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Mania Grade: B+

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: B
  • Packaging Rating: C
  • Menus Rating: B-
  • Extras Rating: A
  • Age Rating: 15 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: ADV Films
  • MSRP: 29.98
  • Running time: 60
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Sin

Sin Special Edition

By Chris Beveridge     November 15, 2003
Release Date: November 04, 2003


Sin Special Edition
© ADV Films


What They Say
Enter the world of SIN. Sometime in the 21st century, the city of Freeport teeters on the verge of collapse. The twin tides of rampant crime and ruinous graft face but a single barrier-an elite strike force called HARDCORPS. Led by Colonel John Blade, the HARDCORPS have become a fierce fighting force for justice in Freeport.

Now, Blade must unravel a mysterious series of unexplained kidnappings. An elaborate puzzle unfolds as he delves into the decadence of the city, and at its heart is SinTEK, one of the most powerful companies in the world. Elexis Sinclaire's genius, ruthlessness, and determination built an empire that, on the surface, seems to be giving society everything it wants and needs-drugs that prolong health and, perhaps, even life. But within the company's well-guarded walls, Elexis' secret experiments yield considerably darker results that may bring about mankind's greatest evolutionary leap-or its extermination.



The Review!
Three years after originally releasing the OVA, ADV has gone back and bundled it up with the soundtrack and re-released it in a special edition version.

Audio:
Sin contains two audio tracks, the English language and the Japanese language. The English language track is the primary track. Lip movements were made to it and the original script was written for it. The Japanese language track, which doesn't fit all that well with the lip movements (not that the Japanese really care), presents a somewhat different story which was their intent. I won't get into the merits of doing things this way, suffice to say that it presents a fun thing for fans to argue and debate endlessly and provide a new precedent. We primarily listened to the Japanese track and checked out portions of the English track to compare. Both sounds quite good with no distortions or dropouts.

Video:
The video side is a bit of a mixed bag, but not overly so. The animation style is very similar to what was used in Bubblegum Crisis 2040 with lush colors and a wide array of dark tones. There's a solid dose of computer animation as well throughout the show. There was hardly any pixellation that I could see during the viewing, but there was some problems with line noise jitter. The show seems to have a somewhat higher than usual number of camera panning shots and most of these scenes were in tightly animated areas with cityscapes or building interiors. This caused a lot of jumpiness in these scenes. To off set that though, the animation is quite good throughout and other than that issue was really great to watch.

Packaging:
Instead of using a proper keepcase, this release is done up in a digipak, something I haven’t seen too many of lately (thankfully). The front cover provides a really nice set of images with the villain set against eerie lights and the child in front of him with the bear. The back cover has a few shots from the show and some collage images with the background while providing a decent summary of the premise. The discs extras are clearly listed here as well as the numerous production credits. Opening up the digipak, you get a panel that lists the chapter marks and disc features (including previews!) while the opposite two panels are home to the discs with artwork below the clear plastic. I’ve certainly lost what love I’ve had for digipaks. If the cover can’t be thinpak’d, then it’s no good!

Menu:
The menu layout is nice and fairly stylish with the logo and some rough artwork being the center point to the ring of circles across the screen. Selections are along one of the rings and allow quick and easy access. There’s a fair amount of depth to some of the menus but navigation isn’t too bad until you’re at the bottom and want to go all the way back to the top again. I also have to really give a nod to the fact that not only do they list the website again here but the site is still active and serving content (albeit probably the same content as when it first fully launched). Most companies sites, particularly the Japanese ones, tend to die off within a month of a series finishing, never mind three years.

Extras:
The extras on the disc seem to be a mix of what was on the original edition and some new ones. The best is the 20 minute grouping of interviews with the English dub cast, the dub director and the creative director. They also talk with several members of the Sin game development team and their reactions to seeing their hard work visualized by others. While I was rather disappointed that there was nothing included in these interviews with anyone from the anime production company or the Japanese cast, I was really pleased to see these kinds of interviews done. Hopefully this is something that will spread to other shows, even if they are of the English language cast. I may not enjoy a lot of dubs, but I like seeing the people who work in them and what they think of the shows they work on.

Also included in the extras is the theatrical trailer and production sketches. On the original release, I was definitely disappointed by there being so few designs and conceptual pieces considering what was talked about in the interviews. Here, we’ve got five sections worth. The photo gallery has a bout a minutes worth of pictures from the mixing of the show, voice talent at work and other discussion areas. The storyboards section provides over five minutes worth of a look at the show, dealing with the opening sequence and providing the English track to go along with it (though no finished video is available in a smaller window). The manga concepts gallery, a much too short 36 seconds, provides numerous full color panels showcasing some interesting ideas. The actual production sketches section breaks things down even further into characters, backgrounds and vehicles. There’s also a very handy play-all feature on it. The last section, the pre-production artwork, has just under two minutes worth of varying ideas that led to the final version of the show. These are usually my favorite kind of sketches to see and this was no exception.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers and that the content review is from our original review in 2000. For a review of the soundtrack included in this two disc edition, click here)
Sin is probably one of the better game to animation transitions I've seen over the years, especially for a game from the US. As noted during the interview portion of the disc, there were approximately eight drafts for the storyline and they ended up creating a parallel style alternate universe compared to the game where some things are the same yet others aren't. In fact, the game creators commented that parts of what was created for the anime is being considered for a sequel for the game.

The story revolves around John Blade, a colonel in the HARDCORPS, a sort of best of the best police unit in 2070. Some kind of mutant is rampaging throughout the city where it takes over a person and twists them into itself. The show starts off fairly quickly with Blade's partner, JC (John Christopher) being taken control of when he ends up rescuing a girl that the mutant is after. There's no way to save these people, so Blade ends up having to kill his partner and friend.

It doesn't take long before JC's sister shows up. JC (Jennifer) is pretty ticked about the whole situation since she hasn't been told how her brother died and lists off a litany of things Blade and his father were involved in over the years, such as ties to the mafia that kept the city a bit quieter than normal. JC (Jennifer) has a bit of a chip on her shoulder about the whole thing.

From there things pretty much keep rolling along with action and more action. More of the mutant creatures are created by Elexis Sinclaire, the heir to SinTEK. There's some back history that's brought into play between her father and the death of Blade's father years back as well as mafia tie-ins. Elexis is taking her fathers work, which was roundly criticized over the years, to create these mutants to further the evolution of the species. It seems to come down to these mutants being a form of controlled person-terraforming. They can even survive in the cold harshness of space. What better way to expand into the galaxy?

The animation style for the show is overall pretty solid. Character designs are straight forward with only Blade showing a bit of originality in design, at least for anime. There were some very nice fluid sections of animation as well. The only downturn in this regard is with the vehicles. The cop cars tend to look really cartoony in several places and the helicopter CG animations look truly bad for the most part. You can almost visualize someone moving it across and into the distance. It just sticks out like a sore thumb.

One really positive piece to this release is the music. Masamichi Amano oversaw the music aspect and there were some really great pieces in there. The music throughout the show was performed by the Warsaw Philharmonic and really had a great theatrical feel to it. They didn't do the opening, but the opening music combined with the slick styled animation was probably one of the better movie openings I've seen in a long time. Halfway through it, it reminded me almost of a James Bond style opening, sans naked women in the background.

In Summary:
For ADV's involvement in this show, I think they did a great job with it. Their next project, Lady Death, isn't something that's high on my list (I think they should have gone for Chastity instead), Sin has me looking forward more to it now than before I saw this.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 5.1 Language,English Subtitles,English Close Caption Subtitles,CD Soundtrack,Photo gallery, Storyboards,Production sketches,Sin manga concepts, Pre-production artwork,Behind-the-scenes feature

Review Equipment
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Panasonic RP-82 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.


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