Tokko Vol. #2 -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: B

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  • Audio Rating: A-
  • Video Rating: A-
  • Packaging Rating: N/A
  • Menus Rating: B+
  • Extras Rating: C
  • Age Rating: 18 & Up
  • Region: 2 - Europe
  • Released By: Manga UK
  • MSRP: £19.99
  • Running time: 100
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Letterbox Widescreen
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Tokko

Tokko Vol. #2

By Dani Moure     August 09, 2007
Release Date: May 21, 2007

Tokko Vol. #2
© Manga UK

What They Say
Japan will be destroyed within two years! Shindo and his team mates must now race against time to solve the mystery of the Box of Dirge and destroy the demonic hordes before it is too late. Tokko is the new, blood, guts and sexy action-packed horror anime from studio AIC Spirits (Burn Up Scramble, Gun Sword) and based on the best sellingmanga by Tohru Fujisawa (Great Teacher GTO).

Episodes comprise:
5. Sorrow
6. Love
7. Awake
8. Dignity

The Review!
As the threat of the phantoms comes closer and closer to home, it's time for Shindo to make some tough choices and awaken the power inside him.

For my review, I listened to a mixture of the Japanese and English DTS mixes. Dialogue sounds good, with most coming from the centre channel. Sound effects and music really shine though, with plenty of directionality at various points that is really noticeable and makes the show feel more immersive. I didn't notice any technical issues with either track as I listened.

The English dub is interesting; produced by Bang Zoom it works out really well for the most part, with all the main actors really seeming to fit their roles and find their feet right away. There is a fair bit of profanity in there, but it does feel as if it fits the tone of the show.

The video looks really good, with colours coming out very well in both the dark and lighter moments. The colour palette is quite drab at times, but is reproduced well and the video looks crisp and clear for the most part. I didn't notice any artifacting as I watched either.

Subtitles are in a white font which is easily readable, but unfortunately (and very disappointingly) they are dubtitles, which is apparently the new policy for most Manga releases.

No packaging was included as this was a check disc.

The menus are quite basic, with several still images of the characters from the show rotating in to view, taking the main portion of the screen, with the show's logo and the selections at the bottom of the menu. The opening theme plays over this screen, while the sub-menus are all static with no music playing.

This volume has a couple more extras, in the form of the textless opening and closing, as well as another image gallery.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The first volume of Tokko nicely set up the story and characters, and this volume builds on that solid foundation as we learn more about Shindo, his powers and the role he will play in the upcoming fight. With the phantoms posing ever more of a threat, Shindo is again told about his role as a symbiote, and how it means he has a power growing inside him. The girls from Tokko gradually begin almost courting him (his friends even start joking with him that he goes on a date with a different hot girl each time), and slowly Ibuki, Shizuka and Sakura answer the burning questions he has.

Ibuki has her own motives as well, leading the 2nd Division and wanting to see it succeed, she is desperate to awaken Shindo's power so he can fight alongside them, especially after another of her team, Inukai, gets injured. But she faces stiff opposition from the higher-ups, and eventually she has to stand up and explain herself when she takes matters in to her own hands. For Shindo though, finding out more about himself and what he can do is his main goal. He gets a number of different messages, and when he eventually finds out the truth he is thrown into the deep end, quite literally.

As Shindo gradually realises his role as a symbiote, and how he fits in with the 108 phantoms and the box of dirge, the gate at the Machida complex, and everything else, he grows into a much more interesting character as he finds a purpose to fight for. A lot of this disc is spent with him chasing around for information, going out with the different girls to try and find things out, and even bugging the other people at work. But when he eventually ends up as a part of Tokko, he's become much more confident and forward thinking, actively looking for ways to stop things before they happen, rather than simply reacting to the things around him.

He still seems to have a bit of a thing for Sakura, whose role is a little reduced in this volume. She comes off as a bit of a bit part at times rather than the mysterious girl crossed with potential love interest that she seemed to be in the first disc. Likewise, Saya is sidelined for much of this volume and although it's quite nice that the strangeness of the brother/sister relationship has been toned down, she's reduced to plot-device status since pretty much all she does is get run over and become a focal point for bad events.

Ibuki comes off a lot better, as we get to see much of what makes her tick in this volume. She's the only Tokko member not to be a symbiote, but she's heavily driven to stop the phantoms since her boyfriend was killed by them, and she shows that she is more than willing to go against her superiors if she thinks it's the right course of action. We also get to see a bit more to Shizuka, as she shows Shindo a bit of affection in her own way. Throwing him into the gate might not have been the nicest thing to do, but it seems to have got the job done.

As enjoyable as this volume is though, with some of the characters becoming considerably more fleshed out, the story in some ways devolves into something more by the numbers. It's by no means bad, but when you find out that there are other shadow organisations like "The Society" out there who may be looking for the phantoms themselves, to utilise their power, it's hard to be surprised and difficult not to almost roll your eyes. It's about as textbook a story as they come, and while that is by no means a nail in the coffin since many great series end up that way based more on execution than they do originality, Tokko really doesn't do it with much flair.

Even the promise of two new symbiotes, who are definitely "out there" somewhere doesn't really do much to get you excited. Knowing that the symbiotes carry some of the 108 inside them though does add a bit of spice, since it may mean they have to die when the time for the final battle comes. But that leads on to one other potential flaw; how will they manage to wrap this up with only four more episodes? There's a lot left to do since they're on 13 out of 108, and it's taken a long time to get to that point, so in terms of the journey the end is nowhere in sight. Hopefully the creative team can pull off a miracle and end it well, but the likelihood of it either just stopping or becoming a total train wreck in order to rush to a conclusion are quite high indeed.

In Summary:
Tokko still delivers plenty of action and gore throughout these four episodes, and it is undoubtedly a very enjoyable way to spend an hour and a bit of time. Some of the characters unfortunately fall by the wayside a bit, but some " Shindo, Ibuki and Shizuka " do get a fair bit of development that works out well. The story is generally fast paced and lots happens throughout these episodes, but the question of whether it can all be wrapped up in just one more volume definitely looms large. For this volume at least though, Tokko continues to be a solid bit of entertainment.

Japanese Language (2.0; 5.1 & DTS),English Language (2.0; 5.1 & DTS),English Subtitles,Textless Opening and Closing,Image Gallery

Review Equipment
Philips 28" Pure Flat Widescreen TV, Philips DVP 5100 code free DVD player, JVC gold-plated RGB SCART cable, Pioneer HTP-GS1 5.1 Surround Sound System.


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