His and Her Circumstances Vol. #4 - 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: 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. #4

By Chris Beveridge     May 16, 2003
Release Date: June 24, 2003


His and Her Circumstances Vol. #4
© Nozomi Entertainment


What They Say
Summer might be ending, but things between Arima and Yukino are just heating up! While Arima's prolonged summer absence gives Yukino some time to think about their relationship, she's still left in doubt. Does she really love him? Meanwhile, Arima's thinking about taking the relationship to the next level. But will Yukino feel the same way?

Then it's time for the Culture Fest! It sounds rather boring to Yukino until she discovers it's a competition with class notes up for grabs. Now Yukino is determined to win, but can she stand up against Class F's secret weapon? And there's a new mystery man in school with some diabolical plans in store for Tsubaki! Who is he and what does he want with Tsubaki?

Contains Episodes 17-21.

The Review!
The joys and pains of relationships continue as Souichiro continues to be away at the Nationals while Yukino learns just how strongly she feels about him.

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. Some sequences are also fairly grainy at times, and there’s some “film” effects used in many places to give things an aged feel. 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:
New character Tonma gets to share this volumes cover with Tsubaki as the two play some basketball and provide some nice energetic looking images of youth. 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:
There’s some good extras this round. The first is the continuation of the biography section with three more characters getting some discussion. The translators notes goes over several more pages of interesting cultural bits; I was particularly interested in the entire “ok/coin” piece and the link to the Buddha with that. The nice big extra here is the Japanese interview with voice actors for Yukino and Arima during the shows initial release to home video, with the volume they’re talking about now also getting a DVD release. Both of these actors have quite a bit to say and really get into playing off of each other.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
His & Her Circumstances continues to be a highly enjoyable show, but one that is just very hard to really sit down and describe what makes it work outside of just saying that it’s all about the relationship.

So much of what makes this show click, for me especially, is in the little quirks and oddities that show up throughout the show. While the relationship does have its appeal and fun to it, I’ll admit to being somewhat of an old curmudgeon and let my own life/romantic experiences to interfere enough to find it amusing at just how to the extreme they often go over the smallest matters. Having done that myself in my youth, but refraining from it in my more recent years, it has a nostalgic feel for me.

But it’s the quirks in the show and the shows style that continue to appeal the most. Any moment with Peropero is priceless. A simple sequence of Yukino sitting on a hillside and having that little dog roll around on its back sends me into fits. The recap moments where we again see Yukino’s father explode during their visit to her grandparents cracks me up. The parents in this show are also quite priceless and add a lot, though they need more screentime.

Then there’s the shows visual quirks with how it’s presented. While we get plenty of traditional animation, there’s all the photograph shots that are altered up a bit to provide a mix or a scene change. There’s a segment on this volume where they go into the whole paper puppet route which is cute. This ends up leading into a rougher almost South Park-like piece where the number of frames drops even further and it looks like they were drawn up on school report paper. To me, this is an interesting way to present the characters lives, especially with the relevance of school paper and their own time in school. Even if it is just a trick to save time and money. I think it works out nicely.

The storylines for these particular episodes are fun and enjoyable as well. The early area, when it’s not dealing with yet another mini-recap of the series to date, has some good moments where Yukino has to continue dealing with the fact that Souichiro is away, even though they talk to each other daily it turns out. Yukino even starts to go as far as looking into a new club or two to join, something that might bring her to the same area as where Souichiro is. Time spent apart for these two is definitely difficult, especially with it being their first love and having only really cemented parts of the relationship before the break.

But, as expected, Souichiro does indeed return from the Nationals, but their relationship doesn’t have the same feel to it at the moment. Both are excited to be with each other again, but Yukino now finds herself overwhelmed by the emotions that she feels that she’s hesitant to even touch Souichiro for fear of what might happen. While this tension plays over a few episodes, there’s some great moments as the two get closer and closer. During one instance where they’re both alone at Souichiro’s house, he makes clear his intention to make love to her some day.

His lines for this are perfect. His upfront honesty works well too. More men would be better off following his lead, even if it leads to the big bad “no”.

Yukino’s reactions are hilarious though as she tries to counter with a chuckle and more smacking and kicking him around, but this does set off a chain of events that leads to something much more than they’ve gone through before. As of this writing, there is a debate over a particular segment in the episode where the two get much closer than before, as the Japanese release has a few more frames worth of near-naked "naughtiness" than this release. It may be another case of TV vs. HomeVideo release, but at this time all we have learned is that these masters are exactly as provided by the Japanese and Right Stuf did not edit them. Not knowing this myself until well after watching the disc, it had zero impact on my enjoyment of the show.

While the zaniness may be down a bit from the initial volumes, the show really plunges forward nicely in going through the extremes that a youthful relationship can and usually does go through. Both the leads continue to be fun and interesting with plenty of superficiality as well as some good exploration of the darker interiors that really make them who they are. But frankly, it’s all about Peropero for me. That pup rules.

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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