Kodocha Vol. #05 - Mania.com

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  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: B
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: FUNimation Entertainment, Ltd.
  • MSRP: 29.98
  • Running time: 100
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Kodocha

Kodocha Vol. #05

By Chris Beveridge     March 08, 2006
Release Date: March 07, 2006

Kodocha Vol. #05
© FUNimation Entertainment, Ltd.

What They Say
Misako's book about her life will hit stores tomorrow and the truth about Sana that's been kept under wraps will finally be revealed! How will the world react when they find out about Misako's little white lie? But she'll be shocked by an eye-popper of her own!

And when the much-anticipated scoop on Misako hits the streets, a swarm of reporters pitch tents around the Kurata house. Akito comes to the rescue, saving Sana from the media-frenzy. But will he be able to save her from what will happen next?!

Contains episodes 17-20:
Mother's Book of Surprises
Two Hungry people Playing Hide and Seek
Daughter Cries, Mother Cries
Sana's Super Happy Quiz Show

The Review!
With the arrival of the book by her mother, everything goes crazy as the revelations surprise just about everyone.

For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in its original language of Japanese. The show is listed as being in stereo but it's very much a product of its time and is a very center channel oriented track that's a touch low overall. While I don't have any problems with the track itself, it definitely does feel less full than a lot of other titles of its time and especially against anything more recent. In general however, the dialogue is clean and clear and we didn't have any problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.

* - In the audio selection section, there is an asterisk that's selectable. Loading this up, FUNimation has provided a text screen explaining the audio issues found in the series. This includes the opening song being unavailable as well as bits of audio from the first two episodes and the episode previews. While I do think they could have made it a bit more noticeable, I will completely give them credit for not only talking about it at conventions and online, but making it clear to the other 95% of the buying market (after purchase unfortunately) exactly why the presentation for the audio is off in a few areas. As of this volume the issue is essentially down to the opening sequence being the only thing that's not how it was originally.

Originally airing in 1996, the transfer for this series is presented in its original full frame aspect ratio. The source materials for this series overall look pretty good considering its age and all but it's not completely problem free. With it being done in the traditional animation style, there's a touch more fuzziness around some areas such as the hair but it's very minor. It wasn't all that visible on my 50" set but was more noticeable on the 23" set. The other noticeable issue is that there's a bit of frame jitter during various scene transitions. It doesn't appear during every transition but it's there. The show overall has a slightly soft feel to it which is accentuated by the light color palette used.

The covers continue about the same here in that it's an interesting layout in how minimal it really is with the amount of empty space. The leads are up front and looking good while some mid range shots bring more of the cast in but even with as many characters as there are here, you feel like you see more of that pale blue background than you would on any other series cover. The logo does a nice job of trying to capture the original piece and the color scheme is pretty much as expected. I love that they use Babbit for the volume number for what's apparently being called the "Babbit Box" so you can tell what box the volume belongs in. The back cover is done sideways for most of it with the summary and episode listings being angled like that while the artwork sort of goes across all directions. The discs features, production and technical information fill out the bottom and it's a bit cramped but it's all there and still fairly easy to read depending on how good your eyes are. The colors at least don't clash here. No insert was included with this release.

The main menu is a cute simple static piece with a shot of Sana set against a wavy purplish background as a brief bit of instrumental snappy music plays along. The layout is pretty standard and it's bright and colorful and fits the show nicely but it is pretty simple overall. Access times are nice and fast and the layout easy to navigate. The disc doesn't handle the player presets too well for subtitles since they're unlabeled but it picked up the audio fine. However, with FUNimation titles it's always safer to select via the menu since that will change which angle you view it for the opening and closing sequences.

Following up on what we got in the previous volume, the second part of the interview with Daichi is here and he goes into some interesting details about the show, particularly in how they went about getting the voice actress for Sana. This runs about twelve minutes or so and is definitely a very welcome extra that helps expand on the show a bit.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Kodocha's ridden a lot of waves throughout the first twenty episodes of the series and this volume rides it very much in the emotional way as Sana and her mother deal with the release of the essay that covers Sana's origins. Everyone has some secrets about this that they've kept to themselves over the years while anyone who didn't know is shocked for a number of reasons as it all plays out.

We've seen the bits before about Sana's mother telling little Sana that she was adopted back when she was five but what was kept from those scenes is the way each of them felt about it. For Sana, it was certainly something hard for a five year old to comprehend having happened but also in that she read more into her mothers intent than was there. For the next six years she harbored a fear that her mother was intent on finding Sana's birth mother only so she could send her away at long last and be free of Sana. Of course, Sana's mother has the complete opposite fear in that Sana will finally meet her real mother and then leave her after all these years. Of course, neither talk about their true feelings as they're definitely two peas in a pod and are moer alike than a real mother and daughter could be.

With both mother and child having become famous enough over the last few years, the arrival of the new book has caused a stir to be sure as the pundits claim that she's harming her daughter while the younger set is shocked by it and hope that Sana is all right. Things strike close to home as well as people like Rei can't believe Misako did this to her daughter and that comes out in a surprising war of words between the two. Sana tries to suffer through all of it as best as possible since she's got her own fears about everything, but as expected people tend to forget about what's going on with her but the situation itself. The only one that manages to put Sana first is Hayama who basically kidnaps her and keeps her at his place for a few days so she can get some quiet time and rest a bit while things settle down.

These episodes have a lot of drama to them as everyone deals with what's going on not only in the books arrival but what else it brings to the table. One interesting aspect is the revelation that Kurama makes about his own past to the public in an effort to draw off some of the attention on Sana and her mother. Hayama and Sana have a lot of good quality time together where they're as honest as they usually are when they get to this point but still with plenty of silliness though, particularly in Hayama's attempts to snap her non-existent bra. Hayama's able to bring that smile to her face and overall distraction she needs without realizing it. Something that most people don't realize in fact though I think Misako sees it which is why she keeps letting him come back the way he does. Thankfully, the humor for the show is still very much here even in these very serious and dramatic episodes.

In Summary:
If there's anything to not like about this volume it's that the last episode is basically a recap episode where several of the characters are playing a quiz show regarding the events shown so far. It doesn't do much with this format but what there is, it's quite fun. The recap and lighter aspects of it are fairly welcome though after the way the first three episodes really run you and the characters through the wringer as so much comes to a head and the leads have a lot of emotional issues to grapple with it. These episodes are the culmination of a lot of events in the first twenty episodes and the payoff is strong here as it sets up the show to move forward with new problems and new issues but with much more of a grounding to them now that they've experienced some new hardships of life and growing up. This is great stuff and the kind of show that makes me love anime as much as I do.

Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,Akitaro Daichi Video Interview

Review Equipment
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.


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