Dual Vol. #3 - 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: 75
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Dual

Dual Vol. #3

By Chris Beveridge     February 27, 2001
Release Date: February 27, 2001


Dual Vol. #3
© Geneon Entertainment (USA), Inc.


What They Say
Caught behind enemy lines! When a seriously injured Kazuki awakens, he finds himself in the clutches of the infamous Miss Rah! Or is he? Kazuki is confused when Miss Rah tends to his wounds and even cooks for him! What?s Kazuki to do? Meanwhile, the Rara army has come up with a plan that will ensure their victory. Get rid of Kazuki?

The Review!
Augh! They're messing with me now. With three more episodes this time around, things zig, zag and even zoog. And then it's a big cliffhanger at the end of it with only one disc left. Frustration! Discs like this should have the next volume scheduled for one week afterwards, not a couple of months away. It's cruel!

Audio:
For our primary review, we listened to this disc in its original language, Japanese. Throughout this fairly standard TV series stereo mix, there were a few moments of directionality. The majority of the dialogue of course is through the center channel, but the music and sound effects came across well through the left/right speakers. Dialogue is clean and clear with no noticeable distortion or other problems.

Video:
This series continues to look very nice as part of the new wave of shiny looking anime. The opening sequence continues to be the shiniest part of the series with a lot of well represented vibrant colors and fluid movements. The show itself isn't quite as high in terms of production values, but it looks above average to be sure. The transfer is very comparable to previous releases of this series with only one or two areas where some minor grain/fuzziness and pixellation can be scene. Colors are solid throughout and black levels look good in the few areas where you see them. Line noise and rainbows are nonexistent, making this a very enjoyable transfer.

Packaging:
For some reason, even though I really like the character on the cover, the feel of it just doesn't seem as right as past covers. The design and layout is good, but I'd almost prefer her in one of her uniforms instead to sell the cover. The back cover has a few nice animation shots and a small summary of the show as well as the episode numbers and names. The insert has a nice picture of Mitsuki and the Egg Rolls recipe!

Menus:
The design has great music and some small animation going on all about it and the access times are still quite fast. It's not quite as flashy and bright as the first two volumes, but it works good. 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:
There's a couple of nice extras included this time around on the disc. We only briefly looked over the character bios, having been burned in the past with other shows, but it looks to follow the same design as previous bios for Dual. The TV spots are great and are subtitled via DVD subtitles. Very cool to finally know what's being said! The conceptual artwork page has a few really neat pictures too. Overall solid extras that are somewhat "standard", though the commercials are a nice bonus. It was interesting to learn that this show had a 7 PM slot.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
More more more. That's what I need. More of this show.

Following up on the events of disc 2, with Kazuki's crash in now enemy territory, things go in some interesting directions. After his robot crashes, he ends up down away from it a bit when the enemy shows up. And without knowledge that the robots can be piloted by this particular man instead of women, Miss Rah takes Kazuki into her care and brings him back to the base and nurses him to health.

And as luck would have it, things are not what they seem. When Kazuki awakens in bed under her care, she proceeds to change out of her Miss Rah uniform and turns into... a normal attractive girl. The only problem? She's this worlds version of Mitsuki! The similarities between the two are in the face only though, with completely different hair and personalities. Of course, Mitsuki falls for Kazuki pretty easily, and goes to lengths such as cooking and taking care of him like she's not done for anyone else before.

This doesn't slide by her friends/fellow pilots notice either. They see the almost dramatic change in her and how she reacts and deals with Kazuki. As Kazuki gets better and the two are out and about interacting with everyone, most people who come into contact with the couple tend to really like them. Then comes the invite to dinner with her parents.

You remember them. They're trying to take over the world. It's a rather interesting dinner in hearing the "villains" talk about what they're doing. As with most good villains, they believe what they're doing is right. But as soon as you meet Ayuko, Mitsuki's mother, you know that she's both the real power behind everything in this group and that she has some ulterior motives.

Eventually though, it's discovered just who Kazuki is, which is lead into with a series of odd happenings about some truly mysterious power/entity that may really be pushing the buttons in this strange little adventure. Something deeper is going on here, and thankfully it wasn't first revealed in the final couple of episodes but just over the halfway mark.

When Kazuki eventually does make his way back to his friends, there's some bits of angst played out as we learn how the enemy side works with their training and methodology and on Kazuki's side as he's really been smitten by this new Mitsuki. The other Mitsuki, upon learning of all of this, doesn't take it all that well at all, nor does Yayoi. D of course takes everything in stride.

More revelations are made throughout the final two episodes that are really spoilerworthy and really need to be seen without prior knowledge. There's some rather amusing housing situations again and more of the background mythology slowly begins to come into play. There's a number of little things going on that even if your favorite character isn't featured, they do get enough lines to help move the story along properly.

Dual continues to be enjoyable and has moved very far away from the Evangelion clone it was initially made out to be. It's also interesting to see an AIC show where the male character on occasion actually has something of a backbone and seems to be making choices. After all, how many AIC maleclones have actually asked out the woman they're interested in on a date? Precious few my friends! Good stuff.

Features
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Character Bios,TV Commercials,Conceptual Artwork

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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