Renzu (of 1) (Mania.com)
Review Date: Saturday, December 28, 2002
Release Date: Wednesday, December 11, 2002
What They Say
During his high school years, Tohru Shioda saved his childhood friend, Asuka Misaki in exchange for his golden leg. Unable to play soccer anymore, he now spends his time staring through his camera. Asuka still holds feeling for him, but there's an emotion inside Shioda that keeps him from feeling the same way. Will there be a happy ending?
The folks at NuTech have another Wide Road title queued up for our viewing pleasure, with this one managing to get slightly better styles than previous Wide Road releases.
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this disc in its original language of Japanese. Though this is a fairly recent release, the show is a pretty basic stereo mix with most everything being center channel dominated. The only real exception is the music, but even that is pretty much just filling up the entire forward soundstage with no real directionality. But in the end, it's a decent sounding track with no dropouts or distortions.
The transfer for this episode is quite good, though there’s some minor little problems with it. Colors are well saturated and backgrounds have a great level of solidity to them with no noticeable grain or breakup. There’s some light cross coloration around the edges of the characters, but varies by setup and player. During panning sequences, you get some noticeable aliasing going on from the cross coloration.
Sort of the lead woman in this show, Asuka, takes the center stage here on the cover as she undresses in front of Tohru, set against the nice almost wholesome image of her room with the window open. The back cover provides a few animation shots and a small summary of what to expect. The discs basic production and technical information is included here as well. As with all NuTech releases, there is no insert included.
The main menu is a nice simple piece with the main image being of the camera, and inside the lens we see some of the scenes from the show playing as it’s set against music. Submenus are nice and quick to load with no transitional pieces and access times are nice and fast.
The only extra is a brief art gallery.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Poor Tohru, he’s tried to do his best by his childhood friend Asuka throughout the years. While in high school, as the big star of the soccer team, he ended up injuring his leg when he pushed her out of the way of an oncoming car. While he recovered, he didn’t recover well enough to play soccer or sports the same way again. He keeps his true feelings about this to himself, but sometimes it comes out.
Such happens during one instance when he’s with Asuka in the park and he tries to take her by force, but ends up causing the two to simply stop seeing each other for awhile. So Tohru ends up getting into more trouble during cram school with the attractive teacher and with his friend, who brings him out on some “chick hunting”. He ends up with a very uninhibited woman who loves to live on the edge, such as speeding through the streets in her car while Tohru feels her up.
But while Tohru keeps thinking about his teacher or the fiery redhead he’s with now, everything seems to come back to Asuka. So he tries to sort out his feelings while dealing with both of these women and the weird connection between the two of them that surfaces.
With only one episode, there’s not a heck of a lot of room for growth, especially with three to four explicit scenes to be found. They do their best to provide the characters with some depth but end up being limited by the time factor. The character designs for the show, outside of Tohru, are pretty good, with Asuka being the typical schoolgirl and the teacher falling under the really dominatrix style type you’d expect. There’s a few areas where the layered computer feel gets in the way, but not as bad as a lot of other shows.
It’s not bad for a 30 minute show, provided you can rent or find it dirt cheap.
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Art Gallery
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: B-
Audio Rating: B+
Video Rating: B+
Packaging Rating: B
Menus Rating: B
Extras Rating: C+
Age Rating: 18 & Up
Region: All Region DVD
Released By: NuTech Digital, Inc.
Running time: 30
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2