Noir Vol. #5: Terminal Velocity - Mania.com



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Info:

  • Audio Rating: A-
  • Video Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: A
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: B
  • Age Rating: 15 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: ADV Films
  • MSRP: 29.99
  • Running time: 75
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Noir

Noir Vol. #5: Terminal Velocity

By Chris Beveridge     August 12, 2003
Release Date: August 05, 2003


Noir Vol. #5: Terminal Velocity
© ADV Films


What They Say
As the secrets of Mireille's past are unearthed from their graves in Corsica, Kirika's own grim history slowly begins to reveal itself. The revelations bring no conclusions or happiness, however; only murder and death. As Chloe and Altena wait in the shadows, the malevolent intent of the Soldats finally becomes clear. The darkness begins to consume the light as the four horsewomen of the Apocalypse prepare for battle. The lines in the sand have been drawn in the fifth electrifying volume of NOIR!

The Review!
The fifth installment of Noir brings three more episodes to the plate, but three episodes that kick off the final arc of the storyline as the secrets begin to have their layers torn away and the characters begin their final journey?s.

Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in its original language of Japanese. The 5.1 does an excellent job of bringing out the warmth of the great music score and in providing some really sharp clear moments of vocal directionality, but very little seemed to go to the rear speakers during these episodes. Dialogue is nice and clear throughout and we noted no distortions or dropouts. As we learned previously, the 5.1 soundtrack was created by the Japanese but has as of this writing, not been used or released onto a home video format in that country.

Video:
The transfer looks very close to what I?ve seen on my region 2 copies of the series, which means it has lush colors, no cross coloration and hardly any aliasing that I could see. The color palette of the series is very well done for this series, in that they gave it a very definite color shading and feel, where there?s a number of very solid colors making up areas that almost look grainy but really aren?t. The first episode does suffer more here than other ones as there?s more noticeable aliasing going on and what looks to be more grain, which is very noticeable in the dark blue sequences as the image shifts a lot. This is minimalized a lot when it comes to the two remaining episodes however..

Packaging:
This cover provides the most ?racy? one yet with a shot of the two leads laying across a bed, looking seductive as hell while holding onto their guns.. The back cover is much more vibrant as the background is covered up with lots of shots from each of the. The discs summary, features and extras are clearly listed. The technical information continues to be presented just as I like it with everything in a nice easy to read box at the bottom. The spine continues to be the only place for volume numbering, but the episode numbering and titling has changed for the better. Whereas before it would just say how many episodes were on the disc, the pictures from the show contain the episode number and title just above them, and I?m quite glad to see that change. The insert has the full artwork from another Japanese TV volume and opens up to many panels that have production notes for a few episodes and several staff notes.

Menus:
Done in anamorphic widescreen as well, the menu layout here is a bit confusing with the remotes in moving around. The opening menu features an angled hallway with episode selections being marked by each window and the discs features below it, but navigating to where you want to go is a bit awkward at times. Access times are nice and fast with a quick transitional piece of animation playing, but returning from submenus is faster without that. The layout is pretty standard fare but looks good with its striking colors and motifs from the opening sequence of the series.

Extras:
There extras continue along nicely here, at least the easily visible ones. The main one that has new material here is the interview with Japanese voice actress Tarako, who plays Altena. She talks a bit of her audition and the gradual change in how she learned to voice the character as well as some of her favorite bits of music. The promos and production sketches sections provide new material for their respective areas while the opening and closing sequences get another shot at being shown in their textless form.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Much like every other volume, there?s a lot here to enjoy. And even though I?m sure to catch flak for it, I do continue to think that the episode layouts have gone very well here, with each volume providing a nice cutoff point without a massive cliffhanger to drive you wild, but enough to make you want more as quickly as possible.

This release has three solid episodes on it that starts the showing moving towards its conclusion, bringing in various elements from the past and setting things up for what looks to be some serious drama. With the past volume covering the return of a relative of Mireille?s, which brings up the haunted past of Corsica to her, she decides to finally return ?home? and see what?s become of things. The trip is interesting in that we see both the current dilapidated version of the house and the mixing in the memories of the past ? but unlike most shows, it?s a past filled with blood, death and violence as Mireille can only recount the death of her parents there.

She also ends up visiting both some former employees of her parents, who alternate between awe over her simply being there (never mind how much she reminds them of her mother) and panic as they fear her return marks the return of violence to the area. She does get some amount of answers as she meets up with one of the area bosses, and we learn a bit more about the past and the relationship of her parents, which brings new elements into play as well as confirming some of her worst fears.

The next two episodes go a long way in bringing Kirika to the forefront again as she and Mireille experience an actual break in their relationship after some of the things that she?s learned. Kirika finds herself in the strange position of understanding everything that?s going on but not sure how to proceed and how to help her friend, as she realizes more and more that Mireille is very much a close friend. While she spends her time out and about in the city if Paris, she ends up coming across one of the factions of the Soldats that lays out a few of his cards for her and we start getting more of an insight into all the random attacks on the two in the past and the reasoning behind it all.

Chloe of course sneaks her way into things and through her we see much more in the progression of Kirika, but also some more revelations about the past and what Noir is really all about. Some of it comes as a shock to both of the girls, but Kirika looks at it as an unlocking of her memories almost while Mireille sees it as the end of something that?s become quite important to her. The dialogue between the trio is fantastic, but still pales to the couple of moments where we see Kirika and Chloe working together.

This series continues to be a strong one with me, bringing in so many elements that I find appealing. This volume pumps up the intensity and gets the story rolling quite well for the final arc, something that looks to be quite intense. I can?t wait.

Features
Japanese 5.1 Language,English 5.1 Language,English Subtitles,Printed insert with production notes (and a hidden, spy glass-accessible code, for omake-hunting),Interview with Tarako (the voice of "Altena" on the original Japanese track),Production sketches,Production sketches "alternate angle",Clean opening and closing animation,Original Japanese promos

Review Equipment
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Panasonic RP-82 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.


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