Mania Grade: C
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- Audio Rating: C
- Video Rating: B
- Packaging Rating: B
- Menus Rating: B-
- Extras Rating: N/A
- Age Rating: 18 & Up
- Region: 1 - North America
- Released By: Be Beautiful
- MSRP: 14.98
- Running time: 28
- Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
- Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
- Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
- Series: Kizuna
By Chris Beveridge
October 07, 2005
Release Date: October 11, 2005
What They Say
© Be Beautiful
There’s trouble in paradise when Kei’s volatile half-brother Kai appears on his doorstep…to seduce Ranmaru, the love of Kei’s life! As Ranmaru resists temptation, Kei’s anger builds to a passionate flame. The conflict peaks with the arrival of a mysterious man from Kai’s past. Will Kai forfeit the beautiful Ranmaru and return home with his dashing pursuer, or will the brothers’ love for the same man tear their family apart?The Review!
Another episode in the teasing series that only technically counts as yaoi, Kizuna offers up some more male/male goodness.Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in its original language of Japanese. That also happens to be the only language on this disc. The problem with this audio track is that it's recorded at a very low level, to the point where if you go from one disc to this one, it won't even sound like there is an audio track on it. I had to crank it up pretty far to get it to a normalized level. The show itself is almost all dialogue with a few sound effects here and there, so it's all coming through the center channel.Video:
Originally released in 1994, the transfer for this OVA release is presented in its original full frame aspect ratio. The materials for this look better than the original release from Ariztical a few years back and it even has less grain than that release and the first volume release by Be Beautiful. This release looks much better and in general the colors are good and free of most problems. There's some considerable softness in a lot of scenes but cross coloration and aliasing are both pretty minimal to non-existent.Packaging:
With nothing explicit in the show really the cover is kept pretty tame as well, which is almost surprising in a way, but it has a good set of headshots of the two leads facing away from each other against a wash of shadows. The designs look more current and nicely detailed which gives it a rather fresh feel than something from 1994. The new logo design works nicely and the overall feel of the cover is spot on and attractive. The back cover provides a few shots from the show itself and a small summary paragraph of the premise. The minimal amount of disc details is listed here as well as the usual production information. The reverse side cover, in black and white, has one panel of artwork on the left side that's a replica of the front cover while the other panel has the chapter stops, voice cast and production information.Menu:
Done as a static piece that takes the front cover artwork and plays with it a bit, the image of Ranmaru and Enjyoji is kept strong and in focus while everything else is blurred heavily and zoomed in a bit. The selections are pretty minimal as there are no language choices or extras on the disc so it's a pretty straightforward thing of pop it in and play. Access times are nice and fast and the layout extremely easy to navigate and problem free.Extras:
(please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Having the second episode of Kizuna cleaned up and subtitled properly, well mostly, is a welcome change from the original release as we noted in our look at the first volume a few months prior. With a better looking transfer, more accurate subtitles and a generally snazzier presentation, Kizuna almost looks like it's much more recent OVA than this piece from 1994.
This episode continues to focus on the way the relationships work in this complex situation that both Ranmaru and Enjyoji have found themselves in. While they're still trying to figure things out in their own weird way, their living situation gets thrown off course when Enjyoji's younger brother Kei decides to blow off his responsibilities at the house and to his father and heads to hang out with them. This leads to some fun as Kei is attracted to Ranmaru and his playfulness tends to only upset Enjyoji, but even that's mitigated by the fact that most of the time he sees things going on is when he's completely plastered anyway so he barely remembers any of it.
While the brothers have their issues and Kei is thinking back to how it used to be when he was younger and Enjyoji used to do things for him and be there when he needed him, Ranmaru has his own bit of the past to deal with as his younger sister Yuki has flown in from Hokkaido to visit from friends and takes a bit of time out with him. This is a slightly odd secondary plot in that there really doesn't seem to be much to it and very little really alluded to about it but it's given some strange weight by the way Ranmaru acts about it by keeping it secret. The brothers end up spying on them to find out what's going on but once they realize it's his sister they're completely disinterested.
If there's any issue I have with this release it's that since it is a subtitled only release I want them to go above and beyond in their subtitling since they're dropping the cost of the dub and all associated with it. So many signs, notes and packaging pieces that have text that were part of the show and helped the plot should have been covered as well as just the incidental signs. There's really no excuse for it in a short set like this to get that done.In Summary:
While I can't say Kizuna has grown on me over the years I am glad to finally have a much better presentation than the poor quality thing that was shoved out years ago. The release overall is better in just about every way and with the lowered price, greater availability, it balances out fairly well to getting both episodes on one disc. I'm not keen on this style but at the moment it's not worth really beating them up over since there's still plenty of risk associated with titles like these. Kizuna 2 doesn't really answer anything or push the story forward but it does draw the various men closer together and keeps a nice mix of drama and humor to wrap it all up with.
Japanese 2.0 Language,English Subtitles
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Zenith DVB-318 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player via DVI, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.