Dual Vol. #1 - Mania.com



Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: B-

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: A-
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Menus Rating: B+
  • Extras Rating: B+
  • Age Rating: 12 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Geneon Entertainment (USA), Inc.
  • MSRP: 29.99
  • Running time: 100
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Dual

Dual Vol. #1

By Chris Beveridge     September 26, 2000
Release Date: September 26, 2000


Dual Vol. #1
© Geneon Entertainment (USA), Inc.


What They Say
Kazuki is plagued by visions of giant robots that no one else can see. But all of the years of ridicule are about to pay off! Kazuki gets ensnared by a pretty face, and then a mad scientist?s experiment tosses him into this parallel world! Now the danger is very real and his allies are twice as strange as he ever imagined! On the plus side, he gets to drive the robots!

The Review!
Ah, those crafty folks at AIC are the ultimate recyclers! Why let a good story, character or plot device be used only once when it can be craftily painted a different color and presented anew! Going by initial word of mouth, I fully expected every AIC character to make an appearance, but so far this doesn't seem to be entirely accurate.

Audio:
The Japanese and English tracks are both very solid on this release. Voice actors for both tracks are quite good and there are some very good performances on the English track which is going to merit a second viewing. Dialogue is clean and undistorted throughout and the fun bouncy opening song sounds really good here.

Video:
For the most part, this is a very good looking transfer. Colors are very vibrant, flesh tones look great and there's hardly any line noise to be found. There were a few instances of visible artifacting, such as in some faces early on and a couple of times in the mecha's interior. From the opening sequence, I expected a more polished "Sol Bianca" look, as it accentuates the computer camera panning. But this doesn't show up in the show itself all that much, which is more traditionally animated.

Packaging:
Oh yes, definitely a very eye-catching cover. The lovely Sanada is becoming one of my favorite looking anime characters and this cover certainly will gain her some new fans. The design of the front cover is very well done, drawing focus to the character while weaving in her mecha behind her. The back cover gives a very brief plot summary and supplies several nice animation shots around it. The insert itself has a great Sanada picture as well as one of her recipes! It also contains the episodes and their chapter listings. Those who managed to get first pressings also got a great, you guessed it, Sanada window cling! I'm really enjoying some of the extras Pioneer's been putting into their releases this year and this one is no exception.

Menus:
The menu system is very nicely done with some great animations within them. Selections are accessed quickly and since there isn't a lot of layering, are very easy to get to. My only real gripe with the menu is that on my Pioneer player, you cannot stop the disc from the main menu. It simply won't allow it. I had to go into a submenu to stop it.

Extras:
Ah, some truly copious extras on this disc. First and foremost is the wonderful opening to the show in creditless format. The big plus to it is that they've provided a DVD subtitle track for it with both English and romaji at the same time, so you can karaoke along in the language of your choice. For the casual language enthusiast, this is a real treat and one I hope to see more of. There's also some very well done "in-style" character profiles and about 37 pieces of line art, some with notes, in the art gallery.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Kazuki Yogutsa is essentially your every day high school student. He does his homework, he has some internet hobbies and he fits into his school uniform well. His one quirk is that he sees dead people.

Oops, no, wait. Back it up. AIC hadn't seen that movie yet. Kazuki sees giant robots fighting each other throughout the city. While walking along to school, all of sudden these giant robots will appear engaged in hand to hand combat. None of it would affect him, but he'd be like a deer caught in headlights and just stare, which makes him the butt of many jokes by his fellow school chums.

Kazuki has however made use of this particular ability instead of simply letting it drive him mad. He takes what he says and has created an online story about it. This brings him into contact with school hottie Mitsuki Sanada. She's read his stories and is interested in them, though he figures it's all just a joke to her as well. She manages to convince him otherwise and brings him back to her place, where her *cue mad scientist* father immediately determines that he's the chosen one. And even feels like the chosen one!

He goes into a somewhat erratic discussion of alternate parallel worlds and how he intends to send Kazuki there to prove it. Kazuki is of course wholly against this, when Mitsuki manages to accidentally trip the transporter device and off they go!

It does however take Kazuki quite awhile to realize he's in another parallel world, even though one of the first things that happens is that ends up in the midst of a battle and taking over one of the giant mechs. Gotta love those swift high school males.

Kazuki gets introduced to the decidedly odd world that he now inhabits, with a pretty off-kilter physicist who's trying to take over the world using various mechs that are formed via an ancient technology that was unearthed in both worlds. Why he ends up making mechs that look like Dinobots from Transformers is slightly beyond me however. The good guys mechs are all effeminate, which is natural since they can only be piloted by women.

The scenes where they dress up Kazuki as a woman is very much worth watching. There's something about a man fondling himself that's just, well... it just sums up all that is right with anime.

Dual isn't high art storytelling. It's borrowed bits with some satire/parody tossed in and some very nice looking animation. The characters are varying degrees of odd (especially the mysterious bioroid "D") but the designs are pretty good. The use of CG in various places looks very out of place, such as the "launch sequence" of the mecha. But other than that, the animation style is very nice and the coloring very well done.

And did I mention it has Mitsuki Sanada? Mmmm, Mitsuki.

Features
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Creditless Opening,Line Art,Character Profiles


Review Equipment
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Pioneer 414 codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster Component cable and Sony speakers.

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