Koi Kaze Vol. #2 - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: B+

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: A
  • Packaging Rating: A-
  • Menus Rating: B+
  • Extras Rating: B-
  • Age Rating: 16 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Geneon Entertainment (USA), Inc.
  • MSRP: 29.98
  • Running time: 125
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Koi Kaze

Koi Kaze Vol. #2

By Chris Beveridge     June 14, 2005
Release Date: June 14, 2005


Koi Kaze Vol. #2
© Geneon Entertainment (USA), Inc.


What They Say
Although off to a shaky start, Koshiro and Nanoka are getting used to living under the same roof. Koshiro begins to realize his feelings for Nanoka, even after trying to ignore them. This causes him a great deal of distress. Nanoka, unaware of his feelings for her, asks Koshiro for love advice. Instead of helping Nanoka, he lashes out in jealousy and pushes her away. Even though he treated her harshly, Nanoka can’t stop thinking about how much she likes him. They know what they feel is wrong but their feelings for each other are moving them closer together.

The Review!
The more time the two spend together the more tense things become as each builds up things in their own minds more than the reality is.

Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this series in its original language of Japanese. The stereo mix provided for the show is solid throughout but it isn't exactly a mix that's going to knock anyone's socks off to begin with. Koi Kaze is very dialogue driven show for the most part and there aren't really things like action scenes. There are a few areas where some good directionality comes into play with things like the trains and doors but for the most part it's a center channel based series. We had no problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback of this volume.

Video:
Originally airing in 2004, the transfer for this series is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and is enhanced for anamorphic playback. The series is an interesting one to look at since it's doing a slice of life kind of tale and trying to utilize things such as the seasons and the mood of the sky to influence the characters so it has a very real world feel to its color palette that's shaken up every now and then by some really vibrant pieces that just pop into view. The consistency of the color scheme works really well here and it adds to the atmosphere perfectly. The transfer itself is a real pleasure to watch with it maintaining a very solid feel for the large sections of colors without any blocking or gradient issues. Cross coloration is non-existent and I'm hard pressed to find any serious instances of aliasing during the four episodes here. This just a transfer that's easy to lose yourself in as you take it all in.

Packaging:
Using the same artwork as the Japanese release, this volume has another gorgeous piece of artwork that has Nanoka in her school uniform and wandering the halls with her friends. It's heavy on the soft blues and much like the first volume has a really great feel to it. The back cover keeps the same kind of feel with a few blocked sections and similar colors that provide space for a good number of shots from the show and a summary of the premise as well as episode numbers and titles. The discs technical and production information is all fairly easy to find along the bottom though a touch difficult to read with the color choices used. The insert uses part of the front cover artwork to provide a listing of the chapter listings for the four episodes here while the reverse side lists the planned months of release for the next two volumes.

Menu:
The main menu is a nicely done piece that uses the same kind of artwork and feel as the cover with Nanoka and the cherry blossoms but livens it up a bit more with some of them floating around the menu while a small selection of purple filtered images floats next to her and just above the menu selections. A brief bit of soft instrumental music plays along as well, though it ends in an abrupt way before starting up again instead of fading out to something a bit more seamless. The layout is easy to navigate and problem free when it comes to accessing everything. The disc also correctly read our players' language presets and used them accordingly.

Extras:
The extras are a bit slim but there's at least a couple here. There's a very brief promotional trailer for the show and a series of commercials for it. The main extra would be the textless ending that's included though.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The release of Koi Kaze has been one of the most interesting ones in some time since it's generated such fascinating discussion among people and a lot of it has managed to avoid some of the most base of angles in which to approach it, which has definitely helped. With the first volume, we got a show that I think managed to actually handle the entire scenario quite well and also provided some fascinating and honest looks at people that would still be entirely relevant even if they weren't related. When I come back to the show, that's what I think gets me the most.

For Koishiro, in addition to the entire problem of Nanoka being his sister, there's the simple fact that he's dealing with a love that he believes can never be consummated or even talked about. Many men, especially teenagers, go through this when they find someone they like and can't get out of their heads but are unable to approach in any form. The internal dialogue that goes on is slightly different here because of the situation, but so much of it still remains the same. You can't get her out of your mind, when you do see her everything changes and your mood swings wildly from complete joy at being in her presence to utter despair when you realize you can't be with her how you want. Koishiro goes through this across this volume as he tries to come to grips with his feelings for Nanoka and is often quite unsuccessful, leaving him to be something of an ogre to her.

For Nanoka, we don't get much with her internal dialogue so it's hard to say where she's really coming from. I almost want to say that it's like this because she doesn't really think of Koishiro in that way and is oblivious to what he's going through, which is often the case. With her still relatively recent transfer to the new school, she's still getting used to high school life, dealing with new friends, studies and the kinds of boys that are there. She gains some slight interest in one of them but the way her head works lets her fumble through every conversation with him while another boy professes some interest in her, but simply to have some fun together and with no real commitment. But what ends up becoming the most problematic for her at school is the slowly growing rumor about her having a brother complex. Since she talks about him so often and he's often at the root of whatever her problems are, some people pick up on that and her mannerisms about him and run with it.

One area that's been slow to build but has been fun to watch is the entire office situation for Koishiro. While the co-worker with the sister fetish is incredibly annoying in his own way, I like the way the relationship between Koishiro and Chidori has been built and how the two just seem to feel very comfortable together, whether at work on a project or down the street at a bar throwing a few back. What really was interesting with this set of episodes is that there's one where Nanoka comes to the office at his request to bring some papers he forgot and she waits for him there while he's with a client. Chidori sits down next to her to talk to her a bit and the way the two are so similar is very striking in a scene like this. Chidori has the difference in age and all but in a way I thought she simply came off as a more refined and cleaned up version of Nanoka more than anything else.

There's a lot going on in these five episodes and it all weaves back and forth. There are plot points for each episode but it's all part of the larger tapestry and it all builds on itself so even though there are things covered, it's done in such a smooth way that it continues on even still. Some of the areas are amusing, such as when Nanoka throws out the garbage from Koishiro's room and he blows a gasket over it because it's his trash can full of tissues that he uses and it simply embarrasses him even though she doesn't have a clue. Another area starts to bring us closer to understanding their pasts as we see Koishiro from when Nanoka was born and the way their relationship was in her first few years before their parents divorced. The divorce itself comes up at last and there's a feeling that there is much more to this than they talk about but at the same time I'm hoping it's not something that becomes key to how everything is going to get resolved.

In Summary:
With the kind of mood and atmosphere to this show, this is something that I took in over a couple of nights so that it wasn't quite so overwhelming or too much. The show is highly enjoyable and it's playing serious in an area that's generally off-limits or played for gags (or darkly disturbing adult releases) so it's one that I want to savor. There's such a sense of mood and atmosphere here, a realism and a look at people and places that is often glossed over elsewhere. We've seen run down homes before but they've never had the kind of oomph to them that the artwork here manages to carry through. Koi Kaze continues to be just as enjoyable as the first volume was and the discussion about it and the situation these characters are in continues to be fascinating as well.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,Textless Ending,Promotional Trailer,Commercial Collection

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

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