NieA_7 Vol. #2 - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: B-

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: A-
  • Menus Rating: A-
  • Extras Rating: B+
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Geneon Entertainment (USA), Inc.
  • MSRP: 29.99
  • Running time: 75
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: NieA_7

NieA_7 Vol. #2

By Chris Beveridge     October 09, 2001
Release Date: October 09, 2001


NieA_7 Vol. #2
© Geneon Entertainment (USA), Inc.


What They Say
In an attempt to draw in more customers, the bathhouses of Enohana resort to strange gimmicks. Mayuko's company holds a video game contest, to lure young customers, while chada starts a rival bathhouse that relies upon secret advantages. Which will triumph?!
Meanwhile, Mayuko begins to face her own confusion and apathy towards life and NieA begins to sense an ominous voice emanating from within the alien mothership...

Produced by Yasuyuki Ueda (Lain, Nanako)
Character designs by Yoshitoshi Abe (Lain)

The Review!
The second installment of this series lets us get to know the characters a bit better, but mostly focuses more on their day to day existence and the rarities that creep up and challenge them.

Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this disc in its original language of Japanese. Throughout the three episodes, dialogue is mostly center channel based but the music and effects make good use of the full forward soundstage. Dialogue does have a fair bit of directionality at times and makes good use of the stage as well. There weren't any noticeable dropouts or distortions.

Video:
The transfer here seems to be quite noticeably improved over the problems we had with the first volume. The rainbows are still prominent in the same areas in the opening sequence (such as the umbrella handle), but they're practically non-existent throughout the show itself. The macroblocking we saw during the night blue skies is pretty much gone as well as the bits of pixellation that was here and there. If it wasn't for the opening sequence, we'd probably rate this higher in the end. But it's one of our favorite parts of the show, so we're not. heh.

Packaging:
The style follows the first release, with the one eggish swath of color and some of the characters sitting around it. We get our Hindu friend this time as well as our favorite alien chaser with her laptop. Again in a white keepcase to go with the white background, this is a great looking package that's very eye-catching. The back cover gives a brief show summary and one piece of artwork with the same two characters being weird. The episode numbers and titles are clearly listed as well as the features on the disc. The insert provides an amusing minimanga for the characters as well as the episode chapter stops. Initial pressings of this release also contained some cutout stand-ups. You too can now give Genzo more life than the anime!

Menus:
The layout is just like the first volume with the cover art used here with music and some subtle yet quirky animation playing into the selections. As usual, I'm pleased to see another Nightjar menu as their unique style continues to stand out. In addition to being smartly animated, the access times between the menus are solid and everything is laid out in an easy to use straightforward way, where your selections make sense and are obvious.

Extras:
There's a couple of good extras included here. The first is the continuation of the footnotes that give some good useful tidbits and insights into the show. The line art gallery brings some more interesting conceptual artwork pieces out, but the one I was happy to see is the non-credit ending. I had hoped the opening would be included again, but alas, no.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
After my less than glowing review of the first volume and my subsequent vilification on the forums, I do admit that I found the second volume to be a bit more appealing than the first. This is partly due to lowered expectations and the general idea that I'm not going to get something anything similar to what I got with Lain.

Each of the episodes continues to be self-contained and offer some more looks into the various characters. The opening episode deals with Kotomi trying to figure out a way to help modernize the bathhouse and to get more younger clientele into place. When NieA stumbles in during an emergency meeting with a basketful of parts, Kotomi decides that the best thing to do is to offer a retro video game tournament to give away prizes and offer enticements to come to their business. Kotomi's plan goes awry however when only children show up instead of parents and their children...

The episode that worked the best for me is when Mayuko's friend Chiaki invites Mayuko to go on a Go-Con. Apparently a Go-Con is something like a large group blind date, where an equal amount of men and women get together, drink and get to know each other while mildly partying. Chiaki and her friends from school are planning on attending one, and Chiaki invites Mayuko since she's her friend. Mayuko tentatively accepts after figuring out what one is, but she's very hesitant to really go.

Her feelings about this are what makes up the interesting angle to the show, in her discussions with Kotomi about it and the general way she was brought up. We also get some more interesting interactions between Mayuko and Genzo, and NieA's starting to get some form of static from the mothership, but the really interesting parts centered around Mayuko.

Maybe it was the smaller dosage of the show or just the fact that I've already seen a few episodes, but this batch of episodes didn't bother me as much as the first disc. They were a bit more enjoyable and a bit less frenetic than the earlier ones as well. This disc quickly brings us to the halfway mark of the series, so my curiosity is slightly piqued to see where things may go with the second half.

Features
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Footnotes,Line Art,Non-Credit Ending

Review Equipment
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Skyworth 1050P Progressive Scan codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.

COMMENTS AND RESPONSES

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jnager 3/13/2012 12:59:35 PM

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