His and Her Circumstances Vol. #3 - Mania.com



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Info:

  • 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: 125
  • 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. #3

By Chris Beveridge     January 10, 2003
Release Date: January 28, 2003


His and Her Circumstances Vol. #3
© Nozomi Entertainment


What They Say
It’s the first summer vacation of their high school lives and that means time apart for our two young lovebirds. While Arima is off training hard for the national Kendo Tournament, Yukino is trying hard to just be herself and relax with her first real friends. Unfortunately her sunny days of relaxation come to an abrupt halt when Tsubasa announces she’s running away from home. It seems another woman has invaded her father’s heart and now he wants to marry the harlot against her wishes!

Dragged into the middle of the girl’s family problems, can Yukino help Tsubasa mend the rift with her father, or will she end up losing her new friend?

Contains Episodes 12-16.

The Review!
The series hits the halfway mark but in a way that really irks me to no end, even more so than a lot of other series. That’s right, the dreaded recap episode.

Audio:
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.

Video:
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 are 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.

Packaging:
Similar in style and feel to earlier releases in their style, this volume has a good shot of Kazuma and Tsubasa together with both smiling together. 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. 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.

Menu:
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.

Extras:
The extras continue to have some solid entries here. There are a few new character biographies here, though they’re just one page summaries. The translator’s notes provide a number of interesting tidbits, especially the one about subsidized dating, but the really fun extra here is a twelve-minute interview session with the actors for Asaba and Isawa. They recount their experiences and fun facts of recording the show, memorable moments and difficulties of finding the characters voices. Asaba tends to talk the most, but Isawa gets in a few choice comments.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
As the show spirals into its halfway mark, we get two episodes that spend a lot of time dealing with Tsubasa and her family issues, often as a comparison against Yukino’s family. We also get, later on, an episode that delves into the family history by providing a look at when Yukino’s parents got together.

But between those episodes, we have the dreaded recap episode. The one where things are caught up for those who haven’t paid attention or got into the series late. The recap goes along pretty much as expected, but just to drive that final nail into my brain about it, they make it a two-episode recap. Oh, the convulsions I had!

Thankfully, even with two episodes pretty much useless to me, the remaining three episodes provided a great amount of enjoyment. Tsubasa’s troubles, while drawing attention away from Yukino and Arima, do provide some contrast to how Arima has dealt with some of the same kinds of problems. After getting even more infuriated over her fathers wanting to remarry, which causes Tsubasa to feel like she’s being cast aside as someone who can’t make her father happy, she ends up spending time at Yukino’s.

Her father and potential new stepmother end up coming over though to try and sort things out, and this just provides a ton of humor, especially since he falls under the pretty boy category. Yukino’s father tries to strike a bond right away but his own girls knock him down pretty quickly, letting things get fairly serious for a bit as we learn about Tsubasa’s family past and how each of the them have dealt with things, as well as the reasons for his wanting to remarry.

There’s some very insightful areas throughout this that spread some hints as to how things may progress for Yukino and Arima, but what really worked well was meeting the future mothers own son, a young man the same age as the rest of them but with bleached hair and who has just started fronting a rock band. The relationship that develops between Tsubasa and Kazuma is hilarious, especially after he mistakes her for a grade schooler.

What really won me over in these episodes was the brief but masterful segment where the Miyazawa family was playing Uno. I so love that game and this reminded me about it, never mind how well it brought about something that’s key here – the way the Miyazawa family interacts with each other. You can learn a lot about people by how they play card or board games in a family situation.

After the double episode of recap, we get into a very excellent episode that kicks off with the Miyazawa family going to visit their grandfather on their mothers side. Even after all these years, he still harbors some dislike for his son in law, which provides most of the violence for the episode. This just sets things up for when Yukino’s parents go out to get some groceries that they start to reminisce about their pasts, as both grew up together from a young age before eventually falling in love in their teens. We see this progression and it’s just exactly the kind of storytelling I expect from this show by now. It’s sweet, comical and ultimately heart wrenching.

Even with only three episodes that had new content, this was a great show. The secondary characters here are strong enough to lead their own shows, yet manage to not overshadow the others when they’re all on screen. Given a couple of episodes of their own, they compliment what the main story is all about and help add new accents to it. This was a lot of fun to watch and provided a good deal of laughs, from the subtle to the outright outrageous moments. Very recommended.

Features
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Spanish Subtitles,Translation Notes,Production Notes,Character Bios,Voice Actor Interviews

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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