DNAngel Vol. #2 - Mania.com

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  • Audio Rating: A-
  • Video Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: A-
  • Menus Rating: B+
  • Extras Rating: A-
  • Age Rating: 12 & Up
  • Region: 2 - Europe
  • Released By: ADV Films UK
  • MSRP: £19.99
  • Running time: 100
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: DNAngel

DNAngel Vol. #2

By Dani Moure     August 02, 2006
Release Date: October 17, 2005

DNAngel Vol. #2
© ADV Films UK

What They Say
Love is never easy but that goes double for Daisuke Niwa. The only way Daisuke can rid himself of the phantom art thief residing in his DNA is to have his love returned. The problem is Daisuke has fallen for his classmate Risa who is obsessed with his alter ego, Dark. It's Risa's twin sister Riku who seems to have eyes for him!

It's not a simple task keeping track of the criss-crossing paths of these people's affections. Love is meant for couples but sometimes it's the heart that comes in two. One thing is for sure - watching the situations these four get themselves into will always be twice the fun!

The Review!
DNAngel continues with a second volume that is both fun and yet somewhat disappointing.

For this review I listened to all the episodes in Japanese with subtitles. The Japanese stereo track is pretty standard with only basic directionality, and I enjoyed the performances of the voice actors. I noticed no dropouts or distortions during regular playback.

I really enjoyed sampling the English track as well, particularly as the disc progressed and the English actors started to find their feet. The 5.1 mix adds a bit of directionality to things, and I noticed no problems with this track, even when down-mixing to stereo (which has been a problem in the past with some ADV mixes).

The four episodes on this disc are presented in their original full frame aspect ratio, and the transfer looks good for the most part. There are a few moments of cross colouration throughout the disc, along with occasional blocking that affects certain things like characters hair at a few points. These moments aren't all that noticeable though (and seemed less frequent than volume 1), and didn't really affect my enjoyment of the disc.

Subtitles are in a nice yellow font (ADV's usual), and I didn't notice any major grammatical or spelling errors.

The front cover features a really nice image of Riku, with a filmstrip of sorts in a faded red tone down both sides with screenshots from the show. The logo adorns the bottom of the cover along with the volume number, with the volume title in a strip at the bottom. The back cover has an image of Daisuke along with the show's (somewhat contrived) summary and a selection of screenshots. Extras are clearly listed along with production credits, and the usual ADV information boxes which make it really easy to see all the specs on the disc.

This release continues the style of having no insert, with ADV UK instead opting to put the disc in a clear keepcase, with a reversible cover which features another nice image of Daisuke, and features a similar filmstrip and layout to the regular side. The back cover is the same with a slightly smaller information box thanks to the lack of a barcode or BBFC logos. Both covers really suit the tone of the show though and look really nice.

The menus are pretty simple and in the same style as most ADV menus. The main menu features the cover image of Riku on the left, with the show's logo on the right and the option to pick which episode to watch, the language setup, scene selection (something I like to see personally) and special features. The theme song plays over this menu. Submenus are static with different bits of artwork featured, and access times are nice and fast for a simple but effective menu.

We get a really nice selection of extras on this disc, catering to both fans of the Japanese and English tracks. First up is the obligatory clean opening and ending, and a voice actor commentary from Luci Christian (Risa) and Hilary Haag (Riku). Both have a lot of fun on the track, and it's always nice to hear the dub actors talking and enjoying themselves even if the tracks don't contain a huge amount of information.

We also get a really cool feature following Miyu Irino, the Japanese actor playing Daisuke, to his theatre group and such for a day. It actually surprised me that he is so young (being born in 1988 he would've only been 15 when recording). He also played Haku in Spirited Away. The other big Japanese feature on the disc is "DNAngel Unplugged " True Light", which focuses on Shunichi Miyamoto as he performs an acoustic version "White Night ~True Light~". Both features complement the English commentary well, and this disc contains good extras for both sub and dub fans.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
After a fun first volume that introduced the characters and dropped some hints of an overall story arc, this volume was both fun and yet frustrating at the same time. All the stories here are stand-alone, and though they are good fun, pretty much any semblance of the overall story is simply dropped. Satoshi is completely absent despite all that goes on, there's no real chasing of Dark and there's even little focus on the how Daisuke is dealing with the split between him and Dark. There is a little more exploration of the love triangle, quadrangle or whatever it's become now, with Daisuke's feelings for the girls thrown for a loop.

The opening episode sees With follow Daisuke to school one day, causing havoc for Daisuke when he runs about during cooking class. It turns out that Risa and Daisuke are both pretty rubbish cooks, and their teacher is a bit of a perfectionist. Since the pair fail in their class they're told they have to come in at the weekend to do some cabbage chopping. But Risa has other plans, wanting to go and see Dark, while Daisuke's mother sends out another note saying he'll be stealing something. So while Risa convinces Riku to take her place in disguise so she can go see Dark, Daisuke has to figure out a way to complete his punishment and carry out his mission as Dark.

Essentially an episode playing for some light comedy, this was pretty good fun and had a fair few laughs within. Seeing the characters at school messing up with their cooking was quite good fun, and the little twists in the story, like having Risa duck out and Riku take her place, kept things interesting. There's also an amusing mix up in the love story, as Daisuke wonders why he feels nothing for Risa and yet has strong feelings for Riku instead when he sees her, not realising that the two have swapped places.

The next episode is actually quite sweet, focusing on the relationship between Daisuke and his mother. When Dai rescues a girl from a falling piano, his mother scolds him because if he was ever to die then Dark would never return. This causes some feelings of rejection for Daisuke, as he starts to think that maybe his mother likes Dark more than him. As he tries to find a gift for her, he also learns of how his mother and father met, and comes to find out just how much he truly means to her. It's a nice little episode and although it doesn't really have a great impact on anything, it's nice to see how much Daisuke's mum means to him and, in turn, how much he means to her.

Then, Daisuke spots one of his classmates with a new boyfriend, which prompts Dark to warn him about the man and the danger he poses. Dark wants him to change there and then, but without a picture of Risa he can't. Daisuke returns home to speak to his grandfather, who tells him that back when he was Dark, he tried to seal a soul consuming demon that had possessed a statue, but failed in his attempt. Daisuke soon realises that if he doesn't help the girl, she'll end up dead. He goes as Dark to help, but in a surprise twist the demon doesn't seem to want to kill her, and instead of sucking her soul he pulls away from a kiss. It all becomes a little predictable as the demon is caught between two minds over what to do, seemingly confused by his feelings for the girl. Yes, after all the soul stealing he has finally met someone who has changed him. As such, the inevitable conclusion to the episode was a bit too happy for my liking, and so I didn't end up enjoying the episode quite as much as I could have.

In the final episode, Dark is sent to steal the Agate Links " a beautiful necklace donated to a museum. When he arrives though, one of Daisuke's school friends appears and snaps a picture of the spirit that's possessing the necklace. He falls in love with the young girl, and the next day foils Dark's plans to steal the necklace. The twists and turns don't end there, as it turns out the necklace was a family heirloom and was never actually possessed at all " Daisuke's grandfather had wanted to give this girl the necklace a long time ago.

With a decent story behind it and some fun antics throughout, this is another enjoyable episode. However I'd be lying if I didn't say that by the time this episode rolled around, I was hoping for something somewhat meatier than what I got in the end. I always dislike using the term "filler" for episodes, but I was certainly disappointed that by the end of the disc we only got one episode with a bit of focus on the main love four-way, and we didn't see any of the usual protagonists like Satoshi. It almost seemed as if Daisuke and Dark are pretty much allowed to wander around doing what they like now with little interference. I can only hope that things pick up a bit more in the next volume.

In Summary:
Though this disc has four fun and entertaining episodes contained within, I couldn't help but feel they were a little hollow at times and hope for something meatier. There's definitely a fair bit of good character development sprinkled over the disc, but with some of the threads started in the first disc completely absent here I was a little let down. Still, the series continues to be light-hearted fun and if that's the sort of thing you're after, you could do far worse than DNAngel.

Japanese Language (2.0),English Language (5.1),English Subtitles,Commentary,Clean Opening and Closing,Meet Miyu Irino,DNAngel Unplugged " True Light

Review Equipment
Philips 28" Pure Flat Widescreen TV, Pioneer DV-464 code free DVD player, JVC gold-plated RGB SCART cable, standard stereo sound.


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