Otogi Zoshi Vol. #6 - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: B+

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: A-
  • Packaging Rating: N/A
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: N/A
  • Age Rating: 12 & Up
  • Region: 2 - Europe
  • Released By: Manga UK
  • MSRP: ¬£19.99
  • Running time: 125
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Otogi Zoshi

Otogi Zoshi Vol. #6

By Bryan Morton     September 06, 2007
Release Date: July 16, 2007


Otogi Zoshi Vol. #6
© Manga UK


What They Say
Hikaru, Sadamitsu, Kintaro, Urabe and Tsuna are caught up in a whirlpool of Karma caused centuries before by their struggles in past lives. They are now given a chance to bring balance to the mystic energies of both capitals. During the Heian Period, the scales were tipped by the enigmatic Mansairaku. Now, in modern-day Tokyo, the outcome of Hikaru's search may once again depend on the man in the black coat.

Episodes Comprise
22 " Ookubo
23 " Marunouchi
24 " Manseibashi
25 - Kimon - TV Special (Demon's Gate)
26 - Minato - TV Special (The Capital)

The Review!
Otogi Zoshi's two arcs finally come together, as the series reaches its conclusion and tries to show how events from 1,000 years ago could destroy modern-day Tokyo " and how Hikaru is the only person who may be able to prevent that. But will she be willing to help Mansairaku once the memories of her past life are restored to her..?

Audio:
As usual for Manga's releases, there's a full range of audio options here, with both the Japanese and English tracks coming in 2.0, 5.1 & DTS versions. The DTS tracks weren't available on the US release and appear to be upconversions of the Dolby 5.1 tracks. I listened to the Japanese 5.1 track for this review " this arc of Otogi Zoshi isn't hugely action-based, so there's not a huge amount of opportunity to give the soundstage a full workout, but dialogue is neatly placed while music and effects do make use of the available channels. There were no apparent problems.

Video:
Another good transfer for this release, with both colourful daytime & darker night-time scenes coming across well. Animation is nicely-detailed, and there's nothing in the way of noticeable encoding defects, which results in one good-looking release.

Packaging:
No packaging was provided with our review copy.

Menu:
The elusive Raiko features on this volume's menu, with a clip sequence playing behind him. Options are provided for Play All, episode select, setup and extras (just Manga trailers) " all very logical and easy-to-use, but the overall effect is spoiled by a transition animation that runs whenever an option is selected and slows things down a bit.

Extras:
None.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review will contain spoilers)
Now that she has his name - Mansairaku - Hikaru's even more intrigued about the mysterious man who's been saving her at every turn. She's also beginning to realise that the dreams - memories - she's been seeing are memories of her own past life - and having seen how Mansairaku turned out in that time, she's not happy at all. But if he's so evil, why did he then help her save Tsuna? Tsuna, meanwhile, is also trying to make sense of recent events, unaware that Hikaru's about to decide that to remove her friends from danger, she has to remove herself from the scene - but the distortion between the timelines is now becoming strong enough that no-one may be safe.

Episodes 22-24 tie up the main storyline, and pull together the final events of the Heian arc with the events in modern-day Tokyo to explain Raiko's disappearance, Hikaru's dreams and Mansairaku's role in recent events. Events in the past have caused an imbalance of karma " Mansairaku, who's essentially become immortal and has been watching over Tokyo ever since the Heian period, waiting for the right time to act, knows what needs to be done to correct the balance, but while he needs Hikaru's help to succeed, she's less than eager to help him after her memories of the past are restored and she remembers the destruction he was responsible for then. While the story plays out over three episodes, it's paced really well " it never really feels rushed, giving you plenty of time to take in what's happening and follow along without getting lost, but it also never gets to the point where it risks losing your interest. The only real gripe is that it took so long to get to this point " so much time passed with no apparent connection between the arcs that I'd almost given up on there even being one, while Hikaru's and Tsuna's investigations of Raiko's photographs never felt as though they were part of an ongoing story. Grumbles aside, though, these episode do a good job of resolving everything, and make for a satisfying ending to the main story.

The remaining two episodes are both one-off specials, set before the main Tokyo arc. The first one features Urabe, who takes it upon herself to investigate rumours of a curse at a hospital that's causing patients to relapse into the illnesses and workmen working on a new extension to suffer mysterious accidents. It's a good little story, with some humour added by Urabe's feline assistant, and ties into the main story by explaining how Urabe first met modern-day Hikaru.

The second is a little more cerebral, with Mansairaku pondering his role in the world " something that a man who's lived as long as he has would have plenty of time to do. His usual routine is interrupted when he meets an old man who realises Mansairaku's true nature, giving him someone he can talk freely to " at least for a while. This episode's a little harder to get into, thanks to its more philosophical nature, but it's still quite enjoyable and gives a good insight into Mansairaku's thinking " a good thing in light of the lack of development he got during the series proper.

In summary:
Pulling the mid-series scene change that Otogi Zoshi did was certainly an unusual move, but this final volume shows that there was some point to it, and does a surprisingly good job at pulling the two halves of the show together and producing a decent finale, with all loose ends properly tied up. The final special episode also provide two interesting short stories to wrap the series up with. The show's pacing maybe won't be to everyone's taste, but I enjoyed these episodes, and would have no hesitation in recommending Otogi Zoshi as a series that deserves to be given a chance.

Features
Japanese Language 2.0,Japanese Language 5.1,Japanese Language DTS,English Language 2.0,English Language 5.1,English Language DTS,English Subtitles

Review Equipment
Toshiba 37X3030DB 37" widescreen HDTV; Sony PS3 Blu-ray player (via HDMI, upscaled to 1080p); Acoustic Solutions DS-222 5.1 speaker system.

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