Mania Grade: A
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- Audio Rating: B+
- Video Rating: B+
- Packaging Rating: B
- Menus Rating: C+
- Extras Rating: N/A
- Age Rating: 13 & Up
- Region: 1 - North America
- Released By: Geneon Entertainment (USA), Inc.
- MSRP: 29.98
- Running time: 125
- Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
- Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
- Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
- Series: Fighting Spirit
Fighting Spirit Vol. #12
By Chris Beveridge
June 27, 2006
Release Date: June 27, 2006
Fighting Spirit Vol. #12
What They Say
© Geneon Entertainment (USA), Inc.
The second round of the title match between the champ and Ippo is near the end. Ippo connects a clean hit, but Date does not seem to sustain any damage. Chief Kamogawa discovers that Date actually has been twisting his neck at the precise moment when Ippo's blow connects. Ippo panics and swings widely, subjecting himself to Date's barrage. Can Ippo turn the match around? The conclusion of the bout astounds everyone!The Review!
The match with Date reaches its conclusion, in an episode amusingly titled "Conclusion," but there's still oh so much more to deal with.Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in its original language of Japanese. The series has a very solid stereo mix here that lets you feel a good portion of the oomph from the hits and just the sound of the speed of the boxers. Dialogue is fairly center channel based for most of the show but there are some key areas where dialogue is shifted to one of the side speakers. Throughout regular playback, everything sounded solid and free of distortions and dropouts.Video:
Originally starting its airing back in 2000, Fighting Spirit is presented on this disc in its original full frame format and has a pretty solid looking transfer. The shows animation style is a mix that plays up some of the feel of older shows with some of its color palette as well as using thick lines around the characters at times, such as when they act goofy, but it also has some very slick fast motion sequences that are very well animated and have much more vibrant colors to them. Cross coloration is pretty minimal overall here even with as much tight line work as there is in some scenes and aliasing is very light. Some of the backgrounds come across a bit softer and more motion oriented than others, but it's barely noticeable for the most part.Packaging:
Both fighters make the cover this time around and Date gets a shot in one of his best poses from the episode, though the in-show animation for it far exceeds the cover artwork here and is much more menacing looking. The back cover has a few shots from the show in a strip along the center and provides a simple if decent summary of the basic premise. The discs episode numbers and titles are clearly listed as well as the discs features. The insert has a shot of a boxing ring with the chapter listings for all five episodes and that opens up to a two panel shot of the front cover but with a different background color. The back of the insert uses the existing cover artwork but with a few less logo's on it.Menu:
The menu gets a big thumbs down right from the start with the load up of a critical fight sequence with English dialogue before it actually loads the final menu itself, which is fairly decent but like some other SpeeDVD menus looks somewhat soft in some areas and blocky in the selection text. Once loaded, the menu has some clips of Ippo doing his movements that's layered on top of a motion background that has various scenes from the show playing as well while some of the harder music plays along. The menu just feels a bit too filled up with animation and a near strange blending of two different clips the way they're layered. Access times and navigation itself is pretty simple and easy to use though. The disc also correctly read our players' language presets which continues to be a plus.Extras:
(please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
As brutal as the fight has gotten so far between Date and Ippo, it only goes up several more notches with the two remaining episodes of their fight at the start of this volume. There's been a lot of really brutal moments in most of Ippo's fights, and his fame as a KO reversal fighter is built upon him finding that one thing that will work at the last moment, but up until that point these two fighters simply raise the bar with every throw.
Naturally, the "color commentary" by those watching the fight is illuminating along the way as the two duke it out across the five rounds they go for. They provide the insights into what the fighters are thinking and how they're reacting as we get less and less of the internal dialogue between the two actual men anymore. From the fellow students that are watching to the coaches almost in disbelief at the way things are progressing, each side has its rise and fall of support and encouragement. Each fight in this series seems to be able to top the previous one in some way, be it characters involved or a particular method of the fight style itself, but this fight simply stands out for what the show itself is titled, their fighting spirit. Rarely do you become so connected and involved in a show that you almost feel like you're taking or giving the blows yourself.
That said, the fight itself is amazing and the results were spoiled for me awhile ago but it was still an thing of beauty to see it all happen. The series works its post-fight magic the best though as we get back to the character interactions outside of the ring and we see how they all deal with the situation and the changes it pushes through for all of them. The down time after such a big fight allows Ippo to really find out more about himself and it even lets him get some fun in as Kumi calls him up for a date, something that really is a lot of fun to watch since they get stalked during it. As great as the fights are, they wouldn't register anywhere near as much if it wasn't for these kinds of episodes that let us really get to know the characters and what drives them so much.
One area where the show is a bit weaker but still manages to engage the viewer really well is when people other than Ippo get into the ring. This volume brings back Volg and Sendo for a two episode fight that pits some of Ippo's toughest opponents against each other with some seriously consequences hanging in the balance for each of them. Having seen how Ippo has bested each of them, they have a new drive to them in addition to other things that has them seeming even more spirited and intense when they step into the ring. Ippo does of course come in to watch the event and even Miyabi appears and sets the stage for the next arc of the series, which helps to take everything that happened in the first three episodes of this volume and put a real bow on it so we understand where things really stand.In Summary:
Similar to past volumes and fights, there's a lot to dance around when talking about the show because you really don't want to spoil the who wins and who loses aspect because watching it for the first time is such an amazing thing. While I had things in this volume spoiled for me, I got to see my wife enjoy it without that and the episodes simply blew her away. Fighting Spirit is such an amazing show, one that manages to bring big smiles to my face when watching it, cringing with the blows and wide-eyed stares at how brutal it gets sometimes. Few series have been this consistently amazing and I can't believe we're at episode sixty now. I cannot recommend this show enough. I wish I could give everyone a free copy of the first volume.
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Samsung BD-P1000 Blu-ray player via DVI, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.