Jubei-Chan Vol. #4 - Mania.com



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Info:

  • Audio Rating: A-
  • Video Rating: A
  • 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. #4

By Chris Beveridge     January 09, 2001
Release Date: January 09, 2001


Jubei-Chan Vol. #4
© Bandai Entertainment


What They Say
Jubei's father has only now discovered her secret dual life as master swordsman, but the ultimate test of skill and courage is at hand as Jubei faces off with her final enemy. When 300 hundred years of "the grudge" takes over the body of the one person she loves more than anyone else in the world, can Jubei prevail, or will a new chapter be written in the Yagyu Jubei history books? Don't miss the exciting conclusion to Jubei-Chan the Ninja Girl.

The Review!
The final volume of Jubei-Chan is out and it brings the series to a fast paced and emotional ending. Good stuff barely conveys the content of this disc.

Audio:
Though we listened to the Japanese track for our primary review, we also did a check on the action sequences in the English track as Bandai's 5.1 encoding for it still sounds pretty sweet in those areas, though a bit less full than the Japanese 2.0 track. We didn't notice any dropouts or distortion through the primary review or in the areas we spot checked. There's a bit more directionality through these episodes due to the large number of fight sequences though.

Video:
Barring a few instances of minor rainbows and one section of an annoying one, this is a pretty solid looking transfer and looks really great in a lot of areas. The usually troublesome dark blue night skies are very solid here and the number of dark colors and blacks are wonderfully solid with hardly any breakup at all. There's a number of good fluid sequences that really shine here, again particularly in the action sequences.

Packaging:
The final cover gives a great shot of Jiyu and Koinosuke together with the looming image of Jubei in the background. The back has a couple of nice animation shots and a good summary of the show. Episode numbers and names are also included. The insert has a cover shot and the interior has a cute cast list with pictures.

Menus:
The menus look good but are a bit slow in moving from one area to the next with the midget ninjas that move across the transition screens. We didn't have any real issues with the menu system other than that.

Extras:
There's a couple of nice extras here this time with a full textless ending, which looks like it was pulled from an early episode since the ending music starts in the show itself before breaking to the actual ending animation. There's also a couple of interesting TV advertising spots included as well. Neither extra are subtitled.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The final volume, as mentioned, is fast paced and quite emotional. And in my opinion, the central character is no longer Jiyu. The focus definitely shifts away from her and focuses on her father, Sai.

The show opens with Hajime enjoying his new life and his joining in the daily routine of the Ruffians, though it looks as if he'll end up being the leader at some point! The interactions between the group of four is pretty humorous, especially with "Honest" Hajime and his happy go lucky attitude now that he's free from the Ryujoji curse.

Not everyone else is doing quite as good. Sai is wandering around thinking of Mikage and dwelling on his dead wife, Maro is devastated that Sai is thinking of Mikage, Koinosuke is trying to decide what to do with his life and Shiro... is missing.

As with any show that's seemingly over while there's still three episodes left, there's one more big bad villain that's on the way. And indeed, this is a bad villain. His spirit has lasted for over 300 years since his defeat by the original Jubei Yagyu, and with the lifting of the curse, Daigo Taiko Ryujoji has taken over the body of young Shiro and intends to take Jiyu down and settle it all.

Mikage learns of this early on and after an ill-fated confrontation with this possessed Shiro, she heads off to warn Jiyu. With such a serious wound, she doesn't make it far though and ends up in the hands of Sai.

From this point forward, Sai really becomes the central character. While the events of the past with his wife are in his mind, he takes Mikage back to his house and tries to bind her wounds and help her heal. From there, things begin their fast downward spiral with Shiro showing up and Jiyu finding her father with a bandaged Mikage.

The remainder of the show is pretty tightly written with final battles and emotions running high. The visual change in Sai, especially in the final episode, is pretty intense and very much in character. From the moment he actually realizes Jiyu is Jubei reborn, a very intense personality emerges and acts in ways we haven't seen previously, but work well.

The final episode is quite wrought with emotions and challenges as well as surprises. Things I most certainly didn't expect happened and twists were pretty well done. When we got to the last episode, I wondered how they would wrap it all up in one episode. Then I wondered how it would all be wrapped up in the second half.

At the conclusion, I found it to be an extremely satisfying ending. While the series went in several directions from cute comedy to fast paced action to heart-tugging emotion, it all really came together in the end and the payoff is indeed there.

Highly recommended.

Features
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,TV Spots,Textless Ending

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

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