Tetsujin 28 Vol. #6 - Mania.com

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  • 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: 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. #6

By Chris Beveridge     August 15, 2006
Release Date: August 08, 2006

Tetsujin 28 Vol. #6
© Geneon Entertainment (USA), Inc.

What They Say
The late Professor Kaneda's Sun Bomb is discovered hidden inside of Tetsujin 28! This discovery upsets the entire nation, and a "Tetsujin Inquiry" is set to convene.

Meanwhile, the rampage of the PX Syndicate puts Japan at risk of stalling its post war recovery. The only way to stop this mayhem is to boost Tetsujin's destructive capability by injecting the "bagume" into him. Shotaro does not want to transform Tetsujin into a weapon, but he knows he has to make a decision.

The Review!
The fate of Tetsujin becomes the focus of the series as it provides some parallels to what the country must face with its past and its future.

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.

The covers for the series so far have been fairly dark and almost stormy on a regular basis so having one that actually feels like it's looking towards the future is spot on for the last volume. The imagery of Shotaro and Tetsujin is still like previous volumes in how almost amateurish they look but with the more detailed and great looking background of the blue skies and white clouds, it works good in really providing an uplifting feeling. 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.

A new extra is available for the last volume in the form of a clean version of the ending of the last episode.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Tetsujin 28 is a series that I knew would be hard to take in some ways since a lot of what my initial impressions of the show before I had even seen it were just not good. While I was glad that they were keeping to the original style of the property and I'd enjoyed a lot of shows in this style, such as Kikaider and Metropolis, Tetsujin had too much of a strong feeling of being like Ambassador Magma because of the robot designs. While accurate for the portrayal at the time, it's not something that's aged well or even looked good.

The series did manage to win me over with its solid characters, excellent action sequences and intriguing storyline but I was never able to reconcile it with the bad Tetsujin action. Even the other robots tended to look and flow better but Tetsujin was always the weakest link in the series for me, even a series where a kid like Shotaro is the lead and such power rests in his hands. This volume didn't change anything in regards to Tetsujin but it was relegated to a smaller role all told, though still key to things. The focus shifts across a few characters initially before it really settles on Shotaro as he has to decide what's best for the future himself in regards to Tetsujin and that the price for it is high.

The time before him is an area where the series once again manages to shine however. A lot of the show has been focusing on the interesting themes of post-war Japan and the role of technology and ideas that were formulated during the war. A lot of it was put to rest and hidden away but as we've seen throughout the series it has come back to the surface many times. Tetsujin itself is the biggest example and with the Sun Bomb being such a critical issue, it's the one that gets the most attention at the end as all the good that has been done is rendered ineffective. While the former Chief had managed to get an inquiry started as to whether Tetsujin should be classified as a weapon or a tool, the entire process has turned more into a trial as Velanade has managed to insert himself into the process as a "partial" observer, which is amusing in itself.

The inquiry covers some interesting ground before it gets into seeming outright fabrication when Dr. Bigfire gets involved and distorts a lot of the past, past that has been documented by Shotaro's father in his journal. Like most good trial cases or inquiries, there's action on the side that's being played out as well and the investigations by the former Chief have him heading to the island of Tetsujin's birth as well as tracking down information about those who have been visiting there recently that may be playing a secret role. Though there are a fair number of predictable moments as this goes about, the entire discussion about the role of Tetsujin is what plays out the best as the arguments aren't always what you'd expect and even Shotaro has opinions (at last) that don't always hold to what everyone expects.

Naturally, a show like this can't end in a courtroom so we do get a couple of good action episodes that brings it all to a satisfying conclusion, though not necessarily a happy one for many of the people involved. Murasame has a good bit of closure as he realizes some of what he should have been doing all along as he imagines how his brother would react to things. Murasame's been one of my favorite characters of the show since I enjoyed the portrayal of him in the Giant Robo series and wanted to see how he would evolve in this particular variation from the original source material. There's also a really good and fairly large scale robot battle scene that gets to happen as Velanade and Bigfire have taken advantage of the inquiry to produce hundreds of Black Ox's for "domestic" use as giant laborers to help rebuild the country. Their classification as tools doesn't quite last though and we get to see some good machinery being ripped apart with glee..

In Summary:
Tetsujin 28 surprised me in the long run by being a very dark series that's tinged with intrigue, politics and some very serious themes about the way a country has to deal with its ego and image after a war. And a war where they had several years of occupation as well. With many secrets kept during the war that ended up being buried but not quite forgotten, a lot of it comes to the surface during this trying time as prosperity is just around the corner but there's a chance it won't be achieved. I loved the style of the character animation which with very detailed backgrounds and set designs gave it a lot of great character. While the robot designs and some of that action left me cold, the series as a whole proved to be something different than the norm of a lot of other shows and very appealing. It's not for everyone but for those that do discover it and enjoy it, it will be something of a gem that has some solid replay value.

Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,Clean Ending

Review Equipment
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Samsung BD-P1000 Blu-ray player via HDMI -> DVI with upconversion set to 1080i, 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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