His and Her Circumstances Vol. #2 - Mania.com

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  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: B
  • Menus Rating: B+
  • Extras Rating: B+
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Nozomi Entertainment
  • MSRP: 29.98
  • Running time: 150
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: His And Her Circumstances

His and Her Circumstances Vol. #2

By Chris Beveridge     October 18, 2002
Release Date: December 03, 2002

His and Her Circumstances Vol. #2
© Nozomi Entertainment

What They Say
With their hearts flying high, the couple has been spending a lot of time together. Finally the public masks of perfection that they’ve both maintained for so long are beginning to fall, but so are their grades. When the latest round of scores is posted, Yukino is mortified to discover that she’s slipped all the way to 13th! She’s not the only one that’s angry – so are her teachers. When Yukino and Arima are dragged before their guidance counselor to explain their poor grades, the administration is determined that the pair stop seeing each other.

Could this mean the end of their newfound love forever?

The Review!
After a roller coaster ride for the first volume, this second one manages to keep up the pace with it and pushes the story and relationship forward perfectly.

For our primary viewing session, we listened to this disc in its original language of Japanese. Though a late 90’s release, there’s only a basic stereo mix with nothing being thrown to the rear speakers. The forward soundstage is used quite nicely however with some amusing moments of directionality, but the majority is fairly center channel oriented outside of the music. We listened to the English track in a few places and while writing the review and had no issues with that either.

There’s a couple of ways we’re going to break down the review of the video. Overall, this transfer is very clean and looks great. There’s a slight bit of cross coloration showing in a few areas throughout these episodes, but mainly in sequences where I’m not surprised to see it, with such detailed line work. There’s only a couple of instances where aliasing are noticeable. The Gainax Effect is in full force here, which means that their masterful editing process provides us yet again with frame jitter during scene transitions. This will bother some people more than others though.

There’s a huge amount of onscreen text in this show, so there’s two ways things are done. If you playback in Japanese via the menus, you get angle 1. Angle 1 provides the original text during the opening about sitting in a well lit room. Angle 1 provides the original Kanji credits at the end of each episode. Angle 1 provides the Japanese actresses in the next episode previews talking about what’s coming up. If you select English language in the menus, you get angle 2. Angle 2 provides a full English translation of the well lit piece in the beginning. Angle 2 provides English credits over the original Japanese video (minus Kanji credits). Angle 2 provides the US actresses in the next episode previews talking about what’s coming up.

With all the onscreen text, you have the option of having it translated or not. If you have the option off, your eyes get a rest but you miss a huge amount of the show. If you have it on, you have what I think is the best subtitling job on any DVD I’ve ever seen. While we’ve definitely applauded each studio that’s taken to using soft subtitles for onscreen Kanji translations, those are generally the same simple white or yellow font in varying sizes. Here, they’re all different styles, colors and designs. They’ve done an incredibly admirable job of mirroring what the intent is with the onscreen text. When we see a crate that says “Orange” in Kanji, we get a similar sized English soft sub that says “Orange” and is orange.

When selecting subtitles, you have two options, each selectable. Dialogue is either on or off, and this is normal subtitles. Titles is either on or off, and this is the onscreen text. Unlike the first volume, we have a multi-page explanation of what the features are and what your selections will show you. This normally isn’t necessary for most releases, but for this one it’s almost critical and I’m really glad it’s here..

Similar in style and feel to the first cover, we have a nice shot this time around of several smiling characters, such as Asaba and Yukino’s two younger sisters while what’s presumably water is showering down on them. The back cover provides a couple of animation shots and a summary of what the show is about. The discs episode numbers are included as well as the discs features. The volume numbering does show on the back as well as the spine. This release is in a clear keepcase, but the reverse side of the cover is blank. And as with all other TRSI releases to date, there is no insert in the disc. In regards to the disc itself, there are five different images that are being pressed, so in a sense they’re collectable. This being a screener, it’s blank outside of the no reselling statement. The only mistake is the listing of 150 minutes for the runtime, when there’s only five episodes or 125 minutes of runtime.

With some construction imagery in the background, the main menu is a large billboard that has rotating images that fill out a larger image while some of the instrumental music plays along. Selections are laid out along the bottom in the form of buttons, and this menu looks great all told. Access times are nice and fast and the layout is straightforward.

The character biographies flesh out some of the new cast members and provide some small amounts of information on them. There’s a good segment of translators notes, done as the two translators questioning each other on things. The really nice and amusing extra is a thirteen minute “Opus 2” (i.e. 2nd Japanese release) extra that has the voice actresses for Yukino’s sisters. The two talk about their experiences during their work on the show and a lot of in-jokes that occurred during it. The two certainly laugh and giggle a lot, almost to the point of infectiousness.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
With nearly five months between watching this and the first volume, I had forgotten part of the charm of the series and just how quickly it wraps you up and sucks you in. Within moments of the opening episode, I found myself quickly remembering most of the details of the first volume. That’s actually somewhat rare, considering the amount of shows I see on a weekly basis.

With Arima and Yukinos’ relationship now firmly established, though they’re still coping with that Asaba, they’re finding out some of the repercussions of having such a whirlwind and life altering experience. Of course, this shows up in various forms at school. The first big change comes when they get their scores on their testing, and Yukino falls all the way back to 13, while Arima only falls to 3. With the education system the way it is there (which gets covered in the liner notes), several of the teachers sit down with the two and insist that their relationship must be put on hold. When they refuse, their parents are called in.

During the first volume, I had commented that to really appreciate the show, you had to have been truly madly deeply in love once, to know exactly how these two characters really feel and why it altered their lives. I was rather amused and happy to see that, in watching Yukino’s parents, that there’s an advantage there as well. While my own daughter is still quite young, listening to Yukino’s father talk on his parenting methodology, you find yourself agreeing with a whole lot of it. This added an extra level for myself and my wife, which made the show even deeper. Of course, it was still hilarious when he offered Yukino up for marriage upon meeting Arima’s parents.

Schoolwork’s not their only problem though. With Yukino, she made a very drastic change in who she was when she dropped the façade she had made about being a model student. While this has for the most part been put to the side for their relationship to grow, it comes up very strongly here in regards to the other students. One of the leaders of a particular clique takes advantage of it and starts turning the class against her, to the point where nobody will talk to her anymore. It wasn’t hard to turn them, when they really think about it and see Yukino walking out often with both Arima and Asaba, two boys that nearly everyone confessed to. This new aspect provides some really interesting challenges for Yukino, who approaches it in her own unique way.

Trouble comes for Yukino again when one of their classmates, who’d been out for the year so far and stuck in a hospital, finally comes back. Shibahime is the small cute girl that was close to Arima back in middle school, more so in her mind than in reality to some extent. When she learns that Arima got a girlfriend, something she always figured she’d be, while she was in the hospital, she takes it out in varying levels of vengeance upon Yukino. Some of it is completely nasty while some of it is just simply amusing. It manages to work its way around the entire piece above with the other middle school clique, providing Yukino with plenty of challenges.

With these five episodes, the show simply flew by. There was a whirlwind of things going on, but with its fast pacing and excellent layouts, it was a sheer pleasure to watch. What makes it more enjoyable than a lot of other relationship shows is that the entire chase part of the relationship was relegated to just a few minutes early on in the series, and we get to watch the actual relationship and not the dream of a relationship. That alone makes it more challenging for the writers and the actors, but the payoff is fantastic with each episode.

This is one series I’m looking forward to marathoning when its complete, so I can take it all in. It’s just got that certain something that makes it stand above so many other shows. Highly recommended.

Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Spanish Subtitles,Production Notes,Translation Notes,Character Biographies,Japanese voice actresses interview

Review Equipment
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Panasonic RP-82 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.


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