Nobody's Boy Remi Vol. #6 - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: B+

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B-
  • Video Rating: C-
  • Packaging Rating: N/A
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: N/A
  • Age Rating: All
  • 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. #6

By Chris Beveridge     November 20, 2007
Release Date: November 13, 2007


Nobody's Boy Remi Vol. #6
© 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!
Remi and the troupe begin their journey towards Chavanon but you have to wonder if it's burned down or if Mrs. Barberin is dead? And if not, will their arrival signal such destruction and tragedy?

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 seven episodes here there wasn't anything that really stood out, not even noticeable film issues such as tears or dirt. The seven 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 some copy protection, 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 a close-up of Remi with a big smile 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)
After the fifth installment of the series I really wasn't looking forward to this volume. Though that volume ended on as positive a note as it could, the way that Remi has been treated has me leery of any further exposure. How much more can they do to this kid short of killing him off? Well, there's always Cappy and now there's Mattia as well.

Remi's journey takes on an interesting turn with these episodes as Mattia has agreed to become a member of the troupe and move forward with Remi and Cappy. Mattia is unlike any of the other characters we've seen so far and it becomes all the more apparent as the journey gets underway. He talks a big game, which is necessary when you live in Paris and scrounge out a living like he does, but carrying through with it is difficult. Remi has grown well in the past year on the road with Vitalis and we see similar shades of early Remi in Mattia now. The road is tough and what's required isn't easy, not that living in Paris was easy for Mattia. But it followed a bit more of a regular pattern that he could adapt to.

The journey gets underway relatively easy in comparison to past ones and it turns into a surprisingly happy time for the two. While Mattia is a bit too Parisian in some ways, especially in how he tries to take advantage of folks at every turn, he is overly accommodating with Remi and is even rather revealing. Remi's journey is one that will take him to see all his new "siblings" from the Acquin family and Mattia has no issue with that. When Remi reveals that part of the journey will take them close to Chavanon, Mattia is completely into the idea of going there so that he can see his foster mother. This even lets Mattia explain that his mother died some time ago and that it still affects him quite a lot. These small but simple bonds really reinforce the two boys' relationship.

Not everything is fun and games as they move from spring into summer and move around France. The first problem that they have is that they end up with a new companion in the form of a monkey who is nothing but trouble. The obnoxious little guy takes up with them after Remi and Mattia hitch a ride with a circus group and are caught doing so. The circus owner is actually glad to be rid of the monkey which should have been a big clue. As time goes on the monkey settles in well enough but the writers and animators take a few shortcuts. The first is that they eventually give him the name Joli Cour which is easy enough to remember since it's the name of the first monkey. Writers don't need to remember a new name and the voice actors are kept happy. The second is that they transition his fun little pink/purple outfit into the same one that the original Joli Cour had. Again, it makes things easier, this time for the animators. You almost wonder if they're re-using some scenes as it goes forward as well.

The other area that bothered me was when the small troupe arrived in Varses to see Alexis. It's not been long since everyone split up, a couple of months at most depending on how time moves in the story, and he's already engaged to someone. Varses is a mining town and you know things are going to work in such a way that Remi ends up becoming a miner for a bit and some big tragedy will happen. It's all unfortunately very predictable at this point but it does have a ring of truth to it. Remi's exposure to the mining world and the dangers he faces 250 feet below ground are entertaining enough but more because it shows the strength of his relationship with Mattia than anything else.

In Summary:
Nobody's Boy Remi reach something of a turning point in the last volume as there are only so many things you can do to the poor kid outside of knocking him off. These episodes throw a few more things at him but they're fairly weak in the grand scheme of things. Overall, events are more positive than anything else as the troupe starts to build up again, Mattia provides some good ways to make a lot of money and everyone is getting fleshed out a bit. Mattia continues to be the biggest surprise as I expected him to be a one-note character but they're developing him well in this context. With Chavanon now being revisited and some of the larger story elements coming into play, the big bad dark days may be behind us but I have to wonder what storm clouds will still come for Remi and friends. I was afraid to watch this volume but it restored my faith in the series and I eagerly look forward to more again.

Features
Japanese 1.0 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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