Nazca Vol. #1 (Mania.com)

By:Roman Martel
Review Date: Saturday, February 16, 2002
Release Date: Monday, January 10, 2000



The Review!
Overall Rating: 4.1 (on a scale of 1-5)
-Artistic Ratings-

Animation: 4
Sound: 3
Plot: 4
Acting: Japanese: 4
English: 3
Music: 5
Overall: 3.8
-Disc Ratings-

Sound: 5
Picture: 5
Menu: 4
Presentation: 5
Goodies: 3
Overall: 4.4
-Review-

Ah, the first review of 2000! My first DVD of 2000! I just like writing 2000! Don't worry the fun will wear off shortly... it just did. Anyway. This was one of those discs, I didn't know anything about and was iffy on. Then Chris recommended that I get it... well he threatened me with the dub of Fist of the North Star, but I won't get into that. To make a long story short, I have the disc and I will review it for you... eventually....

O.K. I'm ready to review. I've had meds I'm cool. Let's look at the artistic aspects of the show first. If you don't like that then skip ahead... jeez some people. The animation on in these first three episodes ranges from really good, to O.K. We've all seen this before in most TV series. The first episode seems to be the best done of the three, but there are some really great looking scenes throughout. The character designs are pretty good, some of the costuming seems a bit much (I'll have to check on my Inca history to see if they actually wore such ornate outfits all the time). The overall look of the show is pretty good. Looks like some research was done on Peru and the Incas. (I'll get into more of that later). My only problems are with the several flashback scenes that happened over, and over and over and over and over and... well you get the idea. So did I the first two or three times. It got a little gratuitous. Other than that most of the animation work was fine. Some computer effects in this show were not quite as effective as I think they wanted them to be. It was a bit of a shock when they happen and they are quite obvious. They do add to the surreal element in the show. There is some interesting direction in this show, strange angles and some really neat dissolves. I would have liked to see some more of those, but maybe that's for later episodes. Most of the dream elements work very well and have that surreal quality that confuses and intrigues at the same time.

The sound is pretty standard so far. Nothing really caught my attention in a good or a bad way. Of course I think once we dive into the Inca world completely there might be some interesting effects and sound design on the way. The music is very good. You've got an interesting combination of western orchestral, Peruvian traditional, and Bach. It sounds like a weird combo but it works with the show very well. The opening theme, written by good ol' J.S. Bach and performed by Eccentric Opera, is really neat. I'm looking forward to some more Peruvian music as the show progresses.

The plot so far is at a balance point. It's interesting but it seems to be missing something. The Inca element is what really makes this story different, but this show can either get really good, or really mediocre in the next few episodes. There are enough elements to make it a great show, it all depends on how the story is handled. There is a temptation to proceed in the same old cut and dried fashion. I'm hoping that there will be some plot twists that will make this show worth owning. We'll see what the future holds for us. Right now, we got a good start, but I also see the beginnings of the same trodden path down a Inca road. Let's keep our fingers crossed.

The Japanese acting was better than average with everyone doing their part well. Nothing too exciting, but there weren't any real stretches of emotion yet. The English acting started off a bit blocky and wooden, but by the third episode everyone seemed to be hitting their stride. The actor doing Tate actually sounds bilingual and has no problem pronouncing some of the locations and Inca words. Good job! My biggest gripe is the actor portraying the purple haired bully/warrior (sorry I forgot his name L ). His voice matches the Japanese actor's but for some reason it just doesn't work the same in English. He seems slightly off for some reason. Everyone else is right on. I love the Grandpa, something about the wise old guy that makes me laugh. And the instant classic phrase... "But that's a mop."

Overall I see a lot of potential here. This can be a really great show that just beginning to blossom. Hopefully in the next few episodes we will see where it goes.

The disc is typical Pioneer. Very well done on all counts. Sound and picture were very good on my set up. Looks like another clean disc. The menus are very good. No confusion here, you know what you are selecting and how it works. There isn't any motion or music (ADV spoiled me L ) and that's the only reason I gave them a 4. The goodies are average. You get some character sketches. They are nice, especially the last few portraits of Yuka/Aquira. Any information on Inca history would have been a neat extra to add to this disc and the others. I don't know much about the civilization myself and it would be neat if the disc contained some addition info for the curious.

Well overall I say this is a rental first and then buy if you like what you see. I've got the feeling that not everyone will like this puppy. Or, like me, you might be a bit leery of it only because it could go either way still. But I'd definitely say this is a must rent, if not a must buy.

***Off Topic Observation***

Right after the last episode concluded and looked at the sketches. I went and grabbed my encyclopedia to read about he Incas. Lo and behold, I surprised to see that much of what was discussed in the show was pretty accurate. I'm still not sure about the outfits but the rest of it was pretty close. Now, I was convinced that the Nazca site was not in Peru but in Mexico. I thought they had made a major blunder, (I know I have little faith in everybody J ) Anyway, I go to look it up and Ladycat tells me... "Nope it's in Peru and the Incas were involved." "Bah" I replied, "What would a cat know?" I was proven wrong. And Ladycat was right again!!! Imagine her knowing something like that, I guess she really does deserve to write her column ;-)

That's all for now! See ya when the next disc comes out.



Review Equipment
Hitachi GD-2000 DVD ROM, Cinemaster QI DVD Player (application), Dell Model UltraScan D1025HTX Color Monitor, ACS295 Atltec Lansing Speakers (right, left, Subwoofer)



Mania Grade: NA
Audio Rating: N/A
Video Rating: N/A
Packaging Rating: N/A
Menus Rating: N/A
Extras Rating: N/A
Age Rating: 13 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: Geneon Entertainment (USA), Inc.
MSRP: 29.99
Running time: 100
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Nazca