Marmalade Boy Collection 2 - Mania.com



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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: A-
  • Packaging Rating: A-
  • Menus Rating: B+
  • Extras Rating: B
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: TOKYOPOP
  • MSRP: 99.99
  • Running time: 475
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Marmalade Boy

Marmalade Boy Collection 2

By Chris Beveridge     November 14, 2004
Release Date: October 26, 2004


Marmalade Boy Collection 2
© TOKYOPOP


What They Say
Miki and Yuu are in the center of a romantic whirlwind - not only are Ginta and Arimi trying to get in the middle of their relationship, new friends and relatives are becoming involved in this muddled mess! With part-time jobs, holiday trips, sports and school activities, are Yuu and Miki too busy to recognize their true feelings for each other? Or will misunderstandings and secrets drive them apart? The drama has never been so delicious!

The Review!
Another quarter of the show makes its way out in DVD form in one collected set and nineteen episodes later we're still hooked and craving more. More. More!

Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in its original language of Japanese.. On our setup, the receiver interpreted the track as a full digital stereo track but this was only noticeable during the opening and ending sequences that did throw material there, causing the songs to sound very full. The actual show itself is much more mono based with just about everything we could notice being center channel based. Dialogue however did sound good and clear and we had no issues with it during regular playback. Occasionally there'd be a few areas where things sounded a bit muffled from some of the characters, particularly if they were offscreen, but it wasn't anything near a problematic level to me.

Video:
Originally airing back in 1994, Marmalade Boy comes across beautifully here. The shows elements are in fantastic condition and the look and feel of the show is captured and maintained in the transfer quite well. The show is fairly standard for what you get from shoujo material of the time with a mix of pastels in the backgrounds and soft areas here and there and then mixes of some bright vibrant colors, though not of the kind we get now in the digital age. The show is relatively free of cross coloration and aliasing; there are some very minor moments here and there but it's pretty insignificant. The most that I could really find fault with is that some of the pastel colored backgrounds looked a bit shifty on occasion, but that's in a lot of shows to begin with. Marmalade Boy looks fantastic on our setup and was a real pleasure to watch.

Packaging:
Originally airing back in 1994, Marmalade Boy comes across beautifully here. The shows elements are in fantastic condition and the look and feel of the show is captured and maintained in the transfer quite well. The show is fairly standard for what you get from shoujo material of the time with a mix of pastels in the backgrounds and soft areas here and there and then mixes of some bright vibrant colors, though not of the kind we get now in the digital age. The show is relatively free of cross coloration and aliasing; there's some very minor moments here and there but it's pretty insignificant. The most that I could really find fault with is that some of the pastel colored backgrounds looked a bit shifty on occasion, but that's in a lot of shows to begin with. Marmalade Boy looks fantastic on our setup and was a real pleasure to watch.

Menu:
With three discs in the set, TOKYOPOP has taken the digipak format and made one of the best-made ones yet. Keeping it in the same style as their manga releases, the solid box has a mixture of photo's on the side panels of the various characters that are shots from the show itself. The spine is done up very simply with just the series name and the numbering on it. Since this isn't a set that would sell much to a casual consumer based on price alone, TOKYOPOP also forwent the standard summaries and other blurbs on the exterior box, leaving it very much a fans style box. The interior package, a standard foldout four panel digipak, is also done up in completely hard material, same as the box. This is something I hadn't seen before this series, and while it does give the whole package some weight, it also feels like you're really getting something good here. The first opening you get has the episode numbers and titles on one side while the rest of the exterior panels have pictures of the cast members done up in the scrapbook style. Opening it up once more, you get the full layout with full character shots of some of the cast and more photos done in the scrapbook style. There's also a pocket that contains the insert that has some translation notes and an interview with one of the creative team. The pocket also contains the newly designed pencil board that was made exclusively for this set, a great image of Ginta and Arimi together.

The only complaint I had with the first release, and it really wasn't a complaint but an observation, was that the pairings and question marks give away some of who ends up with who but found it to be silly until you actually see the show and know who really is who. Never mind that the eye-catches in the show give that away even more clearly. For this release, that sort of method is done away with and we just get the simplicity of a real scrapbook feel and none of the question marks. Great job.

Extras:
The extras are a bit weaker this time around compared to the first one but not by much really. The only on-disc extras that we get are a series of dub outtakes on the first volume, which of course vary by gag with some better than others. The second disc has a couple more pieces. There are some small bios for the main characters that give some of their basic information but also does a nice job of giving some information on their Japanese voice actor and their notable roles. This disc also contains episode commentaries by the English voice actors for episode 27 and episode 30. Your enjoyment of this will vary depending on what you want to get out of a commentary. I made it through the opening sequence before looking for something else to do.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Some of the comments I had made in the first collection of this series were along the lines of how series like this really aren't made anymore. Taking in another nineteen episodes of the show now and I have to continue to have that thought and it's a real shame that the way things have changed over the years. While there are plenty of enjoyable romantic comedies out there these days, they're so much done in the harem style that they're really just playing the same gag over and over.

Marmalade Boy, much like other romantic comedies of its time, doesn't play that method but instead just has fun with a number of relationships that are in constant flux, teens in love and teens trying to understand their own feelings. Some of them are confident about themselves and it shows but others aren't quite so sure and they fall into the jealousy trap very easily. But even more interesting is that we have some characters who have been burned already in their young lives that they're actively making sure to not fall into that same trap – and when they end up causing trouble because of it they actually explain to their partner why they're like they are.

Yeah, that's right. The characters actually continue to talk to each other the deeper the relationships get. This just so goes against the grain of so many shows today that it's simply so refreshing to see them discuss their problems. The rule of the day seems to be that confusion and a lack of communication leads to great drama and comedic moments between potential lovers but some of the best conflict material in shows like these comes from the actual discussions, especially a show like Marmalade Boy where they massage the music into great crescendos as each lets loose with their emotions more and more when confronted about what they've done and how they shouldn't have done certain things.

With as many episodes on here as there are, it's hard to really talk about the show without giving a lot of things away that are best kept as surprises. Especially when a lot of this is just focused on the relationships and the drama therein. As should be obvious though, the main relationship of Miki and Yuu continues to strengthen though not without its problems. As the two of them have made their confessions to each other and been honest with their feelings and pasts where needed, a lot of their problems begin to come from external sources. Miki ends up taking a job at Bobson's ice cream to earn some extra money for a trip she and Yuu are going to take together. The new job brings in some fun new elements but mostly in the form of Kei, a guy a year younger than Miki who has plenty of his own problems but finds himself massively attracted to Miki. Being younger and completely inexperienced, his attempts to steal Miki away from Yuu are amusing but also rather effective at times due to Miki's own inability to be completely upfront about things.

For Yuu's part, he gets into enough trouble himself but is generally more upfront about it with Miki. Thanks to his mothers interference, he spends a good deal of time after school working on a commercial that her company is shooting. The lead actress for it, a hugely popular girl named Suzu that's in the eighth grade, saw his picture and insisted she works with him. She's an amusing character that follows the "cute = vicious" formula in that she likes pretty things and thinks Yuu is pretty and will do whatever she has to in order to get him. This ends up working to her advantage at times after she catches Miki in some awkward situations and her conniving nature that resides just below the ultra-sweet and pure surface is a fun contrast to watch. But even better is the way Yuu treats her, particularly once he catches onto her ways.

As much fun as the main couple are, some of the best material comes from the secondary couples. I love watching the way Satoshi continues to try and woo Meiko while she grapples with her feelings for Namura who is now far, far away and a real estate agent. Satoshi's plenty blunt and overt for a lot of it but there's a core to his personality that just shines through for him. As obvious as he is in wanting her attentions, he backs away each time she refuses him and gives her the space at the time. But he keeps coming back and trying again – but not in the way that's annoying like Tsutomu is with it. The other relationship that is really fun to watch is Ginta and Arimi. Seeing them finally click and move along is one of the real highlights of the show considering how bad you feel for Ginta during the first set. Seeing him get some happiness, though having problems himself since he doesn't want to be as quiet and reserved with her as he was Miki and lose her just the same, are some of the better moments of this set of episodes since it helps bring in some good feeling moments when Miki and Yuu are at their worst.

There is simply so much material here that it's almost criminal, especially if this show is like a drug for you. The stories of people who put in the disc just to watch an episode or two but then chain-watch the entire thing is pretty common. The stories here flow pretty well and we really don't get a long wait between the start of an arc and the conclusion, at least for the basic miscommunications that come into it, and it avoids really drawing on one particular thing for too long. While there's a sizeable cast here, the leads are definitely the stars and they don't want for screentime. I'd almost say the most surprising thing about this show is the relative lack of recap episodes considering we're 38 episodes into the show, but they do so much internal flashback material at the start of each episode that they probably have a hard time justifying doing more.

My only real complaint with the set once more comes down to the subtitling job done with it. For the most part, it's pretty good and there aren't any complaints. But it seems like it always comes back to things like songs that are the problem. Some, if not all, if the in-episode songs aren't subtitled once more. Sometimes this isn't a problem since there's some focused dialogue going on at the same time and I can see the argument for giving the dialogue the focus. But then we have a sequence where Yuu is on stage and fronting a band and singing away but we have no clue what he's singing. And presumably it's got some angle on the show itself since that's the normal way they do these things. It's very disappointing to sit there and listen to a good song but not have a clue what they're saying.

In Summary:
Shows of this vintage and style are the ones that hit me over the head and remind me exactly why I got into anime years and years ago and serve as great refreshers and rejuvenators with today's material. Being reminded by the classics of how good angsty romantic comedies should be done and seeing how they're done today just illustrates how things have changed in Japan and generally not for the better. Marmalade Boy is just pure fun and enjoyment across these episodes and I can't think of one episode where I wished it was over so they'd do something else. There isn't any real filler here, just more and more relationship material that pushes things forward. Marmalade Boy is a show that you can marathon in one sitting and then watching it in small chunks starting the next day and love it just as much.

Features
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Outtakes,Translator Notes,US Voice Actor Commentary Tracks

Review Equipment
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Zenith DVB-318 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player via DVI with upconversion set to 720p, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.

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