009-1: The End of the Beginning (2013)

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Released 23-Jul-2014

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Sci-Fi Action Theatrical Trailer
Trailer-Eastern Eye trailers x 4
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2013
Running Time 80:43 (Case: 85)
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Koichi Sakamoto
Studio
Distributor

Madman Entertainment
Starring Mayuko Iwasa
Aya Sugimoto
Nao Nagasawa
Minehiro Kinomoto
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI ? Music Misawa Yasuhiro


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None Japanese Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes, certainly keep watching after the end credits

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

Plot Synopsis

     In the future the world is divided into two power blocs, East and West, that are locked in a Cold war. Japan (called J-Country) is a border zone between them, a place of exiles, religious and ethnic crises and a top secret facility researching cyborg technology. Female agent 009-1 (Mayuko Iwasa) is a result of the program, part woman, part cyborg with extraordinary fighting powers and weapons. When the scientist behind the cyborg project, Dr Klein (Aya Sugimoto), is kidnapped, 009-1 is sent to rescue her, but fails when she is faced with another, superior, female cyborg warrior (Nao Nagasawa) and a young male exile (Minehiro Kinomoto) who she saves. Disgraced because of her failure, branded a “monster” and having memory flashes about her lost mother and younger brother, 009-1 sets out to find out who took Dr. Klein and why. But the truth is never straightforward.

     009-1: The End of the Beginning is based on the manga by Shotaro Ishinomori that was published way back between 1967-1970, which was followed by a TV series, an anime series and a feature anime.

     I am not familiar with the earlier manga or anime so will review 009-1: The End of the Beginning only as a film. What we get is frenetic editing, jump cuts and fades and focus changes accompanied by music, making the film feel like a combination of music clip and video game. It includes very violent action with lots and lots of blood, actress / model Mayuko Iwasa in red leather and high boots, Nao Nagasawa in black leather, plenty of girl on girl fights, scantily clad women, a bit of sex, zombies, explosions and a plot that makes little sense. Despite attempts at exposition, the narrative of 009-1: The End of the Beginning is all over the place, with jumps in plotlines and characters introduced and disposed of almost randomly; it just feels as if this short film (just over 80 minutes) is trying to cover just too much ground.

     009-1 does ask some questions about cyborg technology, what it is to be a monster, family and memory as 009-1 (or Mylene as she starts to remember) asks just who or what she is, but these questions are tossed away during the last 20 minutes of bloody and gory action. However if good looking leather clad women in martial arts action appeals, 009-1: The End of the Beginning will certainly hold your interest.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     009-1: The End of the Beginning is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, close to the original 1.85:1 theatrical ratio, and is 16x9 enhanced.

     The print is very good. As noted, much of the film is shot like a music clip with frenetic editing, jump cuts, fades and focus changes but it is sharp and finely detailed. The colours look very glossy and digital; the red leather looks great and other sequences are colour graded to give a more grungy effect. Blacks and shadow detail are good, brightness and contrast consistent. Skin tones and scenes under lights show the digital yellow tinge.

     The film has some pleasing grain; artefacts and marks are absent.

    English subtitles are available in a yellow font. They are clear and easy to read and I did not notice any spelling or grammatical errors.

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

Audio

     Audio is a Japanese Dolby Digital 5.1 track at 448 Kbps.

     This is a loud and enveloping audio track, especially in the opening nightclub scene and the fight sequences. Dialogue is clear and centred, the surrounds and rears used frequently for music, weather effects such as thunder, explosions, thumps and the crash of bodies flying into walls and other objects during fights. The subwoofer added appropriate rumble to the music and fight sequences.

     The music score by Misawa Yasuhiro was occasionally muzakish, but mostly fine.

     Lip synchronisation good.

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

Extras

Theatrical Trailer (1:16)

Eastern Eye Trailers

     Trailers for Ace Attorney (1:35), Dead Sushi (2:00), Hentai Kamen (1:30) and Real (1:36).

R4 vs R1

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

     There is no Region 2 version of 009-1: The End of the Beginning listed at present. The Region 1 US is due for release at the end of October 2014. Region 2 Japanese and Region 3 Korean DVDs are not English friendly. A win for Region 4.

Summary

     Based upon the manga that was first published over 40 years ago, 009-1: The End of the Beginning is a live action film that includes fights with lots of blood, actresses in red leather and high boots, plenty of girl on girl martial arts fights, scantily clad women, zombies, explosions and a plot that makes little sense. All good fun.

     The video and audio are good. Trailers are the only extras.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Monday, September 01, 2014
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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