Nuku Nuku Dash Vol. #3 (of 3) (Mania.com)
Review Date: Friday, January 16, 2004
Release Date: Tuesday, January 20, 2004
What They Say
Ryunosuke Natsume has yet to figure out that Nuku Nuku is a runaway androbot. He's thrilled when she agrees to go with him to a match featuring Mishima Industry's state-of-the-art robot, Sangoku Bross. The match is exciting until Sangoku Bross' competitor, the Zweig Company robot, turns on the audience. Nuku Nuku-for reasons not even she knows-comes to Bross' defense.
Nuku Nuku finds still more mystery in when Mishima Industry's new young president rings a bell that is hauntingly familiar. She agrees to a date with the president to discover more, but a fired executive spoils their evening with a stolen android set to kill! The president survives the attack and reveals that he wants to wake up Nuku Nuku's evil androbot sister, R2-004, who can controls matter at an atomic level through artificial ESP abilities. Nuku Nuku, with help from Professor Higuchi, finally discovers her own identity-just in time to fight her sister to defend her loved ones
Bringing the series to its conclusion, the final four of Nuku Nuku Dash goes for the revelations and action angles.
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in its original language of Japanese. Being a pretty standard OVA release of its time, the stereo mix is decent with a few areas of noticeable directionality, mostly in the larger combat scenes, but otherwise a normal mix for dialogue and ambient effects. Dialogue comes across nicely with no noticeable dropouts or distortions during regular playback.
Originally released to video back in 1998, the transfer here makes it feel much closer to the 1992 release with its look. A dark color palette on an already dark looking transfer gives the show a grainy feel and something that you normally don’t get from an OVA release, since those are typically much shinier in their use of colors. The transfer is decent, but the way it comes across makes it look older and more traditional than someone would expected from a 1998 release. Thankfully, cross coloration and aliasing are both very minimal so they don’t provide much distraction.
Providing another action shot, the final cover goes for Nuku Nuku racing along with her hair whipping in the wind while the big bad Sangoku-Bross robot that stirs up trouble shadows her. The back cover has a few shots from the show and pushes the new aspect of Dash over the previous release. A good summary brings things up to date and a listing of the discs features and extras is also here. While the front cover and spine list the volume numbering (as mode’s), the back cover doesn’t list episode titles or numbers, just the number of episodes on the disc. For the insert, we get a booklet this time with some great full color artwork. The booklet is pretty sharp; there’s a variety of information, with a breakdown of these episodes, characters from the entire series, a gallery of full color shots and some in-depth pieces on the music of the series. Like the previous volume, there’s a reversible cover as well. The front section has a faux letterbox shot of Nuku Nuku and her “sister” holding hands while the back cover is the same as the other side, but with a street-clothes version of Nuku Nuku.
The main menu is a simple static piece with a brief bit of the opening music playing over the image of Nuku Nuku in her combat uniform and sunglasses. The episode selections are along the right as well as languages and extras. With little on the disc, access is pretty easy and moving about is nice and fast.
The only extras included on this release are a textless version of the opening and ending sequences.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Nuku Nuku Dash comes to a rather quick close with this volume, bringing in the final four episodes to finish out the story by bringing up new revelations and then going headlong into action sequences to wrap it all up.
The Young President begins to make his moves more formally in these episodes as he plans to gain complete control of the company and move past what his father has done. One of those ways is to throw the city into chaos, by which he has a German company bring in one of their new mecha to the city. Using his inside status, he sets things up so that it goes wild in the city and causes destruction and mayhem as well as setting up some rivals for a downfall. This does allow for Nuku Nuku to come out and show off her stuff again, which entices the Young President even more.
So when he eventually shows up to woo her away, Ryunosuke finds himself unable to compete due to his age, lack of experience and more in comparison. Of course, he acts his age in this respect and practically shuts Atsuko out of his life entirely, from not talking much to her to skipping breakfasts that she makes and so forth. This gets even worse when she goes out for what seems like an entire night. Ryunosuke really doesn’t handle the situation well and gets fairly mopey about things.
The Young President’s plans end up going rather well though, as he secures more power within the company and sets things once in Maneki City to access the secret basement labs that have been sealed for several years. Putting his plans into full motion, he tries to take control of the building through the basement as it contains Atsuko’s cat-girl sister, an androbot whose only goal is to end life, the complete opposite of Atsuko’s goal. The Young President’s goal of simply causing as much death and destruction as possible doesn’t seem like the loftiest of goals, but there are revelations about what he really is as well as what kind of games his father the founder is playing that help it to make sense.
So with the sister on the loose, it’s obvious that it falls to Atsuko to deal with it as the various human forces going against her fail miserably. Atsuko’s reunion with her “father” prior to this almost causes her to leave the city with him, but she’s grown since she gained her freedom and has a sense of responsibility about the entire matter. There aren’t too many surprises with how this plays out, particularly since both sisters are robots after all, but it does allow for some good action sequences and lots of fanservice in that direction.
But it’s all fairly bland at the same time. While Atsuko has been fun for the most part, these last episodes take her out of the personality she’s had and places her more in the control of the men around her, almost making her subservient; especially when Professor Higuchi returns to the scene and simply expects her to drop everything and follow him. She’s grown beyond what he knew her has but she falls into the old pattern too quickly. Most of the other characters play to expectations, such as both Ryunosuke and his father going to the rescue and showing off a bit while his mother gets caught up in the real intrigue and revelations inside the Mishima building that the Young President tosses out, such as the cloning and all.
Nuku Nuku Dash started off fun and had some good moments to it, but the last third feels overly rushed in terms of the goals of the Young President. Though he needs Atsuko to achieve them, she’s not truly required in most ways to be an active participant in it, which makes her less connected to what he’s doing. Though she has the sense of obligation to it through her sister, much of what’s going on in the Mishima family feels out of place in the series and not quite the right set of villains that she should be facing. There are some good moments in this volume that play out well, but overall it’s a predictable and formulaic piece that even goes for the happy ending right at the last minute.
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,Clean open and closing animation
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Panasonic RP-82 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.
Mania Grade: C+
Audio Rating: B+
Video Rating: B
Packaging Rating: B
Menus Rating: B
Extras Rating: B-
Age Rating: 15 & 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: Nuku Nuku, All Purpose Cultural Cat Girl