NieA_7 Vol. #2 (Mania.com)
Review Date: Saturday, February 16, 2002
Release Date: Tuesday, October 09, 2001
Overall Rating: 4.5
(on a scale of 1-5)
Offbeat comedy time! It's another disc of Neia and it's just as wacky and weird as the first one. But beyond that, is it going somewhere? Does it have to go somewhere? Or am I going somewhere? After you watch this you might never want to go to a public bathhouse... or maybe you'll really want to go :-)
Niea continues to have close to top notch scoring in the technical department. The visual and audio looked great on our set up. The menu was cute and fun. The keepcase is still missing the volume number (it does have the episodes numbered on the back correctly though) and it is missing a mention of the glossary of Japanese terms that is included on this disc. Again give that a quick read before you watch the episodes. It explains some of the terms that go flying around in these episodes. You gets for goodies, ending animation (credit free) character design, the glossary and cute little finger puppets and a background! All said it's a pretty good technical disc.
If you loved the first disc, this one offers more of the same style and comedy that was going on in the first one. If you were iffy about it, well I don't think much of anything really changes with these three episodes. And if you didn't like the series, then step away now. For me... well I think I was wanting something a bit more from this. But let's take a look at the summary.
The first annual game contest is created to get more people to visit the bathhouse. Sounds like a great idea right? Well things don't go quite according to plan. It's the crew of the Enohana bathhouse against a group of kids! Who will win and what will the grand prize be! The second episode has a new bathhouse opening in the crater! It's supposed to be the best thing in the whole area. So Mayuko, Neia and her pals are bribed into some espionage. What is that strange looking plant in the back yard? In the last episode we get some character exploration for Mayuko. When her pall from school asks her to go out for a night on the town in Tokyo, the prospect frightens and excites Mayuko. Will she go, or will she stay at home and feel sorry for herself.
The animation and sound remain the same. Most of the visuals are still very colorful and light. The animation also goes from normal to completely outrageous at the drop of a hat. I did love the look of the new bathhouse in the crater. Aside from that, there isn't much different overall in the feel of the series. It's got some strange angles and use of sound, just like the last disc did. It' very well done and has a feel all it's own.
The plot is episodic and while it is pretty interesting, nothing really seems to be happening. Well that's not entirely true. Stuff happens all over the place, but nothing really pulls me into the series. I like Mayuko and Neia is cute and all. But aside from that things really seem to be going at a weird pace. For the most part the first half of the episode really drags and then the second half works fine. This series is a bit slower paced overall, but it feels that pacing and set up are really off. And I can only think that the writers are to blame. The visuals and the concept keep you watching but the plot is pretty bland.
The dub remains top notch. All the actors keep up the energy and get into the parts. With all the crazy changes in animation and screaming that is required (not to mention evil laughs) this looks like it was tough to dub. But these folks hold their own and do a great job.
The score is just as off as the animation and style. It fits right in and while it's unique it doesn't stand out and make you wonder what the creators were thinking when they use a piece of music. Good stuff.
I really want to like this series, but it's not pulling me in very much. I think that the style is fun and the acting and music are great but the story and the character relationships are not working for me. I was entertained, but the episodes really seemed to drag in places. I'm gonna have to stop on this disc for this series, and maybe get back into it later. This will really work for some people, mostly if they are in the mood for something refreshingly different. But if you are looking for a traditional anime comedy, well this is anything but. I say rent the first disc and if it grabs you, go for it.
Roman J. Martel
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Phillips Flatscreen (27 Inch), Sony Playstation 2
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.
Running time: 75
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2