Mania Grade: C-
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- 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. #3: Abduction in Chinatown
By Chris Beveridge
June 08, 2003
Release Date: June 17, 2003
Crying Freeman Vol. #3: Abduction in Chinatown
What They Say
© ADV Films
A bold kidnapping foreshadows a desperate plan by the lusty female leader of a deadly army of mercenaries. It is simple: transform Freeman - the enigmatic leader of the powerful crime syndicate The 108 Dragons - into a mindless "killing machine" fueled by desire and self-indulgence. Once again Freeman is forced to fight for his life, this time against combat-hardened "gladiators."
Later, Freeman must ferret out a traitor bent on destroying The 108 Dragons. Freeman's final pulse-pounding battle is bracketed by a bittersweet journey of enlightenment punctuated by vice, violence and vengeance.The Review!
The final installment in the OVA series brings a mix of weak and decent stories together.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:
The final cover here goes for the bronze look with an action pose shot of Freeman, bare-chested of course, wielding two blades and having his tattoo quite prominent. 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 an image from the show itself with the chapter listings.Menu:
Playing in the same style as the past menus, the instrumental piece plays somberly while the shadows move over the artwork which is the same as the insert. Episode selections on the top and setup along the bottom, it’s easy to move about and transition times are nice and fast.Extras:
(please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
With the final two installments of the series, I find myself very much wanting to yank the manga back out of storage and explore it once again, just to see if the years have changed my perceptions. As much as I enjoyed the first couple of OVAs of this series, the last couple come across a fair bit weaker.
Each of the episodes stands alone nicely. The first one has things starting in the LA Chinatown, where the master of Chinatown has requested help from the 108 Dragons to search for his daughter, her husband and her child. A group known as the Kidnappers Organization has apparently taken them, as Freeman is informed. The Organization is something different, a group of men from various wars who have that special look in their eyes where war means everything to them.
As Freeman begins to investigate, with the help of Wong’s other daughter, he learns that the real target isn’t Wong himself or anyone else in Chinatown but Freeman himself. His connection to them allowed the Kidnappers Organization to use them to lure him out. Freeman uses the information he and the other daughter gain through computers and heads off to the land where the family has been taken. It’s a rather militaristic area, with seemingly everyone being a former green beret and having that look that lets you know what kind of serious and violent person lays beneath the surface.
Leading all of them though is a blonde woman named Nina. Nina’s an amusing case as we learn her past. While seeking out her brother some years ago, she ended up coming across Freeman doing a hit and managed to get a few pictures of him. Ever since then, she can’t climax without seeing that picture and has used the Organization to get him to her so she can control him. She essentially spends the majority of episode naked and fondling herself while showing off her snake tattoo.
Much like my wife, I could only laugh at this particular story.
The final episode, the Russian Connection, plays out a fair bit better but not by much. The focal point on it is various groups in Japan deciding to start doing more business with Russia, with elements within there focusing on eliminating the 108 Dragons. This leads to the belief of there being a traitor within the 108 Dragons that adds some bit of suspense to things. Most of the story is entirely forgettable, though the one woman whose face is painted white and does the purple eyeliner is quite memorable and nicely designed.
All while watching both of these episodes I continually came back to the sense that the intensity and design of the manga just isn’t capable of being captured, at least as done in this show. Part of it is a conditioning for so many years of shows that so completely don’t look like these, particularly with the character designs. The raw sensuality of the characters also fails to come through properly here, feeling more clumsy and clunky when it’s brought about.
Having only seen the very first episode previously, I had hoped for better with the ones I hadn’t seen. While it didn’t play out as I hoped, I’m glad I’ve finally been able to see them, but the entire series is definitely not much more than rental material unless you’re quite into the more violent action series that aren’t as common as they used to be.
Japanese Language,English 5.1 Language,English Subtitles
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Panasonic RP-82 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.