Someday's Dreamers Vol. #3 (of 3) (Mania.com)

By:Chris Beveridge
Review Date: Thursday, February 26, 2004
Release Date: Tuesday, March 09, 2004



What They Say
The mage apprenticeship is almost over, but Yume does not feel ready for the final certification exam at all. She even starts to doubt the value of Special Powers, as she sees negative consequences from her attempts to help people with her mage abilities.

Her final exam, ordered directly by Master Chief Ginpun, confuses her even more as she is only told to use her special power on Masami Oyamada. All Yume knows is that all summer she has lived and learned from Oyamada and that she wants to save him from the suffering in his heart.

The Review!
This almost whimsical series comes to a close by bringing introspection to the forefront again and revealing Oyamada's past.

Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in its original language of Japanese. The series so far in the first four episodes has a quiet feel to it, where the sounds are important when they do appear, resulting in many scenes being very subdued. Dialogue stands out greatly in this, as does the incidental music when it rises above a certain level.

Video:
Originally broadcast in Japan at the beginning of 2003, Someday's Dreamers sports a gorgeous looking transfer. The transfer here is in its original 1.33:1 aspect ratio. With the series taking place in the real world of today, the look and feel of it is mixed, some areas with gorgeous vibrancy such as the setting sun while others are drab and ordinary looking. One interesting aspect is that there are a lot of pictures taken of areas that are creatively animated and colored over, mixing in with the character animation and other areas. The show looks great overall, though a few areas look soft but done intentionally.

Packaging:
Continuing to use the Japanese artwork, the cover here is a really interesting take on Oyamada and Yume with a dusky city skyline behind them in shades of purple. While the character designs aren?t all that close, there's something almost hypnotic about the painted feel here. The background colors really draw me in. The back cover has a strip along the center with numerous shots from the show while the top half lists the episode numbers and titles as well as a summary. The bottom half of the cover lists the production information and the discs features and extras. In a nice change, the front cover, spine and back cover all list the volume number and name. The top panel of the insert lists the chapter stops for each episode while providing three shots from the show for each. The insert opens up to a really great illustration of Yume in a yellow summer top with a whitewashed local city scene behind her. The back panel is the standard advert section for websites and customer service, though with the nice dolphin image. With this being a clear keepcase, the reverse cover is the same image as found in the insert, which just looks really great here with the soft yellows and washed out whites.

Menu:
The main menu here is very well done and very creative if you take the time to actually watch it. The static image is that of a picture frame with a bowl of bright flowers next to it and a small card at the front. The card provides the selections (with a dolphin icon no less) and some nice instrumental music plays alongside it. The creative part is that within the picture frame it builds sections of the front of the DVD cover image of Yume until it's complete, then it fades out and starts with the reverse side cover artwork. It's addictive to watch the images build over and over.

Extras:
The extras are a bit slim but very interesting. The conceptual artwork this time actually is conceptual, showing off various stages of evolution for the character designs. The second and final extra is an intriguing one for people who like me like to see all sorts of places in Japan, and that's the photo session by Masataka Nakano. We get to see the full color photographs of places that were shown in the series as they really are, and it's a real treat, especially to see how accurately everything is done.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Throughout the series so far, we've gotten to see bits and parts of the supporting cast and a variety of incidental people who some of the individual episodes focused on. Yume has also affected all of these characters. In turn, Yume has been affected by all of them as well, and part of the struggle of any mage is how they deal with it.

This starts to become the main story here after Oyamada and Yume go off to perform a special mage action request. One of the councilors has requested an action be taken place for his mother, but it's been kept relatively quiet. She lives in the same house she always has along with one of her sons, and has requested that the house be brought back as it was fifty years ago so that she can relive that part of her life once more. Oyamada has Yume perform the action and she does it particularly well. The house reverts back to an almost new form, and everyone wanders around in awe of just how beautiful it was back then. Mitsuko, the elderly woman who requested the action, is enraptured by much of it, fondly remembering much of her earlier life.

When everyone is ready to leave and the action brings the house back to normal, Yume ends up hearing Mitsuko say that she regretted the action. To Yume, this comes across as she did poorly on her work and it begins to wrack her brain. This is compounded again even worse later on when she learns that the house is on fire, supposedly set by someone who lived there, and all the family members are now in the hospital. With Mitsuko in the ICU and Yume believing it's all her fault, her confidence is shaken pretty hard.

This comes just before the next big event in her life as a mage however, where the final certification exam has come around. The summer spent with Oyamada and his training is close to coming to an end, and he's indicated to his superiors that Yume has performed admirably and, outside of the incident with the Tokyo Tower, not abused her mage powers once she began her training. The final exam is something that's not been wrapped in mystery, but left as something of a simple unknown. As it turns out, each exam is completely unique and dependent on the people involved. For Yume's, she must use her power to heal Oyamada.

This comes as a surprise to both of them. To Yume, she wasn't aware of any real problem with Oyamada. In fact, going by what others have told her, he's become even livelier and open about things since Yume came to live with him for her training. For Oyamada, he had told the Master Chief previously that he believed he hadn't been doing anything wrong since an event in his past and that he's lived his life properly. The Chief of course sees things differently, and so through these final episodes we start to explore some of the past of Oyamada that has him the way he is now. Naturally, there's tragedy involved, but it's explored so well and done with the same style as the rest of this series that it's quite engaging. Yume's attempt to heal him with her powers is a great moment and it plays out beautifully.

In Summary:
Someday's Dreamers is a series that came with little notice, surprised the heck out of us, and ended far too quickly. The show in its short run had a great charm and a wonderful pace to it that simply sucked us in and provided a number of small but very engaging stories about characters that were fun to watch and that you come to like very quickly. The series is not the kind that challenges to become one of the best things you've ever seen, but it works hard to become something that you'll fondly remember when it's over and want to revisit again. Very recommended.

Features
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Conceptual Art,Photo Gallery

Review Equipment
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: B+
Audio Rating: B+
Video Rating: A
Packaging Rating: N/A
Menus Rating: A-
Extras Rating: B
Age Rating: 13 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: Geneon Entertainment (USA), Inc.
MSRP: 29.98
Running time: 100
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Someday's Dreamers