Mania Grade: A
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- Audio Rating: A-
- Video Rating: A
- Packaging Rating: A-
- Menus Rating: A-
- Extras Rating: A
- Age Rating: All
- Region: 2 - Japan
- Released By: Sony Music Entertainment (Japan) Inc.
- MSRP: ¥5000
- Running time: 83
- Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
- Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
- Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
- Series: Rurouni Kenshin (aka Samurai X)
Rurouni Kenshin TV Vol. #16
Rurouni Kenshin TV Vol. #16
What They SayThe Review!
© Sony Music Entertainment (Japan) Inc.
This disk contains TV episodes 54 - 56, the entirety of the Soujirou vs. Kenshin fight. Sony released the entirety of this show breaking it up into fitting sections so that a person could buy one disk with the fight they wanted to see on it; I like this idea. This way they are able to fit all the extras and packaging that people want for one person without having to make you buy 15 disks. So based off of that assumption, this review may help those wanting another disk decide whether it's worth the investment.
Audio: This disk has a clean Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo track. Since this is TV source it's not 5.1, but it is a very clean audio with good directionality. No clicks, pops or any problems. The only reason I didn't give it an A in audio was because it's only a 2.0 track, otherwise absolutely perfect. The excellent soundtrack and voice acting truly shine on this disk as this disk is fairly late in the series and everyone's voices are clear, distinct and well developed. The music is rich and appropriate for the mood of the show; the level is always appropriate and doesn't drown out the spoken lines. Sound effects are excellent, from the sword swings to the rain; everything is crisp and clear, nothing sounds the least bit out of place.
Video: I cry every time I watch this disk because this is how good all DVD's should look. This disk looks better than most movies I have. Absolutely no artifacts, rainbows or anything other than the most beautiful TV transfer I have ever seen. After watching this series repeatedly from fansubs this disk completely blew my mind - it turns out Kenshin actually is a well animated show. From the rain and water effects in the opening and ending to the hair and sword effects throughout the show this disk exceeded all my expectations. If all DVD's were this good looking, there would be no reason to have a video rating.
Packaging: Nice clean jewel box with episode and volume listing on the back. There is a general white flower on soft blue theme for the whole disk (jewel case, inserts, disk, menus) that is very pleasing. Inside the cover one finds 5 separate double sided sheets. The top is the cover with chapter stop listing on the back. The 2nd through 4th are episode info sheets for each of the (3) episodes with very nice character pictures on back (2 are Soujirou alone and the third is a group shot). The info sheets include: original air date, production crew, cast and a story digest. The last is menu info with legal and disk info on the reverse. This is the best use of jewel case packaging that I have seen, it provides you with 4 very nice covers and plenty of info on the show and individual episodes. My only complaint is the fact that it is in a jewel case, which is fragile and doesn't fit in with my other disks.
Menus: Being a non-kanji reader I had to find what each menu selection did by trial and error. Fortunately the menus are easily laid out and quick to access. By default this disk starts playing the first episode on the disk and has a series of unskippable logos and such and that's my only complaint. Other than that, everything is fast to access and exactly what I wanted. The background is the same white flower on soft blue that the disk was packaged in. The chapter selections are simple and precisely what one wants: one column with 5 breaks per episode (Opening, Part A, Part B, Ending, and Preview). There is also a return to show selection easily available. Every menu is fast, easy and intuitive.
Extras: Extras galore! I wasn't expecting anywhere near the amount of extras they stuck on this disk, especially for volume 16 of a TV series. Firstly, there is the creditless ending "It's Gonna Rain" by Bonnie Pink, very cool song and the creditless version is perfectly beautiful (just like the rest of this disk). Also included are three separate art galleries, none of them are very long (less than 25 pics each), but they are quite enjoyable. The first is a character sketch gallery, which has picks of all the major players and Soujirou's family. The next gallery is the background sketch gallery, which has sketches of the fighting area and Soujirou's family house. The last is a full color picture gallery of Soujirou which can either be advanced manually or put on auto and get a nice OST accompaniment. Also included are voice actor bios (with a lot of kanji that I don't know), they look decent enough to someone who can't read it all to well. Hopefully all the disks have these extras (except pertaining to the focus person of the disk).
Content: This disk contains the 3-part battle between Kenshin and Soujirou. I bought this disk because it was my favorite fight in Kenshin, so my opinions may be skewed. In episode 54 Kenshin enters Soujirou's room to fight him as the final member of the Juppongatana. Soujirou starts out as his calm collected self, but is annoyed by Himura's power despite his non-killing attitude. From there we see Soujirou break down and we see his motivations and his past, mainly his meeting with Shishio and the reasons for his way of life. After that we see the conclusion to this battle and people parting to travel their separate paths.
As I said before, I was quite happily surprised with the animation quality present. Looking at pan shots, rain shots, close ups and action sequences everything here was a pleasant treat. Characters are clearly animated and the sword fighting, while fast and furious, is easily followed and leaves nothing to be desired. One unexpectedly well animated section was character's heads, with great coloration and delineation throughout - specifically Kenshin's hair. The gleams on the sword blades are beautiful looking as are the high speed steps of Soujirou's "Shukuchi." My only complaint is my possessing only one disk on Kenshin in this good quality; it makes it quite difficult to watch it any other way.
I think this show is one of the best anime ever made. It has great characters, fights, character development, music, scripting and voice acting. It is a show that is primarily an action-drama series which is able to successfully intertwine comedic elements into most episodes with having it seem out of place or uncalled for. I also believe that this disc embodies all of those elements to their fullest (well, not so much on the comedy) and should be a must have for any R2 collector.
Japanese Language,Creditless Ending,Character (Soujirou) Art Gallery w/ Music,Background Sketch Gallery,Character Sketch Gallery,Voice Actor Info
Toshiba 12x DVD-ROM, Hollywood+ Decoder Card, Sony 17", Altec Lansing 3 speaker set, Turtle Beach Montego sound card.