Dual Vol. #2 - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: B+

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: A
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Menus Rating: A-
  • Extras Rating: B
  • Age Rating: 12 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Geneon Entertainment (USA), Inc.
  • MSRP: 29.99
  • Running time: 75
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Dual

Dual Vol. #2

By Chris Beveridge     November 28, 2000
Release Date: November 28, 2000


Dual Vol. #2
© Geneon Entertainment (USA), Inc.


What They Say
Kazuki?s old life is gone. Now, in the parallel world, he must juggle his life as a core Robot Pilot along with his school work and the most difficult subject of all ? girls! It?s bad enough to share the house with the most beautiful girl in the school, but then D, the alien girl, moves in, and his teacher invades his bedroom! Now, when Rara reveals its most powerful weapon, will Kazuki be up for the challenge, or suffer a crushing defeat?

The Review!
After enjoying the first quarter of the series on the first disc, I was definitely hesitant going into the second volume. The last four volume series that I got really enthused about had a really weak middle section but the bookends were quite good.

Thankfully, Dual manages to squeak by, though it does fall on a few tried and true things.

Audio:
Pioneer's scored again with two great sounding audio tracks. We noticed very little difference in the sound levels between the two and no distortion throughout it. The music, from the opening song to the ambient, all fit in nicely and sound great. There's a bit of directionality in a few of the action sequences, but the majority of these episodes tend to follow a more dialogue based approach.

Video:
Yet another gorgeous looking disc. I swear, with the newer shows having great master material and the computer animation being used, we're getting some great looking discs. Other than a few scenes of solid colors that looked a bit overcompressed and alive, the vibrancy of this transfer is fantastic. Whether it be D's bright green hair or the Core Robot's running through the city, colors are spot on and beautiful. There's no visible color bleeding here. And those wonderfully animated eyes... great stuff.

Packaging:
Nice and bright, multilayered and informative. While I prefer the cover to the first volume more, if only for the cutie that is Mitsuki, getting D to grace the 2nd volumes cover is great. The back gives a good summary of things to expect and goes into fairly good detail about the disc and its specs. Always a plus is listing not only the episodes but their episode number as well, as there's no way to identify this package as 2 of 4. The insert has a different picture and goes over the episodes and their chapter marks and even gives you the King Salmon Yayoi Special recipe! Food figures heavily into this show!

Menus:
My hat's off to the gentleman working on these menus. They've definitely surprised me in how great they look while still being very functional. The design has great music and animation going on all about it and the access times are still quite fast. Language selection, always one of the trickier sections, works pretty good and makes it easy to figure out which one you've actually got selected.

Extras:
I've got real mixed feelings about the extras here. On the whole, they're well designed and very in character, especially the character profiles section. The non-credit ending is good, providing both romaji and English. The conceptual artwork section contains some really nice pictures as well. What really bothers me though is some of the information given in the character profiles section. Some of it hasn't been learned yet! Beware, major spoilers are in there.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The events here pretty much begin the next act of the series. The first disc covered the introductions, the surprise environment and getting everyone acquainted. Things here bring the cast closer together and working more as a team. We also start learning more about the personalities of each of them and start understanding some of their hidden desires.

We also get a lot of laughs and some great looking animation. The show opens with Mitsuki and Kazuki going to school, now know as brother and sister. This of course leads to a wide variety of problems for the newly named Kazuki Sanada. Many of these problems are amusing reversals from his original world problems, which makes him even more unsure of how to proceed.

Suffice to say Mitsuki takes advantage of this quite skillfully. At least until "dad" decides to have D move in with them as well and share a room with Kazuki. The addition of D to the household not only brings a bit more rivalry out of Mitsuki, it brings a lot of personality into all three characters.

The results of the this also shows in how D and Kazuki perform while in their Core Robots, much to Mitsuki's chagrin. The two seem to really play well off of each other and have a great natural relationship.

And how can things get any better/worse? Time to move in yet another of the women....

Honestly, this is the only part that really struck me as being overly clichéd in the traditional AIC fashion. One young guy that at least three women are interested in, one older fellow (the "dad") and all kinds of weird things going on. This is a pretty standard template for a lot of AIC shows and it's really wearing thin.

After finishing this, I came away liking a lot of the secondary cast more than I did in the first disc. D definitely came out on top as a rising star but Yayoi ended up coming out on the bottom as a character I continue to simply not care for. She's just far too pushy for my tastes.

Good stuff all around. If you've written it off as an Evangelion rip-off and nothing more, you might be missing some really fun stuff that really bears little resemblance.

Features
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Non-Credit Closing,Character Data,Line Art

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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