Tetsujin 28 Vol. #3 - Mania.com

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  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: A
  • Packaging Rating: C+
  • Menus Rating: B+
  • Extras Rating: N/A
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Geneon Entertainment (USA), Inc.
  • MSRP: 29.98
  • Running time: 100
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Tetsujin 28

Tetsujin 28 Vol. #3

By Chris Beveridge     February 07, 2006
Release Date: February 14, 2006

Tetsujin 28 Vol. #3
© Geneon Entertainment (USA), Inc.

What They Say
"A failed experiment from the war years demonstrates an overwhelming power comparable to Tetsujin's, and Professor Shikishima is taken hostage! Professor Shikishima learns about the ill-fated man's past and a bittersweet story comes to light.

As Shotaro and Chief Otsuka investigate this and other disturbances, one thing becomes clear? the sins of the past are beginning to come to light and like it or not, Post-war Japan will have to face them head on or risk being plunged into darkness once again."

The Review!
Mostly shifting to standalone tales to further the make-up of the country after the war, there are some dark and disturbing tales mixed into the series.

For our primary viewing session, we listened to this series in its original language of Japanese. Both languages tracks are done in a solid stereo mix that utilizes both channels quite well with a lot of directionality during the action sequences and some noticeable moments of dialogue throughout the episodes here. The series has a good mix overall that works well with the content, giving the sound of the footsteps of these giant robots a bit of extra oomph. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout and we had no problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.

Originally airing in 2004, the transfer for this TV series is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and is enhanced for anamorphic playback. With the way this series is animated, it's done in a very real world style and has highly detailed backgrounds and layouts to the design while retaining the very simple and authentic original character designs. The colors look fantastic with this with so much of it being of a dark and eerie nature and retain a very solid feel to it. The transfer is essentially problem free by all appearances on our setup with no noticeable aliasing or cross coloration. There is simply a lot to see within this print and the detail here makes it very much possible.

Though still weak this volume looks a bit better than the last couple of covers with a lightning strike providing a bit of lighting to the large shadowed image of Tetsujin in the background while Shotaro with an angsty look is in the lower right foreground. The back cover is a gray bordered piece that has a shot of the American's robot about to attack while providing the summary and a number of screenshots. The discs features and episode numbers and titles are included as is the standard production information. The layout here looks much better and provides some good information on the series. The insert replicates the front cover artwork while the reverse side lists the episodes and their respective chapters.

The menu layout is nicely done though minimal as it goes for the old look and feel of heavy iron and steel laid out across the screen while a selection of clips plays through a monitor along one side. The design and feel of it is exactly the kind of thing I expect from Nightjar menus as they just have that something extra special in how they look. The navigation is simple and effective with fast access times and quick loading menus with no transitional animations. The disc played according to our players' language presets without issues as well.


Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
With the first half of the series wrapped up in this volume, Tetsujin 28 loses a bit of the steam that had pushed the show forward until now with its longer arcs and so much background to cover. The Super Human storyline ends and the show shifts into a short series of standalone tales that while dark and disturbing at times, feel like a definite change in the flow of the series.

The Super Human story with Kelley at the center of things takes a few interesting turns once he decides to kidnap Shikishima in order to get him to help perform repairs on his body. Hiding in the mountains during a nasty rainstorm with Gilbert outside to protect them, Shikishima is able to earn some of Kelley's trust as he works on him and he learns more of his past and how he was able to do what he's done. All of this continues to be towards the effort of getting the rocket in the air and Kelley manipulates things so that the launch does continue and he does his damndest above all else to get on it so he can reach the stars. The conclusion to the arc is nicely done with some very well animated heart string moments being pulled, particularly if you're very interested in what's involved in getting into space. The show also provides a nice epilogue that fleshes out so much more of it, much like how it is usually done in real life, which explains the motivations in clearer terms. It's a good little arc and one that continues to teach Shotaro just how difficult life's choices can be.

A lot of the themes of Tetsujin 28 revolve around the decisions that men made during the Pacific War, decisions that were based around either survival or winning. The results of these decisions are being felt by those who have survived and have been trying to rebuild things as well as, through the eyes of Shotaro, the children of the next generation. The most disturbing aspect of this comes in the midst of a story that brings in something alien from space, a kind of intelligent goo that's able to take on forms that it sees and attempts to communicate through it. The goo itself is a means to an end within the story about the man it befriends in a time of solitude but the disturbing story underneath it deals with a zookeeper who had to do truly terrible things during the war when it looked like the zoo that he worked in was going to be bombed and there was a chance that the numerous animals would be freed into the city. It's a dark and very unsettling thing as it's explained away and in the larger context of the episode it fits all too well.

A rather intriguing episode rounds out the volume though as it deals with a criminal who has the ability to essentially teleport. The crime aspect of it is fun enough as the criminal, using the name the Black Mask, has some confidence about himself and isn't afraid to toy with the cops or with Shotaro when he gets mixed up in it. The interesting part was seeing the origins of the device and how it was discredited for so long only to end up in a really bad fashion. What's really bad episodes like this though is that they end it with the knowledge that the technology exists but those who've seen it don't really follow up on it and try to bring it into the government at the least or to the people in general. The old style technology shown here and the creative way that Black Mask uses it is a lot of fun but what it all really did was make me pine for an adaptation of Stars My Destination in theatrical form or a lengthy enough series to cover the social and political changes that a society undergoes when something like this happens. This tiny bit of technology in Tetsujin 28 is simply so much more radical than Tetsujin itself that it's amusing and frustrating to see it almost cast aside.

In Summary:
Tetsujin 28 continues to be an enjoyable show on a lot of levels. I'm enjoying the retro designs, the outfits with the big buttons and the smooth simple character designs. The stories, though moving towards some standalone material for most of this volume, provide some good depth to the overall theme of the series so far. Like a lot of other retro themed series that have come out in the last couple of years, this one manages to take what worked so well in the original shows or manga and adapt it just right into today's methods and styles. Tetsujin 28 itself is probably the weakest link in all of it but at times the robot is just surprisingly minor to things overall. For fans of the retro though, this is a definitely a good show to get into.

Japanese 2.0 Language, English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles

Review Equipment
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Zenith DVB-318 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player via DVI set to 480p, 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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