Miami Guns Vol. #4 - 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: 29.98
  • Running time: 75
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Miami Guns

Miami Guns Vol. #4

By Chris Beveridge     October 08, 2004
Release Date: October 26, 2004


Miami Guns Vol. #4
© AN Entertainment


What They Say
Loose ends (and a scantily clad Yao) get tied up when the revenge seeking Nagisa Tojo springs her ultimate trap on her unsuspecting arch rival. It's a battle of Yao's ignorance versus Nagisa's bloodlust in a story of loyalty, trust, betrayal and friendship that tears the Miami Guns apart. But the duty bound Lu Amano and the vengeance seeking vigilante Yao Sakurakouji find themselves working together again when a vicious terrorist organization takes the Miami Police and Yao and Lu's fathers hostage, threatening to destroy all of Miami City. The Organization had better be prepared, because two violence prone police ladies, a mysterious lone gunman, a pair of gay lovers and a hyper intelligent alligator are a force to be reckoned with!


The Review!
Bringing the series to its conclusion, the final episodes of Miami Guns continues on much as it has with more comedy, fanservice and general weirdness.

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:
In probably one of the racier covers for the series, we get an amusing shot of Yao naked in bed while Al stands in the right place but with her panties in his little clawed fingers. It's a cute cover and definitely nice to see something so overt yet cute at the same time. 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:
The extras for the final volume diverge from the past few volumes in what's here. First, there's an amusing interview with the two lead voice actresses and the series director done after the series ended where they cover a few things but also just act silly quite a bit. It runs about seventeen minutes, which may be a bit too long since it's somewhat heavy on the fluff, but it's cute. The production gallery has more of the usual pieces of artwork that we've seen in past volume. A music video is also included in this release which uses animation from throughout the entire series. Still, the best extra on this release continues to be the translation notes that go over the jokes and other details that sometimes get lost or are hard to explain within the flow of the show.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
With the last three episodes of the series, Miami Guns goes into a mini-arc mode and runs through the storyline that's been hinted at in parts about the real overlord of the town and who runs the crime syndicate that keeps everyone under control. Since we've had aspects of it in earlier episodes to varying degrees, usually in the form of someone being in the organization and doing something related to it, it's not a big surprise to see it be as prominent as it is here.

Since the character that's had the most to do with it has been Nagisa, it's an obvious choice that she's used to kick things off with it by having her try and lure Yao in and eliminate her since she's proving to be so dangerous to the organization. Her luck tends to cause far too many problems for some and annoyances to others. Such as when she arrests someone who spanks her on the ass and he turns out to be some criminal who just got out of jail and is already falling to his evil ways. It's a strange gift to have to be sure.

Using a number of convicts who had just escaped from prison, some we know in fact, Nagisa sets up the trap to capture Yao and get her out of the way. Lu's always been suspicious to say the least so when Yao does get captured and doesn't believe that Nagisa is involved, Lu's there to save the day but not without making sure that Yao knows the truth. There's some interesting minor movements among the organization in dealing with what's happened to Nagisa and what they want her to do next but it's all just to set the stage for Yao going rogue and wanting to make sure that there's some good left in the world by eliminating the big evil.

The show takes on a bit of a "die hard" feel to it as Yao works with Julio and Al, though not before he tries to put a few moves on her, as they take on the organization that's making its big move on board a cruise ship where lots of the important people from around the world are meeting at. The three part story presents plenty of action into the show and the storyline works well across all of it as it keeps the humor from previous episodes but not quite as many in-jokes and the like. Though the ending is pretty straightforward it does a good job with bringing a conclusion to the series while still keeping things plenty open for more to happen.

Overall, Miami Guns was a fairly fun series that started out pretty strong but got a bit weak in the middle with some of the comedy and situations. The show quickly proved that it really had nothing to do with any form of Miami in any way other than just a name to use that would give an air of exoticness but that didn't really work against it since it wasn't trying to be realistic in any way. There were some great riffs and in-jokes early on and scattered throughout but it seems to have lost its balance after the first couple of episodes and ended up in a traditional over the top sorta-buddy cop show.

In Summary:
The final volume brings the series to a close in a decent enough way while still keeping some of the humor to it since they focus a bit more on the action and plot to tie a number of things together. For the most part it works well and it's an enjoyable romp that lets the characters do what they do best. The series ended up becoming less of a show about the two leads but more about Yao I think and a lot of the level of enjoyment of the series will depend on how much you like Yao. Not that Lu brought all that much beyond a deadpan look and brains to the pair but it was a balance to Yao's over the top nature. Miami Guns definitely fits the mold of a fun short series that's easy to breeze in and out of that won't tax your brains and will just feed your various action and fanservice needs.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,Liner and translation notes,Production art gallery,Exclusive Japanese promotional Miami Guns anime music video, Interview with Miami Guns director Yoshitaka Koyama and original voice actresses Megumi Toyoguchi and Yukari Tamura

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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