Grenadier Vol. #2 (of 3) (Mania.com)
Review Date: Tuesday, September 13, 2005
Release Date: Tuesday, August 30, 2005
What They Say
After her battle with King Furon, Rushuna and Yajirou travel to the Red Light District run by the Senshi Touka. But Lady Tenshi, Rushuna's former mistress, has put a bounty of 5,000 coins on her head. Rushuna finds that Tenshi's Ten Heavenly Senshi are coming after her, one at a time. And her usual feminine charms will have no effect on them. To learn the truth from Tenshi herself, Rushuna travels to the capital with the help of the balloon master, Mikan. But Yajirou seems to have his own agenda when it comes to the Lady Tenshi.
Rushuna and Yajiro pick up a new companion and a lot more trouble in the second volume of Grenadier.
The original Japanese stereo track was used for my primary viewing session. It is a typical stereo mix that has most of the action pumped through the front soundstage. The action sequences do have some directional effects added, and all elements from dialogue to music were balanced well. The track did not suffer from any distortion, drop outs, or similar problems. It simply lacks the punch one would expect from a title that has gunplay at its core.
The English audio track is an equally solid stereo track. It too does not suffer from any problems. The English voice cast does a decent job overall; fans of either language will be pleased but not blown away by either track.
Presented in anamorphic widescreen, the video for Grenadier is crystal clear and free of any noticeable defects from the digital transfer process. The colors are quite vivid, and the show features some great details especially in the weaponry used. The normal firearms, while anachronistic, could pass for images from a gun shop catalog; the detailing reaches down to even the bullets Rushuna uses.
The front cover artwork for the DVD features Rushuna posing with open arms and a good view of her prodigious talent. The series logo and volume title are at the bottom of the cover with the volume number placed tastefully in the upper left corner. The back cover features a clean, readable layout for the requisite screenshots, plot synopsis, disc contents and specifications, and the series credits. No insert other than a small catalog of other Media Blaster titles was provided.
The menus are simple static images with loops of the songs playing in the background. They are very clean and functional with no transition delays when switching between menus. There just is no punch or style to the menus, but they get the viewer setup and into the content quickly.
Included in this round of extras are a textless version of the ending sequence and two bonus scenes. My favorite extra for the series continues to be the audio commentary for the episodes by the various voice actors. They have a lot of fun watching the completed series for the first time and provide some amusing insight into the process of recording it. It is great to see an extra like this picked up for a US release.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
While the second volume still does not build the strong story I would like, Grenadier continues to be a surprisingly fun series. There is a bit of depth to the eye candy that is the main character and to the rest of the cast. The second volume finds Rushuna and Yajiro journeying towards the capital city and a chat with Tenshi over the bounty she placed on Rushuna's head.
What the pair does not know is that Tenshi has been imprisoned; an imposter along with the Jester are calling the shots and sending out members of the Juttensen to kill Rushuna. The Juttensen are ten legendary guardians of Tenshi and possess one of the ten sacred weapons. Rushuna's first encounter is with Touka Kurenai, a former Juttensen turned madam of a pleasure palace. Their brief fight proves to Touka that Rushuna has been unfairly marked for death.
A duel with some bandits harassing Touka's palace ends with Rushuna and Yajiro gaining a new companion. Mikan is a spunky young girl that lost her family to the same bandits years ago. Rushuna manages to quench the flames of Mikan's vengeance and wins her trust and admiration. Before the trio is on their way to the capital, we also learn that Yajiro's past might make him an untrustworthy person.
The remainder of the volume has Rushuna battling her way past the Juttensen sent to kill her. None of the battle scenes are particularly impressive and serve as filler to keep the story going. But it is not the battle scenes that make this series enjoyable.
What continues to entertain me is the humor found in every episode; there is always something in them that brings a smile or an outright laugh. Mikan is a fantastic addition to the cast; she is young enough to be a brat at times, but her experience has given her wisdom about how people behave along with ten rather sticky fingers. Rather than feeling like a tacked on character, Mikan blends well with Rushuna and Yajiro making the comedy dynamic between the original pair even stronger.
And there are just so many little gags and comments that keep the laughs coming. From panties in battle to a lecherous friend from Rushuna's past, I found plenty of material to make up for the lackluster battles. The character of Yajiro also continues to hold my interest. Making for nice bookend for the second episode, we glean another sliver of his past in the last episode. Whatever lies in his past, it has shaped Yajiro into an uncommon anime hero.
Neither the overprotective he-man nor the overly lecherous sidekick, Yajiro manages to be a balance of common sense and moderate ability. His portrayal is not often seen and makes the series stand out slightly from the rest of the genre. In the end, the series continues to be a funny, lighthearted affair that will entertain more with its humor than with its story.
Grenadier continues to be a lighthearted story that entertains more through humor than through exciting action or deep plot. It is the type of show that you can shut your brain off for awhile and just enjoy whatever they throw on the screen. The series has yet to do anything that would warrant repeat viewings, and while the gags are funny the first time, they are not the sort that holds up over time. But it is still a lot of fun the first time around.
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,Textless Ending,Bonus Scenes
Mitsubishi 27" TV, Panasonic RP-82, Sony STR-DE915 DD receiver, Bose Acoustimass-6 speakers, generic S-Video and optical audio cable
Mania Grade: B
Audio Rating: B+
Video Rating: A
Packaging Rating: A-
Menus Rating: B
Extras Rating: B+
Age Rating: 13 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: Media Blasters
Running time: 100
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2