Nuku Nuku Dash Vol. #2 - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: B-

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: B
  • Packaging Rating: B
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: B-
  • Age Rating: 15 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: ADV Films
  • MSRP: 29.98
  • Running time: 100
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Nuku Nuku, All Purpose Cultural Cat Girl

Nuku Nuku Dash Vol. #2

By Chris Beveridge     December 21, 2003
Release Date: December 09, 2003


Nuku Nuku Dash Vol. #2
© ADV Films


What They Say
Meow! Ryunosuke Natsume is crazy for Nuku Nuku, a gorgeous 19-year-old living with his family. But he doesn't know she's a renegade androbot who Mishima Industries is desperately trying to recapture! The fun begins when Ryunosuke wants his friends to think he's dating Nuku Nuku. A white lie convinces her to act the part, but has unintended consequences!

On a bike ride, Nuku Nuku (who is part cat) spots an abandoned litter of kittens. Suddenly, she finds her feline instincts for motherhood kicking into overdrive! Then on a long, cold, rainy day, Ryunosuke and Nuku Nuku befriend a runaway called Yuko. Raised in a windowless prison, Yuko has a single dying wish: to see the clear, blue sky. Then an industrial accident at Mishima unleashes a top-secret weapon that threatens to raze Maneki City. Worse, the weapon takes control of a motorbike Ryunosuke is riding and traps him. You don't want to miss another installment of Nuku Nuku Dash!



The Review!
In the center set of episodes, this short series provides a few standalone adventures and then kicks off the big arc by revealing the real villain.

Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in its original language of Japanese. Being a pretty standard OVA release of its time, the stereo mix is decent with a few areas of noticeable directionality, mostly in the larger combat scenes, but otherwise a normal mix for dialogue and ambient effects. Dialogue comes across nicely with no noticeable dropouts or distortions during regular playback.

Video:
Originally released to video back in 1998, the transfer here makes it feel much closer to the 1992 release with its look. A dark color palette on an already dark looking transfer gives the show a grainy feel and something that you normally don’t get from an OVA release, since those are typically much shinier in their use of colors. The transfer is decent, but the way it comes across makes it look older and more traditional than someone would expected from a 1998 release. Thankfully, cross coloration and aliasing are both very minimal so they don’t provide much distraction.

Packaging:
Going with the same image that’s in the menu but with a purple cloudy background, the cover is a decent looking action shot that gives focus just on Nuku Nuku. It’s not terribly energetic but it’s decent looking. The back cover has a few shots from the show and pushes the new aspect of Dash over the previous release. A good summary brings things up to date and a listing of the discs features and extras is also here. While the front cover and spine list the volume numbering (as mode’s), the back cover doesn’t list episode titles or numbers, just the number of episodes on the disc. For the insert, we get a booklet this time with some great full color artwork. The booklet is pretty sharp; there’s a variety of information, from the “smell” of a show to information on the secondary characters and even a organizational chart for the Mishima Group. One of the more amusing sections is an interview with Arisa and Kyoko, starting with why the name changes. Like the previous volume, there’s a reversible cover as well. The front section has a faux letterbox shot of Nuku Nuku in regular clothes with her eyes-closed looking like she’s singing while the back cover is the same as the other side, but Nuku Nuku is replaced with Arisa and Kyoko.

Menu:
The main menu is a simple static piece with a brief bit of the opening music playing over the image of Nuku Nuku in her combat uniform and sunglasses. The episode selections are along the right as well as languages and extras. With little on the disc, access is pretty easy and moving about is nice and fast.

Extras:
The only extras included on this release are a textless version of the opening and ending sequences.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
With Nuku Nuku Dash being a relatively short series, particularly with the region one release being done over just three volumes, this particular volume moves us into the middle of the show, rounding out the last of the standalone tales designed to get us to like the characters more and then shifting gears into the final action storyline designed to thrill us.

The character episodes are fairly decent this time around. Ryunosuke gets challenged early on after his friends catch him talking with Nuku Nuku at one point. The three of them each have a theory on the relationship but none of them include Ryunosuke actually being involved with her. This upsets him of course so he lets his fantasy take over and tells them that they’re actually a couple, enough so that she’s living with him. They laugh uproariously and leave him. Ryunosuke is oblivious to the idea that the three of them would come check it out at his house later, so when they do show up he panics and concocts a story for Nuku Nuku about one of them not believing that love can happen so that she’ll hold his hand.

Suffice to say, we’ve entered sitcom land here.

Another one that tries to bring home the point that Nuku Nuku is a caring person comes in the form of her rescuing a litter of kittens that she comes across. This initially plays out against the backdrop of Akiko sending out Arisa and Kyoko to hunt down a cat that’s gone missing from the Mishima Group. That concept alone throws Akiko out of balance as she’s finding herself playing more and more the role of a lost and found keeper and sending the two women out to find what the other divisions are losing. The fact that it’s a cat nearly sets her off before she gets something of a reprimand over her attitude. So armed with a device to sense cats, the two women search the town for it.

Nuku Nuku even gets run under the device momentarily as the two women are driving through town and they wonder why the cat sensor has gone off at that time, which is one of the few real hints about her true nature we’ve seen in the series so far. As the plot meanders along, Arisa and Kyoko eventually come across what they’re looking for only to be stymied by Nuku Nuku in her combat form. So it’s a good thing that they brought along rocket launchers and other weapons of mass destruction to find the cat.

The larger storyline for the final arc of the series does start coming into play this volume though as we see how the different headquarters of the Mishima Group are being set against each other. With plans to run both bases of operation and gain complete control over the company, the Young President of the company has transferred over a rather nasty critter to the Maneki City headquarters where it promptly busts free and starts causing havoc all over the place. With the plans to humiliate the executive staff there and force them to resign, he sets things in place to accomplish just that unless Nuku Nuku can stop the critter.

The stories on this volume are fairly average and started taking on more of a sitcom bent from the start. It did balance out more as it moved towards the end of the volume, particularly the episode that introduces Yuko and her surprises and then the plot by the Young President. The show does move by fast though and the volume was over before I knew it, but that’s partially due to the amount of filler in each episode. One of the most annoying things that they did is have Ryunosuke introduce himself in every episode before getting to the real storyline itself. I wish ADV had thrown that section into it’s own chapter so it could be skipped, because I don’t want to hear that he’s a fourteen year old boy with a lot of worries every episode.

In Summary:
While Nuku Nuku isn’t what she was in the original OVA series, something I consider a plus since I’m not sure a whole series of that character could be enjoyable, I’m liking what’s playing here though it’s definitely trying to be a more serious version of the original. The lustful nature of Ryunosuke over Nuku Nuku is a humorous change itself and one that’s working in a fun way to move things along. For those who were strong fans of the original, this version may be hard to handle though.

Features
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Clean open and closing animation

Review Equipment
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Panasonic RP-82 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.


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