Jubei Chan 2 Vol. #1 - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: B+

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: A
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Menus Rating: B+
  • Extras Rating: B
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Geneon Entertainment (USA), Inc.
  • MSRP: 29.98
  • Running time: 100
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Jubei-Chan 2

Jubei Chan 2 Vol. #1

By Chris Beveridge     May 05, 2005
Release Date: June 28, 2005


Jubei Chan 2 Vol. #1
© Geneon Entertainment (USA), Inc.


What They Say
When extracurricular school activities call for endless ninja battles, it can only mean that Nanohana, Koinosuke, and a certain mystical eyepatch are back again! Heads are gonna crack, and so will the smiles and laughter in 'Jubei-chan 2', the hilarious sequel to the popular anime series. Anime composer Toshio Masuda (Mahoromatic, Hand Maid May) and 'Fruits Basket' alumni Yui Horie and Ritsuko Okazaki combine their musical talents into a 25-track album, highlighted by fine violin, sax and flute instrumentals and further elevated by their performance on two beautiful theme songs, "Clearing the mind at the break of dawn" and "A calm ~peace of mind~."

The Review!
After a five year hiatus, Jubei-Chan returns in a new series where her lineage is questioned once more.

Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in its original language of Japanese. The series is one you'd initially think of as a mixed piece with some big action pieces that would sound great and then lots of dialogue for the regular moments. But with the way Jubei's life is like, there are tons of active forward soundstage moments throughout the entire show with all the characters running around and being active. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout and we had no problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.

Video:
Originally airing in 2004, the transfer for this show is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and is enhanced for anamorphic playback. Keeping to the same style as the previous series, the materials here look essentially flawless on our setup with lots of great looking solid colors that aren't terribly vibrant but have a good depth to them. The transfer avoids pretty much all the usual kinds of problems that crop up so it's free of aliasing and cross coloration and overall looks very clean and sharp. The background colors maintain a good solid feel without any noticeable blocking. Some areas look a little soft on occasion but it's something that's likely intentional than anything else based on the style of the show.

Packaging:
Using similar artwork to the Japanese release but with a better and more straightforward coloring style, the front cover provides a really good dark illustration of Jubei in transformed mode as her blade is out and it's set against a stark red background. I like the J2 logo that they're using as well since it keeps things simple and just looks good here. The back cover provides a lot of shots from the show set below the listing of the episode numbers and titles. The discs features and technical information is sort of in a grid but it's just below center instead of the bottom but it does keep things close together unlike some other past releases. The insert uses a lot of shots from the show on its top page along with the episode titles and listing of extras and opens up to a full color action shot of Jubei. The back of the insert lists the dates for all the volumes and the soundtrack as well as the basic contact information. The reverse cover is another shot of Jubei in transformed mode as used on one of the Japanese releases.

Menu:
The menu layout is nicely done by the folks at Nightjar where a strip of animation plays through the center and each window is filtered in either blues or purples as some of the good paced action music plays along. Selections are lined along the bottom and it's overall a very vibrant piece that's eye-catching in how it uses the action scenes to draw you in. Doing the top and bottom parts in black only draws the eyes in even more to what's in the center. The layout is easy to navigate and problem free. The disc also correctly read our players' language presets and played accordingly.

Extras:
The opening volume has a couple of extras included here. In an interesting twist, the US trailer is here but they also provide a couple of alternate endings to that trailer as a separate selection where it uses different visual gags. The ending eye-catches to the entire series is kept together as one extra here and we get a couple of screens in a gallery that showcases the Jubei-chan toy figure that's coming out.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
When the original Jubei-chan series came out, we were big fans of it and of then rising star director Akitaro Daichi. He's certainly gone on to produce some interesting shows since then but he's come back to Jubei-chan in 2004 to add more to her story. The way things were left off in the previous series, it was left fairly cut and dried as Jubei-chan had moved beyond the transformations and the attacks to live a normal life. Her guardian from the past, Koinosuke, had left to go on a journey himself and life had returned to normal for just about everyone.

This means that Shiro still hasn't gotten recognition from Jubei, the Lovelies Group is still around and just as weird as ever, Bancho and the two monkey's continue to profess their love for Jubei and her father is still writing but this time for himself. Life is good for Jubei as she's now a third year junior high school student. Her life has gone pretty well since everything was settled and she's acclimated well to not having the powers that she had as well as far less enemies.

That's not going to hold up though as we initially kick off to a flashback in the Siberian region some three hundred years prior when Jubei Yagyu had chased part of the clan all the way up there in order to destroy them. The battle went fiercely on the open fields of ice and snow as the two most powerful members fought against each other but both the enemy clan of Jubei's was lost to the ice. Even worse, the children that were watching, one of them was killed it seems and the other went deep into the ice and froze over.

Thanks to global warming, which is amusingly referenced quite a lot in the early part of the show, the young woman named Freesia escaped from her icy tomb and has come for both revenge and to recapture the Lovely Eye-patch from Jubei as Freesia believes that she's the true daughter of Jubei and therefore the proper heir to all of it. Jubei-chan of course wants nothing to do with this anymore and has cast it off some time ago but with Freesia here now and others coming to fight, she finds that she needs Koinosuke once more to help her. But he's no longer of this world and who she gets instead is rather amusing. As we learn in a bit of exposition, Koinosuke had spent his time wandering the Earth ages ago in search of Jubei but he did settle down for awhile and spawn an offspring. One he told to take on his own important job of ensuring that the right heir gets the Lovely Eye-patch someday. With the call to Koinsosuke out there, his young son has arrived to help her and he's like a pint sized somber version of Koinosuke.

As each of the things gets explored in these first episodes, there's only a few encounters between the transformed Jubei-chan and her new adversary of Freesia in her combat outfit. The two are cute friends together but when they fight it's just like the original series; it's a great looking and very fluid sequence that has a lot of great action to it. The series manages to feel much like the first one though with a good mix of the action and the weird comedy. The characters are all slightly older and there isn't a huge amount of time spent in covering things from the first series outside of a short recap of sorts. The characters do get well introduced here but you can tell there's some history to them that's not been covered. Having been a fan of the original, getting into this was like returning to an old friend to find they've changed just a little but are otherwise just as much fun as always.

In Summary:
Being a fan of the original and of Daichi, I'm definitely excited to see the two come back together and to find a way to tell another tale that doesn't feel like a complete overstretch of what could be done. There's a slight difference in the animation that comes from newer technologies with which to do it but in general it just feels a bit more slick and polished than the original and with a bit more focus on the serious side rather than the wildly wacky that we got from the original. It's all still there but the weight has shifted a bit I think. This opening set of episodes paves the way for what's to come and I can't wait to get more Yagyu clan action.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,US Trailer with Alternate Endings,Ending Eye-Catches, Action Figure Gallery

Review Equipment
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Zenith DVB-318 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player via DVI with upconversion set to 720p, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.

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