Dual Vol. #3 (Mania.com)
Review Date: Thursday, February 07, 2002
Release Date: Tuesday, February 27, 2001
Dual 3 got delayed a lot, and it was a source of endless aggravation, because I couldn't wait for this volume to come out! It's finally out now, and now I can't wait for the last volume to come out! Pioneer must be stopped! Or jumpstarted, very quickly!
Anyways, I was extremely happy to get the third volume, so I rushed home and dropped it in and sat back to watch. The first thing I noticed was that the video seemed to be a little bit worse than the first two volumes...not quite as sharp and crisp. Upon a second (and third, fourth, and fifth, etc.) viewings, it does look close to the first two, but for some reason it still just doesn't quite look as pristine quality as the others. No big deal, because it's still very, very good.
Audio is about on par with the others. Nothing really out of the ordinary and nothing really bad. There's some cool music in this volume though, and some cool sound effects during some of the action scenes. The dub is consistent with the other two volumes; if you liked them before, you'll still like it. One of Miss Rah's little stooges has a fairly amusing line though with her delivery (especially since I'm fairly sure her actor is Sandy Fox, or Sonja S. Fox as she is pseudonymed apparently, who sings the Kenshin TV opening...you have to see the part, if you're so dub-inclined).
The package of Dual 3 took me by surprise, cause it's much darker than the first two volumes, but then when I saw the cover of the fourth, it makes sense. The first two were bright and golden, the last two are dark and greenish. Not bad. The cover girl (spoilerfree!) is a cutie, too, both in looks and in her demeanor in the show, so it's a bonus. The DVD comes with a lovely pic of her on the insert (swoon!), plus a recipe for Eggrolls a la Rara! Woohoo! As with other Dual DVDs, there's a window sticker. Like the first DVD, this one is a copy of the cover picture...so I'm guessing (hoping like mad) that the last DVD will have a nice risque picture of this girl, just like the 2nd DVD had. ^_^
The menus for this DVD are fairly similar to the 2nd disc's. I hope the 4th does another group ensemble pic like the first DVD's did, because it was rather neat, all things considered. The menus are quick and responsive (I think I say that about everything, so I guess that isn't saying much) so no gripes here.
Extras are just about what we've been seeing lately...some line art, some bios, whoo. There's some omake, fairly easy to find too, on here to continue some of the Dual comic strips we've seen on the first two DVDs.
The episodes on Artifacts are all very, very cool. I'm heading into spoiler territory, so skip to the last paragraph (yeah, both of you people who actually read these) if you don't want to be spoiled. Anyways, the first of the three on the disc details Kazuki's rescue and subsequent nursing-back-to-health by one Miss Rah....who takes off her clothes (behind a screen, you perv) and puts on normal clothes and becomes....a normal kawaii girly! Woohoo! In very very strange AIC fashion, Kazuki actually falls for Mitsuki Rara (catch that?), and she for him. Wow! No more asexual freaks who aren't attracted to any of the myriad of kawaii girlies around them! I wrote it in my calendar.
Anyway, the second episode takes place after Kazuki is returned to the "good guys", and after we find out that Mitsuki is a darling, and even her dad doesn't seem to be too bad of a guy. It's her mom. Damn her mom! Back to the point, the second episode is a fun episode with lots of action. Kazuki returns to Mitsuki, Yayoi and D, and immediately is cold-shouldered since he flirted with the bad guys while he was captured. Oooo, naughty. Eventually, the bad guys attack and Kazuki ends up fighting Mitsuki (Rara)...in a very cool scene, Kazuki gets some help from, well, down below it would seem, and completely beats up the bad guys. Very neat. ^_^ Oh yeah, and he saves Mitsuki (Rara) too! Not bad for 22 minutes of work.
The final episode presented is a cute look into Kazuki and Mitsuki's relationship as it advances to a little mor of a serious one, with Kazuki even asking her on a date. You read that correctly, I'm not lying, really. Mitsuki's helpers (the trio of pilot girls, and the scientist lady) all meddle and try to hook their friend and Kazuki up, and it works, even! Wow! So it's all fine and dandy, till that annoying wench, Mitsuki's mom, decides to go meddling again. Darn her! Can't she just leave the plots alone! So Akane (you know, the U.N. inspector lady/romantic subplot for Cdr. Sanada) has to give Mitsuki back to the Rara Army or there'll be Hell To Pay (TM). Anyway, three guesses as to what happens. Right, you guessed it. What I personally didn't guess was the ending, which you just need to watch. ^_^
These three episodes of Dual present a very close look at the emotions and feelings of the characters, particularly Kazuki, Miss Rah, Mitsuki, and even D. I particularly enjoyed some of Mitsuki's moments, and she's still my favorite from the show. I even like Kazuki, which is strange since I don't usually like AIC male leads (except Makoto...^_^). If you've enjoyed Dual up till this point then you will probably very much enjoy Artifacts, particularly if you're even the slightest bit interested in the characters. Run out and buy it, and then sit back and wait for the last volume...sigh!
Pioneer Elite 610 HDTV, Pioneer Elite DV-C36 DVD Changer, Pioneer Elite VSX-35TX Receiver, Pioneer ISO-drive speaker setup, Monster component cables and digital coax cable
Mania Grade: A
Audio Rating: B+
Video Rating: A-
Packaging Rating: B+
Menus Rating: B
Extras Rating: B+
Age Rating: 12 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: Geneon Entertainment (USA), Inc.
Running time: 75
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2