Nobody's Boy Remi Vol. #2 - Mania.com



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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B-
  • Video Rating: C-
  • Packaging Rating: N/A
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: N/A
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: ImaginAsian Entertainment
  • MSRP: 9.99
  • Running time: 144
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Nobody's Boy Remi

Nobody's Boy Remi Vol. #2

By Chris Beveridge     September 19, 2007
Release Date: September 25, 2007


Nobody's Boy Remi Vol. #2
© ImaginAsian Entertainment


What They Say
Remi is a boy living happily with his mother in the French countryside. Unfortunately, everything changes when his estranged father comes home and, in desperate need of money, reveals that Remi is adopted, and sells him! Heartbroken, Remi ends up with Vitalis, a traveling musician, and his troupe of animal entertainers. Together, they travel the country in search for Remi's real parents, along the way learning the harsh lessons of life.

The Review!
With almost an entire year gone by since being sold to Vitalis, Remi has grown incredibly yet still faces his greatest challenges yet.

Audio:
Unsurprising considering its age, Nobody's Boy Remi is presented in its original language of Japanese in a mono format. The 128 kbps encoding isn't one that will wow anyone but it's serviceable enough for the material and is essentially problem free during playback. The show is just dialogue for the most part outside of a few musical cues that work to build atmosphere so it's not a very demanding mix. It is a touch low at times but it's in good condition and certainly comes across rather clean and clear during regular playback.

Video:
Originally airing in 1977 and 1978, the transfer for this TV series is presented in its original full frame aspect ratio. The series received a remaster and box set release in Japan back in 2002 which has certainly helped to clean up the elements here. Beyond some minor speckling here and there, the print is in surprisingly good condition. Through the six episodes here there wasn't anything that really stood out, not even noticeable film issues such as tears or dirt. The six episodes on this disc are done on a single layer DVD and it shows but the effects are pretty minimized considering an average bitrate of 2.5 to 3.2. The progressive encoding certainly helps to minimize things as does the coloring of the series as it has a lot still backgrounds and muted colors. There is a good deal of noise throughout the series though that's simply unavoidable and while it avoids any serious blocking the look of motion throughout it is prevalent. In watching this across different sets after our first full viewing, it's continually apparent that the smaller the screen size the better this will look. The problems we had were less on our 50" than our 70" and less still when we shifted down to a 34" CRT.

Remi is one of the anime titles to be released under the TitleMatch program in which all the authoring is done as normal but instead of replication it's done through burning to DVD-R, giving smaller publishing houses a chance to do some Print On Demand DVDs. Containing the usual CSS protection (that has been effectively useless for what, seven years now?) it's essentially the same as a regular release except in how it's actually put to disc. We popped this disc in a few of our players to see if we'd have any compatibility issues and it worked in just about everything except for our Toshiba TV/DVD combo unit.

Packaging:
None.

Menu:
The menu design is simple but fits nicely with the show though that TMS Classics logo is a bit bigger than I care for. The static background is an illustration that has Remi with the members of the troupe as a bit of music plays along to it. The left side has the logos along it while the right has the navigation strip which is simple considering how little is really here. Access times are good and fast and everything loads without a problem.

Extras:
None.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Not even a quarter of the way into the series yet, Nobody's Boy Remi has managed to progress quite well from what it started out as. With the opening to the series being a bit slow in setting things up and getting the story running, this volume moves things along briskly while introducing just how much time has passed since Remi's new journey has begun. Everything that he's encountered to date has changed his life dramatically and his studies of both the world and that of being an entertainer has given him some confidence.

The six episodes across this volume take the story forward in some fairly predictable ways but the way it does so keeps you entertained. It also keeps you rather curious as to how it will all work out. When the mention is made of this being nearly a year since Remi first left, there is a sense " or maybe a hope " of seeing how Remi will do for years to come as he gets older. The studies he's been undergoing with Vitalis has him now reading easily and his writing has gotten much better. In an amusing graffiti moment, you see him writing his name everywhere on the travels which is like viral advertising for the late 1700's. What is most apparent is that Remi is essentially a sponge right now and Vitalis is filling him up with useful things.

That isn't to say that Vitalis is telling him everything however. Though it was scene in a few ways during the first volume, it's all the more apparent in these episodes that the life of a traveling entertainer is rewarding but also very difficult. Many people look upon them as second class citizens, no better than beggars or the penniless. Some towns are strict about what they allow for performances while others have people in positions of authority who have issues with men like Vitalis. Remi's first visit to a big city when they arrive in Bordeaux is fascinating since it's unlike anything he's seen before. He ends up in some bad situations when separated and he gets to see for himself just what people have to do to survive.

Remi has some difficulty in accepting what he's seeing about how people feel about him and his new profession. While he's used to and enjoying the applause, laughter and smiles that they receive during performances, the distrust of some and the vitriol of others just cuts right through him. When he actually makes friends with a young girl named Grace, he's quite excited to be invited to her birthday and play with her a bit. That all goes sour when her father casts him out and takes her away. Remi isn't exactly sheltered but it's something that's just brutal for such a young child. This and other situations, such as the distrustful yet friendly landlord or the various townspeople and officials that practically spit upon them really hurt him deeply.

Every story has a moment where everything changes dramatically. The first volume had one where Remi was sold off to Vitalis and his life changed. That happens again to poor Remi when Vitalis ends up in jail for a few months after an incident in Toulouse. That puts Remi in the position of being responsible as Vitalis tells him that he must move forward and not just idle about. With the responsibility of taking care of the troupe and earning money so that they can eat and have a place to sleep, Remi is forced to deal with the reality of the world. Though this is just for a few months, it starts him down a different and unexpected path that looks so far to be an interesting turn of events.

The series continues to be rather enjoyable with this volume and with the pacing kicking things up a bit it doesn't feel quite so slow and laid back as the first one did. There are a few problems though that really are bothersome and paint some potential quality control issues. While there are certainly subtitling issues across nearly every release, some of the ones here just really threw me while watching it. The biggest area was in the Bordeaux episode where they deal with a thief who has a crow named Michel. That name alternates frequently between Michel and Michael, sometimes within the span of two sentences. Another problem crops up later after spending an episode in the town of Pau, the next episode lists it as Poe. Then the narration calls it Pau. There are several of these little instances that just take you out of it if you're paying close attention. With this being a very low priced release with so many episodes, there will be the obvious angle of just being happy that you have it at all. But there are still some basic QC issues that need to be addressed with the scripts for Remi at the least.

In Summary:
Nobody's Boy Remi was the series from the launch trio of titles that I was the most unsure about. The first volume was certainly intriguing in total but it took awhile to get to where it wanted to go. With the familiarity now to it and the setup out of the way, the show looks to be progressing better. The education of Remi is fun to watch and the passage of time helps to really reinforce the growth that he's undergoing without it seeming like too much too soon. Anyone who interacts with young children will attest to how quickly they learn and grow. Even better for this series is that it doesn't seem to be intent on getting comfortable for awhile and then shaking things up. The life of a traveling entertainer isn't an easy one and it's shown continually here while still highlighting the good moments. This kind of series is certainly a rarity not only in the US but also in Japan so it earns some serious kudos just on that alone. Beyond that however it manages to slowly captivate and draw you in on its own merits, making this something very much worth checking out.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language,English Subtitles

Review Equipment
Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70" LCoS 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.

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