’re pretty much identical. This leads to a simple and quick piece of grilling of Akari’s Father, who essentially reveals with little issue that he had found the two of them and a third girl all huddled together on a beach years ago with no sign of their parents. He recounts the efforts into finding them, but they had no luck. So Father kept Akari and the other two went their own ways.
Akari and Yuki take very well to the news and are just glad that they’ve found each other again and that there’s some actual real blood relations in the world. This goes particularly stronger for Yuki based on her upraising and background. But she also has to turn in a role of support, because all good news must come with bad news. Not long after a semi-date with Kaito, Akari learns from Father that Kaito has been killed in a traffic accident. The news just goes right to her core, a Kaito was really the first person she truly opened up to outside of her immediate circle and revealed a number of her secrets. Having lost him utterly crushes here, and does so at the most critical time of their rehearsing as well.
The show turns inward for a while, allowing Akari to try and figure things out, and in the end provides a very touching and well done “dream” sequence of sorts to song. Yeah, it’s all after school special in style, but give me a kick in the beanbag for liking it and liking how it was laid out. But everything does get to the point where the stage is set for the girls to all move into the real field of being singers as Kisaragi (who I’m laying odds is their mother!) gets them an audition that’s being done live for a very well known event.
So it’s off to the time in their careers where failure means not going any further forward. There’s lots of fun things going on during this segment, such as the clothes, the excitement of being part of the show and also dealing with the entire Jun situation. We also get some really interesting pieces on Nozomi’s family once she starts working harder in her practicing, as her father continues to feel more and more left out of her life. There’s some great secondary plot stuff going on here as well with certain people starting to date at this point.
Chance Pop Session continues to be a feel-good show to me and just about every episode brings a smile out on my face. I like the characters, I like the designs, I like the music and I like the simple layout of the story and its intentions. This show isn’t trying to be like every other show out there, and for that alone it deserves some credit.
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Character sketches,Production backgrounds,Original Japanese promo spots,Clean opening and clean closing animations,Printed 8-page booklet "How to be a POPSTAR," Part Two,Limited Edition sticker sheet
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Panasonic RP-82 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.
Mania Grade: A-
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
Running time: 100
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Chance Pop Sessions