Human Crossing Box Set - Mania.com



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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B
  • Video Rating: B-
  • Packaging Rating: C
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: C
  • Age Rating: 16 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Geneon Entertainment (USA), Inc.
  • MSRP: 39.98
  • Running time: 325
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Human Crossing

Human Crossing Box Set

By Jennifer Rocks     August 22, 2007
Release Date: April 17, 2007


Human Crossing Box Set
© Geneon Entertainment (USA), Inc.


What They Say
Families, husbands and wives, lovers and people.

Dramas that emerge from life's human crossroads...

Ordinary people muddle through life and intersect with one another in random ways. Like people walking along road crossings in different directions with no apparent destination in sight. Human Crossing is a realistic portrayal of everyday people in modern Japan with all its beauty and ugliness. In this volume, Human Crossing examines the lives of an eccentric old gentleman who helps a boy from bullies in ""Whispers"", an instructor in a reform school who saves a troubled youth in ""The Instructor's Rain"" and a bar hostess who is accused of stabbing her common law husband in ""The Watershed"". Human Crossing is a collection of short vignettes about hope, a reminder of the small victories one can achieve amid the vicissitudes of life.

The Review!
This slice of life series provides many unexpected views of life with a healthy dose of morality.

Audio:
I primarily watched the show in the original Japanese. The show is heavily focused on dialogue with the music and sound effects used selectively to enhance dramatic moments. Though both the Japanese and English tracks are very clear and without issue, I preferred the Japanese for its warmer sounding dialogue.

Video:
For a series that originally aired in 2003, this is a good looking transfer. There are some issues with artifacting in some scenes that use large areas of solid reds or blues. The show uses a surprising amount of bright and lively colors for the often serious stories.

Packaging:
This collection does not come with a collectible box, which isn't too much of a loss given how relatively unattractive the individual covers are. Each cover has sixteen small images from the episodes arranged in four rows. Though the images from each episode are grouped together, the overall feel is pretty cacophonous. The rows of images are evenly divided by show title. The back of each cover has a nice description of the disc contents, and provides the episode titles with some new images and some recycled from the front cover. The technical information for each disc is rather difficult to find, since it's printed in a miniscule font. The discs each come with an insert that lists the chapter stops for each episode on one side and the additional volumes in the series listed on the reverse.

Menu:
The menu uses images from the opening and closing sequences in an interesting collage style. The Japanese title is featured in large bold font with the much smaller English translation below. The navigation bar is very simple and easy to navigate. Oddly the menu features no music or sound whatsoever.

Extras:
The only extras provided are the creditless opening and closing sequences, as well as the original Japanese credits for both the opening and closing.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Human Crossing is an interesting look into the everyday lives of a wide spectrum of Japanese people. Unlike a lot of the standard slice of life shows, there are no dewy-eyed high school girls or angsty male teens to be found here. These stories are all about adults struggling with adult situations and decisions, and the intended audience is definitely adult. There isn't much here that a younger audience would find appealing.

As a serious drama, Human Crossing is a tough sell, partially due to the episodic format used. In each twenty-five minute stand-alone episode not only do the characters have to be set up and made sympathetic, but the conflict also has to be laid out and then neatly resolved. It's a lot to do in a short amount of time. As you would expect, some episodes are more successful than others. It feels as if the storytelling would have been stronger if some of the stories had been allowed to resolve over the course of two or three episodes, rather than forcing everything into one.

Despite the restrictions of the show format, the stories are certainly different from anything else out there. The glimpses into the lives we are given are very telling of the culture they are from, though they definitely resonate here as well. From the desire of a salaryman to bond with his son, a woman who reconnects with her estranged father, a boy who learns to stand up for his mother against bullies, to a woman who leaves her husband because they have grown apart, many of these stories deal with complex family issues. There are also some interesting glimpses into Japanese female correctional facilities, which provide some of the strongest episodes in the series.

With the exception of the final episode, the stories all come to a very tidy ending with all of the issues nicely resolved and a clear moral driven home. The morals are at times so overwhelmingly present in the stories, it often feels like an old after school special. The morals are largely very simple, ranging from the importance of family to having faith in your fellow man. The final episode really stands out in this regard. It is more morally complex than previous episodes as it deals with issues of abuse and murder.

In Summary:
The series really stands apart from other slice of life shows, with some interesting stories told from really unique vantage points. However, the stand-alone nature of each episode along with the heavy-handed morals made the series hard for me to get into. Human Crossing is perhaps more rewarding if viewed as a cultural study, rather than as pure entertainment.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Audio,English 2.0 Audio,English Subtitles,Creditless Opening,Creditless Ending,Translated Opening Credits,Translated Ending Credits

Review Equipment
Samsung HLN5065WX 50" DLP HDTV, Sony DVP-NS975V Progressive Scan Up Converting DVD player, Pioneer Elite VSX-81TXV DD/DTS receiver, HDMI cable, JBL Multi-Channel Speaker System with 100-Watt Subwoofer.

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