Tetsujin 28 Vol. #2 - Mania.com

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  • Audio Rating: A-
  • Video Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: N/A
  • Menus Rating: F
  • Extras Rating: N/A
  • Age Rating: 12 & Up
  • Region: 2 - Europe
  • Released By: Manga UK
  • MSRP: £14.99
  • Running time: 125
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Tetsujin 28

Tetsujin 28 Vol. #2

By Dani Moure     July 14, 2006
Release Date: June 19, 2006

Tetsujin 28 Vol. #2
© Manga UK

What They Say
Professor Kaneda creates the ultimate soldier robot, Tetsujin as a substitute for his son, Shotaro, whom he mistakenly believed died in a bomb raid on Tokyo during World War II. Ten years after the war and after 28 failed attempts, Tetsujin is finally resurrected in the rubble of the Tokyo Tower. Shotaro, a lonely orphan, has grown up to become a genius boy detective. Shotaro joins forces with Tetsujin 28 and together they will fight the forces of evil in post war Japan.

In these episodes the American mafia travel to Japan with hopes of claiming the valuable robot but are quickly warded off by Shotaro. Meanwhile, Keiji Murasame is playing for the other side, trying to help the Americans until he finds out they might not be looking for him. In a sudden shift, Murasame decides to help Shotaro but whether he can be trusted remains to be seen...

Episodes comprise:
6. The Hunt For The Remote Control Box
7. Tetsujin Goes On A Crime Spree
8. The Plan To Recapture Tetsujin 28
9. The Space Rocket Murders
10. The Super Human Kelly

The Review!
Shotaro returns to struggle some more with Tetsujin and the gang in the latest volume.

For this review I watched the episodes flipping between the Japanese and English 5.1 tracks. Since they're Manga's typical up-mixes, they don't sound particularly special with most of the focus on the front channels. I didn't notice any dropouts or distortions on either track during regular playback. The English dub, produced by the Ocean Group, fits the tone of the show quite well and sticks quite faithfully to the original translation. The voices might take a bit of getting used to, especially Shotaro, but they will probably win you over quite quickly as Shotaro's youth comes through.

This release is presented in anamorphic widescreen, and looks pretty good. There are a few moments where compression artefacts are noticeable, especially during a couple of particularly high action scenes, but aside from that the transfer looked good, with vibrant colours and very little in the way of aliasing.

The subtitles are in a decent sized white font with a black border, and are clear and easy to read.

No packaging was included as this was a check disc.

Wow, I didn't think the menus could be any less functional than the last volume, alas. At least the design is better this time. Once again we have a moving main menu. This time it's the form of a newspaper, with the pages turning and clips from the show playing where the pictures for the stories would be. Clever, no? Well, no actually, because each page turn is a different menu selection, which means if you miss the one you want, you have to wait for the darn thing to rotate back round again. Very annoying. Even worse in a way is the sub-menu for the episode selection, as the episode numbers are lost amongst the text. These menus are some of the most frustrating I've seen in a while.


Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Although I wasn't fully taken with the first volume, I found Tetsujin 28 to be a fun remake of a much older show and idea, and one that worked well in the way it was done, even if it was at times somewhat simplistic. This second outing follows much the same mould, with the stories coming off as fairly predictable but still enjoyable. At times though, I did find it a bit hard to get through and that just proved to me that this is the sort of show you have to be in the right frame of mind to watch.

The first couple of episodes here focus around a mafia gang coming over from the USA, in league with Kenji Murasame, to wreak havoc and try and take Tetsujin as their own. As circumstances would have it, Tetsujin goes haywire and with him completely out of control (oh no, the remote won't work!), Shotaro has a bit of a crisis as he struggles to come to terms with the fact that his de-facto "brother" of sorts can be used for harm, since he's actually a machine that's controlled by a control that anyone could steal and use for themselves. Bigger things take precedence though, with Japan coming under extreme fire from the rampaging Tetsujin and some other rogue robots, so Kenji and Shotaro reluctantly work together to solve the problems.

You can see exactly where this story is going most of the time, even though it's spread over three episodes, and it doesn't really offer up much in the way of surprise. You know in the end that Shotaro and friends will come up trumps, saving the day and the whole nation of Japan all at once. It gets a bit tiring as well when Shotaro goes into retrospective mode as he analyses his relationship with the tin can known as Tetsujin 28, and he invariably comes off quite whiny in the process.

These first three episodes just epitomise the simplicity of the series as a whole thus far, as Kenji's motive is plainly to get revenge on Tetsujin. That's it, nothing more. It's hard to come down too hard on the series for this, since it is aimed at a younger audience to recapture the magic of the original series, but it just comes off as a bit crude in its nature at times. If you like them as well, you'll find plenty of flashbacks on offer, often too many to make any real impact in a given episode. I appreciate the need to explain things, but sometimes it all seems a bit much.

Expecting the next story to devolve into a game of noughts and crosses (you don't get much simpler than that), I was somewhat pleasantly surprised to see a murder mystery develop, as Shotaro goes into detective mode! One of Shotaro's father's friends, Professor Dragnet, has created a robot called Gilbert (yes, apparently robot naming isn't anyone in Tetsujin's forte) to go to the moon, with Shikishima developing the launching rocket. Dragnet asks Shotaro to use Tetsujin to protect the launch, but it's all over for him since someone doesn't want it to go ahead. But one of the other professors left a dying message, and it proves to be a key clue in Shotaro's attempts to find out what happened.

Although these two episodes that form this story are really just as simplistic as the earlier ones, they're far more enjoyable even given all the coincidences and perfect conclusions everyone comes to. My favourite was the woman who figured out the whole "north, south, east, west" clue, because every time she explained something I just found myself proclaiming "of course!" as I rolled my eyes a little. Despite that, it was a lot of fun to watch Shotaro follow the clues and make all the deductions to figure out what was going on, and the story seemed a little more mature, even slightly sinister, which gave it an added edge.

It'd be a real shame if this review came of sounding totally negative, though, because it's only fair to say that many of the flaws and problems I have with the show I knew I'd likely have going in. These things are just inherent to the nature of the show and its origins. The original, from what I can gather, was hardly a master class of plotting and since the creators are clearly doing all they can to keep this remake as close to its ideals as possible, you can't fault the series completely without qualifying it. It definitely has its problems but a lot of people will be able to look past them, and who knows, a nice little story arc may develop that will catch me off guard.

In Summary:
For all its dodgy action sequences, retro (and sometimes off-model) animation and simple stories, there is also a charm to Tetsujin that is hard to put into words. If you can get past some of its problems that are inherent in remaking the original, then you'll find what is a solidly entertaining show. It probably won't blow your mind, but it brings back an air of nostalgia when I watch it, reminding me they don't make shows quite like they used to. If that sounds good to you, then snap this up. If not, you might want to steer clear.

Japanese Language (2.0; 5.1; DTS),English Language (2.0; 5.1; DTS),English Subtitles

Review Equipment
Philips 28" Pure Flat Widescreen TV, Philips DVP5100 code free DVD player, JVC gold-plated RGB SCART cable, standard stereo sound.


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