Mania Grade: B
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- Audio Rating: B
- Video Rating: B+/A-
- Packaging Rating: B+
- Menus Rating: B-/B
- Extras Rating: A
- Age Rating: 13 & Up
- Region: 1 - North America
- Released By: Media Blasters
- MSRP: 29.99
- Running time: 125
- Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
- Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
- Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
- Series: Rurouni Kenshin (aka Samurai X)
Rurouni Kenshin Vol. #04: False Prophet
By Lawrence Chu
February 18, 2002
Release Date: November 14, 2000
Having only watched the fansubs up to episode 14 or 15, I was eager to pick up this disc and continue watching the stuff I never got around to. Now that I've picked it up, I'm a content man. ^_^
Content: With this disc, we go straight into the 'filler' episodes--those not directly based on the manga--and these are fairly enjoyable, if a bit episodic (they'd have to be to avoid messing up manga canon). The first episode is a cute piece about Kaoru helping a Sumo wrestler train so that he can be accepted back into his stable. Although not bad, it wasn't excellent, either. The second episode is sort of a Megumi-focus piece, where a faith healer comes to town and joins up with a group of local ruffians to drive her out, which was quite enjoyable (and they managed to shove a small scene from the manga in as well!).
The third and fourth episodes are a two-parter, in which Sanosuke's friend, a former Hitokiri and now a schoolteacher, is asked by members of his old dojo to help assassinate corrupt government officials. This one was so well-done I'd easily believe it to be a manga arc if I hadn't known better. ^_^; Extra kudos should go to the filler writers for this one.
The last episode is another 'Yahiko falls for girl in trouble' episode, dealing with a circus girl and her father who are being harassed by rival circus owners. It then goes into this whole convoluted setup which ends in a display of Kaoru's (lack of) dagger-throwing abilities, Sano on the receiving end, the secrets of the Hiten Mitsurugi Umberella technique, and a human cannonball. Really fun. ^_^
The good: Dubbing's getting better for the regulars. Sound's crystal clear as ever, and the new ending song is nicely sung in both languages as well.
The bad: Secondary characters are still a bit...um...campy.
The ugly: As soon as they shouted "fox woman!" in the last ep, did anyone else have the urge to make a Megumi joke?
The good: As crystal clear as ever, with only a few rainbows.
The bad: A few rainbows. The text on top of the screen (the ones they use to explain the signs and stuff) is a bit annoying, especially since they use it more often now. Maybe they should make use of the Alternate Angle function and have one with the overlays and one without.
The ugly: Some of the character designs are delightfully ugly, especially those in the Hishi Manji. ^_^ And did anyone else notice how different the characters looked in that particular ep, too?
The good: Looks nice, likely to catch the eye of a browser. Pretty good screencaps with lots of action in them.
The bad: A few problems that, oddly enough, don't really undermine the fact that the cover looks really nice. The first noticeable problem is the blurb paragraph (the first paragraph on the back)--they forgot to change it from episode two! Kanryu, Aoshi, neither of them are around anymore! :P The second one, also on the back cover, is a small typo. Saga 15 is called "Assassination Group of Fire," not "...of Five." And on the question of consistency, what's normally spelled "Battousai" loses the 'u' on the back cover (still accurate, but different method of romanization). "Outtakes" should be spelled with two t's. Small things. ^_^; And the inside chapter list...doesn't work, since it only lists things for four chapters and not the fifth one. This is Ground Control to Major Tom:
Are you receiving? ^_^;
Like I said, it doesn't really detract from the actual cover's aesthetics, it's just kinda annoying after looking through the disc and realizing how inconsistent it is.
The ugly: Toma's face in that second screencap.
The good: Same menus as last disc--quick, practical, reliable.
The bad: Same menus as last disc--lack of frills, though the music is nice.
The ugly: Once again, "Outtakes" is spelled with two t's. Oh, and "English Dialouge" is misspelled. ^_^;
The good:Lots and lots of good here. We have the fanart contest winners here (and I'm not on it, wah!). Good work, everyone! *clapclapclaps* Eight pages worth of liner notes (five of them on sumo wrestling--I hope I know what's going on next time I watch a match! @_@) and some outtakes to boot!
The bad: I'm not one of the winners. :P
The ugly: The outtakes are uncensored this time. Not really ugly, but some people might be offended. And Michelle "Mirana" Burns either knows two completely different art styles, or she was accidentally credited twice and one person was accidentally left out. ^_^;
Other notes: At one point in the subtitling, the Hitokiri "Battsouai" makes an appearance (in the fourth episode). And the phrase "This reverse-blade sword mercilessly cuts anything nonliving" looks really awkward. ^_^;
Overall: For filler episodes, not bad at all. This disc is definitely worth a pickup. Good action, good humor, and tons of extras to go with it. What else could you possibly want? (Answer: MY FANAR*GMPH*)
Dell Dimension XPS/350 w/RealMagic Hollywood Plus decoder, TBS Montego and Sennheiser HD470 headphones.