Review Date: Thursday, June 05, 2003
Release Date: Tuesday, December 19, 2000
"FAKE" is a DVD no shonen-ai fan should be without. It's a short OVA of the 7 tankoubans of the manga written by Sanami Matoh (published in Japan by BeXBoy and in America by TOKYOPOP). While not nearly long enough to develop the characters like the manga, it does a decent job of being smart, romantic, funny and most importantly, entertaining. The basic premise for this story is that two New York City cops, Dee Laytner and Randy (Ryo) McLane get involved with a murder while on vacation in England. Dee also has the hots for Randy. Randy is half-Japanese, and his Japanese name is Ryo. Generally, only people close to him refer to him as Ryo. The story is often compared to having the feel of an episode of "Scooby-Doo," which I'd say is pretty accurate.
Overall, this OVA is fairly easy to understand. We begin with a "widescreen" scene of a young woman being murdered and falling into water. Next we see that Dee and Ryo have arrived at a beautiful hotel in England. They check in, and are greeted by Leonard Henry, the owner of the hotel. While going to their rooms, Ryo wonders why Bikky decided not to come with them. Turns out Dee had bribed him with $100 to not go to England! Of course he doesn't tell Ryo this. They arrive at their (seperate) rooms and Dee looks dissapointed. Ryo walks onto his balcony and notices a blonde-haired man below who stares at him and then continues on his way. Meanwhile Dee had entered the room. He gives Ryo a scare, and they go on a boat on the lake. Along the way, Dee starts confessing his feelings for Ryo when suddenly Ryo spots something floating in the lake (causing Dee to fall in ^_^;). It's a dead body of a girl! To tell more would be spoiling a lot of the fun, but basically Ryo and Dee are !
d etermined to find the murderer, a
The two main characters are Dee Laytner, a taller man with dark brown hair, and Randy "Ryo" McLane, who has lighter brown hair. Dee is loud and sarcastic but always truthful with his feelings. Randy is calm and thinks things through, but is confused about Dee's advances. JJ is a fellow cop who has a big crush on Dee. He's loud and flamey and is hilarious to watch. There's Ryo's two "adopted" kids, Bikky and Carol (also called Cal). Bikky is a little brat that likes to argue with Dee. Carol is pretty sweet but it seems like she doesn't trust Dee either. Berkeley Rose is a New York State Policeman who's come on a special assignment to investigate the murder undercover. Leonard Henry is the owner of the hotel.
The animation for "FAKE" is excellent considering its age. It was produced in 1997 and has a rather nice budget. Of course, it is only about an hour long, but still the character animation is consistant and the backgrounds are quite beautiful. This is a cel animated show and while not as clean looking as digital animated shows like "Yami no Matsuei" or "Gravitation" it is just as nice. The character designs are different than most anime but very faithful to the original manga designs. While you might find yourself staring at the odd shaped eyes at first, they will grow on you and you won't even notice anymore. Also the shoulders of the men in this show look rather wide, similar to CLAMP's design of men.
Who doesn't love the opening song to "FAKE," entitled "Everybody! Shake it Buddy!"? It's goofy and energetic and has great animation to go with it. The song is preformed by a group called "The Kix.S" and has a strong female singer. The background music to the show is pretty forgetful, but it's not really used much anyways. The ending song is a slow ballad, entitled "Starlight Heaven" and performed by Rika Matsumoto, the seiyuu for Bikky. She does a nice job, and the song sounds good.
Tomokazu Seki, my favorite seiyuu, is Dee Laytner and he hams it up for all its worth! He does a great job with both the serious parts and the more energetic goofy parts. He has been Shuichi from "Gravitation," Ken Hidaka from "Weiž Kreuz" and Touya Kinomoto from "Card Captor Sakura." Nobuo Tobita is the seiyuu for Ryo and is not as well known. He has also been Tomo from "Fushigi Yugi" and Hosino from "Earthian." Rika Matsumoto is Bikky, she is well known as having played Satoshi (a.k.a Ash) from Pocket Monsters. Typically her roles are young boy roles.
I cannot say enough good things about this dub. It's VERY well done IMO. In fact my only complaint would be Berkeley Rose's kind of scratchy voice. But the dub actors for Dee and Ryo put a lot of feeling into their roles. They also don't sound stereotypically gay, although some of their fellow policemen do (which got a chuckle out of me.) Dee's voice is very nice and fairly deep. Ryo's is nervous at the beginning and a bit stale, but he gets into the role pretty quickly. This is a disc I can watch both the dub and sub and come away laughing. It's also more natural to watch it dubbed since the cops are from New York City and the story takes place in England.
The "FAKE" DVD is produced by AnimeWorks, a.k.a. Media-Blasters in 2000. It's pretty bare-bones, but I can't imagine there are many extras they could've used. Perhaps a clean opening and closing, but I guess there weren't any in Japan. Another nice extra could've been introduction to the manga but what's done is done. The transfer is nice, no weird lines or colors or anything like that. There is NO insert, which was standard for Media-Blasters when this disc was produced. You get a basic menu, scene selections, languages and trailers. There are Hard-subs for the opening and ending song.
"FAKE" is well known for being a great shonen-ai show, even if you don't like that kind of thing. It IS short, but very well done, and you can get the disc rather cheap. I have many male friends that don't like yaoi and yet thought this OVA was hilarious just for the characters and expressions. The mystery is pretty decent too. Since this show is licensed in America, please do NOT buy bootlegs or VCDs, as they are inferior and do not support the companies that bring yaoi to America.
DVD Player: JVC XV-SA70 TV: Hitachi SDX 60-inch
Mania Grade: A
Audio Rating: A
Video Rating: B+
Packaging Rating: B+
Menus Rating: B-
Extras Rating: D
Age Rating: 12 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: Media Blasters
Running time: 60
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2