Heat Guy J Vol. #3 - 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: C+
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Geneon Entertainment (USA), Inc.
  • MSRP: 29.98
  • Running time: 100
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Heat Guy J

Heat Guy J Vol. #3

By Chris Beveridge     December 20, 2003
Release Date: December 09, 2003


Heat Guy J Vol. #3
© Geneon Entertainment (USA), Inc.


What They Say
The hunt is on! Identity theft, murder, missing explosives; each time Daisuke and J get a new case, the clues start in one direction but lead them to those closest to them! The city of Judoh has banned immigration in or out of the city, so the hostilities between the illegal immigrants in the slums, the trapped citizens and the ultra-elite privileged class boils just behind the beautiful city facades. Yet, at the end of the day, becoming a real man remains the most important lesson!

The Review!
More secrets of Judoh are revealed and the ways that the citizens live, or rather, are forced to live.

Audio:
We listened to this show in its original language of Japanese since that’s our language of choice. The show is done up in a pretty standard stereo mix but with just enough depth and directionality to service an action oriented series like this. Dialogue is nice and clear and the action sequences provide some good movements. We didn’t notice any dropouts or distortions during regular playback.

Video:
Originally airing in late 2002 and on into 2003, Heat Guy J is another series that’s using the latest technologies and methods to mesh the anime and CG world together and manages to produce an impressive piece of work. The transfer here is very clean looking, presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and enhanced for anamorphic playback. Colors are rich and deep and the blacks and grays are very detailed. Cross coloration and aliasing are both pretty much non-existent, which means that there was basically nothing to complain about while watching this show.

Packaging:
Pioneer’s gone to the clear keepcase well again but didn’t do a reversible cover exactly. The cover continues to use the foil and it works pretty good with the images here that has Daisuke riding his bike across the water while J stands along on it holding onto his hat. The foil’s used for parts of the bike and the city backdrop so while it’s mixed in well, it’s not completely overpowering. The back cover uses the foil more with the backgrounds and provides a decent summary of the shows premise and a quick listing of the features. With no volume numbering anywhere, the episode titles and numbers on the back cover is the only way to tell what volume you have. The insert starts off with the chapter listings for all four episodes with screenshots for all of them. It opens up to a two-panel spread that has the front cover artwork but without the foil or logos while the back of the insert just has a piece of sketch work of Daisuke. The reverse cover, visible here through the clear keepcase, is basically all red outside of the couple of outline sketches done in white of Kyoko.

Menu:
The main menu provides a fun menu layout done up in the way that J sees everything through his optical sensors. With small menus floating around and animation playing in the background along with some fast moving music, it’s a slick little piece that reminds me again why I like Nightjar so much. The menus load quickly and access fast without any annoying transitional animations.

Extras:
The only included extra in this volume is a series of production sketches related to the episodes at hand.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Heat Guy J continues to be a nicely stylized show that I’m finding intriguing with almost every new episode. The opening two volumes did a rather nice job of sizing up the basic characters and the initial setting while starting to move in on the various rivalries, factions and more. With this volume, we’re starting to see more of how the city actually works and just how little power the city council really has. There are some surprising elements thrown in here that changes the view of the world a lot.

In fact, the way we’re only seeing one city out of the entire world is brought up during the episodes. One part that’s brought up in the first episode where Daisuke and J start investigating a rash of stolen passports is that once you leave the city, you can never really come back. And to even leave on an official level, you have to get permission from the government to do so. So there’s some amount of a black market trade going on at times for passports. What’s surprising is that it’s apparently more valuable than a human trade market, since the bodies (typically women) are outright dumped instead of being sold off. The storyline that deals with this is interesting in that we start to see a good part of Monica’s life and understand what’s been going on inside her portrait studio cart.

One of the most surprising revelations is that for the most part, the citizens don’t actually work in the water and energy areas, but rather just provide some light duties in regards to them. These processes and the technology behind them are maintained by a group of people called the Celestials. Every 18 years they visit Judoh and perform work on the systems before they automatically shut down. If they shut down without the Celestials doing anything, it’s basically a death sentence for that city regardless of how prosperous it is. The analogy to any technology being advanced enough to look like magic to those below it fits in here as most citizens don’t have any clue as to how the real mechanics behind what keeps their city perfect works.

The episode that introduces this brings a rather good storyline with it. While the city celebrates the arrival of the Celestials in their massive seagoing vessel with parades that look like Mardi Gras, the group of them that will actually perform the work takes their secret passage down into the bowels of the city only to be ambushed by a group that wants to capture their knowledge, not realizing that the Celestials would die before giving it up. Though the thugs are fought back for the time being, the majority of the Celestials here are killed and the remainder head back to their ship and refuse to set foot into the city until it can be determined safe. The random cog thrown into events is that there’s a Celestial that’s already in the city and is wandering around checking everything out above and below ground, so Daisuke gets brought in to try and find him before the city counts down to its own destruction.

Mixed in-between these episodes are some good standalone stories as well. One of them brings us to the military side of Judoh when Daisuke investigates a potential bomb threat on the Central Tower in the city. This brings him into Kyoko’s life in a very amusing way, but the interesting part is that we get some information on how the armies in general were dissolved fifty years prior when the treaties between the cities were signed. The other episode gives Edmundo some serious screentime as he gets involved in an investigation where his former girlfriend becomes the primary suspect in a series of murders. Since he was such a two dimensional character before, he needed any amount of fleshing out and the episode also gives some insight into how the regular police get things done in the city as well. Though it’s a simple detective story in the end, I rather enjoyed it and how it brought some of the smaller nuances of the city to the stage and gave them time to be explored.

In Summary:
As the show moves deeper into its run, the atmosphere and feel of it continues to grow and expand as new areas are explored. While we don’t get a lot on Daisuke, there are hints scattered about, the main focus continues to be on the individual stories and the people of the city itself. Each of these provides some new aspect to a living city-state, something that’s different from so many other shows. This show is a lot of fun and I can’t wait to get more.

Features
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Art Gallery

Review Equipment
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Panasonic RP-82 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.

COMMENTS AND RESPONSES

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jnager 3/13/2012 7:26:38 PM

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