Moeyo Ken TV 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: TV PG
  • 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: Moeyo Ken

Moeyo Ken TV Vol. #3

By Chris Beveridge     June 13, 2007
Release Date: May 29, 2007


Moeyo Ken TV Vol. #3
© ADV Films


What They Say
Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned and the Mobile Shinsengumi is about to discover just how hot it can get! From the scheming wiles of their nemesis the wicked Tsubamegumi squad, to a suave spirit-sucking vampire from the West, never have the stakes been so high! Will they triumph, or will their last battle leave no survivors? Join Yuuko Kondou, Toshie Hijikata, and Kaoru Okita for the pulse pounding finale as the Mobile Shinsengumi risk everything in cataclysmic combat for the heart and soul of team member Ryuunosuke!


The Review!
Shoehorning in an actual multi episode plot towards the end that puts the group into a make or break mode, Moeyo Ken serves up four more episodes of mediocrity.

Audio:
With two audio tracks, ADV Films has the basics set for this release but nothing really provides a thrill. Providing both tracks in a 2.0 mix, the English and Japanese tracks are solid but there isn't much else to them. We listened to the show primarily in Japanese and it was solid but without much real flair to it. Dialogue was well placed and the action sequences have enough sense of directionality about them but it's a fairly typical mix for a show of this nature. We did listen to the English 2.0 mix as well and had essentially the same kind of sense about it. On both language tracks we didn't notice any dropouts or distortions during regular playback.

Video:
Originally airing 2005, the transfer for this TV series is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and is enhanced for anamorphic playback. In general, the show tends to lack a lot of fine detail to it so the designs and animation is simple in that it has large areas of colors. The lack of detail isn't a problem as it works for the show and it makes for an easier authoring job with less problems. Colors look good throughout without much in the way of noticeable noise or compression artifacts though some backgrounds do look a touch soft and fuzzy at times. Colors are vibrant and most of the problematic areas like hair tend to maintain a solid feel. Aliasing and cross coloration are very minimal with only a touch of either showing up, often around faces during some of the mid range shots, but only very briefly.

Packaging:
The design for this release is pretty good as it gives it something of a historical feel with the kind of background used. The central image of the cover is the three main women along with Ryuunosuke in a standard but good looking group shot" With their color design, the orange background with the artwork of that period fits in very well and is well complemented by the logo that's used. The front cover won't stand out among some of the better ones out there but it works for the show and certainly can catch your eye. The back cover makes out a bit better than previous volumes as the black text for the summary, production and technical information works well against the orange background artwork. A number of shots from the show are included and some promotional artwork which helps to show off the series female characters but reading the summary isn't easy, especially under an overheard lighting in a retail store. No reverse side cover is included nor is there an insert.

Menu:
After a few menus from recent series showing some return to the better designs and animation of a year or two ago, Moeyo Ken's menu is surprisingly bland. If it wasn't for the nice border given to it, you'd almost think it was from the ADV Kids line as it's just a basic image with the episode numbers and other selections down in a strip alongside the character designs. The artwork and design looks good but it has something of a weak effort feel to it. Access times are nice and fast however and top level episode access is a plus. The disc also correctly read our players' language presets and played accordingly.

Extras:
The extras side of things make out fairly well here with a couple of nice surprises. The tradition of including a clean opening and closing continues here which is good to see and there are some production sketches as well. Similar to the previous volume is an interview with the Japanese voice actors. The difference this time around is that it's not a text interview like the previous volume but rather a roundtable discussion. This actually runs for nearly thirty minutes and provides a lot of material for fans of these actresses. For English language fans, a commentary track is included with the ADR director and two of the voice actresses.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The final installment of the Moeyo Ken TV series brings the pain of mediocrity to an end with four episodes. Having survived the OVA series and now this TV series, my interest in anything by Ohji Hiroi is complete nil. These last four episodes are so unmemorable that once the credits roll on the last episode, I'll be damned if I can remember anything about what I just watched. That of course meant that it needed to be watched again in order to talk about it.

Before the series can properly finish up, and by finish up we mean provide a story that looks like it's all going to change before it resets back to normal, we get a pair of episodes that play to the standalone variety. The main theme that's been running through the series outside of the wacky situations is Okita's love for Ryuunosuke. Her angst over her interest in him due to his not liking monsters is continuous and pretty much a one-note issue. It gets expanded a bit the more we get to know her and her origins as well as his reasons for not liking monsters but in general it's a dull subplot that takes up a lot of time overall. Things start to come to a head when the Tsubame Group puts thoughts in her head that she doesn't really belong with the Mobile Shinsengumi when she's on an investigation with Ryuunosuke but with the episodic nature of the show it doesn't take much to see how it will play out.

Where Moeyo Ken tries to be a bit more is in the last two episodes with the arrival of Count Montague from across the ocean. The Count has his own plans in mind for what to do in Japan and he's using the Tsubame Group as his pawns for it. His arrival is timed just after the arrival of Lan Lan, a completely annoying character who is actually Ryuunosuke's Chinese fiancée. Not quite as annoying as Shampoo from Ranma ½ nor as cute as Shampoo, she's come to Kyoto to find her missing Ryuunosuke. Lan Lan brings some mild baggage with her but it's entirely forgettable as is the apparent non-romantic interest that Ryuunosuke has in her. Lan Lan's origins provide some reasoning for his dislike of monsters which is then something that Okita projects and gets all angsty over.

With Count Montague pulling the strings in a mild fashion using the Tsubame Group, they're able to essentially remove the Mobile Shinsegumi from the picture. Oryou caves in easily and the group falls prey to laziness and uncertainty faster than any other group I think I've seen. With Okita already ready to leave and Ryuunosuke being begged by Lan Lan to return to Shanghai, it's easy to see why it'd fall apart. With Hijikata and Kondou basically being little more than background characters for much of this, they aren't able to offer up any serious resistance to what's going on. Both do try to play matchmaker a bit between Okita and Ryuunosuke but that only serves to increase Okita's angst over the situation.

Moeyo Ken has certainly had its good moments along the way and this volume is no exception. One of the battles in this volume provides one good highlight in that the weapons used are food items which end up ballooning up the person attacked when they're struck. Seeing the regular citizens wandering around getting drawn into it by ballooning up and floating around while the regulars are performing pitched battles in the air is very amusing as it stands out against the rest of the show. Very little else from these episodes is memorable though unless you take great pleasure in the apparent Lan Lan torture sequence where she's all tied up in a bondage S&M style.

In Summary:
Moeyo Ken's origins were ones that never thrilled me as it basically felt like a money grab in trying to reinvent Sakura Taisen. The use of Rumiko Takahashi for character designs isn't bad as I always like what she does even if there is a lot of sameness to her designs. Where it goes worse in this set of episodes is having a character personality like Lan Lan that comes across as a homage/parody/rip of Shampoo from Ranma ½. Moeyo Ken lacked a lot of originality to begin with and this just made it all the worse. Toss in an angry panda and I simply wanted to crack my head against my desk. ADV Films has picked up a lot of good new shows this year but this one has "friend title" written all over it. Moeyo Ken certainly has its appeals, particularly for newer fans who never watched Sakura Taisen or a lot of anime in general. For me however it simply fell flat each and every long minute that it ran.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,Commentary with Hilary Haag (Nekomata) Shannon Grounds (Miki) and Charles Campbell (ADR Director),Interview with the Seiyuu video short,Production sketches, Clean opening animation,Clean closing animation

Review Equipment
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Panasonic DMP-BD10 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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