Desert Punk Vol. #6 - Mania.com



DVD Review

Mania Grade: B+

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: NA
  • Menus Rating: B+
  • Extras Rating: B+
  • Age Rating: 15 and Up
  • Region: 2 - Europe/Japan
  • Released By: MVM Entertainment
  • MSRP: £15.99
  • Running time: 100
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Desert Punk

Desert Punk Vol. #6

Desert Punk Vol. #6 DVD Review

By Bryan Morton     January 13, 2010
Release Date: December 07, 2009


Desert Punk Vol. #6
© MVM Entertainment

Who would've though that Desert Punk would become the Kosuna Show – but with Kanta apparently dead, it's up to his diminutive ex-apprentice to carry on from where he left off.  She's working for the Reverse Handyman Guild now – but it seems that someone's trying to stop the RHG from getting their way…

What they say
Is Desert Punk dead? Fearing the worst, Kosuna adopts his name and carries on with the help of a pint-sized apprentice equipped with a full-sized attitude! Double-crosses and unexpected events lead to an explosive final battle... but has Dessert Punk's legacy reached its end?

Episodes Comprise
21 - Master and Pupil, Part II
22 - Rain and Sea
23 - Doubt and Ambition
24 - Taiko and Kanta

The Review
Audio:
Audio comes in English 5.1 and Japanese 2.0 versions – as usual, I listened to the Japanese track for this review.  There's some good use made of background effects and music that really make the most of the stereo soundstage, helping to set the scene of the show nicely, while dialogue comes across clearly.  There were were no apparent problems with dropouts or distortion – an all-round decent soundtrack.

Video:
With the series being set in a desert wasteland, there's not a huge amount of opportunity to go to town with the animation quality, but what's here is well-presented, with no obvious encoding defects or other problems.  Just don't expect the visuals to blow you away…
 
Packaging:
No packaging was provided with our review copy.

Menu:
Menus are nice and simple – a short opening animation leaves you on a main screen with Junko and her comrades against the usual desert background.  The English version of the closing song plays over the top.  Direct access is provided to each episode, along with the usual Setup and Extras options.  Simple, effective, and quick to use thanks to the absence of any transitional animations between the screens, although there's a gunshot effect that plays whenever you pick a menu option that soon becomes tiring.

Extras:
Along with the usual creditless versions of the opening and closing songs, this volume's only extra is a commentary track for episode 26, with Jeremy Inman and Zachary Bolton.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review will contain spoilers)
It's been six months since Kanta was last seen - Kosuna's been to the ruins of the base where he was last seen, and there doesn't appear to be much chance that he survived, but she's still holding out hope.  In the meantime she's has taken on the Desert Punk's mantle, and has even taken on an apprentice of her own: Mitsuru, a young boy who's even more hopeless than she is.  If that were ever possible.  With Kanta out of the way, though, the Kawazu Clan are looking to start causing chaos again.

Meanwhile, the Reverse Handyman Guild is busy trying to figure out how to handle the West Oasis government, and Kosuna is brought in to help with their security arrangements – but it's not long before the guild comes under attack, and Kosuna realises that she's on the receiving end of some very familiar tactics…

You would think that Desert Punk just wouldn't be the same without Kanta – hell, the series is named after him, remember? – but if truth be told, it works surprisingly well.  Thanks to having spent far too much time with him, Kosuna has picked up a certain amount of Kanta's complete-bastard attitude – as her new apprentice is now learning – while she's also turned out to be a more competent handyman than probably anyone expected.  End result is, 'her' episodes result in just as much death and mayhem as anything featuring Kanta, just with a far cuter face presenting it all.  Win-win?  I think so.  The first episode on the disc even seems to be there purely to point out that Kosuna can be just as bad-ass as Kanta, by pitting her against a villain pulled from the archives that Kanta had defeated previously.  Sit back and watch as history repeats itself.

That's a filler episode, though, and it's with the second episode on the disc that we get into the end-game, which essentially boils down to the Reverse Handyman Guild on one side, and the West Oasis government on the other.  The RHG, you may remember, is the baby of Kaizuka, the selfish and rich old man who's looking to push the world in a particular direction, and many of the show's 'bit-part' characters, including Natsuko, Amagumo and Kaido, have thrown their lot in with him.  Notable absentees are Junko and Kanta – so you can probably see where this is going to go.  Cue explosions and fireworks as the heavy weaponry is broken out as the two sides go at each other.

If you're expecting to see their battle resolved, though, forget it.  The 'final battle' isn't about finding the victor between the RHG and the Oasis – that's going to rage for a long time yet – but about the coming-of-age of a certain pink-haired girl, who finally has a chance to prove that she's worthy of the title of 'handyman' and to choose her own path in life, regardless of what Kanta would want or suggest that she should do.  If this sounds a little bit serious, it is, especially given how irreverent Desert Punk episodes usually are.  This volume is almost completely free of boobie jokes, of the show's trademark gutter humour.  The last volume was similarly serious, and in that case it didn't feel quite right as Kanta was still on the scene – here, while he does eventually appear he's not the centre of attention any longer, and the tone of the episodes is just about right given what the new star of the show, Kosuna, is going through.  The end result is surprisingly enjoyable, just not what you would have been expecting at the beginning of the series. 

In Summary:
Desert Punk closes out a considerably more serious show than when it started – like Kosuna, I guess, it grew up along the way and went its own path.  I confess I did miss the gutter humour in the latter stages of the show, but Kosuna's coming-of-age turned out to be just as enjoyable, in its own way, and gave the series something to watch it for, other than the lulz.  Definitely worth a look.

Features
Japanese Language 2.0, English Language 5.1, English Subtitles, Episode 26 Director Commentary

Review Equipment:

Toshiba 37X3030DB 37" widescreen HDTV; Sony PS3 Blu-ray player (via HDMI, upscaled to 1080p); Acoustic Solutions DS-222 5.1 speaker system.
 

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