NieA_7 Vol. #4 - Mania.com



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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. #4

By Chris Beveridge     February 06, 2002
Release Date: February 12, 2002


NieA_7 Vol. #4
© Geneon Entertainment (USA), Inc.


What They Say
Kotomi announces that she may sell the bathhouse, and while the news depresses everyone, no one holds it against Kotomi for actually wanting to make money for a change...

Meanwhile NieA still hasn't come home, but when Mayuko tries to report her missing, she's told that Under Seven aliens don't exist! Still, NieA is sure to return - but what surprises will follow?


The Review!
The final volume of NieA_7 brings the series to as much of a conclusion as one should expect, as the series continues on much in the merry way it has since the start. It's truly a series that ends with a whimper and not a bang, much as it arrived.

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 looks much like it did on the previous volume, where things had overall improved visibly, especially in the cross coloration department. Though it looks like it may have slipped just a tad in a few areas since we noticed a few more blatant jaggies in some areas than we had previously. Colors in general continue to look good, with the only things really suffering at times are some of the black lines, particularly along areas where there's skin. If you had no issues with earlier releases though, you'll be pleased as punch here.

Packaging:
The most crowded of all the covers made for the Japanese release makes its appearance here, with everyone trying to get a word in edgewise only to have NieA drop in from abov. It's a good looking cover, very much in tone with the previous ones and a nice way to cap off the series. The back cover gives a brief summary of things as well as the episode numbers and titles. Features and extras are clearly listed and production information is nicely listed as well. The insert provides a nice picture of Mayuko, thanking the buyer for getting the disc, which also lists the chapter stops for each of the episodes. First pressings of this release also contain more cutout standups, this time of the restaurant, Chie and her father and one of NieA's spaceships.

Menus:
Again using the cover art and making small portions of it animated along with some music Nightjar provides some menus that fit in with this release in 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:
As strange as the show is, it at times cannot compare to the strangeness of the extras. The two music clips, Karna and Chada, are both completely beyond my understanding. It must have to do with me turning 31 last week and that I'm no longer able to understand certain things. On the plus side, we do get a non-credit version of the ending used in the final episode here and we get to see all of the Japanese DVD covers, which lets fans debate whether Pioneer used them wisely. Another couple of pages worth of footnotes shows up here, much to our pleasure.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
I think what I'm going to miss most about this series is the opening song. If I retain anything from it, other than feeling like I caught up on some sleep, it's that.

The final three episodes of NieA_7 are probably the hardest to describe. One of the main focuses, if it can really be called that, is the disappearance of NieA for two of the episodes, since we last saw her heading off in the direction of the mothership in the forbiddin land in the previous disc. NieA's disappearance results in Mayuko feeling like something has left her life completely and the world ends up feeling more "normal" and "dull" without it. She does go looking for NieA in a variety of places.
One of those places is in the city, where the aliens are all supposed to have been registered so that the governments can know where they are. It's here that I start to get a glimmer as to what they show may be about. We learn that only down to Under 5's are registered, and that anything under there, such as an Under 7, doesn't really exist. The clerk even goes so far as to say that if Mayuko is looking for an Under 7, why bother since they don't really exist.

And my brain clicked, could this show be all about some sort of subtle class warfare taken in an abstract form and played out in a way that only makes sense to someone Japanese? I started to revisualize certain earlier segments and found that it could be true, but that the overall theme of the series doesn't seem to be that. Ah well, so close yet so far.

The other half of the plot playing out in the end here is about the struggle of the Enohana bath house itself. Kotomi gets a rare offer to buy out not only the house but the property itself, which raises the possibility of selling everything and everyone moving on with their lives. For Mayuko, who grew up there, this is probably the most disturbing thing as it feels like another piece of her life is about to vanish. And with this girl having little touch of reality in general, it'd probably be the final thing to just make her crack in some way.
Of course, NieA does arrive back into the show since it's named after her, and all sorts of the usual bits of banter and excitement play out between her and Mayuko, which keeps the series moving pretty much as it has been.

There's no real conclusion here because this show is a slice of life, taking a few months of Mayuko and NieA and presenting it in animated form. While the show doesn't continue, it's done in such a way that you can easily visualize how their lives would continue. In one sense, that's a good thing, as it's helped to create some good fleshed out characters. But for those who want some kind of closure, they may be the most disappointed here.

Features
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Karna Music Clip,Chada Music Clip,Non-Credit Ending #2,Japanese DVD Covers,Footnotes

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.

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