Diamond Daydreams Preview Screener - Mania.com

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  • Audio Rating: N/A
  • Video Rating: N/A
  • Packaging Rating: N/A
  • Menus Rating: N/A
  • Extras Rating: N/A
  • Age Rating: 12 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: ADV Films
  • MSRP: N/A
  • Running time: 100
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Diamond Daydreams (Kita e)

Diamond Daydreams Preview Screener

By Mike Dungan     January 29, 2006
Release Date: February 07, 2006

Diamond Daydreams Preview Screener
© ADV Films

What They Say
Atsuko Akanegi is a simple girl helping her mother run the struggling family business. She works hard, stays out of trouble and tries to not let life get too complicated. But then, she discovers that she has an arranged marriage waiting for her in the future. And to make matters worse, she thinks her groom-to-be is a bit boring and self-centered. Then, more complications. Atsuko meets Kurata – a mature, interesting and passionate soul who mingles his way into her life. She is torn. Atsuko must find within herself the delicate differences between the comfort of firm stability of and the pain of a wanting heart.

Karin Shiraishi is very ill. She has been hospitalized for a over two years with little hope of recovery. And her physician, Dr. Amakasu, doesn’t make her feel any better – neither in a medical sense nor emotionally. He is cocky, brash and aloof to her needs as a person. The only thing that keeps Karin going is her web blog. There, she vents and expounds upon her experiences and manages to find some warmth and sanity in the otherwise cold and sterile confines of the patient ward. Eventually, her blog gathers quite a following, and she meets someone wonderful. Kind and caring, her new friend is everything she’s been longing for. That is, until they come face to face.

The Review!
Another all too rare anthology series comes to the US, this time about a group of women in Hokkaido who are all facing difficult choices in their lives.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
In the first story, Atsuko is pretty if a bit mousey, a 20-year-old woman helping her mother run their fresh fish shop after the death of her father. The shop is barely staying afloat, and she's having to work constantly, while her friends are going to college and having a good time. She's engaged to a wealthy young man, Minoru, but she's not in love with him. Then Mr. Kurata enters her life. He's almost 40 and works as a jazz musician. He's friendly, kind, and even helps out in the shop when Atsuko injures her foot. There are complications aplenty, from the reason Kurata lives by himself, to why Atsuko’s mother arranged the marriage in the first place. The tension between Atsuko and Minoru is especially strong, as they are both headstrong people, continually trying to do what they think it right, but seemingly always at odds with each other. The friendship between Atsuko and Kurata would appear to be the wedge that drives them apart, but despite his kindness and warmth, the relationship between them isn’t as clear-cut as it could be. Eventually, Atsuko is going to have to find the answer to what is right for her before she ruins every relationship in her life.

In the next story, Karin is a 15 year old girl with a disease of the lungs that has left her hospitalized for the past 2 years. The only fun she has is the dream log she has online. She turns all her dreams into short stories and posts them on the web. She ends up with some fans, one of whom is making a special connection with her. Meanwhile, she has a new doctor on her case who seems to have missed the classes on good bedside manners. He's rude and just a bit arrogant. There is an operation that Karin can undergo that may help her get better, but she's terrified of the operation. She has good reason for the fear, because of a tragedy in her past, but the new doctor isn't aware of it, and simply thinks she's being spoiled. She really doesn't like her new doctor, and the anger in her voice is apparent at nearly every meeting between the two. She imagines the fan she exchanges emails with online is a prince in a fairy tale, someone to save her from the trap her life has become. Her doctor is a nice contradiction. He's seemingly oblivious to Karin's fears, but when his antics cause her to collapse in coughing fits or cause her embarrassment, it's clear he's very ashamed at his behavior.

In Summary:
Short stories have always been a favorite story form for me in literature, and the things that make short story collections so good – concise, focused writing – work just as well in anime anthologies. Kino’s Journey, Rumiko Takahashi Anthology and Mermaid Forest are a few that have shown the viability of the art form in anime. This preview screener contains the first three episodes of this slice-of-life series from Ohji Hiroi, best known as the creator of the Sakura Taisen/Wars video game and anime franchise. The series looks at the lives of six women, all living in Hokkaido. Each story is two episodes long, and with ADV releasing it on only three DVDs, it means we'll get two complete stories (4 episodes) on each disc. The original title is “Kita e” (To the North), with an English subtitle of “Diamond Dust Drops.” ADV has chosen a slight rename of “Diamond Daydreams,” a not unreasonable title. The two (well, one and a half) stories on this preview disc are thoughtful and sensitively written. The character designs are attractive, even quietly and casually sexy. The opening theme is a jarringly cheesy pop tune that seems more appropriate to a fanservicey harem comedy, but the ending theme is a perfect complement to the show. English was the only language available on my preview disc. The dub by Kyle Jones is excellent, some of the best work I’ve heard from him. Jessica Boone is Atsuko, Jay Hickman is Minoru and Chris Ayres is Kurata. The chemistry between them, both good and bad, provides the show with plenty of tension and heart. Jessica Boone is getting more mature roles of late, and she’s really shone in them. The voice of Karin is provided by Kira Vincent-Davis, with her doctor voiced by Mike McFarland and her imaginary prince voiced by Jason Douglas. Again, it’s excellent work. Kira’s performance during Karin’s emotional breakdown is heartbreaking. This is a series for people who don’t need fanservice or giant robots or magical girls to appreciate a good story.

Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles

Review Equipment
NEC CT-2510A TV, Pioneer 440 codefree DVD player


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jnager 3/13/2012 3:40:52 PM

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