Jubei-Chan Vol. #2 - Mania.com



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Info:

  • Audio Rating: A-
  • Video Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: A-
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: B-
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Bandai Entertainment
  • MSRP: 29.99
  • Running time: 75
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Jubei-Chan

Jubei-Chan Vol. #2

By Chris Beveridge     October 03, 2000
Release Date: October 03, 2000


Jubei-Chan Vol. #2
© Bandai Entertainment


What They Say
The Legend of Yagyu Jubei continues as the reluctant Jiyu Nanohana comes to terms with her dual identity as a normal junior high student and the reincarnation of legendary warrior Yagyu Jubei. Now, Jubei must fight even more deadly assassins, including one who bears more than a passing resemblance to her late mother! Action and comedy collide in this outrageous series! A unique brand of slapstick, story, and blazing martial arts action.

The Review!
With this second set of episodes, Jubei-chan takes a bit of a turn in style and substance over the first volume. Not that it's really hard to imagine a change as the show has been sort of all over the map to begin with.

Once again, I'm really torn between soundtracks. The Japanese track is in its original 2.0 format and sounds solid though there's not a lot of directionality throughout it. The English track being in 5.1 though sounds much more distinct. I'm not really sure if it's just somewhat jacked up audio levels though or just the better discrete nature of the encoding. The part where I get torn is that I like the sound effects and music in the 5.1 format but really don't care much for the dub. There's just too much stilted dialogue throughout it. I ended up flipping back and forth between the action sequences to get the best of both worlds in the end.

On the video side, things look pretty good throughout the first two episodes. There's some rainbows here and there and some visible pixellation and artifacting in one or two areas. There's also some noticeable print nicks in a few scenes, but those were pretty hard to spot for the most part. The third episode is a bit more of a downturn with the pixellation aspect. During the final fight sequence, you could see it a lot around Jubei's eye-patch when she was standing still and in the sumo ring around her. Colors throughout are spot on with pretty great results. Flesh tones look very good and the very vibrant areas, such as the transformation sequences, look wonderful. There's a good amount of fluidity in the actual duel segments and they looked great.

The first question I was asked when I mentioned that I got in this disc was, is the side of the package silver like the first? Thankfully, yes it is. You know you're an hardcore collector when the side of the packages matching is important to you. The front cover has some great colors and poses of the two main characters (Jiyu and Jubei) while the back offers up the usual summary and the episode listings (episode # and title). The only thing I noticed missing was the age rating on this one. The two page insert is also pretty slick with the cover art reproduced and a spread about the ruffians, including a hint about a mysterious 4th member who appears later in the series.

The menu system is identical to the first volume, which means they're working on the "ain't broken, nothing to fix" mindset on it. Either that or a tight schedule. The menus look good but are a bit slow in moving from one area to the next with the weird creatures that move across the transition screens. We didn't have any real issues with the menu system other than that.

The only real extra is an amusing frame advance sequence where Bantaro of the ruffians shares his dating tips with images from the show so far. I was amused to see that they used the scene of Jubei's father licking Koinosuke.

As mentioned earlier, things do take a bit of a turn in direction with these episodes. While the first disc wasn't a light hearted romp or anything, things get decidedly darker with a few sequences here.

The Enemy Brought a Memory with Them brings in a husband and wife team to try and take out Jubei at Hajime's behest. Jubei and her father head out for some time alone, leaving Koinosuke in charge of the house. This is when the wife of the team shows up and worms her way into the house. Koinosuke proves yet again just how little he knows about the modern day world, though he does have some great lines and there's some cute sequences between the two. Jubei and her fathers meeting with her friends was also pretty amusing, with one of the girls hitting on him pretty well.

Where things take a darker turn is awhile later when Jubei returns home to find the woman has knocked out both Koinosuke and her father. The ensuing encounter between the two is pretty surprising to me based on the tone of the show so far, though things turn out okay in the end.

My Next Enemy is Yesterday's Ally is a change in things as well as there's no villain of the week that's fought. When the encounter comes, Jubei does the cute thing of simply asking some questions to try and get to the bottom of those whole situation about them trying to kill her. Things are also expanded in the relationship between Shiro and Hajime as Shiro discovers the weak point Jubei has in her fighting style.

This all leads into She Had Grasped the Secret Before She Knew It! It kicks off with a fun little fight between Jubei and a group of black clad assassins. Koinosuke, having now figured out how to deal with Jubei's weakness, comes up with a cunning plan to help her train to defend it. The whole sequence with her new attire from that was hilarious.

As with the first episode, things take a much darker turn at the end of this episode with two rather intense fight sequences. The animation for both of these looked great overall with a lot of fluidity to the animation.

As with the first disc, this is where my real problem with the show lays. It's really torn between two styles that would be better suited as separate series. The mix of the two has left me at odds with what I want to see next. Do I want more scenes with Koinosuke and Jubei (or Koinosuke at Jubei Yagyu's grave dancing) or do I want more of the transformed Jubei-chan battling the enemy.

With the cliffhanger ending of the third episode here, all I really know is that I want the next disc.

Features
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Bantaro's Dating Tips

Review Equipment
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Pioneer 414 codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster gold plated component cables and Sony speakers.

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