Roujin Z (Remaster) - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: A-

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: C
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Central Park Media
  • MSRP: 29.99
  • Running time: 87
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1 Non-Anamorphic Widescreen
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Roujin Z

Roujin Z (Remaster)

By Chris Beveridge     April 13, 2002
Release Date: April 09, 2002


Roujin Z (Remaster)
© Central Park Media


What They Say
An elderly invalid is volunteered for a bizarre science experiment. He is given the ultimate nurse - the Z-001, a robotic bed linked directly to his brainwaves! Science runs amok as the Z-001 transforms into an unstoppable robot that will satisfy its patientís every desire. and smashes out of the hospital and through police barricades en route to a day trip at the beach!

This is the Central Park Media re-master of the classic hit! Higher quality, better extras!

The Review!
With the sublicense to Image Entertainment for this title having run its lifespan, Central Park Media has made sure the market isn’t dry for Otomo works, especially when other films he’s been involved in are being released this month. It’s been almost four years since the original DVD release and time has definitely helped make this release better.

Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this disc in its original language of Japanese. It’s a pretty basic stereo mix with little in terms of directionality across the forward soundstage. Nothing at all goes to the rears, but dialogue and other effects across the forward soundstage are nice and clear. Things are about what you’d expect.

Video:
Using some of the most recent advances in digital restoration, things are nicely cleaned up here and the differences between this and the previous Image edition are striking. Overall the image is much more solid and the colors, while still retaining a lot of their pastel basics, are given more life to them here. Cross coloration is non-existent though there’s several instances of line shimmering during camera panning sequences. It’s definitely easy to see just how much better this release looks though.

Packaging:
With this not being in a snapper case, that’s cause for celebration right there. The same artwork is used for the cover here but like the video, you can see how things have been almost brightened up and given a new life along with the new logo. The back cover provides a few shots of the animation and a quick blurb on the lot. The discs production and technical information is all nice and clearly listed and CPM brings back their audio/video technical block that makes it really easy to see what’s there. The reverse side of the cover provides some more black and white animation shots as well as the chapter selections and a couple of paragraphs about Otomo.

Menus:
The menu layout has some nice quick animation playing early on and goes up to the familiar image of the cover. Selections are fast to access and the layout in general is pretty well done and in theme for the show.

Extras:
Extras are a bit slim here, with a trivia game and the couple of pages about Otomo really being it as well as the art gallery.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The story of Roujin Z is an amusing one, a social satire that plays it mostly straight at the start and then goes off into strange and weird directions, yet remains quite faithful to the characters. It deals with a problem that you normally wouldn't find anime fans running into. What to do with our growing elderly population. With Japan facing this large problem, and the US also going to be facing it in the decades to come, it's quite relevant. The basic plot of the story is that a special nuclear-powered bed is created by the Ministry of Public Welfare that will tend to the needs of the patient. ALL their needs. From feeding, washing and waste removal all the way to playing video games and playing the stock market.

The only people who seem to see anything wrong with this are the student nurses, particularly the one who was taking care of Mr. Takazawa before the Ministry of Public Welfare got his family to sign him over to the project. Haruko’s only thinking of the best for Takazawa in his condition, but feels even more compelled to help out when Takazawa begins using the Z-001 bed to try and contact Haruko to help him escape and get to someplace he wants to go.

Once all the social aspects of it is revealed and gets explained, things start moving into the strange territory where the bed goes beyond its expected programming to try and do whatever Takazawa wants. This of course being the downside to using a sixth generation learning computer. It begins to adapt any kind of electronic it can find around it and takes off into the world with a new level of intelligence as well as sounding like Takazawa’s dead wife. This is where things just get plain fun to watch and lets Otomo show off some of the dangers of having a nuclear powered bed.

If there’s one downside to this release, it’s the dub. Listening to it while writing up the review, one is quick to realize this is the kind of dub where every couple of sentences must have a character swearing whereas there was none in the original. This just gets disturbing in general as the movie progresses and casts a blemish on Otomo’s work in my eyes. Definitely avoid the dub and listen to the original.

Roujin Z is a fun movie that mixes a serious subject with some good comedy and some bizarre looking mecha. It’s one of the few titles that I’d definitely upgrade in a new media format. And this re-release by CPM is definitely worth picking up if you never got the Image one.

Features
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Trivia Game,About Otomo,Art Gallery

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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