Now and Then, Here and There Vol. #3 - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: A-

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: A-
  • Video Rating: A-
  • Packaging Rating: A-
  • Menus Rating: A-
  • Extras Rating: B
  • Age Rating: 16 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Central Park Media
  • MSRP: 29.99
  • Running time: 75
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Now and Then, Here and There

Now and Then, Here and There Vol. #3

By Chris Beveridge     May 16, 2002
Release Date: May 14, 2002


Now and Then, Here and There Vol. #3
© Central Park Media


What They Say
From the master of Japanese anime, Akitaroh Daichi (director...Jubei-chan the Ninja Girl & Elf Princess Rane)

The desert explodes in an all-out war as a tyrant unleashes a flying battleship against a rebel army. Guns blaze and lives are lost in the devastation. No one will be left unscarred, or innocent. Young Shu, searching the wreckage for a captured friend, is swept into the battle fray. It’s the ultimate challenge of survival in a world gone mad!

The Review!
The final volume of this series doesn’t pull any punches, just like the other two volumes. There’s a number of things that go on here that’s going to just make a lot of people cringe, but it works out for the best as the story doesn’t flinch from the hard choices that need to be made.

Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this disc in its original language of Japanese. We also listened to large segments of it in English 2.0 as well as some checking of the English 5.1 track. But primarily, we sat and absorbed this show through its original language. The show is very dialogue driven, when the kids aren't getting their faces beaten in. There's a fair bit of directionality for action sounds and some areas of dialogue. The English 5.1 track does an excellent job of making the audio much cleaner, albeit a bit louder as well.

Video:
The transfer here is pretty much like previous volumes, with good looking solid colors and very little cross coloration at all, especially on our Skyworth and it’s suppression capability. We noticed it more when we paused at various times, but during playback it looked great. There’s a fair bit of aliasing early on, but that tends to drop off as the show progresses. If you liked how things looked before, then you won’t have any problems here.

Packaging:
The same style is used here with the orange colors being so strong and almost overpowering with the image of the Sara and Nabuca outside of Hellywood. The character designs are notably different from the animation, which adds a really interesting feel to it. The back cover has another good image with the more realistic artwork as well as a short summary of the show. The discs features and production info is all listed here as well. With this being a clear keepcase, the reverse side has similar artwork of characters but in the gray shades instead, as well as production credits and bilingual actor credits.

Menu:
The menu system is nicely laid out, with a static image of the front cover on one side with some manipulation of the background and some banners floating across the bottom while an instrumental version of one of the songs is playing. Selections are quickly accessed on the right, and moving around the menus is a breeze.

Extras:
For those interested in the design of this show, which is very well done, there’s a plethora of images here to go through. Things are neatly categorized into character, mechanical and background sketches with plenty to see. There’s a preview for the box set and a piece on the Big Apple Anime Fest as well.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
With the final four episodes, the show moves pretty fast towards its conclusion, though you do find yourself at the end of the third episode wondering how well it’s all going to resolve with less than twenty minutes left to really tell the tale. Thankfully, they manage to pull it off nicely, but we won’t go into much detail about the ending itself.

Zari Bars gets more troublesome for everyone in a variety of ways. One of troubling aspects is when we get reintroduced to Sara as she apparently does things for Sis and has returned from one of the jobs. She doesn’t react to seeing Shu, but upon seeing Lala Ru, she goes ballistic and starts attacking her, blaming her for everything that’s gone wrong to her since her abduction to this world. To make matters worse, we eventually find out about a medical problem she has, one that causes some of the most gut wrenching moments between her and Shu later on.

And in the department that proves that Zari Bars folks are just as stupid as Hellywood folks, the leader of the resistance lets an adult deserter from Hellywood into the village when he promises to give them as much information as he can to them in exchange for sanctuary. While this isn’t a bad deal in and of itself, it’s how the Zari Bars militants deal with him. Once they get the info out of him, they bring it to the village in total, as the information they get is that Hamdo is losing his grip and people are fleeing left and right. Soldiers are demoralized and it’s all crumbling. So they push to go and finish off Hellywood while Sis pushes to just let it collapse on its own.

The stupid part? They don’t put any guard on this guy, everyone’s at the village square getting the news. So being that infiltrator that he is, he starts nosing around for information. In fact, the Zari Bars folks are so trusting that they just let him wander all over the village over the next day or two, leaving him free to report back in. And he reports in with a whopper as he learns from Sara that Lala Ru is actually in the village.

Hamdo is quite certainly out of his mind, but he’s still got Abelia, and now he’s got a flying mushroom fortress. The launch sequence is fairly dramatic, though you have to wonder who designed such a hideous looking kind of machine. With Hellywood roaming the deserts looking for Zari Bars, the information from the spy comes in hand, and the final confrontation between everyone gets set up.

And it’s violent. Extremely violent. Not terribly bloody, though there is enough blood flying and enough characters doing nasty things in their belief that they’re doing right. The story doesn’t flinch from putting people into the situations and resolving them in a way that they’d likely play out in real life. The children in particular have some very strong sequences, ones that you can see coming but can’t do anything but feel helpless about.

Shu’s own transformation during these events is welcome, to finally see him cut loose for his own reasons and to try and right things. Combined with the changes in Lala Ru and others around them, none of these people are the same as they were when they were introduced, and I found them all to have grown in a natural way without it being forced.

There are a number of things about the entire storyline that don’t get resolved though, which is unfortunate. It’s hard to tell whether knowing the why of the way the world is, or the relationship between Abelia and Hamdo with her strong loyalty to a number of other smaller stories would help or hinder the overall storyline. There’s easily enough to tell in a full season series, but that may have suffered in the dramatic department instead. In the end, I find myself wanting more but am content enough with what was given to be satisfied.

This is a great series overall and one I’m really glad I’ve finally gotten to see after hearing so many positive things about it. This is a series that will last with me for quite some time.

Features
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Art Gallery,Cast and Production List,Character Sketches,Mechanical Sketches,Background Sketches,Storyboards

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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