Le Chevalier D'Eon Vol. #5 - Mania.com

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  • Audio Rating: A-
  • Video Rating: A-
  • Packaging Rating: A-
  • Menus Rating: B+
  • Extras Rating: B
  • Age Rating: TV 14
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: ADV Films
  • MSRP: 29.98
  • Running time: 100
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Le Chevalier d'Eon

Le Chevalier D'Eon Vol. #5

By Chris Beveridge     October 16, 2007
Release Date: October 23, 2007

Le Chevalier D'Eon Vol. #5
© ADV Films

What They Say
The tables are turning. On everyone. Rumors of war whisper across the continent. And the machinations of two monarchies increase their sway over spies, swordsmen and spirits. For d’Eon, it means that one very close to him will betray him. For his sister Lia, it means her spirit will strike with an even greater vengeance to punish those responsible for killing someone very close to her. And as a dark cadre of evil priests pray for even greater continental power, one of the Four Musketeers will fall victim to the most grisly curse of all. Don’t miss the most critically acclaimed anime of the year!

The Review!
Facing off against Dashwood at last and finally within the presence of the Palms, d'Eon and the others find the situation darker and more involved than it ever seemed before.

For our primary viewing session, we listened to this series in its original language of Japanese. Both language tracks are done in a 5.1 mix at 448 kbps and sound quite expansive throughout. Dialogue is well placed along the forward soundstage with crisp distinction and the swordplay comes across strongly as well. The series has a lot of quiet moments to it, much of it taking place at night or in dark dank places, which works well with both the echoes that it sometimes creates as well as the way the nights feel so empty. This is a very good sounding mix across the board that's free of dropouts and distortions.

Originally airing in 2006, the transfer for this series is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and is enhanced for anamorphic playback. Production I.G. has managed another great looking show here and the transfer for the most part deals with it well though not without some minor problems. The series in general has a very good solid feel to it with little in the way of noticeable break-up or background noise. This is quite good since the show has a lot of night time scenes as well as the dark gray alleys and buildings of the time, both of which are areas that traditionally look noisy. Colors look good and the few truly vibrant ones really stand out when they come into play. Where the problems tend to show, and I believe this is more of a limitation of both DVD and the source, is that the CG areas tend to have more of a shimmer to them when there are panning motions. This shows up in some character animation as well once in awhile though it is far less noticeable. With the show averaging around 7 mbps and two 5.1 soundtracks encoded at the upper realm, this looks good overall.

Le Chevalier d'Eon continues the way ADV Films is choosing to market their titles in terms of packaging. Unlike the first three volumes, this cover isn't embossed and has changed from the book design to one featuring character artwork of Lia in her dress. It still maintains the overall design elements but it feels cheaper than what we were getting before and this late in the series release conveys a message that the show simply isn't selling like it was hoped for. The back of the slipcover works in much the same way but without the embossing. The center portion features the summary of the shows premise and a very clear listing of the discs features. Due to the way it's laid out there isn't a technical grid here but it's set up well enough that you can find the information without hunting around too much.

With the keepcase, the front cover uses the Japanese cover artwork but zoomed in slightly. The other change is that the white background is now black which gives it a much darker and more serious feel than the Japanese cover. Unlike other releases from other publishers, the back cover here doesn't mirror the slipcover back side but instead provides four strips of shots from each of the episodes and a fuller listed of the production credits. The technical grid doesn't show here either but it's laid out similar to the slipcover but with a bit more space to work with. Also included with this release is a very slick and informative booklet which covers character designs and details, an interview with Robin's Japanese voice actor, a partial script as well as a breakdown of the ending sequence animation.

The design for the menus works out well in a somewhat understated way as it has the interior wall of some building where the top portion is old and stained while the bottom is more ornate. The top portion has an elaborate frame in the center through which various character shots in painted form rotate through while the bottom portion has the episode selection and other navigation. Overlaid on top of it are some flickering flames and pieces of wood falling from the ceiling which when combined with the somber instrumental music truly sets a good mood. Access times are nice and fast and the layout works quite well for what's here. The player language presets weren’t an issue with our Panasonic player but it defaulted to English language with sign/song subtitles on our PlayStation 3 when we checked out some of the technical bits.

The extras for this volume are somewhat standard but solid. The historical notes once again convey a good deal of information and some of the liberties taken and there's also the inclusion of the clean opening and closing sequences.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Le Chevalier d'Eon gets ever closer to the finale and it only seems to get more fascinating as it plays out. With the scope of the cast and relations, this is a series that will excel when viewed in collected form since there is so much going on and the political interactions can become lost between longer viewings. Events of this volume build up to some interesting crescendos, but are still more of a transitional set of episodes more than anything else.

Watching as this plays out, it's interesting to see that d'Eon and the others spend more of their time chasing events rather than controlling the situation. With their station in life it isn't too surprising but it shows exactly how they have to deal with the situation as the power players in religion and politics manipulate everything. The chasing does get the group somewhere though as they do catch up to Dashwood at long last. This only comes after his confrontation with Robespierre however in which we see just what kind of plan he has for the Royal Psalms. This book has been the cause of much anxiety, grief and suffering that to see Robespierre finally bring it before Dashwood and then attempt to turn the tables on him is highly engaging. He's always had a different plan than what has been given to him but it was just a matter of when he'd unveil it for others to see.

With these episodes coming across more as transitional pieces to the storyline in order to set things up for the finale, much of what is done here are things that move characters around or remove them entirely. With the book falling into d'Eon's hands, those who seek it the most are anxious to get it back. Yet the larger scope of things shows that some of those in England aren't even giving it much thought as the issue of the New World is far larger in their minds. While everyone is whispering that war is coming, events are moving in a way that will turn that idea on its head. Louis himself has some interesting thoughts on the relationship between the two countries and how America itself will play a role in things as time progresses.

As much as the big action scenes are fun to watch and alter the course of events, it's the smaller character moments that really shine. With Durand out of prison now, we see him figuring out a way to deal with his order of having to kill his three comrades. This has put him on a difficult path as his loyalty to the king is near paramount but his friends are equally important to him due to the time spent on the journey. His methods aren't all that different from before as he doesn't see all the avenues that could happen, but he works in his own way to ensure their survival. Most heartwarming is the way he interacts with Robin about the future when Robin catches him handling the Royal Psalms in the middle of the night. His words are obvious on two fronts about his own future but it's something that Robin simply wouldn't realize quickly.

Some of the most fascinating moments however come from the inferences that Queen Mary had made about her and her sister since they bonded like this. d'Eon is obviously concerned about his own future to some extent with Lia as a part of him but he's still living more in the moment. Mary's position on it and how she's handling it certainly speaks of her elegance and beliefs on the subject but d'Eon is still more unstable about all of it, particularly since Lia tends to take over to handling certain aspects of killing. What little Mary tells d'Eon about her experiences, as well as what she believes Lia is really searching for, gives him plenty of food for thought. Unfortunately, as his life seems to go, there's never enough time to think about it and when he does it focuses more on her death as images continue to seep into his mind.

In Summary:
Le Chevalier d'Eon progresses smoothly with this volume and shakes things up considerably as characters are repositioned – or removed entirely – as the finale gets ever closer. Events have been moving forward on both a large and small scale and the character interactions are being toyed with by the large scale events. The most interesting aspect is how the colonization aspect of England and France comes into play with regards to the relationship between the two countries. Each have had such varied relations with each other over the centuries that something as sizeable as the New World can certainly change perceptions. When it comes to the core of the series however, the characters continue to shine as they move about the real world personalities and events that shape the world. Very entertaining, engaging and worth checking out.

Japanese 5.1 Language,English 5.1 Language,English Subtitles,Historical Notes,Clean Opening,Clean Closing

Review Equipment
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Sony PlayStation 3 Blu-ray player via HDMI -> DVI with upconversion set to 1080i, 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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