L/R Vol. #3 - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: B+

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: A
  • Packaging Rating: B
  • 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: 75
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: L/R (Licensed by Royal)

L/R Vol. #3

By Chris Beveridge     February 21, 2004
Release Date: March 23, 2004


L/R Vol. #3
© Geneon Entertainment (USA), Inc.


What They Say
A lull in Angel's activities makes active investigation difficult, so L/R gets assigned to retrieve a royal gem before the syndicate can smuggle it out of the country.

Later Rowe attempts to relax and attend the first baseball game played in Ishtar. Unfortunately, he becomes trapped in an aerial tramway being buffeted by high winds with arguing passengers and an old man going into diabetic shock! Later, Jack investigates a connection between DTI's president and L/R's boss, Mister, while Rowe discovers the truth about Angel!

The Review!
With the Fifteen Year Princess now found, other elements to life in Ishtar start coming together.

Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to these episodes their English dubbed format. Both language tracks are presented in a solid stereo mix with some excellent moments of directionality during the varied action sequences. Through regular playback, we had no issues with dropouts or distortions and enjoyed both mixes quite well.

Video:
Originally airing in early 2003, L/R is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and looks nearly flawless. The print used here shows off a great amount of detail, particularly in the dark areas while still having no bleeding or over saturation in the more vibrant areas of the program. Cross coloration is essentially non-existent here and only the slightest bit of aliasing was visible. While the show lacks some of the vibrancy of a lot of other more current shows, this one achieves the intended look beautifully.

Packaging:
Due to this being a preview disc, no packaging was included.

Menu:
There's just something in the style of Nightjar menus that I can figure out which ones are theirs quite easily. The main layout here uses the various colored blocks with shots of characters sliding in and out of them set to music from the show. Since they used the color scheme from the cover, the selection bar was difficult to see since it's a dark purple throughout most of the menus, which was problematic as we kept selecting the wrong items. Selections are accessed along the bottom with fast access times and quick loads to the submenus even with the brief transitional animations.

Extras:
The only extras included in this release are a series of four TV commercials, including the English dialogue one with Japanese subtitles on it.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The previous volume dealt with a lot of the Fifteen Year Princess mysteries, mainly in that she's finally been found and brought back home. The downside to it was that Rowe and Jack had found out that her name in the Ivory Island was also Angel, which has led to them trying to discover if she is indeed the one behind the attacks. Much of it seems to fall into place, but the duo really can't bring themselves to say anything about it.

That's left them still dealing with the Angel case, which is having more side effects, such as the notice of a dead woman from DTI being discovered. This small bit doesn't play out much but it brings resolution to a prior storyline in a strange and simple way, much like life does sometimes. So while still on this case, they get assigned to another case that has them chasing a DTI courier who is looking for some amnesty with the Royal Household by turning over a valuable missing giant emerald stone. He's figuring on being able to give it to them and get passage out of the country with his girlfriend so that they can avoid any future trouble. Since there's always more than meets the eye and they are dealing with Royal property, the Cloud 7 pair get sent in to take over his identity and find out who is really trying to do him in before he can turn over the stone. It's a simple standalone tale, but it works well in mixing in elements from the Angel storyline and the Princess herself.

Much of the next two episodes focus on the Princess and the power struggle that's going on behind the scenes. The regent is continually finding himself at the mercy of the DTI company and its obnoxious president who continually reminds him that it's DTI that deals in the commodity from the Ivory Island, that has built up Ishtar since its discovery and has spent countless amounts of money trying to find the Princess. DTI is heavily interested in securing first broadcast rights of her to the population since there would be huge revenues for the event and are working over the regent quite heavily for it.

The Princess herself is finding life in the Royal Household not all that it should be. Since she was lost so long ago, they're obviously not going to let it happen again, so a lot of time is spent on just protecting her and keeping her safe. So she's gone from the ultimate freedom of movement between her home and Ishtar where she's worked her own agenda to now being kept under lock and key. To make things even worse, she can't see the two people who mean the most to her since Jack and Rowe are still uncertain about her and her links to Angel and the bombings against the DTI interests. Everything fits together, but the two of them don't want to be the ones to out her, and so they continue to look for leads that go elsewhere.

But the politicking, intrigue and behind the scenes maneuvering of public opinion and policy continues unabated and the series takes an interesting shift in that direction with the last episode here focusing on that. If she didn't know she was the Princess and thought she was just someone who was fighting against DTI, she had her own reasons much like most of those who live on the Ivory Island. But how would the people of Ishtar, who have been affected by the bombings, really handle knowing that their Princess was actually a terrorist leader that caused hardship and heartache on her own country? And with DTI pulling so many of the strings, can she be sure to survive long enough to get her point across. It's a surprising change of direction from a series that I didn't expect to go beyond the buddy-cop genre.

In Summary:
This series continues to be just a lot of fun to watch, with great visuals, fun character designs and a great English cast. L/R is one of the rare series that I think works so much better in English than Japanese, and the cast here is building nicely upon what they've done so far. These episodes push towards a set of climaxes to come with the Princess being the central figure and there are a lot of ways it can go. I can't wait to see the next volume, but at the same time, I'm already disappointed that there isn't any more after that.

Features
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,TV Commercials

Review Equipment
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Panasonic RP-82 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player, 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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