Daichis Vol. #2 - Mania.com

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  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: B
  • Menus Rating: C-
  • Extras Rating: B-
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Geneon Entertainment (USA), Inc.
  • MSRP: 24.95
  • Running time: 100
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Daichis

Daichis Vol. #2

By Chris Beveridge     February 25, 2005
Release Date: March 01, 2005

Daichis Vol. #2
© Geneon Entertainment (USA), Inc.

What They Say
The Daichis are broke! To compensate for their lack of teamwork, the family members have been relying upon upgrades to their battle suits and weaponry to defeat the aliens. Now, despite getting paid 9.8 Million Yen ($98,000) per victory, their upgrades have cost them 129.3 Million Yen ($1.293 Million)!! Under the mother’s forceful guidance, the family redoubles their efforts to work as a team to drive off the alien threat as well as their debt!

The Review!
As the family struggles with a variety of alien invasions it also has to grapple with the realities of each other as well.

For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in its original language of Japanese. The show is done up in a stereo mix that's very active across the forward soundstage. There is a lot of directionality when it comes to the audio track here with things flying all over the place, dialogue moving across it and just the overall combination. The mix seems pretty similar across both language tracks as well. In listening to both tracks, we didn't note any dropouts or distortions during regular playback.

Originally broadcast in 2001, the transfer for this series is presented in its original full frame aspect ratio. The look and feel of this show is a very busy one with lots of detail and almost a traditional animation style to it but with the benefits of the digital side of things. The show is pretty much clean outside of a bit of aliasing but it lacks that oomph that just screams that it's a gorgeous transfer. Colors maintain a good solid feel through, especially with the dark blues and blacks, cross coloration is non-existent and the color gradation issue isn't here at all. This'll look great on most setups and should please in general.

Using the Japanese artwork, the front cover is similar to the first volume with its level of activity. With a red background, we get shots of all of the family members though Mamoru is the only one in his transformed mode while shots of the various aliens they have to deal with are also included. The back cover has a large shot from the show through the center with a couple of smaller shots below it that highlight the characters and monsters to be found within. The upper half has a brief summary of the premise and a listing of the discs features, extras and episode numbers and titles. The bottom half has the usual array of production information and technical data, most of which could be laid out much better in a technical grid. The insert has another shot of the front cover with a few less logos on it while the reverse side provides chapter marks for all five episodes and a rundown by month for the two future volumes.

Some of the worst looking menus in recent memory call this disc home once again. With a strange multi-colored layout of yellows, blues and oranges and simply various shapes bouncing around on the screen, some bits of animation play underneath the logo and selections to the hyper music from the show. The submenus use various clips from the eye-catches and elsewhere but the scheme, colors and style used here just doesn't suit the show at all in my opinion. This is also the first disc in recent memory from Geneon where there's no credits page so I can't even tell who did it. The menus do load fast however and access times are good. The other plus is that it did read our players' language presets and played accordingly.

This volume has a couple of the standard extras available on it. The ending sequence gets a textless version and there's a collection of TV commercials for the shows release. Surprisingly, there isn't even an art gallery for this release.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The first volume of the Daichis, a series that came out in 2001 and was seemingly overlooked for some time, turned out to be quite the fun little adventure. The way it mixes together a number of different elements as well as the heavy focus on how dysfunctional this family, this is something that wasn't exactly common, as is the rather rough dialogue used throughout it, even within the family itself. Though there is some affection for each family member they all have little issue with calling each other names. When little Dai calls his mother a bitch, she's quick to respond by telling him that makes him a son of a bitch. That's just unexpected in anime and it just has me laughing more than I expected.

The setup for the show in the first volume wasn't extensive though they added some little quirks to it as it went along. More time was spent on showing just how weird this family dynamic is more than the aliens or the monetary aspect of things. With this volume, it continues in much the same way with a different alien showing up and the family working through whatever crisis is at hand and then dealing with the alien, all while Seiko continues to make sure they don't use anything expensive in their fights so that they can get out of debt. That rarely works of course since things tend to go so badly, but it adds a fun element to the fights when they're trying to pinch every penny at the same time.

Other than one time here, the aliens don't really make much of an impact in general. The bulk of the stories tend to focus on the family and their problems, such as the opening episode where everyone is just so incredibly tired from all their running around as the Defense Family that it's really affecting their private lives. While they're doing a lot of fighting they're also working at their training together, something that was a big focus in the last volume. But as tired as they are, almost all of them start to shirk it except for Nozomi. This puts her squarely in the disgruntled teen mode since she feels like she's the only one putting forth any effort – especially since her mother skips out on it to go on a date with a photographer. This all spills over into other areas with the family and it is of course thanks to an arriving alien that the Family is able to come together and try to work things through. But the base feelings are still there and there's an edge to how they all interact.

One episode that scared me heavily but was really quite fun when all was said and done was the eighth episode, "Cute Invaders." Presumably coming from the aliens, they manage to have their latest creation appear in the form of an incredibly adorable little ball that sprouts legs and eyes and a pom-pom on top of its head. It's small enough that it fits in your hand and it has an incredible learning ability. Naturally, everyone one wants one as they come out and the entire campaign strikes a dagger into Mamoru's heart since he had just designed pretty much the same thing but it wasn't as malicious obviously. His over cautious nature and the way he's so unsure of himself keeps him from scoring big at work and then having everyone in the world scooping these things up only make it worse. He succumbs himself and gets one that he intends to open up and figure out how it works since he's one of the few people convinced that it's from the aliens but this scene is just so hilarious as the little alien pleads for its life in such a cute way. The resulting damage from all of these toys is amusing but it also goes briefly for the social issue about how humans are with things after they lose interest in them.

The cheese factor does continue heavily here with the costumes and some of the aliens, especially the big love episode at the end, but it really ends up playing to the shows favor rather than being something that hurting it. This particular family is also still quite an amusing one that you know deep down care for each other but they've got so many surface issues that it's like they'll never get past them. But even still, there are some deep seated issues that are in there as well which give it more weight. Seiko's still having regrets over their decision to send Weird away and she starts treating Dai less as a child and more as an adult because of it since she can understand his loss. Mamoru's excitement whenever Dai's teacher talks to him is comical as is their meeting in virtual space, but I also liked how Mamoru continues to feel pangs whenever there's a hint of Seiko even thinking of seeing someone else. It's not a complicated family dynamic but it's not a basic family stereotype you get in a lot of shows.

In Summary:
The Daichi's continues to be an under the radar show that's been quite a lot of fun so far. It's got more of a potty mouth than most shows and has a real rough edge around it but at the same time it revels in its cheesiness as well. The action in the show is generally quite a bit of fun with some homages to the classics but it also has a good heart to it in the lead characters. This is one of those shows that it seems like nobody else talks about but those who get it, "get it" and enjoy it all the more.

Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitiles,Textless ending,Broadcasted promotional clips for the TV series

Review Equipment
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Zenith DVB-318 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player via DVI with upconversion set to 720p, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.


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