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Mania Grade: B-

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B
  • Video Rating: B+/D
  • Packaging Rating: C+
  • Menus Rating: A-
  • Extras Rating: B+
  • Age Rating: All
  • Region: 4 - Australia / South America
  • Released By: Madman Entertainment
  • MSRP: 34.95 AU
  • Running time: 100
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78 Non-Anamorphic Widescreen
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: X

X

    March 01, 2002


X
© Madman Entertainment


What They Say
At the millennial edge, the concluding battle for humanity’s future is staged. Kamui Shirou’s destiny has been decided as he returns to Tokyo to face his ultimate challenge. The Dragons of Heaven, defenders of the Earth, stand ready to protect the world from the Dragons of the Earth, the seven angels of legend, who embrace the devastation of the planet to bring about its purification. Now Kamui must decide which side to fight for.

Realising that his two childhood friends, Fuuma and Kotori Monou are in grievous peril, Kamui decides to step into his fated position in the climactic struggle of the Year of Destiny: 1999.

X is based on the manga series by CLAMP (Magic Knights Rayearth, Tokyo Babylon) and features a visual mix of stylish gothic flair with exhilarating supernatural action sequences.

The Review!
Hm…gothic, dark, blood splurting all over the place. Must be another Manga Entertainment disc.

Did I also mention I hate Clamp products? Not off to a good start.

Audio:
3 technically solid audio tracks and in order of loudness they are; English stereo, English 5.1 and finally Japanese stereo. I amazed me how much louder the English stereo track was compared to the other two. Ever since I first saw the dub Manga trailer, I have been fearing this release, and listening to it in full has not caused it to grow on me any.

Video:
Major astethic pros on the video side, but brought down by some not so minor technical cons. Filmed in black, and appearing on screen as slightly less than black gray, X is a dark movie. This is not a good transfer, with film and constant interlacing artifacts. A set of white on black subtitles are provided, easily read against the dark and black background of the movie. The content side has a couple of minor niggles. The dream watcher Hinoto is mute and uses telepathy to communicate, but every time she talked we got this handy little reminder in the subs that she was using [telepathy]. Even weirder is that some of the grunts and groans of combat are subtitled, while others aren’t. Please be consistent, do sub them all or just don’t do any. Most people can figure out the difference between a grunt from being mortally wounded and actual speech.

Menu:
One area I have absolutely no complaints with is the menu system, identical to the Region 1 version. Moving from the Manga Video emblem at the start directly into the menu animation, this is a nice menu that mimics, though doesn’t match, the aspect ratio of the main feature.

Extras:
If numbers of pages made for great extras, X would certainly win a prize with 17 profiles, a 26-image photo gallery and a 23-page interview with the director. Set up as tarot cards, we get profiles on the members of the Dragons of Heaven, the Dragons of Earth and the three Dream watchers, providing some insight into the characters, but in many cases they often just reguritate what the characters themselves say in the movie. The photo gallery contains many images which look like they’re screen-captured from the finished DVD. The interview with the director Rintaro/Shigeyuki Hayashi is taken from an issue of Animerica. Beyond that there is a dub trailer, along with the usual video and DVD trailers and web links. Thanks to the fact this disc is just a barely altered version of the Region 1 disc, the video and DVD trailers are US versions. My word, we love seeing ads to remind us of just how few titles we get locally…

Packaging:
Sadly, just the region 1 cover converted into a double sider in clear keepcase. Made up of screen captures, with Kamui hiding behind his sword as the centerpiece. Compared to other covers hinted at, this is certainly a very disappointing choice. Rear cover is little better, with even more blury/indistinct shots of Kamui.

Inside cover has chapter list on tarot cards on top, with plugs for other Manga Video/Madman Entertainment titles such as Blood, Perfect Blue and Akira. Under the disc side we have Fuma/The Other Kamui about to rip his way through the last remaining Dragons of the Earth on top, the Manga Video and Madman Entertainment insignia in the middle, and the Dragons of the Heavens along the bottom.

Disc itself has a nice group shot of the Dragons of the Heavens with various images from the photo gallery along the bottom like the cover.

Content:
X is much like Blood, pretty animation that hides a hollow story that’s fleshed out elsewhere. The primary character is Kamui Shirou, a decidedly bitter teenager fated to destroy the world. Returning to Tokyo, he upsets the balance between the Dragons of the Heaven, and the Dragons of the Earth. Which ever side he chooses will be victorious, but the other will receive a Kamui of their very own. So which Kamui is the Kamui that will win?

After the Dragons of the Earth kidnap his old friends in an attempt to blackmail him, Kamui sides with the Dragons of Heaven and must be slowly weened on helping them protect the spirit shields that keep the Earth stable. Meanwhile the Dragons of the Earth find out that Fuma can serve as their stand in Kamei and set in motion their plans to wipe out the human animal and it’s wasteful civilization. While the Dragons of the Heavens try their best, they fail to protect the spirit shields thanks to Fuma/Evil Kamui, but the Dragons of the Earth have little to crow about as he turns on them and fully embraces Kamui’s destined role. Kamui heads towards Tokyo Tower for the final battle between his former friend.

X has some okay fighting scenes, but knowledge of the manga would greatly enhance the pathetically thin plot.

Features
English 5.1 track,English 2.0 track,Japanese 2.0 track,Tarot Cards/Character profiles,Theatrical Trailer,Interview with director,Photo gallery

Review Equipment
JNL-7001 DVD Player, Commodore 1802 PAL Color Monitor

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