Rumbling Hearts Vol. #2 - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: B+

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: A-
  • Video Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: A-
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: C-
  • Age Rating: 12 & Up
  • Region: 2 - Europe
  • Released By: Revelation Films
  • MSRP: ¬£15.99
  • Running time: 125
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Rumbling Hearts

Rumbling Hearts Vol. #2

By Dani Moure     August 15, 2007
Release Date: May 21, 2007


Rumbling Hearts Vol. #2
© Revelation Films


What They Say
Haruka, Takayuki, Mitsuki and Shinji are four high school friends. Life's promise shines brightly on them until an accident leaves Haruka in a coma and her boyfriend, Takayuki, can't forgive himself. Mitsuki dedicates her life to helping this tragic young man and the pair fall into a guilt-ridden relationship. When Haruka awakens after three years, Takayuki is torn between his unhappy real-life relationship and daydream high school romance. He feels the tiny silver lining left in his life being mercilessly stripped away.

The Review!
Things go from bad to worse for the rocky relationship between Takayuki and Mitsuki, as his thoughts shift more towards Haruka than the woman he's been with for three years.

Audio:
I listened to the English 5.1 track for my main review, and really enjoyed the dub. The mix sounds good, with the music and effects coming across quite well. I noticed no dropouts, distortions or other technical issues with this disc. In terms of performances, occasionally the actors sometimes sounded a little older than they are supposed to be, but other than that it was a very solid and enjoyable dub, hitting most of the right emotional tones.

Video:
Like most recent shows these days with decent source materials, the transfer here is very good. I noticed no aliasing or other artefacts as I watched. Colours were reproduced well, and the transfer was very sharp and clean.

Unfortunately, like last year's Burst Angel release authored by Madman, this disc misses out on the alternate angles for the opening and ending, so we only get the English translated / FUNimation credits, with only the few Japanese credits they include.

Subtitles are in a nice yellow font, and I noticed no spelling or grammatical errors.

Packaging:
Rather low-key but in fitting with the tone of the show, the cover presents a nice image of Mitsuki holding a bunch of flowers, with a white background that makes the cover more subtle. The English logo is at the top of the cover, along with the volume number and episode numbers. The back cover presents a mix of artwork, screenshots and descriptions of the show, as well as clearly listing extras and all the technical information organised at the bottom of the cover. The reverse side features an image of older Mitsuki behind the disc, with an ad for the other discs in the series on the left side.

Menu:
The menus are the usual Madman style we get these days, all mostly static. The main menu has a white hue, with the show's logo at the top, a picture of Haruka to the right and selections down the middle. A piece of background music plays over this menu. Sub-menus are all static in the same style, with no music playing. Overall access times are fast, but these kinds of menus do always seem by the numbers, lacking any creativity.

Extras:
Once again we get just the textless opening and ending here.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
It's hard to imagine how things could get much worse for the main characters in Rumbling Hearts. In the first volume everyone's lives were dramatically changed after Haruka's accident, and then just as Mitsuki and Takayuki are happily rebuilding their lives as a couple, it's all thrown up in the air by Haruka waking up from her coma not knowing that three years have passed. Well, in this volume things just go down hill even more for the ever spiralling relationship as Takayuki begins to focus on Haruka and spends less and less time with Mitsuki.

When Haruka's parents ask Takayuki to come visit her every night, he feels obligated to do so, and even tells Mitsuki that but says it will all be fine despite everything changing. But as he continues to visit, despite a less than warm welcome from Akane, old feelings for Haruka resurface since she continues from where they left off. Almost in reaction, and to assert her position as the supposed girl in his life, Mitsuki takes the decision to move in with him, and tries her best to make it look like they're a good couple in love. It doesn't really work, though, and after she visits Haruka herself, she goes crazy at Takayuki and demands he doesn't see her.

While the visits stop temporarily, it only serves to make Takayuki resent her, and the rift between them grows. When he does return to the hospital, Haruka asks him about a book she wanted three years ago, which is now out of print. Though he manages to find a copy, Haruka begins to suspect things about the current time, and with everyone dodging her questions, it's not long before the worst happens.

In this set of episodes each of the major characters go trough significant changes and makes some tough choices, but like the first volume the series does a commendable job of putting across all the sides of their actions, giving us both the good results and the bad results of what they all decide.

Takayuki obviously has a lot to think about, what with Haruka's sudden re-emergence on the scene throwing his relationship with Mitsuki into chaos, but he manages to turn it in to a total train wreck by trying to do what he thinks is best, but what is bound to end in tears for most everyone involved. While it's easy to relate to his desire to want to see Haruka and help her, especially after her parents pleaded with him, it's hard not to feel bad for Mitsuki under the current circumstances.

From her point of view, her whole world has been turned upside down, and having fell in love with Takayuki and finally gotten with him (giving up a lot on the way, it has to be said), it's now all thrown into turmoil in the blink of an eye. From her point of view, he's almost begun to ignore her. He spends most of his spare time after work at the hospital with Haruka, and when the couple are together he is generally spaced out and seems uninterested. His reactions to her saying she'd move in spoke volumes about his mindset at the moment, but also how that must make her feel inside. She ends up reacting as any woman probably would in the same situation, but then she also feels guilty for it because it's her old best friend.

Of course there's also Akane's view of things, and her life is on a downward spiral as well in this volume and it's a bit of a shame to see. You can totally understand why she holds contempt for Mitsuki under the circumstances, having effectively "stole" her sister's boyfriend, but then she should probably be equally as angry at Takayuki (though she does have a soft spot for him) and to be fair, it's understandable that both he and Mitsuki had to try and move on.

Haruka also goes on an interesting journey in these three episodes which is quite painful to watch. She starts as innocent as ever, unaware of everything going on around her and only having eyes for Takayuki, and wanting to spend time with him. But by the end of the volume she's figuring things out, and what happens in the cliffhanger doesn't bode well for her in the final set of episodes. It should be really interesting to see the twists the series takes from this point.

In Summary:
The second volume of Rumbling Hearts plays much the same as the first. It's more soap opera than drama in a lot of ways, but it still manages to hit some significant emotional chords, and you'd be hard-pressed not to feel something for the characters and their situation. The show is all about their relationships, and the ups and downs that go along with them, and this volume just continues in the realism of how they are portrayed. This volume gets another solid recommendation from me.

Features
Japanese Language (2.0),English Language (5.1),Textless Opening and Ending

Review Equipment
Philips 28" Pure Flat Widescreen TV, Philips DVP 5100 code free DVD player, JVC gold-plated RGB SCART cable, Pioneer HTP-GS1 5.1 Surround Sound System.

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