Rumbling Hearts Vol. #3 -

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Mania Grade: B+

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  • 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: 100
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Rumbling Hearts

Rumbling Hearts Vol. #3

By Dani Moure     September 18, 2007
Release Date: July 23, 2007

Rumbling Hearts Vol. #3
© Revelation Films

What They Say
The concluding episodes of this engaging and dramatic series.

The entire world has gone crazy! Haruka has collapsed back into a coma and Mitsuki has left Takayuki, this time for good. When Haruka wakes up for the second time, she realises that three years have passed and things change. But Takayuki denies having anyone else in his life. When Mitsuki visits, Haruka learns the truth. Upset, she wants to know why she lost three years and why she woke up now with everything all screwed up. But most of all, she wants that time back, the three years that she slept through. Faced with unpleasant reality, the young girl must have courage enough for them all...

Episodes Comprise

11. Where The Blame Lies
12. Friends To Enemies
13. The Past Will Catch Up
14. Mayal's Gift

The Review!
The final volume is upon us, and brings more heartache than you would ever think possible for Takayuki, Mitsuki and Haruka.

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.

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.

Rather low-key but in fitting with the tone of the show, the cover presents a nice image of Haruka on her hospital bed, 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.

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.

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

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The tangled web of a threesome that is the Takayuki " Haruka " Mitsuki relationship just gets even more complicated in the final volume of Rumbling Hearts, which manages to wrap up everything neat and tidily, although undoubtedly not to everyone's satisfaction. But while the outcome of the series might not suit everyone's tastes, in fact it's more likely to polarise opinion, what is certain is that the journey is full of an incredible amount of angst before the final moments begin to hit our screen.

After the events of the last volume, Mitsuki couldn't feel further from Takayuki, and as if to try and make things better she ends up sleeping with his best friend Shinji. Shinji is more concerned with finding Akane and sorting things out, and the pair end up having a chat. But when Mitsuki decides to eventually return home, she finds that Takayuki has collapsed. As she tries to make it up to him because of how guilty she's feeling, Takayuki couldn't be more ambivalent, as if he's lost all feeling. It takes a visit from Shinji at work, and a physical fight, to make him realise that perhaps he should fight for Mitsuki after all.

It's all complicated of course when Haruka wakes up again, this time with no recollection of having woken up again before. After seeing Akane, Mitsuki ends up visiting the hospital and spilling all, and then it becomes a question of which girl will Takayuki choose? Will his first love win out, or will he stick with the woman he's loved for three years when he thought Haruka was lost completely?

The eventual choice does make total sense, and resolves the story in a wholesome and satisfactory way, but naturally the choice will polarise some viewers. Everyone will have their own view on which girl Takayuki should choose, and so some will be disappointed. Personally I was always hoping he'd stop treating Mitsuki like dirt having seen how devoted she has been to him over the three years, often with little reciprocation, despite her obvious flaws like sleeping with Shinji. So I was in the Mitsuki camp, but it'd be easy to see where he's coming from if he wanted to rekindle his love for Haruka. As I said, his choice will have its detractors, so I won't spoil the outcome here.

What has always been consistent throughout the three volumes of Rumbling Hearts is the great character interactions and the realistic portrayal in most of what they do. Yes, the story is far-fetched and all (what anime isn't?), but within the confines of its own story the characters react in quite a realistic way and it's refreshing to see them deal with adult themes and issues in adult ways. It does end up being a bit soap-opera like, but most drama series do at one time or another and once again I feel the need to parallel your every day live-action drama series you'd watch on TV with this series; animation notwithstanding it would fit in amongst the best of them.

Takayuki and Mitsuki have gone through the biggest changes of all the characters, with Mitsuki having been put through the ringer herself. Her love for Takayuki started off very one-sided and despite getting little back from him she's always devoted herself to him, until Haruka became the straw that broke the camel's back. Despite sleeping with Shinji, and it could've been anyone, it only reinforces her feelings for Takayuki and although it's a deplorable thing to do, you can see that she probably did it just to try and get some reaction from him. He really has walked over her through the course of the series in a lot of ways and it's easy to feel sort for her.

Of course, Mitsuki's actions and eventually Shinji's showdown lead Takayuki to realise the mistakes he's made, and that he really has been neglecting Mitsuki. Although it's taken some time, I was glad that he redeemed himself in this way even if it took someone else to make him realise what he'd been doing. He does still have plenty of feelings for Haruka though, and knows that to her, he is still her lover.

Haruka isn't let off going through the ringer herself, having fallen into a coma (and waking up) twice. For her, everything she knows has changed and it's hard to comprehend all the things that have happened in the three years she's been down. It's almost like a fresh start in some ways, but with the pain of still being attached to who she loved before " Takayuki. It's all a bit of a mess but in the end it's nice to see her come out strong despite everything. Even Akane makes some huge leaps and by the end of it has returned to the Akane of old, on the swim team and all.

In Summary:
The final volume of Rumbling Hearts continues in the same vein as the first two. The series leans on the edge of soap opera over drama at times, but still maintains an emotional connection given all the heartache going on everywhere. The series' story has been quite simple, about a boy and the two girls that love him, and so it's nice to see Takayuki make a firm hard choice of who he is going to be with, accompanied by very legitimate reasons for doing so. Haruka and Mitsuki both come out strong in the end, and although the finale isn't the happiest, it is a more than satisfactory end to the series. This is a real character orientated show, and unless you're completely against the idea of trying a show out that focuses on relationships, I'd really recommend joining this group of characters for their trials and tribulations. You may well find it's worth the effort.

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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