Weathering Continent - 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: F
  • Extras Rating: B-
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Media Blasters
  • MSRP: 29.95
  • Running time: 60
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Weathering Continent

Weathering Continent

By Chris Beveridge     July 28, 2003
Release Date: July 29, 2003


Weathering Continent
© Media Blasters


What They Say
Long before the roots of history, there was a magnificent Continent in the Atlantic, torn by generations of wars, with people stricken by natural disasters and starvation. Wandering in this bleak world, Bois brings his sword, Tieh his magic, and Lakushi her heart to fight for one goal: to live another day.

The Review!
One of the few lingering movies from the early 90’s that had yet to come stateside, Media Blasters snaps up Weathering Continent and gives folks a chance to rediscover it.

Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this movie in its original language of Japanese. Done up in a stereo mix that’s pretty center channel based, the movie has a decent sounding mix that has a few moments of noticeable forward soundstage directionality. Dialogue is nice and clear and the music comes across beautifully, especially the lilting tune at the beginning. We didn’t notice any dropouts or distortions on either language track during regular playback.

Video:
Originally released back in 1992 and presented here in its original aspect ratio of 1.85:1, the transfer here is decent for the most part but suffers from a significant amount of grain, which results in the dark blue and black backgrounds looking more blocky and pixilated than they should. Colors for the show look good if a bit dull, but still nice and clean looking and mostly free of cross coloration. Aliasing is also very minimal and hardly noticeable. While this isn’t the best it could look due to the materials, this release is likely showing more detail than previous Japanese releases did.

Packaging:
Media Blasters goes again with the long shot cover that has you turning it on its side to look at it properly. It works out well since it’s a really great image with the three lead characters set against the ruins in the background and the shows logo, but it just causes it to look weird both on the shelf and in online previews. The back cover is done the same way with some nice shots from the show used and a good summary of the premise. The discs features and specs are clearly listed as well as the shows production credits. The insert replicates the front cover with the addition of chapter listings while the reverse side is just more box art advertisements.

Menu:
The menu layout here takes the central image of the front cover and sets the selections along the right. The selections load quickly and access times are fast, but there are likely either some player dependent issues or some discs are bad. With my copy on my Panasonic RP-82, the menu selection icon did not appear for half of the selections and then actually showed up in parts of the artwork on the left. On our Toshiba TV/DVD combo, it worked perfectly. But every Panasonic player we put it in had it working incorrectly.

Extras:
There’s not much in the way of extras here, though we do get the original Japanese trailer for the movie as well as the original closing sequence with the Japanese text credits.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Weathering Continent is one of those 60 minute movies that were (and still are to some extent) common throughout the 80’s and into the early 90’s that are part of double bill features. It had a fair amount of popularity in U.S. fandom during the early 90’s due to it’s short length and extensive areas of no dialogue, making it fairly easy to subtitle and being part of a genre that was and still is fairly popular.

The story here takes place in a post apocaltypic time, but one quite in the past from our perspective. The world has come and gone a few times and we focus on one particular continent that has seen both a height of civilization and now many years after its fall, complete with an ice age and just general all around destruction. Life is harsh, there look to be only a few people really about and the times are just not happy.

The show focuses on three characters, Bois the tall, dark and rugged warrior, Lakushi the almost thief like but bright and curious character and then Teeye, the very pretty mage/healer. We follow the trio as they travel across the desert and reach one area of ruins where there should be a well. But someone had gotten there first. Or rather, two groups of someone’s as the first group was brutally murdered and tortured by the second group. The well appears dry and they’re ready to move on, but one of the very young survivors of the first group is still there and mistakenly attacks the trio, thinking they’re the same bandits.

As it turns out the first group was about thirty-five villagers who had left their home seeking a treasure that would help their poor village. Some bandits found out about it and the map they had and attacked them here, leaving them for dead after finding nothing. We get to know the survivor a bit and the plight of the world from this encounter, but they’re not long for the world and the trio is ready to move on again as there’s nothing they can do.

But there’s something that calls out to Teeye and hints at Bois from one of the ruins. We pan deep down inside and there’s the background call of something, something potentially evil and dangerous, but the two sense water nearby based on the fog that started rolling in. All three decide to head into the ruins to see if they can find water since the next potential well is still two days away. And it’s this descent into the dark catacombs and layers of a world long gone where their real trouble begins, combining the dark dangers in there with that of the returning bandits that continue to hunt for both treasure and water.

With its run time of just under an hour, they take the pretty standard story and avoid having it terribly filled with material that just slows things down, instead they rather focus on moving the plot (what little there really is) along nicely and going through the motions. The bad guy bandits aren’t all that impressive and there’s so little hook with the trio of good guys that it’s hard to feel too much for anyone here, though it’s not so bad as that you root for the brutish barbarian bandit types. There’s a lot of good fantasy style eye-candy here in the decrepit and aging ruins as they explore them and some of the moments of magic are well done, but the show moves so ploddingly at times that it’s easy to let your mind wander.

For fans of this show, this is an easy item to help clear out those ancient fansubs. It may be a bit harder to get some newer fans into something like this, especially since most movies these days aren’t this short, but I found it enjoyable just to see another aspect of Nobuteru Yuki’s character design evolution into the kinds of things he does today, like Escaflowne and Heat Guy J. There’s definitely a trademark look to his designs that was evident this far back.

Features
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Original Japanese Trailer,Original Closing

Review Equipment
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Panasonic RP-82 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.


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