Sukisho Vol. #2 - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: C

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B
  • Video Rating: A-
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: B+
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Media Blasters
  • MSRP: 19.98
  • Running time: 100
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Sukisho

Sukisho Vol. #2

By Chris Beveridge     January 10, 2006
Release Date: December 27, 2005


Sukisho Vol. #2
© Media Blasters


What They Say
As Sora comes to terms with Yoru, his hidden personality, and his relationship with Sunao, new levels to the mystery continue to appear. What was the goal of Aizawa and his strange experiments? What is the meaning behind Sunao's strange behavior? Does Sunao hold a deep hatred for Sora within his heart? Love and hate battle each other as the past threatens to repeat itself.

The Review!
Sora and Sunao go through more jobs that Matsuri gets for them before the show turns darkly serious.

Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in its original language of Japanese. Figuring that there wouldn't be huge sales of this to begin with and being part of a targeted section of the market, no dub was produced for this show. This isn't the first time Media Blasters has done this with similarly themed (yet more aggressive) titles so it wasn't a surprise but it's something that I'm nervous about as part of a potential market regression or fragmentation. Regardless, the stereo mix included in this release is pretty good with what's actually used for the stereo channels as most of the dialogue is through the center channel for a more full effect. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout and we had no problems with dropouts or distortions.

Video:
Originally airing in 2005, the transfer for this show is presented in its original full frame aspect ratio. The transfer here looks to be very clean and problem free throughout as it showcases the current digital animation being used. The materials here look good with lots of vibrant and bright colors, from the whites to the eyes of the main cast members while the backgrounds maintain a nice solid feel with the sky blues and other areas. What few dark scenes there are maintain their levels nicely as well. The transfer looks to be pretty much void of cross coloration and aliasing which makes it all the easier to simply get into and watch.

Packaging:
The cover for this volume lets Nanami and Minato get a nice pairing as various orchids bloom around them with a soft green whispery background. Similar to the first cover it has a very inviting feeling with the two men in an embrace with soft but satisfied smiles to them and it certainly has the right look and appeal to fans of the boy's love genre. The back cover has a few shots from the show that are laid out like photographs on top of an elaborate piece of paper which has the summary in script form. The green shading is kept here and it works nicely to keep the feel of the show. The discs technical and special features are all easily found and nicely laid out in the technical grid. No insert was included for this release.

Menu:
The menu layout goes for simplistic with a static background that's a mix of light purples and white designs that are just squiggles for the most part with the series name along the top and a brief bit of music playing to it. No character or show artwork is used here for it. Access times are nice and fast and the layout easy enough to navigate without problems though some of the white text gets lost with the purple background areas and the other areas in white. With there being only one language here, our player presets were pretty much a non-issue.

Extras:
The opening volume has a good selection of extras that will make the fans of the show happy. There's a pair of music clips/videos that are nicely done and the textless closing sequence is included as well. The big extra is the continued discussion with the two lead voice actors from the Sukisho broadcast club. This is just a hilarious piece in general, particularly when they do the reading of the cards in the first three segments and actually perform.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Sukisho's first volume brought about an interesting storyline about multiple personalities and a group of guys at an all male academy. The show was basically a jumping on point where much like the lead character you had no idea what the past history of these characters were until it was revealed to him, though we do see quiet moments among other cast members as well to help flesh it out some, but then it decided to jump away from most of that so it could just be a bit of a wacky show.

With the middle set of episodes of this three volume series, Sukisho runs through more of the wacky comedy aspect with the two main lead characters going through the motions as part of the Jack of All Trades service that Matsuri has them doing the dirty work for. The opening episode is actually fairly amusing in this regard as it has the two of them dressing up in angle outfits and delivering chocolates for Valentines day after we get a history of Valentines day and the unique aspect of it and White Day in Japanese culture. The guys run around delivering chocolates to people with secret admirers all day and then run into dealing with a potential lover's quarrel between Nanami and Minato that's just a diversion based on not understanding the situation.

But it does beg the question, in an all boys school, if you go by the traditional role of the holiday, what happens on White Day? Do you only return chocolates if you were given some on Valentines day? Or is it basically a double-holiday?

They go through similar kinds of issues in the other wacky episode where Matsuri has the two of them trying out for fill-in roles in the row team which is a problem since Sunao doesn't know how to swim and wants nothing to do with it. It's actually fairly amusing through most of it with Sora taking up the challenge and going through the training while having to deal the row captain who is a real hardcase in how he gets them to train. It's a straightforward piece for the most part and has a number of very amusing moments as Sora goes through all of it but it's similar to the previous episode in that there's little long term material here. This is for the most part another character building and fleshing out piece.

Sukisho does take a darker turn in the second half as it plays more with the split personalities of the two guys and Nanami finds himself helping out one of the doctor's whose worked extensively in the past with the boys. It gets to be somewhat confusing in a way because of how it's such a sudden change and at times it's hard to tell which personalities are dominant in the boys depending on how the scene is playing out but what comes from the second half is that there is something going on with the two of them that's being kept from Sora. His past continues to be very mysterious and everyone keeps from saying much about it but it just hangs there at times like something we should know more about. The second half of the volume has some interesting moments to it as it plays out and we see what the adults are trying to do for the two boys, particularly since Minato and Nanami have their best interests at heart, but there just feels like there is so much missing from the storyline that it's hard to connect to it.

In Summary:
When Sukisho started I liked the first volume well enough as it played with the gender role issues in a fun way and it laid out some amusing groundwork for how the two leads were going to roll with things as Matsui made his agenda very obvious. As the second volume comes to a conclusion though, leaving just a few more episodes left after this, a lot of what's done on here only adds to the confusion that Sora must feel about his past as events are talked about indirectly and much is still kept hidden though given such an aura of intensity based on how Minato and Nanami react to everything. There are some very good moments here overall but the larger storyline just has me with a blank stare as it's slowly revealed.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,Music Clips,Voice Actor Discussion,Textless Opening

Review Equipment
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Zenith DVB-318 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player via DVI, 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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