Mania Grade: B+
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- Audio Rating: B+
- Video Rating: B-
- Packaging Rating: B+
- Menus Rating: B-
- Extras Rating: C+
- Age Rating: 13 & Up
- Region: 1 - North America
- Released By: Viz Media
- MSRP: 24.98
- Running time: 100
- Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
- Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
- Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
- Series: Flame of Recca
Flame of Recca Vol. #08
By Chris Beveridge
July 24, 2006
Release Date: July 04, 2006
What They Say
Are you ready for Round Three?! Team Hokage's next opponents are the sexy and dangerous Team Uruha Sound. First up is the Mighty Domon against the beautiful Aki. Will he fall prey to her charms and finally win one for the team?
Meanwhile, Recca and Tokiya team up against the deadly duo of Miki and Neon. Can they overcome their differences and beat them before Neon unleashes her secret weapon?
Contains episodes 29-32:
Dangerous Lips - The Terror of the Kotodama!
Seduction of the Beauties - Double Play of Death!
Cursed Fire! - Kurenai's Past!
Invisible Foe! - The Battle Against Fear!The Review!
The third round gets underway and Team Hokage finds themselves facing off against Team Uruha Sound.Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in its original language of Japanese. The stereo mix is decent but like a number of other shows from around this time the bulk of it is pretty much a full sounding mix that doesn't have too much in the way of strong directionality across the forward soundstage. It's a good sounding mix overall but it doesn't have any huge punch or oomph to it. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout and we had no problems during regular playback with either language track.Video:
Originally airing in 1997, the transfer for this series is presented in its original full frame aspect ratio. The print and materials for this show are decent but there are some things to note. First, there's some noticeable print damage throughout but it's fairly minor and something not unexpected considering the budget of the show. The second is that this isn't a high quality show to begin with. The series has always looked like it was done on a budget and it's visible during a lot of scenes, particularly mid-range character shots where there's practically no detail to their faces; some shots even have completely blank faces. The coloring style used, especially for the blacks that shade things like Recca's school uniform, are just drenched on and without detail. This is the kind of show where they never expected it to have to show as much detail as it is now and it doesn't translate well a lot of times. It's definitely accurate to the source materials however but this is a show that in some ways probably looked better on VHS. The jitter is fairly visible throughout as well during scene changes but also during other scenes as well as you can see characters shifting a bit while the backgrounds stand still or vice versa.Packaging:
Continuing with the Tournament Edition layout which has a clear listing of the volume number and its title, this is one of the best looking covers yet as it has a gorgeous looking piece of artwork of the three femme fatales that they face in this volume all spread out and looking great. The artwork for this is much more reminiscent of something newer than a show from the late 90's. The back cover provides a fiery backdrop and more black that has a very brief premise of the series. The discs features and episode numbers and titles are listed as well. Viz releases typically have very little in the way of technical information and this release isn't much different, especially since what little there is is spread out. The insert lists the episode numbers and titles as well as the chapter sections and a list of the extras. The reverse side has a piece of production artwork showing off the madogu Kaigetsu.Menu:
The menu layout for this release has its pluses and negatives. The main menu is nicely done with a blurry close-up shot of Aki in her colorful outfit while a mixture of flame animation and other artwork from the show plays behind her. This is set to some of the instrumental music from the show. The selections are all the basic ones and easy to navigate about. On the plus side, the chapter selection menu has to be one of the best I've seen as it gives you instant access to any chapter on the disc for any episode without having to go through numerous submenus. The menus are pretty good here overall even if they didn't read our players' language presets correctly.Extras:
The only included extra with this release is a series of production sketches in a single gallery.Content:
(please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Continuing with the Tournament Edition portion of the series, Flame of Recca hits through another four episodes of tournament goodness as the third round gets underway. While past episodes in the tournament realm have had some decent downtime during it when the characters have had to deal with interpersonal issues, this set focuses almost entirely on the actual tournament itself.
With the four episodes here, it kicks pretty quickly into the full fight sequence mode as the third round of the competition gets underway. There's a bit of tension among the Hokage members at first as Domon is really psyching himself out a bit due to the way he's performed in the previous matches and he's desperate for a win for himself so that he can feel like he's really participating. Of course, everyone else is pretty much in agreement with him so he's not getting a lot of support in a sense. Domon's always got a good bit of bravado around him so he keeps up a positive nature when he gets into the ring but he's got a real challenge ahead of him when he takes on the first member of the Team Uruha Sound.
That team is rather different from the past ones that the Hokage have fought as it's not only got less members than normal but they're all women. Led by Neon who controls sound through a flute that's rather powerful, she's back up by the sisters of Aki and Miki who are rather creative in their own powers. Thankfully they aren't variants of each other or based on enhancing the other; the beautiful blue haired Aki has a madogu that creates illusions in the mind of just its victim through the use of words. It's a bit more powerful than just standard illusions since the words so strike to the core of the victim that their body reacts to it; when Domon gets attacked by the illusion of a snake, the bites become real because of how strongly Domon believes what he sees.
Miki's actually got a pair of madogu that are pretty useful; one of them allows her to move incredibly fast while the other one is a mirror that reflects sound, which means she's able to work well in tandem with Neon. Of course, the matches have been one on one so far and that means they're not quite able to use their powers as they like, unless they're able to goad Recca and Tokiya into taking them on as a duo. Both of the guys are of course of the opinion that they can handle anything that the women can throw at them but their confidence is compounded by the fact that they've been arguing constantly since the start of this volume and all through Domon's match when things were going very badly, and it's left the two of them in a place where they're completely out of synch with each other.
The third round matches are a lot of fun and having what's mostly normally looking members on the team of Team Uruha Sound helps a lot considering how diverse and weird some of the previous fighters have been. This goes back into motion when the last episode brings us to the quarter finals where the secret Uruha clean-up team now makes its appearance and just about all of the people on this team are bizarre looking and almost way too in tune with their madogu. Only the first round gets covered here and it brings Koganei back into the game so both sides are up to full power and the setup for the fourth round has a fairly strong set of characters on both sides coming into play.In Summary:
From an action perspective, this volume does a really great job of covering the third round completely. It's got a solid set of fights to it and manages to even provide a good amount of background on the three women towards the end so that they come across with a bit more sympathy but without it getting into each episode and each fight. The opening to the fourth round raises the bar once again with what's going to be going into the fights and with Recca now finding himself a bit more powered up and having creatively used his powers. It's straightforward shonen fighting but it continues to have a great vibe to it that I just really enjoy with each viewing.
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,sketch Gallery
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Samsung BD-P1000 Blu-ray player via HDMI -> DVI with upconversion set to 1080i, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.