Mania Grade: A+
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- Audio Rating: A
- Video Rating: A-
- Packaging Rating: A-
- Menus Rating: B
- Extras Rating: N/A
- Age Rating: 14 & Up
- Region: 3 - Southeast Asia
- Released By: Dynamic Video Multi-Media Ltd
- MSRP: 24.95
- Running time: 101
- Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
- Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
- Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
- Series: Jin-Roh
September 30, 2001
Release Date: September 30, 2001
What They Say
© Dynamic Video Multi-Media Ltd
Based on the story and screenplay by Mamoru Oshii (''Patlabor '' films, ''Ghost In The Shell''), and directed by Hiroyuki Okiura who previously worked on both ''Akira'' and ''Ghost In The Shell'' as character designer and animation supervisor, this award-winning action packed film features a tragic tale of a romance between a soldier with a special unit who's suspended from duty and a girl who is losing touch with reality.The Review!
Mamoru Oshii’s importance is significant when it comes to anime. He’s directed or produced several of the most popular titles out there so whenever a new one comes up it gets the attention of every otaku. One of his most recent films is Jin-roh.
Jin-roh has already been released in region 2-Japan. Even though it’s a fully loaded 2 disc set with DTS-sound it still lacks one essential element: English subs. Sure, I could buy the region 2 and watch it with scripts on my computer, but I wouldn’t enjoy the movie the same way I do on my Tv. A R1 release is underway but when? Jin-roh first has to do it’s cinematic run before a dvd can be released. Needless to say my excitement was substantial when I learned that the movie had been released with both DTS-sound and English subs. The 22$ price tag was also substantially lower than the expensive R2-release which costs more than 100$.
I had concerns though. Hong Kong isn’t exactly known for it’s stellar dvd releases so I was a bit worried that the disc might be inferior to the average R1 title. Only one way to find out; gentlemen – start your Visas! I found a site carrying Jin-roh at a reasonable price and ordered it. 5 days later I had it in my hands. Let’s start with the packaging.
This region 3 release of Jin Roh comes in a standard dvd case with a nice front cover not resembling the one on the R2. It’s a lot darker and captures the dark tone of the movie quite nicely. What we have is the silhouette of one of the CAPO soldiers against planet Earth in the background. At the bottom there are some stills from the movie and along the right side of the cover some photos of the Cantonese dub cast. The latter seems a bit out of place and intrusive in regards of the art, but someone told me they were famous people in Hong Kong so it’s probably to sell more discs.
The back cover has some more movie stills, the photos from the front, plot description (in Chinese), and tech specs. The running time of the movie is falsely listed as 125 minutes when in reality it’s only 101 minutes. Subs and soundtracks are also listed here. Inside the case there’s nothing else than the disc. No insert card.
The picture quality of Jin-roh is generally pleasing. For those who haven’t seen the movie I will say that both visually and artistically speaking this is a very dark movie. This results in numerous scenes that have been hard to compress. Luckily Jin-roh fares pretty well with only a couple of scenes suffering from compression artifacts. And these are in no way serious. Looking at the bit rate of the disc you won’t find anything to criticize. An average bit rate of 8mbit/sec and very often topping 9. How many R1 discs are like that? The picture is a bit soft but turning up the sharpness on your Tv should remedy that. Throughout the movie I found no rainbows whatsoever. The Movie’s been anamorphically encoded so those lucky enough to have a widescreen set should be happy. Don’t know whether it’s progressive though. I doubt it. All in all this video can easily compete with R1 anime movies.
Using the words of the late Lord Vader: “Impressive. Most Impressive”. We get three soundtracks. Two Japanese and a Cantonese presented in DTS, DD5.1, and DD2.0 respectively. I listened to the Japanese DD5.1 during my review and it was excellent. Much of the movie is dialogue oriented and all the voices sounded clear. Not to say there’s no action in Jin-roh because there most certainly is. In those scenes I quite enjoyed myself. Outstanding sound effects with some very nice pans every now and then. The music that plays during the opening credits is simply breathtaking. Hajime Mitzoguchi – who worked with Yoko Kanno on the Escaflowne soundtrack – composed the music for Jin-roh and he’s done so perfectly.
Consists of the main menu with the choice of starting the movie and going to the sub/language- enu. Both menus have backgrounds based on the cover art. Text is Chinese but the options are so few that it doesn’t really matter. You’ll quickly find out what the options mean.
This is a great movie so I won’t risk spoiling it for anyone. Let’s just say you wanted to make the fairy tale Little Red Riding Hood into a post WWII political thriller. That probably sounds bizarre but the movie is quite mesmerizing. Fans of Mamoru Oshii’s other works such as Patlabor and Ghost in The Shell will feel right at home. Like the aforementioned Jin-roh can be a bit difficult to follow. Oshii REALLY likes political plots and intrigues and they can be very complicated at times. To fully understand the story would probably take two viewings but I felt the same way about Gits so that’s not a bad thing. Jin-roh is one of those movies that really touches you and makes sure that you become moved by it. Not everyone will like it but those who are unaffected by it will be in the minority.
Differing a bit from R1-releases the subs need mentioning. Each sub line is very short which at first gives you the impression that the sentences are cut off in the middle adding an odd pacing to the subs. But watching more and more of the movie I started listening to the timing of the dialogue and realized that the subs were made to fit the pacing of the dialogue. It needs some adjusting to on behalf of the viewer but it works out reasonably in the end. Being a HK-release you might expect a lot of spelling errors. Far from it. There were of course some but no more than you find on your average R1 disc. Embarrassing translations of expressions were also not to be found. So far everything’s been on the positive side. You knew this wouldn’t last so here goes.
First of all there are no chapter stops. Bummer. This would be acceptable if not for the fact that both the rewind and the “time”-search function have been disabled. This is simply ridiculous. I can’t come up with any reason why you should do that. Fast forward is possible, but watching favourite scenes again is inhibited by this.
For those wondering whether or not it actually IS encoded for region 3 I can tell you right now that it is. I’ve tested it and the R3 label on back cover is to be taken literally. Don’t buy it unless your player is capable of playing discs from this region.
Summing up this release of Jin-roh has some serious flaws but if you can’t wait for the R1 disc – which is unlikely to have DTS – then I won’t discourage you of buying this one. In my opinion the 20-25$ it’ll cost you is well spent. I know I haven’t regretted my purchase.
Fact is, this movie belongs in any serious anime collection. It’s only a matter of how soon you want it.
Japanese DTS 5.1 Language,Japanese DD 5.1 Language,Cantonese DD 2.0 Language,English Subtitles
Akai 28” Tv. Pioneer codefree DV-515 DVD player. B&O Beocenter 8000 stereo. B&O Speakers. S-video standard cable.