DNA2 Vol. #1: Metamorphosis - Mania.com



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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: B
  • Packaging Rating: B
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: C+
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Central Park Media
  • MSRP: 29.99
  • Running time: 75
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: DNA2

DNA2 Vol. #1: Metamorphosis

By Chris Beveridge     February 14, 2003
Release Date: February 11, 2003


DNA2 Vol. #1: Metamorphosis
© Central Park Media


What They Say
Junta has a problem: he’s deathly allergic to girls! All this changes when a beautiful woman arrives from the future and transforms him into the super-suave Mega-Playboy. But the transformation is unstable, and if Junta can’t unravel the time traveler’s mystery, he (and the fate of the world) will never be the same!

The Review!
Long considered a lost show due to rumors of the masters going up in flames, DNA2 has finally made it’s way to the U.S., giving Katsura fans just a bit more love.

Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in its original language of Japanese and then a few episodes dubbed while writing the review. The show is very much center channel based with all of its dialogue and a good amount of the music and ambient effects. Dialogue on both tracks is nice and clear and we noticed no dropouts or distortions during regular playback.

Video:
The transfer for this series looks good so far, though there’s some minor mars throughout it. The main thing that crops up throughout the print is some basic damage in the form of nicks and scratches as well as a bit of dust and dirt here and there. There’s nothing hugely distracting unless these things really attract your eye. Aliasing and cross coloration are very minimal and won’t even register to most people likely. Colors look good, though the show is intentionally soft in areas, giving the colors a slightly muted look in certain scenes.

Packaging:
The first volume has a great looking cover that features Karin in her nice sexy skintight purple suit that has her stretching it in very, very nice ways while giving that certain smile. She’s set against a background that mixes DNA tidbits and other animation, which gives her design all the eyeballs. The back cover provides a few character shots and a simple summary of the shows premise. The discs features and extras, as well as basic technical information about the release. The reverse side has the same character shots in black and white while providing chapter stops, bilingual main cast lists and the top level production credits for both the US and Japanese releases.

Menu:
The main menu is a nice piece that plays parts of the opening sequence in the background while you have the shows logo and menu selections layered above it, all while the great opening song plays along. Access times to the submenus are a bit slower due to some transitional animations, but there were no issues in navigation. Access times in general are good and the layout is pretty much the typical for a CPM show.

Extras:
The extras in this volume are fairly weak, but I’m not expecting much in the way of things for this series considering the actual episodes believed status. There’s a short video art gallery that’s mostly captures from the show as well as some conceptual artwork. The original extras come in the form of an explanation of what DNA is as well as a Mega Playboy quiz.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Having long been a fan of Katsura’s work since seeing Video Girl Ai many years ago, I was just as eager to see DNA2. Katsura’s material is something that just appeals to me and I’m almost fanboyish about it at times. One of the things that I find with his work is that, especially with his character designs, is that it’s very much not the same as everything else around it. DNA2 proves to be no exception.

The story is actually simple and amusing. Sometime in the future, the world is suffering from a strange overpopulation problem. Back in the early 90’s a man known as the MegaPlayboy came of age and impregnated 100 women. Those women gave birth to 100 children who then went and impregnated another 100 women and so on, causing massive problems for the people of that time. In order to deal with this, a DNA operative has been sent back into the past with s specific bullet that contains a genetic sequence that will eliminate the powers of the original MegaPlayboy and thereby save the future.

Enter Karin, the very perky young woman who’s eager to finish her assignment so that she can return home and get what she wants out of life, which is basically a nice husband, a sweet sweet home and all the amenities. And she will remind you of this several times as we get to know her. Her journey to the past brings her to find a young man named Junta. When she finally does come across him, she can’t believe that he’s the MegaPlayboy.

Junta’s a poor lad, one of those you really feel sorry for. He’s got a sickness of sorts that doesn’t allow him to get close to women. For example, we meet him as he’s in Tomoko’s apartment and she’s taking a shower. She gets him to bring her towel to her, and when a few minutes she begins to strip down to nothing from it (but while secretly wearing a bathing suit), Junta can’t handle it and throws up. Yep, that’s his sickness. He pukes every time he gets too excited like that.

Karin can’t believe that what he is now will become the MegaPlayboy, but she dutifully goes about her job and takes him into a restaurant to get closer to him to try and make sure. And with all the depth and ease possible, she simple pulls out her gun and shoots him point blank range, sending him into paralysis and her into dreams of her future paradise. A paradise that lasts only a little while as contact from her boss in the future indicates that she used the wrong bullet and likely just created the MegaPlayboy.

While Karin deals with all of this, Junta finds himself changing slowly but surely. As he ends up coming across the various women in his life, such as Tomoko or next door neighbor since childhood, Ami, he begins to be affected by the DNA bullet. The change is subtle but amusing, as we see the light shimmer around him briefly, with his hair darkening a bit and his eyes becoming much smaller and more serious, his tone changes to something…. knowing.

So Karin changes her method to try and deal with the Junta in the here and now and to get him to get married to his childhood from Ami whom she knows really loves him and vice versa. The show moves into some of the more traditional comical aspects of the relationship game, as Tomoko falls under Junta’s sway and she pushes away her own cheating handsome boyfriend and Ami tries to figure out how she really feels. And then there’s Karin herself, who teases Junta constantly while he’s his regular self but can’t help falling under his spell when his genetics kicks in.

The comedy of the show, even down to the entire puking gag, is spot on here and the timing is great. The characters, though with their resemblances to the Video Girl series being somewhat annoying, are fantastic. I love the designs, even with the similarities, but it’s Karin’s character that steals the show. The way she’s so focused on doing her job and her end goal dreams and then the attempts she comes up with to fix everything is hilarious. It’s also the way she teases Junta mercilessly when she’s not being attracted to him as the MegaPlayboy that plays out great as well.

There’s two downsides to the release though, and both are likely affecting peoples decisions to pick this up. The first is that the show, 12 episodes plus 3 OVA’s, are being released across five discs. That’s almost normal for a 12 episode series, but if you just clump it all together as 15, it seems excessive. The other is that there’s four or five hard subtitles used in the show for things like signs and one for the volume title during the opening. The transfer is untouched otherwise, so that you get original credits for both the opening and ending – even including the original Kanji song lyrics along the bottom.

For me, this is a show that I enjoyed during my first viewing of it many many years ago, so it’s a real treat to finally have it on disc and in my collection. Katsura’s one of my favorite distinctive character designers and someone who can tell a funny relationship story. Very recommended.

Features
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Mega-Playboy Quiz,Art & Sketch Gallery

Review Equipment
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Panasonic RP-82 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.

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