Dual Vol. #2 - Mania.com

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Mania Grade: A-

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  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: A-
  • Packaging Rating: A-
  • Menus Rating: B+
  • Extras Rating: A-
  • 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 David Owens     February 07, 2002
Release Date: November 28, 2000

The Review!
Wai wai! Dual's new volume is out! Happy, happy! Anyways, getting back to the matter at hand, I was waiting rather eagerly for Dual: Student Housing to be released, then as it got closer, I started to worry. Why, you ask? Well, frankly, I was hoping it would get away from the Eva-ripoff image and move into another area, so as to placate some of the negative sentiment.

And it does do that! This volume is nowhere near as much of an Eva clone as the first was! Instead, we have Tenchi Muyo forming the plot this time, but to be fair, the situation creates a very nice amount of character development.

So, for the technical side of things, how are they? Beats me. My DVD player I usually review on turned into the Chicago Fire, so I have to use my older one which isn't calibrated correctly...so I can't honestly say if Student Housing looks better or worse than the first Dual disc. However, in the 5 minutes I got to watch on my old player before the blazing inferno took over, it looked just as clear and crisp as the original disc. After tweaking on my old player, it looks rather good, so I would imagine it's atleast status quo and hasn't taken any steps back, videowise.

The audio is again as good as the first, although it might be recorded a bit lower. Again, this may just be my setup, though. There's a little bit of surround effects, but otherwise it's just good solid audio with well-timed background music (especially when Mitsuki goes to Kazuki's room to wake him up the second time).

The package is as nice as the first, technically speaking, but is a little worse in that it doesn't have Mitsuki on it. Hehe. As with the last volume, the cover art is pretty cool and I like the colors, a little more yellow this time than the gold. The back is just as good as the first, although one of the pictures doesn't seem tohappen anywhere on the disc (hmm.). Weird. Anyways, I'm hoping the third volume doesn't feature Yayoi, since I really don't like her that much, but it seems like it probably will, unless it's Kazuki. Ah well.

The extras are, as before, really nice. Unfortunately, the window sticker included wasn't used for the cover...sigh. It's a fairly.....interesting pose of Mitsuki. I just don't know why they didn't use it on the cover, really, even if all she's wearing is a t-shirt. Ahem. Anyways, returning from the gutter, some people will get the sticker, and for those who don't, rest assured you can make King Salmon Yayoi Special just in case you're bored and in a festive cooking mood! Yum!

As with the first, we get some Character Profiles (avoid them if you don't want spoilers, though, cause they do explain something that we don't see for another couple episodes) written by Kazuki. One of these was rather humorous, actually. We also get more line art, although the line art this time really didn't seem to interest me as much as the first volume's. Oh well. There's also an ending theme with no credits, but since I much prefer the M2M-ish opening theme, the ending got watched once and then never again.

The menus on Student Housing go off in another direction. Whereas the first had action shots almost, this one has a Gasaraki-ish computer screen menu, and some subtle music in the background. Rather nice, I do have to say.

As with the first disc, the dub (run away, run away!) is really good. I still can't figure out if I've heard Kazuki's voice actor before (I think so, but..), but he does a really good job if he's a newer voice actor. I'm pretty certain now that Mitsuki is Wendee Lee, who does a really good job, as usual. D's voice actor has a pretty laidback time it would seem, but does have a couple lines, one of which is fairly funny ("That would not bother me!") in the story. Ken Sanada's VA delivers some more one-liners and is definitely shaping up to be well-cast for the role, particularly during the part where he's trying to rationalize his choice to have D move in. All in all, it's not frightening the way some are, and it's actually a pleasant job done well.

The three episodes on Student Housing all seem to be more background than real action, this time. I, for one, am glad of that. The first was fun and a great disc, but the action sort of lent itself to being cast as an Eva clone, which although it does rip-off some things, was unfair. This disc goes off in another direction, and instead does a lot of character exposition, but not in a shoot-me-now style. The development is placed around some rather innocuous things: breakfast, lunch, dinner, and house chores. The sixth episode adds "duty" to that list.

The fifth episode seems to have two distinct halves, the first of which deals with Kazuki's alibi as Mitsuki's younger brother. Kazuki immediately becomes the most popular guy in school....among other guys, who all want that elusive date with one Miss Mitsuki. The groupies auction off Kazuki's lunch, which was prepared by Mitsuki, and don't even give him the proceeds...and then dump all sorts of love letters on him as well. Ah, what a life. When you live with a babelike Mitsuki, you have to pay the piper sometime. In a move we should have seen coming, the second half moves D into the house, which is now called "the Masaki Residence"...or is that another series? Well, no matter. The small act of D moving in suddenly shows Mitsuki's jealousy, and we finally see that, no, she's not just a twit (or a babe twit)...she likes Kazuki. Oooo! Some of her jealous fits are pretty funny, but they get even better in the sixth episode....

...which sees Yayoi move next door. Suddenly appearing in the house at the crack of dawn to cook, clean, and do laundry, Yayoi brings out even more jealousy from Mitsuki, who until now was the mother-figure of the household. The action in the second episode is fairly hilarious, as the gang "tries to stop" Rara's newest robot from crashing into the airport, where Yayoi is the somewhat unwilling female involved in an arranged marriage interview. We again see a huge amount of jealousy from Mitsuki during this whole episode, and I love it.

The seventh episode starts to get into some real action, at least after the midnight ramen male bonding moment. It's a big fight, Mitsuki crying, the first call sign submitted during the series, and a real bummer of a cliffhanger. ARGH! Only a month and a half, only a month and a half...!

Dual: Student Housing, like the first volume, has now been in my DVD player, the non-smoking one, for quite a while. As with the first, I just love listening to it in the background, as the dialogue and script of the dub is well-written enough that it's even amusing just listening to the repartee between Mitsuki, Kazuki and Cdr. Sanada. Dual has taken another step towards becoming one of my favorite series ever, cliched in places or not. The character development in these episodes is done so well, and yet without being overly emotional or playing on heart-felt strings like most do to get cheap exposition (Character A lost their parents and lived alone. Sob sob, etc.) and sympathy: you really begin to LIKE the characters here simply because they have their own feelings and real emotions. Dual may look like a shallow clone, but underneath it's got some real depth and good storytelling.

And hey, there's more Mitsuki!

Review Equipment
Pioneer Elite 610 HDTV, Pioneer DV-626D DVD, Pioneer Elite VSX-35TX Receiver, Pioneer ISO-drive speaker setup, Monster component cables


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