Mania Grade: A
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- Audio Rating: A
- Video Rating: B/B+
- Packaging Rating: A
- Menus Rating: C+/B-
- Extras Rating: C
- Age Rating: 13 & Up
- Region: 1 - North America
- Released By: Media Blasters
- MSRP: 29.99
- Running time: 100
- Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
- Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
- Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
- Series: Rurouni Kenshin (aka Samurai X)
Rurouni Kenshin Vol. #03: Shadow Elite
By Lawrence Chu
February 18, 2002
Release Date: October 31, 2000
As soon as I saw this disc, I knew it had to be mine. I don't know if it was the fact that I knew what was on the disc, or the packaging of the disc, or what, I just knew it had to be mine. Oh yes. (1 point for that OCR.)
Content: We pick up from where we left on the Megumi arc, where Yahiko has been poisoned and Sano finds out that Megumi's opium caused the death of one of his friends. The first three episodes on this disc start at the dojo and takes us through a whirlwind tour of the Oniwaban Group and the mansion of Kanryu Takeda. Incredible fight scenes abound and the ending to this arc is heart-stopping. If you haven't already seen the ep, read the manga, or found out on any of the hundreds of Kenshin fansites out there, pick up this disc RIGHT NOW and watch as *spoiler deleted*
The fourth episode is an omake side story, introducing Tsubame, new employee at the Akabeko and love interest of Little Yahiko ^_^. This episode focuses on Yahiko's first battle as he fights to save the one he loves...kinda. The aftermath is just waaaaaay too funny.
With episode twelve, we conclude the first arc of manga-based stories. Next disc is all original. Make way!
The good: Sound is crystal clear in both Japanese and English tracks. For the most part the dubbing is good, although there might are a few things that could be improved (more on that in a sec). The opening and ending songs are excellent in both languages.
The bad: I'm getting used to Lex Lang as Sano, but the secondary voices still need work. And I know Tsubame's supposed to sound young, but this is getting to the point of annoying. ^_^; Megumi sounds like she's auditioning for a soap opera (read: overacting) occasionally.
The ugly: Surfer dude Shikijou?
The good: Great animation (watch those fight sequences again), no rainbows (finally!), and no blockiness at all.
The bad: I'm being real picky when I say 'not high enough resolution,' but I still feel like that. ^_^;
The ugly: The incredible detail when the Oniwabanshu *spoiler deleted*
The good: They struck gold with this cover! This one's sure to grab the eye of the passing video store customer. The back cover has some great art and screencaps, and it's much more legible, thanks to the new, thicker font.
The bad: No complaints from me. ^_^
The ugly: The running time states '125 mins.' There're four episodes on here, not five. Jumping ahead, are we? ^_^;
The good: Whoo! Music! In addition to the songs now sprinkled throughout the menu system, they moved the Scene Access up front so that you don't have to go through the Extras menu to get to them. And now that they've stopped using the 'separate title tracks' concept, they've redesigned the Scene Access bit. Looking good...
The bad: Same art gets old after a while. They changed the background in the extras page a bit, but that's all. Hey, MB, I know it's asking a bit much, but could you try and add animation?
The ugly: Nothing really ugly. How could there be, when there hasn't been much change?
The good: We have the four good pictures in the artwork gallery.
The bad: After all the neat stuff from the last disc, we're presented with...hardly anything. ^_^; Your usual trailers, the Japanese credits (since they've opted to put the English credits on the end of the episodes), and four pictures in the artwork gallery. The liner notes aren't nearly as plentiful this time around--only four notes (it looks like five, but two of them are duplicates), a far cry from the four pages of notes we got in the previous episodes. Call me spoiled, but I'm fairly sure there could've been another entry or two here. There aren't any profiles, but considering that this disc is mostly continuing off of the arc of the last episode, it's understandable. Maybe they should've had a profile for Tsubame...
The ugly: They put in the contest rules here, leaving people who got it on its release date (Nov. 1st?) only a few days to submit something. ^_^;
Other notes: The Japanese credits have hard subtitles on it, which makes it that much easier to spot the mistype "enternity" in the song. (Oddly enough, it isn't there in the DVD subtitling.) And speaking of mistypes, there aren't nearly as many on this DVD, but there ARE a couple (none off the top of my mind, though). *shrug* Oh well.
Overall: The exact opposite of the Kenshin 2 disc--pick it up for the episodes and the episodes only. These eps are top-notch action and drama, and they look pretty and sound good. Those looking for all the neat extras from the previous disc will be disappointed.
Dell Dimension XPS/350 w/RealMagic Hollywood Plus decoder, TBS Montego and Sennheiser HD470 headphones.