Twin Signal - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: C

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: C+
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: B+
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Media Blasters
  • MSRP: 24.95
  • Running time: 90
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Twin Signal

Twin Signal

By Chris Beveridge     April 24, 2001
Release Date: April 24, 2001


Twin Signal
© Media Blasters


What They Say
Robotics expert Dr. Otoi built Signal to be a powerful companion for his young grandson, Nobuhiko. However, a mishap during Signal's programming led to an unexpected glitch. Every time Nobuhiko sneezes, Signal transforms from a temperamental adult robot into an adorable, chocolate-loving little baby.

Despite this little problem, days are usually happy and fun around the Otoi household, where robots, people and animals live in harmony. Except for the occasional feud over house cleaning chores or the affections of the female robot Elara. everything is relatively peaceful.

However, one day Signal is attacked by Pulse, one the Doctor's previous creations and the prototype for Signal. Despite being critically nearsighted, Pulse is loaded down with weapons and has been reprogrammed by Dr. Otoi's mysterious rival. He's on a mission to steal the most recent robot technology, and obliterate anything that gets in his way.

The Review!
Twin Signal is another of those small OVA series that never made it beyond the first three episodes, which is quite an achievement considering the number of OVA's that never get past the first episode. As such, Twin Signal actually manages to complete something of it's initial storyline.

Audio:
For the primary review, we listened to the episodes on this disc in Japanese. Throughout the disc we had hardly any issue at all with this stereo mix. Dialogue is mostly through the center channel with ambient effects and music using the left/right channels.

Video:
While the colors for this disc look pretty solid and well represented, there's a decent amount of grain through the first episode that causes some artifacting. Throughout all three episodes the presence of the rainbows in characters hair causes quite a number of jagged lines that prove to be quite distracting as well as a general level of fuzziness throughout. A lot may be attributed to poor source materials for an OVA series from 1995 that simply didn't do well and ended up sitting on the shelf for six years.

Packaging:
The front cover has the nice image of the incredibly thin as a twig Signal and his nemesis Pulse, that is if you can see him through all the hair. If the images in the gallery are all they were supplied with, they definitely made the right choice for the cover. The reverse side shows several pictures and a couple of paragraphs about the show. The insert has a nice shot of Pulse and lists all the chapters for the disc.

Menus:
The menu system, being without music or animation, is quick to move around and works without any problems. The layout is pretty standard and since there's not a heck of a lot to the disc, access times are fast.

Extras:
The image gallery is fairly small, with a couple of pieces of art, one of which is the cover and a few pieces from the show itself. The other extra is quite excellent. You get to choose from six different outfits and by selecting one, it dresses Signal up in it. Be it a schoolgirl outfit, a bunny outfit or a wedding dress, you can dress him up. Of particular interest is that if you put him in the wedding dress, and then select the dress again, it'll bring you to the out-takes section.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Things that bother me:

Company logo animations that are too long and unskippable. And have no audio if you have the Japanese track selected. But really, it's the unskippable part that makes loading these discs annoying.

Shows that have all kinds of characters and settings in the opening but don't show up in the show. Something of the curse of a manga being transposed to an anime OVA.

Shows that are funnier in the out-takes than in the actual show.

All three of these things show up on Twin Signal. The show takes place in an Earth-similar where robots are much more widespread and integrated into the culture. Our story focuses on a particular professor/inventor in the field of Robotics who is watching his grandson while the parents are off elsewhere, has an assistant in the form of a young woman named Chris and one of the most advanced robots in the world named Signal.

The nemesis of this show is an old professor-foe of the good one, who is tired of losing to him constantly. In his efforts to acquire the professors secret godlike Mira application to create robots, he steals Pulse, who is technically Signal's older brother. Pulse had been with the grandsons parents and had added some nice new weapons to him for no particular reason. So the bad professor sends Pulse to kill Signal while his goons steal the secret computer files.

Signal's a good guy robot through and through and can't actually hurt his older robot brother when he shows up. They do fight constantly though, with Pulse being very single minded in his goal, to the exclusion of nearly everything else. He's also not all that bright. Signal has a bit of a problem himself, as during his creation something went wrong. Whenever the grandson in the presence of Signal sneezes, Signal transforms into a 2 foot super deformed version of himself whose only interested in having a chocolate bar.

Suffice to say that when Signal transforms during a fight with Pulse, Pulse doesn't make the connection. Laughter ensues.

Twin Signal's story for the opening episodes does come to a fair conclusion when all is said and done, but it definitely feels like the first three episodes of a much longer series. Things aren't exactly rushed, but there's a pace to it that gives you that feel. The character designs for the robots are pretty amusing, especially the small ones that are running around all over the place. Signal and Pulse definitely belong to the "wind could blow me over" club though.

There's a lot of moments throughout the show where the characters go all super deformed themselves depending on the situation and what's going on. The bad guys, while bad, are basically goofy. There's a fair number of mild spoofs and parodies throughout the show, but the story itself feels pretty weak overall.

It's a bit sad when you find the dub out-takes funnier than the actual story. But my wife and I were just laughing out loud when we watched them.

Features
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Image Gallery,Plug & Play Signal

Review Equipment
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Pioneer 414 codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.

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