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Mania Grade: B+

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: B
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Menus Rating: A-
  • Extras Rating: A+
  • Age Rating: 12 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: ADV Films
  • MSRP: 29.99
  • Running time: 60
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Sin

SiN

By Chris Beveridge     October 14, 2000
Release Date: October 14, 2000


SiN
© ADV Films


What They Say
Enter the world of SIN. 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 labeled Hardcorps. Lead by Colonel John Blade, they have become a fierce fighting force for justice in Freeport. Now, Blade must unravel a series of mysterious kidnappings. An elaborate puzzle unfolds as he delves into the decadence of the city, and at its heart is Elexis Sinclaire. Brilliant biochemist, unscrupulous businesswoman, and merciless vixen, Elexis will stop at nothing to achieve her monstrous goal: to bring about the evolution of mankind.

The Review!
There are a few things that are near certain in this world. Movie to game ports rarely work. Game to anything else ports rarely work. US game to Japanese animation?

Sin is a port of sorts of the popular PC game to anime. During its transition, handled by ADV, it began to morph into a somewhat alternate universe style compared to the game. While this has both pros and cons, for those who've never played the game, it works out in your favor. And considering the folks who created the game appear to give it a thumbs up, well, who am I to argue?

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 distortion.

In terms of the actors, I thought that the gentleman who plays the main character, John Blade, did an excellent job with the role. What was a pleasant surprise was that the young female character is actually voiced by a young girl. The last time I recall this happening was with You're Under Arrest. It definitely adds a good touch to things and her voice definitely sounds appropriate for the role. On the Japanese side, I had little issues with any of the characters, though it's worth noting that the female JC is played by fan favorite Kikoue Inoue.

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.

Sin has a very eye-catching cover with some little used dark yellows mixed in with the dark tone of the show itself. Blade is the prominent figure on it as well as the big gun, though the villainess gets bit less space. At least they didn't focus on her cleavage. The back cover is a bit more of a mess though, as the white text on the the brownish yellow background combined with the font makes it rather hard to read. The special features are given prominent note and there's a few pieces of actual animation on the back. The insert has two pieces of very nice looking artwork as well as the chapter listings.

The menus used for this release are pretty slick looking, though they do lack a bit on the overall flash seen in some other discs as of late. Selections are made quickly and easily. The language selection menu provides the two audio tracks and the two forms of subtitles. And herein lies my only real hard and firm gripe with this disc.

Which subtitle track is which? They're list as V.1 and V.2 in the selections. There's no mention on the packaging about multiple subtitle tracks. Nothing on the insert. You're left to wonder. Of course, this may be part of the fun if you have absolutely no familiarity with the Japanese language and want to guess which is which. Those who do have even a minor passing familiarity with it will be able to tell fairly quickly that they want subtitle track 2 for the proper Japanese translation.

The show itself 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.

Sin will likely do a bang up job here in the US and probably be one of the higher selling anime discs to come around due to its cross genre appeal and timing with the release of Playstation 2. While I would hope some other kinds of shows would be among the high sellers, this one doesn't bother me nearly as much as Tekken being such a big seller. With luck, this one will topple Tekken. And hopefully after everyone who normally doesn't buy anime sees this, they all go buy Gasaraki.

ADV provided some very nice extras on this disc. 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 a few production sketches. Based on the interview portion, I had expected a ton more production sketches than the half dozen or so that were included. Those that were included looked great though, wonderful detail.

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 Language,English Language,English Subtitles for Japanese Language,English Subtitles for English Language,Interviews,Production Portfolio,Character Bios,Theatrical Trailer

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

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