Mania Grade: C
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- Audio Rating: B+
- Video Rating: B
- Packaging Rating: B
- Menus Rating: B
- Extras Rating: N/A
- Age Rating: 16 & Up
- Region: 1 - North America
- Released By: Media Blasters
- MSRP: 24.95
- Running time: 60
- Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
- Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
- Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
- Series: Tokyo Babylon
By Chris Beveridge
April 04, 2002
Release Date: December 11, 2001
What They Say
© Media Blasters
Keiko, Junpei, Akira and Kumiko make up the Rutz Detective Agency. When a mysterious floppy disk lands in their possession, the team gets involved in a high stakes game of political espionage and military secrets. The disk contains data on a deadly new secret weapon, and enough sensitive information to put several high-ranking politicians in hot water.
The Rutz Detective Agency isn't one to back down, however. With their sharp minds and fast guns, they're ready for anything from government thugs to AI controlled super weapons.The Review!
Tokyo Project is a self-contained story that runs just under an hour and looks to be from the early 90's with some 80's stylings to it.
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in its original language of Japanese. This is really a basic stereo track with nothing thrown to the rears and most of it sounding like it's coming through the center channel. Dialogue is clear and distortion free though some of the music gets a bit high and scratchy in a few areas. Otherwise, no issues here.
With it seeming to be a bit older, the show looks decent but there are a number of areas where some flaws show. Several scenes early one, particularly interiors, have a decent bit of grain. There's also some spots where you can see the paint strokes and one spot where the print looks like it was slightly damaged. Some panning sequences show off jaggies worse than others, but nothing really bad. Cross coloration is practically non-existent.
The cover does a nice job of showing the three main characters and the bad mecha they must fight, though I have to wonder why the image of the Tokyo Tower was included. Did I fall asleep during a portion of the show where they visited it? I don't remember it in the show at all. The back cover provides a couple of screenshots of the animation and decent summary of the show. The insert uses part of the front covers artwork and lists the chapters while the reverse side is used for boxart adverts.
With nothing on the disc besides the show and some trailers, it's a pretty basic menu with things selectable from the main menu that has no animation or music playing along. Selections are quick to access and things are laid out pretty simply.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The Tokyo Project is a mixture of an investigation agency and a near-sci-fi thriller. Unfortunately, it plays both angles but by sacrificing overall quality of each by meandering between the two. Add in that even with a 55 minute running time that they don't really flesh out the characters all that much, you end up with something that may end up helping people with insomnia.
The opening thrust of the show is that during a concert that features one of the private detectives (Junpei) as the lead singer, a strange man comes in and collapses and ends up giving a floppy disc to the singers other male partner, Akira. Junpei tells Akira to not get involved, but Akira finds himself believing that he was given the disc for a reason. So off goes Akira to get it checked out by the man who the dying man mentioned with his last breath.
After a quick meeting with that gentleman who really had little to offer beyond some basic clues such as who the dead man was working for and a job offer he had refused years earlier, he heads off to get some more information. While driving through the streets of Toyko, he finds himself being shot at by military style helicopters. They're actually good enough shots that they shot up a good section of the road and eventually caused him to crash, but not good enough that he survived and was taken to the hospital.
So Junpei and the other two assistants, the young Keiko and the older Kumiko, come to visit him in the hospital. Junpei is all ticked about Akira keeping the disc and doing something with it and he and Kumiko go off to talk to the doctors about things. This leaves Keiko in the room with Akira when suddenly an "evil looking" doctor comes in, turns out to be one of the main bad guys we saw earlier in the setup, and pulls out a gun with which to kill Akira.
Keiko sees all of this from behind the curtain and rushes to save him. The guy is such a rube that he can't even get off one shot before someone arrives (but he spends enough time looking over his shoulder to see someone will come). Instead, he takes Keiko as a hostage and heads off. This sets up for Junpei and Kumiko to work together to try and take on the people who've kidnapped Keiko and want the disk back.
Of course, you know Akira will be up and about shortly to help out regardless of how bad his injuries are. The sequences with Junpei getting into the enemies base was amusing in using MacGuyver style methods and the help of his assistant over the wireless. The realization that the disc contained blueprints for a mobile robotic device (brilliantly deduced without a shred of proof earlier) reveals him to be correct and we've got something out of Robocop here that tries to take him down.
Essentially, this was a fairly mediocre almost "blah" feeling show. There's little real character stuff and the enemy is pretty minimally described and made out to be evil. What really set me against this show was during the second viewing during the writing of this review. As I try to listen to the English dialogue to get a refresher while writing, I check out some of the differences.
The Japanese version has no filth in it at all. The English version has a significant amount of swearing added to it. Which probably explains why it's rated 16 instead of 13 since there's nothing in the Japanese version that would warrant it. While not as disappointing as Manga Entertainment making Castle of Cagliostro use rougher language, it's disappointing that to "americanize" the show, it needs to have swearing added.
And people wonder why I just avoid dubs for primary reviews.
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Skyworth 1050P Progressive Scan codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.