Ninku/YuYu Hakusho Double Feature - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: D-

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B-
  • Video Rating: C+
  • Packaging Rating: A-
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: N/A
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Media Blasters
  • MSRP: 24.95
  • Running time: 60
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Non-Anamorphic Widescreen
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Yu Yu Hakusho

Ninku/YuYu Hakusho Double Feature

By Chris Beveridge     January 31, 2001
Release Date: January 31, 2001


Ninku/YuYu Hakusho Double Feature
© Media Blasters


What They Say
Contains 2 movies on a single DVD!
YuYu Hakusho the Movie
Yusuke Urameshi is not exactly what you’d call an angel. In fact, some might call him down right devilish. But when he dies in an accident trying to save a child, he finds himself in the Spirit World, too good for hell, but not good enough for heaven.

Now Yusuke works as a half dead, half alive agent for Koenma, son of the ruler of the Spirit World. This position does have its disadvantages, especially after Koenma gets kidnapped, and Yusuke must find Koenma to trade the Golden Seal of King Enma for his life.

Ninku the Movie
They have the reputation of being the top martial arts team in the world. They have combat techniques which can control the very elements. They have a small penguin. They are the Ninku, full of martial art prowess, low on brain power, and totally devoid of the respect they deserve.

The Review!
One of the problems a couple of the domestic companies has is that in the early days, a lot of single OVA releases came out. And now it's really hard to market a 30 minute OVA on one disc. Media Blasters lucks out a bit with being able to put two separate movies on here from two different franchises due to their being from the same company. Of course, both of these OVA movies come from long running series that have yet to be released here.

Audio:
For the purpose of this review, we listened to the disc in its original language of Japanese. The Yu Yu episode was fairly decent with only one noticeable pop during a scene change. The Ninku episode has a couple of noticeable pops during scene changes and early on sounded rather hollow at times. These don't sound like the best soundtracks to begin with, so it's not surprising they don't really push the front soundstage at all. The majority of the audio comes through the center channel and there weren't any issues with the dialogue.

Video:
The video for both can be summed up fairly well by soft and grainy. Both OVA's were produced back in 1996, so they're not terribly old, but it doesn't look like the best source materials were used for this. The YuYu show has fairly flat looking colors and a noticeable amount of grain and a number of soft areas. Ninku is fairly soft throughout and grainy in a number of sequences. On the plus side line-noise was minimal and rainbows were non-existent. But things just didn't look sharp at all here.

Packaging:
I really liked the packaging for this, though it threw me at first since you can flip the package over and get the Ninku cover and part of the disc info there. The stylized black and white cover works exceptionally well for the front cover with Yu Yu Hakusho though. The insert plays it up in a similar way with a half of it white and half of it black, each show getting a side. Very nicely done.

Menus:
The menus follow a similar pattern to the insert, with the YuYu show scene selection and start on one side and Ninku on the other, with trailers and setup in the middle. Since practically everything is on the main page, access times are nice and fast and with no music or animation, load times are quick. Except for actually getting to the menu through the extended silent Media Blasters and Anime Works logos. Thankfully you can scan through those.

Extras:
Nothing.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The first OVA we watched was Yu Yu Hakusho. The TV series ran 112 episodes. The OVA doesn't really introduce characters. The OVA doesn't really introduce a plot either. It's essentially a 25 minute fight sequence with characters you don't know and with fairly unimpressive powers. But that's to be expected since I don't know anything about the show.

The OVA kicks off with two of the good guys about to fight in a rumble when a cute witch-ish character shows up and tells them they have to save the King Enma's son by taking the Golden Seal to the kidnappers. The Seal is what sets King Enma as the being in charge of the spirit world. So without a second thought they snap up the ring (since the King is off on business) and race off to trade it off to get back the kid.

At least, that's what I got out of it since what little plot dialogue there is, is said while characters are running from one mysterious location to another. The animation is fairly mediocre and the character designs are fairly average as well. The only one that partially stands out is the witch character just because you really don't see much anime where they actually ride the brooms.

The Ninku movie fairs a bit better in that throughout it's 25 minute run, there's only one real fight sequence and it's nicely animated and shows a flair for style. But much like Yu Yu, it suffers from not knowing the TV series and who these people are. The TV series ran for 55 episodes, so there's definitely some potential history here.

The OVA picks up with the four main characters (three ex-ninja group leaders and the sister of one of them) trying to find a way to get food and fuel so they can get their plane going again. A stroke of luck brings them to a nearby village that's hiring bouncers. Unfortunately, the job's already been filled. And filled by people claiming to be who they are. Hilarity ensues as the real guys sign on as servants for the fakers and end up saving the day when real baddies show up in town.

To be fair, the fight sequence was quite well choreographed and featured some really nice smooth animation style to it. There were a number of hints of theatrical quality animation in that sequence. To be unfair, the character of Fusuke the lead ninja is one of the butt ugliest character designs I've seen. After seeing him in the opening sequence and the first couple of minutes I wanted to turn the show off. Ick.

While I don't mind one-shots at all, ones that are related to long running series are definitely hard sells to those who haven't seen them. I'd recommend this disc only to those who are fans of either of these shows, and even then it's a faint recommendation.

Features
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles

Review Equipment
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Pioneer 414 codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.

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