Daichis Vol. #3 - 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: 125
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Daichis

Daichis Vol. #3

By Chris Beveridge     April 27, 2005
Release Date: May 03, 2005

Daichis Vol. #3
© Geneon Entertainment (USA), Inc.

What They Say
As the alien attacks become more and more sophisticated, the Daichi’s become more and more dysfunctional. Mom still won’t admit to being married in public, dad can’t stop running away into video games and the kids continue to freak out over the stress. In the end, will the Daichi’s remember their love for each other in time to save the Earth and their family?

The Review!
The family dynamic gets even worse as promise are broken and trust issues are the game of the day in the finale of the series.

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 cover goes for a green setting this time with the Earth muted in the background with it while the cast flies out from there in their outfits and fully of energy. It's a bit murky because of the greens but it's just so full of color otherwise that it's eye-catching. 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 four episodes.

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 sort of takes the cake in terms of extras. An alternate scene from episode 12 is included and a new collection of TV Commercials as well. What's really interesting here is a bonus episode, an alternative version of episode 11 entitled "Into the Depths of Marital Hell." This is a full length episode that I have to wonder why it wasn't used or what I'm missing with it being included as an alternative.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
With three volumes and technically fourteen episodes, the Daichi's is a series that ended really quickly and went apparently unnoticed by a lot of people which is a real shame. It's a fun, quirky and highly energetic piece with a real crude side to it at times that never failed to entertain. The series itself does come to an end at the right time as I'm unsure whether this highly dysfunctional family would be able to manage twenty six or more episodes without driving the viewer insane.

With the four main episodes to the show, we're treated mostly to what we've seen in the past volumes. A different alien arrives each episode to provide something of a challenge and the family dynamic has to come back from a near-crumble in order to deal with the threat. The threats not only get worse this time but the reactions of the family to them gets taken up several notches to the point where Shiratori has decided that it's time to get a more stable family. The individual fights are fairly fun though, from a giant Hachiko from Shibuya who threatens the entire area to a massive plant that lands in China and soaks up the crap left from a previous attack as its nutrients. The plant also ends up becoming a sizable villain in a later episode here since the original gets destroyed but not before it spreads its pollen to the winds.

The family dynamic goes through some of its worst phases yet. With Seiko, she continues her relationship with her cameraman where it's mostly flirtatious at most to her and generally nothing because she's generally past him after earlier encounters. But things get taken out of context at one point where when the two of them get completely sloshed they end up crashing at a hotel in the city and it just looks bad in general. While the kids expect the worst from Seiko from what they learn of the situation, her husband instead can't believe she'd do anything wrong and believes her firmly, which only lessens how the kids feel about him since they can't believe he's just so undeniably naïve.

Where the dynamic gets the worst though is between Seiko and Dai as the two have gone to such extremes over things in the past that when they make a promise this time to get together for a party and then both end up failing, it just seems like a breaking point. What's even worse is that Dai gets sidetracked due to getting her present in order and ends up coming across her on the bridge where Seiko is once again with her cameraman and slightly tipsy. When she sees him though, instead of dealing with it she says she's never seen the kid before and walks past him which only destroys what little he had left in himself for her. It's a brutal scene but it sets things up for how they have to work through things in the final episode.

In Summary:
The Daichi's has been a really fun series but even with no real conclusion to the show, it plays out in such a way that you can easily imagine this as a decent closing to a chapter of a much larger story. The show was surprising in a lot of ways from its retro style, bizarre aliens that get thrown into the mix and the way it could be so surprisingly crude at the strangest of times. With just three volumes it's a great little show to check out with little commitment and definitely qualifies as one of those rough gems that you come across when you aren't looking for it.

Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,Alternative Scene to Episode 12,Alternatite Episode 11,Commercial Collection

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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