Real Bout High School Vol. #2 - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: B

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: A
  • Packaging Rating: A-
  • Menus Rating: A
  • Extras Rating: A-
  • Age Rating: 16 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: TOKYOPOP
  • MSRP: 29.99
  • Running time: 75
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Real Bout High School

Real Bout High School Vol. #2

By Chris Beveridge     June 27, 2002
Release Date: July 23, 2002


Real Bout High School Vol. #2
© TOKYOPOP


What They Say
Ryoko, the modern-day samurai girl and #1 fighter of Daimon High, must now take on her widest range of adversaries yet: from magical waitresses to a dominant trio of new enemies - Akitaka, Nanase and Setsura. Add the mysterious dimension of Solvania, and even a K-Fight cooking contest, and things are about to get real interesting for this samurai girl.

Contains:
Episode 5: Attack of the Raging Wind!
Episode 6: Threat From Another World
Episode 7: Rematch! Battle at Lunch Time

The Review!
After a first volume that introduced the rather outlandish style of the series, things settle into a bit of a routine here, but the story slowly starts moving forward, if only in small teasing doses.

Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this disc in its original language of Japanese. Though this show is very recent, the audio is your basic stereo mix with nothing being thrown to the rear speakers at all. But it's quite a good stereo mix with a nice flair for directionality across the forward soundstage both in the fighting sequences and with normal dialogue and sound effects.

Video:
Much like the first volume, there’s hardly anything to take issue with here. Colors are rich and vibrant, there’s no noticeable bleeding and aliasing is pretty much nonexistent along with cross coloration. Now, if only the animation didn’t take something of a dive in episode six…

Packaging:
Presented in a clear keepcase (as review copies do not get the colored case), this is one shiny looking package. The front cover has a full body shot of Ryoko while a larger close-up of just Shizuma’s face fills things out. The back cover provides a number of snapshots of the animation and a very brief summary of the show. Episode numbers and titles are clearly listed as well as the discs features and extras. The insert provides another shot of the front cover and the two interior panels are all done up with the translators notes which definitely provide some interesting tidbits that come up during the show. The package also features a dual sided cover, which isn't the same as a reverse cover. Since this is a clear keepcase, when you open it you get another gorgeous full color image of three of the series women.

Menu:
The menu for this volume is in essence the same as the first one, though with a color palette change and the fight sequence animation changed to one relevant to this disc. It does however continue to rock completely, and works perfectly with this series. Access times are nice and fast and moving between menus is simple and logical. The layout is just right, with selections in the extras being show as directional combo moves and so forth. Great style to this.

Extras:
A solid selection of extras are presented here, much like the first volume. We get the Special End Corner segments for the three episodes on the disc here, with the two voice actresses taking us to different places to talk about the show, including Gonzo itself. There’s also a somewhat brief interview segment (video) with Ikue Kimura. A textless ending sequence is included as well as a few pieces of line art and some amusing dub outtakes.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
After the first volume, where we get most of the cast introductions out of the way and the basic setup of the premise and what to expect, things move firmly into territory we except. That is, some extended fight sequences to show off a bit more while providing some small plot tidbits to move things forward. These three episodes aren’t as splashy as the first four, but they do continue the spirit of things.

A good portion of all of this takes place at a local mall, where it seems like most of the kids have ended up. Ryoko’s being forced into service as an “actress” wearing a magical girl outfit for a restaurant her friend works out, where she performs skits to defeat an evil villain out to steal the patrons food. This restaurant is amusing in general, since the waitresses are all in catgirl mode and have cat ears in addition to their normal waitressing outfit. Two fetishes for the price of one.

Ryoko hates to do this, but she ends up getting on stage and doing it, every embarrassing thing. Of course, a crowd of drooling men are there to watch, which only serves to make it worse for her. And to make things even far worse, Azumi has also started to work there to help out the restaurant owner, whose a friend of her fathers. Suffice to say, sparks fly easily between her and Ryoko.

Shizuma also finds himself at the mall, under the direction of three women from the school whose got him being their slave by carrying their massive amount of packages around. Sara and Miyuki also eventually end up at the mall after Sara learns of a trio of rather powered individuals are looking for Shizuma. Of course, Sara and Miyuki essentially lead the trio of bad asses to Shizuma, which works out just as well. Shizuma looks like he wants to have some fun.

Keeping the public safety in mind, they all migrate to the garage where one by one, the trio introduce themselves and their goal of basically kicking Shizuma’s posterior all over the place. With some rather smart moments and amusing bits, this runs across two episodes but manages to not feel overly contrived for the most part. What hurts it the most is the rather dramatic dropoff in animation quality, especially character design consistency, in episode six. It starts dropping down to bad hentai CG style levels at times, where you can just see them saying “just tilt the head in one frame, it’ll look fine and save us a lot of work”. Except that it doesn’t look fine.

Thankfully things pick back up to where they should be in the final episode, which also moves things back to the school and provides an episode long K-fight where the K stands for kitchen. This was a pretty light episode all told, and it was good to have something relatively self-contained that felt like it was letting us get to know some of the characters better. While not as exciting as the first volume, there’s some interesting new bits introduced here and the way the characters interact continues to be amusing.

Features
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Special End Corner Making Of Featurettes,Translator's Notes,Outtakes,Line Art Gallery #1,Exclusive "Interview with the Samurai Girl" Part 1,Textless Opening

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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