Miami Guns Vol. #3 - Mania.com



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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: B+
  • Age Rating: 17 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: AN Entertainment
  • MSRP: 29.99
  • Running time: 75
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Miami Guns

Miami Guns Vol. #3

By Chris Beveridge     August 31, 2004
Release Date: September 14, 2004


Miami Guns Vol. #3
© AN Entertainment


What They Say
When partners Yao & Lu are ordered to clean up an island resort paradise, the assignment seems like a reward, until they find themselves stalked by a masked serial killer. They may not be at Camp Crystal Lake, but it's certainly Friday the 13th! Then, while the Miss Miami Contest is designed to crown Miami City's most killer body, killers descend on the competition in droves seeking the bounty on Yao's dead body. But not assassins, survival beauty pageants nor even a giant, lecherous octopus will keep Yao from her rightful crown, or will they? And the final episode on Miami Guns DVD volume 3 pits Yao's gambling skills against a crooked casino and the cosmic hands of karma itself. Add an opportunistic robot and bunny girls to the pot and you can bet that absurdity will ensue.


The Review!
Hitting up a few more genres to parody, Miami Guns continues to hit several right notes and mix the comedy and fanservice well.

Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in its original language of Japanese. The stereo mix is nicely done with some well placed bits of directionality across the forward soundstage. This is also a loud show in that there are a lot of things going on during the program with plenty of music and action sound effects so it's a pretty active mix. Dialogue was clean and clear throughout and we had no problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.

Video:
Originally airing in 2000, Miami Guns is presented here in its original full frame aspect ratio. The transfer for the show is excellent with a really great solid feel to it. The show is very brightly done with a lot of outdoor and bright light sequences and the transfer does a great job of showing solid colors with no breakup. Only a few areas, generally with some camera panning involved, had some aliasing going on around the edges of the characters. Cross coloration was pretty much non-existent and the overall feel of the show is a good mix of the transitional animation that was going on back in 2000. Some of the characters occasionally look a bit too layered on top of the backgrounds but this continues to fairly minimal.

Packaging:
Making good use of the casino episode, this cover looks really good with both Yao and Lu in minimal outfits and looking good in the environment that's filled with rich colors. Having the bunny ears on Lu is a nice touch. Both the front cover and the spine provide the volume number while the back cover has a listing of the episode numbers and titles. There are a couple of small animation shots but a lot of space is given over to the summary and production information. The discs features and technical information is all nice and clearly listed though I'll make my usual push for my beloved grid format. The insert takes on the form of the translation and culture notes. We get four panels overall of notes and information mixed with shots from the back cover and a listing of the shows staff and voice cast.

Menu:
After the new opening animation for the AN Entertainment logo, we're dropped right into the menu as we like it. The menu is a very nice full screen static image of the leads in the foreground using the cover artwork while other cast members line around them. With no animation or anything (even music), the menu layout is simple and easy to navigate with fast access times. The only area that's problematic is the extras menu where they attempt to be cute but having the background image change slightly every time you move to a new selection. This introduces some lag in being able to move about as the image has to load which isn't always as fast as one would hope. During our initial playing of the disc, it read our player defaults for language and subtitle settings.

Extras:
Continuing what we got on the first volume, it's more of the same but with new content inside. The character profiles section is nicely done with some of the main cast members getting their quick bios plus a selection of production artwork related to them. There's also a full production art gallery included at the top level of the extras menu. The best extras continue again in the form of the translation and cultural notes pages, which I believe replicates everything in the booklet. If you can do them in a booklet, you can do them on the disc itself. Usually each company does it different but generally just one way and not both. AN gets major kudos for providing them in both areas.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
With another set of three episodes, Miami Guns continues on its merry way of being a show about a very fictional Miami, one so very removed from reality, that it's getting easier and easier to disassociate it with the real city and locale. We even get a brief glimpse of a map this time around and for the three or four seconds that it's on you realize that they weren't even trying.

The three self-contained episodes on this volume hit a variety of genres and play them up pretty well. Some work better than others depending on what you find funny, or rather, what parodies you find funny based on how familiar you are with the original genre. There's always some basic humor that comes across but there's enough of the more subtle parodies that general fans won't always get. When they start parodying material that goes into the 70's and becomes normal slang, well, I'm afraid they're going to lose me. This makes me appreciate the liner notes all the more.

The first two episodes proved to be pretty entertaining and aspects of the third one had me laughing as well. The opening story goes for the ghosts and murderer parody where a group of campers on some remote island off of Miami were killed years earlier. The island has been set as off limits ever since but people still make their way out there since it's such a beautiful place. Since there have been reports of people showing up again, a detective is sent out and ends up being killed, which results in Lu and Yao heading out there. Amusingly, Yao takes advantage of it by treating it as a vacation and basically going nude on the beach, which has some fun cover-up moments being executed. The show ends up devolving into the murderer returning premise that it's trying to parody and hitting something of a normal investigative episode but there are a number of amusing bits throughout it, usually resulting from Yao's over the top nature. One of the main appeals of this episode is the rampant flesh fanservice and I'll be honest about that.

Mixing the violence and beauty side of things, the Miss Miami contest episode is probably one of the highlights of the series for me. Nagisa returns in this episode and continues her desire to kill Yao. To ensure that she gets her, she puts a ten million dollar bounty on Yao's head at the same time she organizes the Miss Miami contest knowing that it'll draw Yao to it. This keeps her out in the open so that every bounty hunter in the world comes down to try and take a shot, even tempting the Chief at one point to take a shot or two at her for the reward. The Miss Miami contest ends up turning into a variation of a survival course and there's an amusing mixture of scantily clad participants and bullets flying everywhere. Yao's fairly oblivious to all of this for quite awhile and that played out nicely, adding a good bit of humor as everyone struggles to keep her alive when they know they'd be better off without her.

The last episode brings in a ten billion dollar robot into the employ of the police that ends up being partnered with Yao. The robot, which looks like none of the money was spent on design, is an amusing calculating greedy thing that wants to earn money at every turn. This works to Yao's advantage when her father cuts her off of her money for a bit so the two end up at a casino where Lu is working undercover. The show plays up a number of good parodies related to the casino, but this episode just feels week from both the main 'villain' in the casino owner and the robot that's used as the foil to things. There were definitely laughs, and some nice fanservice with Lu in the cocktail waitress outfit, but it just felt flat for a lot of it.

In Summary:
Miami Guns hit its stride relatively early in the series and has worked its way from there. There are definitely a good amount of amusing bits and gags throughout the show and it's an enjoyable way to kill an hour or so, but there hasn't been that one true killer episode that really made everything just fit perfectly. This release will definitely be enjoyable if you've enjoyed the last two, plus this one brings back that little green Al character once more and that alone was worth seeing again.

Features
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Translation notes,Production Art Gallery,Character bios,Clean opening & ending animation sequences

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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