Crying Freeman Vol. #2: A Taste of Revenge - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: C+

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: B-
  • Packaging Rating: B
  • Menus Rating: B+
  • Extras Rating: N/A
  • Age Rating: 17 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: ADV Films
  • MSRP: 29.98
  • Running time: 100
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Crying Freeman

Crying Freeman Vol. #2: A Taste of Revenge

By Chris Beveridge     May 02, 2003
Release Date: May 06, 2003


Crying Freeman Vol. #2: A Taste of Revenge
© ADV Films


What They Say
By taking the Chinese names "Ron Tayan" (Dragon Sun) and "Fu Ching-Ran" (Tiger Orchid), Hinomura and his wife Emu Hino show their commitment to the venerable Hong Kong cartel The 108 Dragons. Now they face both betrayal from within their own group and a hostile take-over attempt by a new terrorist gang trying to muscle in on the international crime scene.

Later, master Naiji-a powerful and driven fanatic-schemes to use the 108 Dragons' influence to spread his "Great Bear God" religion throughout the world. Forming an unlikely aliance with two of Freeman's past enemies, Naiji plans to replace the reluctant leader of Hong Kong's pre-eminent crime cartel with a perfect double capable of fooling everyone, even his wife!

The Review!
With all the set up and introductions out of the way, Crying Freeman moves more into straight action and continues to loosely adapt the manga stories.

Audio:
For our primary viewing session, having already started the series in Japanese, we continued with it here. Though it’s a stereo track, it’s primarily center channel based for the dialogue, though the music utilizes the stereo channels well enough and some of the larger action sequences fill the soundstage fully. There were no noticeable dropouts or distortions during regular playback. The English track is done in 5.1, which again is mentioned nowhere and is a lost selling point.

Video:
Originally released in the late 80’s and early 90’s, some areas of this show is really showing its age, but that may just be in the source materials that were on hand. The transfer here feels better than the first volume with less softness and grain to it. Colors look good if somewhat flat, cross coloration is almost non-existent and there were only a few noticeable areas of bothersome cross coloration.

Packaging:
Wrapped in silver, the cover here looks pretty decent but also a touch gaudy I’d say due to the silver. The front cover has the strong image of Freeman half clothed and wielding a sword while imprinted behind him is the symbol of the 108 Dragons. The back cover has a few shots of the show itself and a couple of small paragraphs describing the premise. He discs production and basic technical information is also clearly listed here. The insert provides a gorgeous full color piece of artwork by Ikegami of Freeman and some of the other characters while the reverse side has a intimate moment showing Freeman under the chapter listings.

Menu:
The main menu follows up well from the first with a set of images showing Freeman and his wife as well as their tattooed alter egos against a red backdrop that’s gaussed and blurred across the screen while some of the music plays along. Episode selections on the top and setup along the bottom, it’s easy to move about and transition times are nice and fast.

Extras:
None.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Now that we’re past all the basic introductions and set up of Freeman as the big man in charge of the 108 Dragons, the show begins to delve into the other warring groups that are out in the world that want to take away all the business and investments that the group controls. One of the up and coming groups makes an amusingly easy attempt at taking them down.

The Horn of Africa makes its play to take down the big boss by sending one of their men in with a suitcase full of money under a guise of another deal. With him arriving at the sub, he’s essentially not searched much and ushered through to the main meeting room where Freeman was having difficulties with all of the Ten Planets. His desires to make changes to the organization continue to not go over well with them, as he wants to bring certain things into play.

All of this goes to hell though when the Horn agent enters the room and pulls out an automatic weapon and starts firing. While Freeman begins his leap to take him out, an agonizingly slow motion sequence plays out where each of the Ten Planets jumps in front of him to save him from the oncoming barrage of bullets. The concept isn’t bad, but when they show it by having the bodies pile up on each other, it turns ever so comical.

Naturally, Freeman eliminates the shooter. But now he has a new group to hunt and begins by faking his death. With the imagery of all Ten Planets and himself being carted out in caskets from the submarine, he intends to throw off those of the Horn, getting them to slip up enough so that he can take them down. Knowing their general area of operations, he slips into the city and takes up the role of a master hair stylist (whom all the women love of course), and makes contact with one of the women who the Horn uses for basic jobs. She naturally leads him to where he’s really wanting to go and the real fun begins.

One of the things that this volume introduces to us is a new cast member known as Bagu Nagu, or “anteater”. This tall, almost statuesque, African woman is made of raw power. When Freeman encounters her, the two have a truly brutal fight. Of course, keeping in style with the manga, she’s naked throughout it. The addition of her to the cast brings a new layer to things as well as providing some new motivations for Freeman later on.

In general, this volume felt a bit weaker than the previous one since it moved away from Fu Chinran and the plot felt less cohesive. Of course, a lot of this is due to its adaptation of the manga storylines, which while fun to read, were very light on plot. The main draw of those was the gorgeous visuals and the layout of everything. They’ve done a decent job of bringing the feel of the characters to the anime, but nothing can replace the raw line work of the manga in my eyes. If anything, watching this is making me pine for those books.

This volume picks up better in terms of technical quality, but your mileage may vary on the content itself.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 5.1 Language,English Subtitles

Review Equipment
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Panasonic RP-82 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.

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