Karin: Chibi Vampire-Collection (2005)

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Released 20-Jul-2011

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Anime More…-Textless Opening and Ending
Trailer-x 5 but none for this series
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2005
Running Time 540:38 (Case: 600)
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered
Multi Disc Set (4)
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Shinichiro Kimura
Studio
Distributor
Kadokawa Shoten
Madman Entertainment
Starring Sayuri Yahagi
Chelsea Curto
Katsuyuki Konishi
Yahav Rom
Yuka Inokuchi
Marian Elizabeth Spencer
Di Matsumato
Paul John Pistore
Koki Miyata
James Shubert
Case Amaray-Transparent-Dual
RPI ? Music Masara Nishida


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Japanese Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.78:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

“I just want to be ordinary”

     Karin Maaka (Sayuri Yahagi, Chelsea Curto) on the surface is a normal Japanese High School student, normal except she comes from a family of vampires! Karin however is an unusual vampire. While her family avoid the light, she is happy in the sun and with bright lights, she sleeps in a bed not a coffin, likes crucifixes and swimming and loves to eat garlic. And rather than drink blood, Karin generates blood and has uncontrollable nose-bleeds. Karin’s secret life begins to unravel when Kenta (Katsuyuki Konishi, Yahav Rom), a new exchange student, comes to her school. Whenever he is near her Karin’s blood and body react violently. What is going on?

     Karin: Chibi Vampire is about acceptance, about being different yet trying to fit in, about family and the trials and embarrassments of first love and the teenage years. The titles of the episodes say it all; every one has “embarrassing" (hazukashii) in the title recalling something one would prefer to forget, such as A Family Gathering is Embarrassing (episode 5), Big Brother is Really Embarrassing (episode 12) or The First Time … is Embarrassing (episode 20).

     Karin: Chibi Vampire is funny, quite sweet and sometimes sad, with a wonderful supporting cast of characters. The Maaka family are quite normal and ordinary, except for being vampires. There is father Henry (Di Matsumato, Paul John Pistore), mother Carrera (Emi Shinohara, Chio Su Ping), younger sister Anju (Yuka Inokuchi, Marian Elizabeth Spencer), her doll Boogy (Nojima Hirofumi, Paul John Pistore) and older brother Ren (Junichi Suwabe, Jerry Szombathy). Henry is rather uncool and downtrodden, and objects to the developing relationship between his daughter and Kenta, Carrera is a sophisticate and domineering, prone to throwing slippers and dismissive of Henry when he serves her blood not to her liking. Anju is an enigma, a vampire just developing her powers but she is smart beyond her years, caring about her big sister, while Ren is big brother, with a handle on most things, including blood affinity and relationships.

     As the series progresses Karin realises that she has a blood affinity with people who are unhappy (Carrera’s affinity is liars, Henry’s pride, while Ren’s is stress), and her blood is reacting to Kenta because he is worried about his single parent mother. So Karin sets out to make Kenta happy, thus limiting his effect upon her body. This has rather unexpected, at least to her, consequences. Other characters in the series include Kenta’s mother Fumio (Aya Hisakawa, Meriem Bekka), a single mum who cannot keep a job as she attracts sexual harassment from her bosses, and Karin’s school friend Maki (Mikako Takahashi, Hillary Blazer-Doyle). Others are introduced as the series progresses, such as transfer student Winner Sinclair (Koki Miyata, James Shubert). He is dishy and has all the girls in a swoon, but he only has eyes for Karin which annoys the other girls not to mention Kenta! To complicate things further, Winner comes from a family of Vampire Hunters. Also introduced are Karin’s grandmother Elda (Yuri Shiratori, Denise Tan Shu Fen), who has a history of her own, and Winter’s grandfather Victor (Katsumi Cho, George N. Cayhill III), a vampire hunter who has a score to settle with the Maaka family. Over 24 episodes these characters intersect in various ways; while the series starts as a teenage love story and is quite funny, the tone does get darker half way through with the introduction of Vampire Hunter Grandfather Sinclair.

     Throughout the series Karin: Chibi Vampire is beautiful to look at with predominately pastel colours that could have been taken from a water colour painting. This is an anime with a lot of muted colours but when vibrant colours occur, such as blood reds or sunset yellows, they leap off the screen.

     Karin: Chibi Vampire Collection is the 24 episode anime of the magna Chibi Vampire by Yuna Kagesaki that ran to 13 volumes. Karin: Chibi Vampire (released as just Karin in the US) was originally broadcast in 2005 – 2006.

     Karin: Chibi Vampire is about acceptance, about being different yet trying to fit in, about the trials and embarrassments of first love and the teenage years. It is funny and quite sweet, with a wonderful supporting cast of characters. All 24 episodes are presented on this 4 disc Karin: Chibi Vampire Collection from Madman, spread equally over the four discs, each episode about 22 minutes in length. Extras are on Disc 4.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     Karin: Chibi Vampire is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, which I suspect is the original release ratio, and is 16x9 enhanced. There are small black bars at both sides of the screen.

     This is an anime with a lot of pastel colours but when primary colours occur, reds, yellows and blues especially, they are deep and vibrant. Backgrounds are gorgeous, often looking like a watercolour painting. Blacks and shadow detail are good, the print as sharp as it wants to be.

     I did not notice any marks, or other artefacts.

     It is anime so lip synchronisation is approximate in either audio track.

     The English subtitles are in a yellow font in US English spelling. They are clear enough but sometimes went past too quickly to read properly. This was worse when the Japanese signs are subtitled in white elsewhere on the screen which means there is sometimes quite a bit of text to get through. They did not contain any spelling or grammatical errors that I saw.

     There are actually two different English subtitle tracks that can be selected. When the main track is selected the lyrics of the opening and closing songs are translated in English subtitles on screen, obscuring some of the titles. When the English language is selected, and then alternative subtitles, the songs are still sung in Japanese, but translations are provided on screen in Japanese (in Western script).

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

     Audio is a choice of Japanese or English Dolby Digital 2.0 at 224 Kbps. I prefer to listen to non-English films in the language in which they were made as often voice dubbing is atrocious. Anime is a different case. With Karin: Chibi Vampire I listened to the Japanese and English audio basically turnabout. They are both very good, although I still enjoyed the Japanese better.

     Both tracks share similar characteristics and are pretty good although the English is recorded at a slightly louder level. Both the Japanese and English dialogue is good, clear and easy to understand. As well as dialogue, the sound stage is mainly front centred with only some occasional ambient effects and music in the surrounds. Some music and heart beats were directed to my sub-woofer.

     The original music by Masara Nishida is excellent and adds to the enjoyment. Anju’s theme is a soft, beautiful piece of work. There are catchy songs in Japanese with both opening and end titles that get right into your head!

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

     The extras are all on Disc 4.

Textless Opening and Ending Song

     Opening (x 2) and Ending credit sequence songs without the titles. Each 1:28.

Trailers

    Included are trailers for other anime releases: K-ON! Volume 1 (1:19), Vampire Knight Volume 1 (1:08), Tsukuyomi Moon Phase Collection (1:25), Evangelion: 2.22 You Can (Not) Advance (1:37) and Eden of the East Movie 1 – King of Eden + Air Communication (1:07).

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

     The only other release I can find currently is a Region 1 US NTSC version. It is called just Karin, and the episodes are spread over 6 discs. It is listed as being in an aspect ratio of 4:3, but I cannot confirm if this is so. There is no Region 2 UK version listed. A win for Region 4, I think.

Summary

     Karin: Chibi Vampire is about acceptance, about being different yet trying to fit in, about the trials and embarrassments of first love and the teenage years. It is funny and quite sweet, with a wonderful supporting cast of characters. The video and audio are fine. Extras are minimal.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Tuesday, September 11, 2012
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S580, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 55inch HD LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderNAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationNAD T737
SpeakersStudio Acoustics 5.1

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