Sakura Diaries Vol. #3 - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: B+

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: B-
  • Packaging Rating: A
  • Menus Rating: B+
  • Extras Rating: N/A
  • Age Rating: 17 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: ADV Films
  • MSRP: 24.95
  • Running time: 75
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Sakura Diaries

Sakura Diaries Vol. #3

By Chris Beveridge     January 23, 2001
Release Date: January 23, 2001


Sakura Diaries Vol. #3
© ADV Films


What They Say
A man can only take so much. So, after being pushed beyond limits he can take, Toma aggressively answers Urara's advances. But when the morning comes, Urara's more angry than aroused. So angry, in fact, she just might have to put her lips to work in a different way-by telling Meiko Toma's dirty little secret. But it turns out Meiko's got a secret of her own. And now Toma may be the one who doesn't come out on top.

The Review!
After the darker moments of the 2nd volume, I wasn't sure if the show could return to its sweet yet smutty style. A lot of people who enjoyed the show vowed not to return after that rather disturbing episode, but the show does indeed go on... and in interesting ways.

Audio:
Pretty good all around. We listened to the Japanese track as our primary review track and didn't have any kinds of distortion or dropouts. There's very little directionality in this show as it's almost entirely dialogue drive with the exception of the opening and ending songs. We did spot check the English track, and from the few instances we listened to, there didn't seem to be any obvious problems.

Video:
The video is quite a mixed bag. Some pieces throughout look absolutely great. Solid colors and completely artifact free. Others look grainy and cause things like the walls to seem like they're alive or some of the faces exhibit the same problem. Overall though, much like the first two discs, it's a soft transfer. It's not bad, but it's not a shining example of how anime can look. I'm still wondering how much of it is attributable to the authoring house or the source material.

Packaging:
Yum. Yet another shot of Urara in a skimpy outfit on the cover from the Japanese laserdisc release. The back cover contains a nice mix of animation shots, menu shots and a short disc summary. The insert provides yet another yummy picture of Urara with the episode list, but not the chapter lists.

Menus:
The menus are pretty basic but have some of the features people love in that episodes are easy to get to and selections are accessed very quickly. Even better, ADV's discs continue to read the presets on my Pioneer player for Japanese language and English subtitles, so I only visit that submenu for review purposes. The main menu uses a cropped version of the front cover, while there's minimal artwork used elsewhere in the submenus.

Extras:
Nada.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Things do go right to the heart of the matter here when the show starts. Urara is still questioning and pinning Touma on his behavior during his attack on her and how he has to make up for it. Some may feel that Urara is being incredibly easy on him for what he's done. Myself, I'm not familiar enough with the culture to know exactly what a normal response to it would be there, especially having seen some of the things that are made and legally marketed in Japan. I think this is something that will really stick in the craw of a lot of people.

Urara indeed does give Touma a chance to redeem himself after he admits to thinking about her constantly and his actions. She tells him that to make up, he has to take her to an amusement park of her choice and a ride of her choice. Being as conciliatory as he is at the time, he rapidly agrees. She also tells him to not think of his Keio "girlfriend" anymore.

Of course, the first thing he does is call Mieko! After a bit of wrangling, he ends up at Keio with her and her dashing male friend, and they end up going out karaoking. As fate would have it, Urara finds him with his Keio "girlfriend" and things enter the twilight zone.

Several of the characters exhibit some strange behavior, but there's some really sweet moments throughout, especially the scene with Touma and Urara in the rain at the Ferris wheel. There's also a really interesting twist when Touma and Mieko have a private conversation to settle where their relationship really stands. The fact that they have this conversation at all is sort of trend breaking for shows.

My enthusiasm for the show hasn't diminished at all after watching these episodes. I'm really looking forward to the final disc to see how they bring this to a conclusion.

Features
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles

Review Equipment
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Pioneer 414 codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.

COMMENTS AND RESPONSES

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jnager 3/13/2012 8:54:10 PM

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