Someday's Dreamers Vol. #1 (also w/box) - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: B+

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: A
  • Packaging Rating: A-
  • Menus Rating: A-
  • Extras Rating: B+
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Geneon Entertainment (USA), Inc.
  • MSRP: 29.98/39.98
  • Running time: 100
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Someday's Dreamers

Someday's Dreamers Vol. #1 (also w/box)

By Chris Beveridge     November 01, 2003
Release Date: November 25, 2003


Someday's Dreamers Vol. #1 (also w/box)
© Geneon Entertainment (USA), Inc.


What They Say
Yume is a 15-year old girl from the countryside of Japan. The only thing unusual about this ordinary girl is her ability to use magic! This summer, Yume reached the age required by the government to start apprenticing as a wizard. She travels to Tokyo where her mentor, the handsome but mysterious Wizard Oyamada surprises her by not being a woman. Yume’s first time in Tokyo is her first time away from home and she has so much to learn!

The Review!
One girl, some very attractive men and magic in the real world. Taking an opposite approach to the guy with all the women, Someday’s Dreamers lazily moves along into an intriguing world.

Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in its original language of Japanese. The series so far in the first four episodes has a quiet feel to it, where the sounds are important when they do appear, resulting in many scenes being very subdued. Dialogue stands out greatly in this, as does the incidental music when it rises above a certain level.

Video:
Originally broadcast in Japan at the beginning of 2003, Someday’s Dreamers sports a gorgeous looking transfer. The transfer here is in its original 1.33:1 aspect ratio. With the series taking place in the real world of today, the look and feel of it is mixed, some areas with gorgeous vibrancy such as the setting sun while others are drab and ordinary looking. One interesting aspect is that there are a lot of pictures taken of areas that are creatively animated and colored over, mixing in with the character animation and other areas. The show looks great overall, though a few areas look soft but done intentionally.

Packaging:
Done in a clear keepcase, Geneon scores well again by using the original Japanese artwork from their first volume here. The close up illustration of Yume is beautiful here with its mix of colors and softness to the background with the light and leaves. The back cover has a strip along the center with numerous shots from the show while the top half lists the episode numbers and titles as well as a summary. The bottom half of the cover lists the production information and the discs features and extras. In a nice change, the front cover, spine and back cover all list the volume number and name. The top panel of the insert lists the chapter stops for each episode while providing three shots from the show for each. The insert opens up to a nice two-panel image of the second Japanese DVD cover. The back panel is the standard advert section for websites and customer service, though with the nice dolphin image. With this being a clear keepcase, the reverse cover is actually just that and it uses the original Japanese second volume artwork that has Yume with one of the girls she meets early on in the series.

Menu:
The main menu here is very well done and very creative if you take the time to actually watch it. The static image is that of a picture frame with a bowl of bright flowers next to it and a small card at the front. The card provides the selections (with a dolphin icon no less) and some nice instrumental music plays alongside it. The creative part is that within the picture frame it builds sections of the front of the DVD cover image of Yume until it’s complete, then it fades out and starts with the reverse side cover artwork. It’s addictive to watch the images build over and over.

Extras:
There are a fair chunk of extras included in the first volume here, though it looks like there wasn’t much for the Japanese release. What we get here is the opening and ending sequences in two flavors; first you get the creditless version and then you get the original Japanese text version. The really neat extra included here is the music video for the series which was done by “The Indigo” and runs about four minutes in length, mostly live action material.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
One of the things I’ve been enjoying in the past year is the growing number of series that are taking things a bit slower in their pacing, letting the characters and the viewers gaze around a bit more and soaking up the atmosphere. This was at one point one of the aspects that many manga to anime series had excised in an effort to keep the viewers attention amid the competition, but as more shows reflect the “lazy” feel of their manga origins, the more I’m enjoying things.

Someday’s Dreamers is another series in that vein this year, where things move at a nice pace throughout the opening four episodes that set up the premise and move things along. Of course, that’s a third of the series right there since it only runs twelve episodes. Taking place in the present day, we’re introduced to 17 year old Yume Kikuchi, a young woman who has come from Iwate Prefecture to Tokyo during her summer break so that she can take some certification tests while staying with the instructor at a boarding house.

The unusual part is that she’s come to take her Mage certification tests, test that will allow her to fulfill requests to use her Special Powers that can affect a wide variety of things in the world. In this world, Mages are fairly common but they’re licensed and kept under pretty tight control. They’re not allowed to use their powers without official requests, which seem to cause many of them to go into various forms of public service. Yume’s decided to see what she can do with her powers and is taking the time to get things done right.

Her arrival in Tokyo is overwhelming though. Everything is so much more than she expected, and as we see it visually as she’s feeling it, she ends up in a dangerous situation at a crosswalk where she inadvertently uses her powers, causing all the cars in the immediate area to go flying up into the air. She does manage to keep it all under control though and brings them back down. With a bit of help from the young man she met trying to help her; she eventually makes it back onto the right train and to her boarding house.

Yume’s arrival at her temporary residence and home of her instructor doesn’t play out exactly as she expects either. Once inside the building, she’s greeted by a slightly older man whose barely dressed and showing off some rather nice pecs. It’s not long from there that another man arrives without his shirt on at all, having just stepped out from the shower. It’s at this awkward moment, when she’s staring at both their bodies, that she finds out that the second man is actually her instructor, Masami Oyamada. Yume had believed he was a she and that was why Yume was able to stay there for the month for her training.

Add in that Oyamada’s day “night” job is that of an owner of a small but trendy night club bar and it gets even more amusing, though both Oyamada and his employee Kera don’t make much of the club other than trying to keep her out of it for legal reasons.

Yume opts to continue with things though since it’s only a month and she has a good room. Oyamada seems to be a nice man overall and she’s sure she can manage everything before having to return home. The series moves into the learning phase nicely, as we go through some of her initial training at the Mage Labor Bureau. It’s here we learn how Mage’s operate in the present day with the needing of approval requests and so forth, due to the fact that so much of a Mages power can affect so many other things that using it improperly can cause catastrophic events. There’s still areas where things are firm though, such as saving of lives, regenerating body parts and the like are still considered open topics of discussion, but many other basics are considered off limits.

The series moves at a nice pace, providing insights into this world where magic isn’t considered strange or problematic. The world is still the same as we know it, there are cars and cel phones and tall buildings and most people don’t have powers. But those that do get to see things a bit differently and, if they’re careful, they get to touch other peoples lives in a very unique way. Seeing this through Yume’s eyes, as someone who has accepted her powers and isn’t feeling like an outcast but rather someone who just has to take a test, lets this become something more interesting.

The other aspect I like is that with Yume being the central character, it takes a spin on the normal convention of a guy with lots of women. With a female character central in the show and surrounded by a number of attractive men, the dynamic changes quite a bit. Whereas you’d normally have the women competing over the male who is often clueless, we get a young woman who finds herself slowly becoming intrigued by the variety of men around her and taking a look at their various qualities while trying to figure out her life.

To some extent, there’s just something about this show, right from the opening sequence, that really hooked me. I like Yume a lot with her slightly introspective ways and non-buffoonish nature even though she’s not familiar with the big city. She’s not acting like a complete rube. The pacing is nice and purposeful in how it’s revealing things about both Yume and the life of a Mage in general as well as the perception of them in the eyes of the public. Add in just how great the show looks, particularly with the photo combination backgrounds, and it’s something that hits a variety of interests for me and plays them all out just right here.

Someday’s Dreamers is definitely intriguing on a number of levels. This show is right up my alley and I’m looking forward to seeing more of this world.

Features
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Texltess Ending,Japanese Ending,Textless Opening,Japanese Opening,Music Video

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 Sony speakers.

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