Strange Dawn Vol. #2 - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: B

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Menus Rating: B+
  • Extras Rating: N/A
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Urban Vision
  • MSRP: 22.95
  • Running time: 70
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Strange Dawn

Strange Dawn Vol. #2

By Chris Beveridge     March 28, 2002
Release Date: April 30, 2002


Strange Dawn Vol. #2
© Urban Vision


What They Say
Imagine suddenly finding yourself in an unknown land full of people who are only about 12 inches tall! Emi and Yuko have no idea how they arrived in this strange world, or why the people think of them as the Great Protectors of the land! All they really want to do is go home, but can they find the way?

Contains the UNEDITED versions of:
Episode 5 Past the Forest, Over the Field
Episode 6 Sneaky Hunter
Episode 7 No One Shall Sleep Tonight

The Review!
The second installment of Strange Dawn shifts gears a bit but follows up the first volume well in that it continues the journey of the girls as they try to come to understand this very strange world they’ve ended up in.

Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this disc in its original language of Japanese. This track continues to sound good with some nice directionality across the forward soundstage. Dialogue is nice and clear and has some good distinct moments of placement. We gave a brief listen to the English 5.1 track and found it to be much like the first volume, which sounded really good, particularly the opening song sequence.

Video:
The transfer here manages to improve over the first volume by eliminating some of the background macroblocking we saw in some of the night blue skies. Colors look nice and warm without being over saturated, cross coloration is non-existent and there’s only a few instances of some jaggies during panning sequences. Things look very nice here.

Packaging:
The second volume features a bit more of an adventurish cover and somewhat lighthearted as well as we see the girls and the small folks swimming underwater. The back cover features some similar art that gives the show a somewhat kiddish look while giving a good summary of the show and listings its features. The insert provides another shot of the cover while the reverse side gives chapter stops and disc features.

Menus:
The menus feature the same kind of manipulation of the shows animation to provide a really nice smooth looking and very relaxing looking menu with the image of a tree on a hill with the wind blowing through the flowers playing with the light music. Moving through the menus is nice and fast and everything is laid out in a logical way. As with the first volume, the main complaint is the inability to really tell what language features are selected.

Extras:
None.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
This round of Strange Dawn, with only three episodes, goes by a bit faster but also feels a bit slower at the same time. The show starts moving into the direction of clearing up just who is who and providing the characters plenty of things to like and not like about each other, with the main focus about whether to fight or not to fight against the enemy.

Yuko and Emi are of course the center of things, and as we saw previously, Yuko continues to be pretty whiny and non-interested in what all the people of this world are telling her about what’s going on, with the conspiracies about the priestess and those trying to gain an upper hand against other various villages and kingdoms. Yuko continues to rant about not wanting to be involved in any of it and going so far as to tell them to just take their little wars elsewhere. Suffice to say that while she is considered a Great Protector, she’s not exactly winning any friends.

Emi on the other hand has started to emerge nicely from her shell and gets to really know what’s going on with all the factions and infighting and keeping track of it all. She even blows up once or twice at Yuko over her lack of interest and how they have to live in the here and now of things instead of just continually wishing to be back home. This continues to be something of the main focus of this arc between these two characters during these episodes as they move towards their goal.

The rest of the dialogue on this disc tends to alternate between accusing Shall of selling out his people and being a traitor and some of the other men in the group trying to ignore their feelings for the women and get them back to safety. With the size of the party continually growing with more encounters with other groups, it’s actually getting somewhat hard to keep track of whose who in this show, especially when they men take off their hoods and their wavy hair all looks like. The show does continue to be interesting and I’m definitely wondering what everything is all about with this world, but I’m starting to get the feeling that what I want to see isn’t one of the points the show is going to cover.

Features
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles

Review Equipment
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Skyworth 1050P Progressive Scan codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.

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