Jinki: Extend Vol. #3 (of 3) (Mania.com)
Review Date: Wednesday, January 03, 2007
Release Date: Tuesday, January 02, 2007
What They Say
The stage is set for the ultimate battle between good and evil. Each half of the devil is ready for the ultimate fight. Who will live, who will die, and who will emerge victorious? Akao has been kidnapped by Shiva and unwittingly is preparing to enable Kokusho's plan come to its full fruition. But with Minami and the rest of Angel hell bent on rescuing Akao, plans could change. Now that Aoba has returned to Japan, all the pieces of the puzzle are in place and she will face the most important and most dangerous battle of her life. Can she pull it off or will Aoba and Akao end up creating the ultimate "little devil"? One thing is for certain, you don't want to miss any of the action packed final showdown of JINKI: EXTEND! You know you want it.
The multiple storylines across different times and places all converge at long last here for the inevitable battle.
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in its original language of Japanese. The stereo mix for it is quite good with a number of solid scenes where directionality is strongly used across the forward soundstage for both action effects and dialogue. A good deal of it is standard dialogue material though so it's either a center or full feeling mix in a lot of areas but it's a problem free piece. We listened to the 5.1 English mix in a few places and it does sound a bit sharper and more defined in the action areas which has been the norm. We didn't have any problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback on either language track.
Originally airing in 2004, the transfer for this series is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and is enhanced for anamorphic playback. The design of the show and the overall quality of the masters here is excellent and the end result is a great looking transfer that really shines here. There are some interesting tricks in the style in which it's animated, notably in the first two episodes, which really gives the show almost a theatrical feeling at times in its quality, and it holds up very well here. Backgrounds look really strong and black levels are great while the transfer avoids things like cross coloration or aliasing. There's some visible color gradient issues but that's just from the way it was colored rather than an authoring issue. This simply looks wonderful.
Though having Akao across all three covers may be a bit much, I have to say I really loved the way these turned out overall. The artwork for this volume is similar to previous ones in that it has two characters standing side by side in their sleek piloting uniforms while a Jinki is behind them. It all works very well for me though as the designs are appealing and the simplistic but eye-catching backgrounds are just spot on. Add in a sideways angled logo with its very good looking design and it has a very high-tech and sleek feel to it, very modern and current. The back cover is a bit more traditional in layout with a couple of strips of shots from the show through the center while the top half has a decent summary of the premise and these episodes. The bottom half mixes in some artwork of one of the teams as well as the technical information and the discs features and production info. The cover has a reverse side to it though it's not reversible in that sense as it has a text interview with the series planner/scriptwriter. No insert was included with this volume.
The menu for the release is pretty good and feels like a step-up from some recent ADV Films releases even though it is fairly simple. The navigation bar goes through the lower portion of the screen with episode selection dominant and languages and extras just below it while behind is blueprint versions of the scenes and equipment against a dark blue background. It has a strong tech feel to it and it complements the show very nicely in setting the mood and tone. Access times are nice and fast and we had no problems with navigation. Unlike the previous volume, we didn't have any problems with the disc recognizing our players' language presets.
The final volume closes out the extras much like previous ones with very little in the way of English produced extras but heavy on the Japanese ones. One of the live events that was produced in Japan is here, the "special night" piece that's taking place during the holidays which is cute and fun to watch, particularly if you like some of these voice actors. Messages from the seiyuu brings you their closing thoughts, the third on air opening sequence gets a showing and we get the standard clean opening and closings that marked the home video release. Location notes again are provided for 1991 but also a special set for the 13th episodes. Add in the art gallery and a general glossary for various technical terms and they did a very good job of providing the atmosphere for the background information on this series, especially when you add in the reverse side cover information as well.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
As the series closes out, the weight of the various plotlines starts to build up as does the somewhat subtle way they had done the segues between them. These last four episodes are actually a bit awkward to watch in terms of bring it all to a resolution since there is really only one episode of battle to deal with Akao as an entire episode of epilogue is provided.
The previous volume moved the focus away from Aoba for the most part and spent its time focusing on going through Akao's storyline from 1991. Through her we got a better understanding of the Jinki and their place in things as well as introducing some of the other characters that would later surface in Aoba's 1998 storyline. This one continues to deal with Akao for the first couple of episodes but it's more of a mental game here as Shiva spends her time with her. The manipulation of Akao by Kokusho is the main intent as they want to bring back some of the memories that Akao has pushed far down and forgotten. Once these surface and she remembers what had gone on before, the hope is that she'll recreate past events and cause plenty of destruction. This is actually all of a given for the viewer though since we saw the 2001 events at the start of the series with Akao and her red Jinki going to town.
Interspersed within this is some of the preparation moments in the 2001 timeline as Aoba and the others realize what they have to face and begin to get in place to do so. There are a few revelations about relations and how some of this all ties together, but it is for the most part fairly laid back and relaxed as it brings out all the explanations. Hakuya past is explored a bit more as well and as is seemingly common in a lot of shows it all comes back to how a child was treated. The build-up for the finale is interesting and complex in its own way because of how it's told, but it is much better served when watched much closer to the previous volumes. The flow of the storyline, already likely difficult on a weekly basis during its original broadcast, has a much stronger sense of continuity and design to it when taken as a whole.
The payoff does come in the final battle sequence which runs the length of an entire episode. The action for it has enough common threads with other giant mecha shows but adds its own flavor and mix through the design and generally very solid animation. There aren't a ton of Jinki running about and most of them tend to be pushed to the side to focus on the main battle between the massive red one that Akao commands and the new one that Aoba brings into play. Some of the impact of this is lost because of how the previous episodes played out since it has taken more time to reconnect to the characters, but visually and in terms of atmosphere it's a very enticing final battle episode.
Where I think the show didn't use its time properly is with the final episode, one that is given over entirely to epilogue. Typically I enjoy when this happens since it allows them a chance to really smooth things out without feeling rushed but this one just feels like it's far too mellow and slow. There are cute moments, particularly when Aoba hugs her used model kit boxes or the tender moments revealed in the mysterious photographs, but it felt like far too little was really resolved or given closure here. So much had been worked out just in the angst and anger in the previous fight and through Akao's own understanding of her past that they could have done a much tighter epilogue.
With the way is moved between different times and various events, Jinki:Extend is a show that has a good deal of replay value since there is so much to put together. After the fact, reading all the booklets and notes, putting it all together with a fresh viewing over a day or two will really reveal how much better this show actually is. The first viewing wasn't one for me that was clean and easy to work with, particularly with the number of shows I see between releases, but the design and structure of it has me intrigued and really wanting to immerse myself in it for a complete single viewing experience. Few shows really merit that kind of treatment but this is one that I can definitely see finding the time for and experiencing again. By itself, this last volume has left me somewhat unsatisfied but still very intrigued about what I may have missed or not understood this time around.
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 5.1 Language,English Subtitles,Character art gallery,Messages from the Seiyuu, Japan 1991 Location Notes, Location Notes for episode 13,Jinki: Extend Special Night,Glossary of terms,Clean opening animation,Clean closing animation
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Panasonic DMP-BD10 player via HDMI -> DVI with upconversion set to 1080i, 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: A
Packaging Rating: A-
Menus Rating: B+
Extras Rating: B+
Age Rating: TV PG
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: ADV Films
Running time: 100
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Jinki: Extend