Mania Grade: B+
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- Audio Rating: B+
- Video Rating: B+
- Packaging Rating: A-
- Menus Rating: A-
- Extras Rating: B
- Age Rating: 12 & Up
- Region: 2 - Europe
- Released By: Beez
- MSRP: £19.99
- Running time: 100
- Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
- Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
- Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
- Series: Wolf's Rain
Wolf's Rain Vol. #1
By Paul Jacques
February 07, 2006
Release Date: November 21, 2005
Wolf's Rain Vol. #1
What They Say
In the distant future, wolves are meant to have been extinct for almost 200 years. At least that is what human’s would like to believe. Although rumour has it that some wolves survived and have taken the form of humans to avoid being hunted. This rumour comes from the “Book of the Moon” that also tells of a paradise, Rakuen, which is hidden in some part of the world. The book also states that only wolves may find Rakuen…
01. City of Howls
02. Toboe who doesn’t howl
03. Bad Fellow
04. Scars in the wastelandThe Review!Audio:
I listened, alternating between Japanese and English audio with each episode change. Both provided a solid and fault free stereo, but not much is the way of left or right directional sound, it all comes from the front. Either sound track is good, so you pays your money and takes your choice as it’s a win-win option.
Opening song is called Stray
and is a really great track, lots of toe tapping beat. The closing song is called Gravity
which is gentle and soothing.
An additional note here is that I just love the incidental music, really different, really interesting (must be Ms Kanno ;-).Video:
Video was very good, with the 4:3 aspect looking very good on my TV and the PC, although the colour palette is a little dull. I don’t know if this was transferred over from the master or it’s an R1 translation but nothing appears to have been lost in the process, and no artefacts were seen, and the characters and scenes appear with good lines and edges.Packaging:
Excellent packaging with a blue-green double-sided cover (in transparent box). The front cover is adorned a scene of Lord Darcia holding Cheza. On the back we have 4x stills plus the technical details. On the inside cover we have Chapter listings with character bios (again). Inside the box we have a small 2x page insert, which also doubles as a mini poster. And the disc itself has a wolf howling on a blue-green background.Menu:
The menus are excellent. They must have put considerable effort into making them look good, and it shows, with good (and different) incidental music to accompany the animated hot links. All the links worked quickly and no dead ends were encountered.
Additional points to Beez for producing the sound AND menus in their respective European language- nice one guys.Extras:
In the extras section of the disc we get a clean Op and Ed, plus character bios which do contain spoilers…. so you have been warned. Also we have promo trailers for Gundam Seed
, Stratos 4
and Witch Hunter Robin
(please note that content portions of a review will contain spoilers)
Episode 1 has two openings scenes; the first is a lone white wolf (Kiba), lying, dying in the snow in it’s attempt to find “paradise”; the second is a group of desperate men attack and rob a goods train, eager to make off with anything they can find. The leader of this group is called Tsume, and as befits a leader he is cold and detached from the people he commands.
Tsume’s group retire with their ill-gotten-gains to their secret hide-out, within the confines of the domed city. Only this time when they get back, they find a wounded white wolf sleeping there. Tsume is very shocked to see the white wolf and a vicious fight breaks out between them.
In a lab, elsewhere in the domed city, a girl (Cheza) in a glass tank awakens, and all the scientists gather round to examine her. We don’t learn much more except that the wolves and Cheza are linked in some inexplicable way, because the wolves mere presence in the city have effected her.
Later the white wolf is “killed” by Quent Yaiden, who has a big grudge against wolves. And so the white wolf is put in a cage for disposal. Only he isn’t dead, and a young man named Hige comes along and encourages him to escape the cage and make a break for freedom.
Meanwhile Tsume and his band of outlaws attack another convoy, but this time things don’t go so well and a lot of the men are killed, leaving the surviving men very disgruntled.
This is a typical first episode, where we are introduced to the some of the main characters and the bare essentials of the plot (wolves are linked to Cheza and it has something to do with looking for “Paradise”).
The next episode opens with a man (Lord Darcia) watching a comatose woman with long green hair (Hamona), and being told that wolves have been seen in the domed city. He has an interest in both Cheza and wolves, although we do not yet know why.
Back in the lab Dr Degre is pondering over the data from the instruments recording Cheza’s activity. Her ex, Detective Lebowski, asks her to pop by Pathology to examine wolf bite marks on a dead body.
Another wolf (Toboe) is introduced- He is very young and naďve, and makes a big mistake when he tries to repay the kindness of a young girl. This error leads him to join up with Tsume for protection.
Meanwhile Kiba and Hige attempt to find Cheza in the maximum security building, but they aren’t the only ones, as Lord Darcia also wants Cheza for his own nefarious reasons.
Episode 3 finds Kiba, Hige, Tsume and Toboe moving in ever decreasing circles, with their paths soon crossing. On their trail is Quent Yaiden and his dog “Blue”, very intent on putting a bullet between their ears. All of this coming to a head when the wolves get surrounded by the police and have to break out or die in a hail of police bullets.
Detective Lebowski is beginning to think that the story of shape shifting wolves is more than just a fairy tale, and it’s obvious that Dr Degre also knows much more than she is letting on.
The final episode has the four wolves leave the domed city in order to follow Cheza, who in turn will lead them to “Paradise”. So our pack of wolves head out into the vast and open wilderness. And it’s a desolate and bitter place, with many dangers and very little food. When a hungry Tsume goes off in a huff, they stumble across one of the many dangers in the form of an old war droid, who is very intent on killing them.
Back in the domed city Dr Degre leaves the city under clandestine circumstances. Detective Lebowski searches her apartment for some answers, only to find the mythical “Book of the Moon” that he has been told doesn’t exist.
Each episode of Wolf’s Rain is formatted in American TV style. This is to say we have a minute of action, followed by the Opening credits- not a bad way to keep your audience, if you like that sort of format.
The subtitles are not perfect, with the odd out-of-place word, but otherwise they do the job very nicely.In Summary:
This first volume certainly presents an interesting scenario, and the plotline appears to be straight forward enough for anyone to follow. At this stage I don’t find myself routing for any characters (just yet), but it’s early days. All-in-all a good first disc - with excellent musical accompaniment - which left me looking forward to volume two.
Japanese Language DD 2.0,English Language DD 2.0,French Language DD 2.0, English Subtitles, French Subtitles, Dutch Subtitles,Polish Subtitles,Character bios,Clean Opening,Clean Ending
JVC 28" Pure Flat Wide Screen TV, Pioneer 454 Progressive Scan code free DVD player, Logitech Z-680 THX DD/DTS receiver & Speakers. Secondary equipment, 19” SM930bf LCD, ATI X700 & PowerDVD v4, Creative Audigy 2 & headphones and a duck.