Mania Grade: B+
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- Audio Rating: B+
- Video Rating: B+
- Packaging Rating: A-
- Menus Rating: B-
- Extras Rating: B-
- Age Rating: All
- Region: 2 - Japan
- Released By: Beam Entertainment
- MSRP: ¥6000
- Running time: 90
- Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
- Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
- Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
- Series: Siamese Cat
Siamese Cat First Mission
By Luis Cruz
April 10, 2002
Release Date: February 25, 2002
Siamese Cat First Mission
What They Say
© Beam Entertainment
Jun and Naomi are hosts of a popular radio show on CAT-FM, but do not let their beauty fool you. They are the crime-fighting duo known as "Siamese Cat". Terrorists have captured ARTEMIS, the ultimate mobile laser cannon. Their leader Kaido Shunsuke threatens to use its destructive power unless his demands are met. It's a race against time as Jun and Naomi try to prevent the terrorists from unleashing global destruction.The Review!
For my viewing, I was only able to listen to the DD 2.0 track. While my speakers are not top-quality, the sound effects produced surprising directional effects throughout the film. The dialogue is very crisp and clear, and the music paces along with the action fluidly.
Overall, the video was very sharp. The colors of the characters and backgrounds were very vivid. Since Monkey Punch oversaw the whole creation of the film, the characters and backgrounds bear his distinctive style. Several characters are clearly a homage to his Lupin characters; most notably, Jun resembles Fujiko while a cop shares the fashion sense of Jigen.
During my viewing, I did notice that the picture jerked about during fast panning sequences. This did not occur very often but was a bit distracting when it did happen. Also, I noticed that some characters seemed to experience "ghosting" during quick action sequences as well. Unfortunately, I have no access to a region-free stand-alone player to determine if these problems are due to the encoding itself or if these problems are just a by-product of my PC's equipment.
Presented in a transparent, M-Lock Amaray keepcase, the cover art is a combination of film stills and various shots of our heroines. The back cover contains headshots of our heroines alongside two film stills, an introduction to the movie, and a cast list. The reverse side of the cover contains the chapter listings and information on what various symbols on DVD covers mean. Inside is a booklet that serves as a mini-movie program. It contains character bios, production notes, and information on the various weapons and vehicles used in the movie.
The menus are simple and straightforward. Each menu contains a scene from the film in the background with the menu options listed on top of the scene. The main menu allows you to play the entire film, select the chapter listing menu, select the audio menu, or select the extras menu. There are no animations or music for any of the menus; while the images and layout are nicely done, the lack of movement or sounds makes them rather boring.
The disc contains a decent set of extras with the most notable extra being the Monkey Punch interview. Aside from the interview, you get the original theatrical trailer and the ability to view storyboards and pencil sketch animations for two scenes from the movie.
Content: (possible spoilers)
Most US fans are familiar with Monkey Punch?s creation "Lupin the Third"; for his latest work, Monkey Punch decided to delve into his past and bring to life a creation that pre-dates Lupin. His choice was his earlier manga series "Siamese Cat". Both of the heroines from this manga helped shape the character of Fujiko as Monkey Punch created Lupin. And now, on with the show...
A gang of thugs is trying to steal a warship from a Japanese harbor; the police are unable to stop them from sailing away. The gang?s celebration is short lived as two figures in feline-esque battle suits detonate bombs that slow down their escape. Our cat-suited protagonists are none other than Jun and Naomi, the female duo known as "Siamese Cat". Our heroines soundly defeat the gang and retire back to their job as hosts of a radio show on CAT-FM.
As the next morning dawns, a terrorist group uses tanks, attack helicopters, and submarines to surround part of Tokyo. They are led by an ex-member of the Japanese SDF known as Kaido Shunsuke. Kaido has captured ARTEMIS, the experimental and highly destructive mobile laser cannon. If his demands are not met, he will use ARTEMIS to obliterate Korea and part of China, plunging Japan into war. It is up to an elite anti-terrorist group to work together with Siamese Cat to prevent Kaido from unleashing global devastation.
While the plot breaks no new ground and is quite predictable, the movie moves along at a brisk, enjoyable pace. The only slow point in the film is the few minutes after the opening credits where the terrorists are cordoning off ARTEMIS. Once they have done this, the fun begins as our heroines rush from one action scene to the next. There is not much character development, but none is required. The character designs for Jun and Naomi are very pleasing to the eye. Jun, our spunky, red-haired heroine, is voiced by Hayashibara Megumi (hmm... typecasting anyone?). The music is very up-tempo and helps the pace the movie along.
Overall, those who enjoy the various Lupin movies and TV specials will find this a familiar and enjoyable film. The film and meager extras may not make this title worth the near $50 price tag for those who are not huge Monkey Punch fans.
If I have access to a region-free stand-alone player, I hope to revisit the audio and video portions of this review. For now, I leave the audio and video grades at B+. The DD 5.1 track needs to be reviewed, and I would like to determine if the video issues are disc encoding problems or just problems with my PC hardware/software.
Japanese language Dolby Digital 2.0,Japanese language Dolby Digital 5.1,Six minute interview with Monkey Punch,Theatrical trailer,
Storyboards and pencil sketch animations for two scenes
Pentium II 400MHz, Samsung SD-604 DVD-ROM, WinDVD 3.1, generic monitor