Real Bout High School-Volume 3: Strange Journeys (2002)

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Released 14-Apr-2003

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Anime Main Menu Audio & Animation
Notes-translator's notes
Featurette-Special End Corner (3)
Interviews-Cast-Ikue Kimura (part 2)
Outtakes-English dub flubs
Gallery-line art sketches
Trailer-5
DVD Credits
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 2002
Running Time 69:52 (Case: 75)
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Shinichi Toukairin
Studio
Distributor
TokyoPop Anime
Madman Entertainment
Starring None Given
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $29.95 Music Takeshi Yasuda


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Japanese Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures Yes
Subtitles English Titling
English
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes, next episode teaser after closing credits

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

Plot Synopsis

It's good to be back to see Ryoko Mitsuragi again, together with her friends, and, um, class-mates. If you haven't heard about Real Bout High School before, you had better read my review of Volume 1 first, and possibly Volume 2, as well.

This volume starts during summer vacation, so we have the obligatory visit to the beach so we can see Ryoko and friends in bikinis just a tad sexist, but completely in keeping with the fan service level of this series. To exacerbate matters, we are treated to some of the female teachers, as well as the female students, in swimsuits and playing volleyball. Maybe it's an attempt to level the balance when Master Tessai shows up in a swimsuit to play volleyball. Unsurprising that Daisuke enjoys himself taking pictures of Ryoko.

This disc contains three episodes, being:

  1. The Beach, The Swimsuit, and the Haunted Island what starts off as pure exploitation, ends up as a more sinister investigation of an island with a dark reputation
  2. Super Transformation! The Seven Witches Ryoko gets drawn into corporate politics by a young fan of Magical Waitress Oyster Lulu
  3. The Awakening of Love Ryoko begins to admit her feelings for Tatsuya when she sees him interacting with a childhood friend

The darker side of this storyline does get some play in this volume, but it's the lighter side that predominates here.

There's a fairly blatant, but entertaining, jab at Sailor Moon in episode 9 complete with "In the name of oysters I'll teach you a lesson!". It's only brief, but I liked it a lot.

We get some insight into the main players behind things in episode 8 such a giggle that the head bad guy seems to be called Gates (the anti-Microsoft crowd must have arranged that...). Oh, and we finally learn the significance of that opening scene at the start of episode 1 (at last!). But it isn't until episode 10 that we learn Reiha's part in things.

This is a high-density series, with heaps going on in each episode. This is a good series to get on DVD, because I've found I need to watch each episode more than once.

Now we have to wait for the last volume...

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

This DVD transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1. It is not 16x9 enhanced. That is the original aspect ratio.

The image is sharp and pleasant to look at. There's no film grain, and no low-level noise.

Colour is brilliant (in the true sense of the word) a wide palette, including some well-saturated colours, is applied to the picture. Ryoko's red hair and purple eyes come across well. There are no colour-related artefacts.

There are no film artefacts.

Aliasing and dot crawl on the black lines bordering characters seems a bit more prevalent on this volume than on the previous pair, but it is terribly hard to avoid on this kind of animation. It is rather more obvious on an interlaced display (like a regular TV) than on a non-interlaced one (such as a progressive scan display). Have a look at 13:51, 38:23, and 48:49 for examples. Another item that's more obvious on an interlaced display is the interleaving of frames (probably an artefact of converting from NTSC to PAL rather than taking a fresh transfer) it is not all that obvious when watching the picture normally, but it becomes horribly obvious when freeze-framing and single-stepping (doesn't everyone do this?).

There are two subtitle tracks. The first subtitles only signs (in white). The second provides full subtitles for the dialogue, plus the signs. The dialogue subtitles seem to be accurate, well-timed to the dialogue, and easy to read in the traditional yellow. There's one amusing glitch at 55:07 the dark background for a subtitle appears fully one second before the yellow foreground does it looks decidedly odd for that second.

The disc is single-sided, single-layered. With just under 70 minutes of content, plus a few short extras, it fits easily into the single layer.

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

Audio

The soundtrack is provided in English and Japanese, appropriate for anime. Both soundtracks are Dolby Digital 2.0, not surround encoded. I listened to the English soundtrack in full, and two-thirds of the Japanese. Both are definitely stereo, with occasional sounds directed to the left or right, but the majority of the sound is pretty much central. If you have Pro Logic decoding engaged you'll find your centre channel taking the greatest part of the sound, with some stereo separation, but nothing significant directed to the surrounds.

The English dialogue is easy to understand. The translators have opted to leave a number of words untranslated, like "senpai", because there are no adequate English counterparts combined with the translator's notes on the inside of the cover, this means we get a better rendering of the story. The Japanese dialogue sounds clear enough.

The score is a real pleasure of this series. Takeshi Yasuda has provided a score that really enhances the action.

The straight stereo signal does not provide sound for the surrounds or subwoofer. That's fine the mains get a full-range signal, and it sounds very good indeed.

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

Extras

This series is consistently getting more extras than most anime. The character on the extras page this time is Kiribayashi.

Menu

The menu is animated with sound. It is constructed to imitate a coin-fed fighting game, and this theme is carried through all of the menus. This disc features Shizuma and Ryoko.

Translator's Notes

The translator's notes make very interesting reading, as well as providing considerable insight into many elements of Japanese culture not immediately obvious. These notes are printed as a little booklet (well, a folded piece of paper!) in the R1 title, but they are printed on the inside of the cover in the R4 version the transparent case makes it easy to read them, except in the area of the ridge that encircles the disc.

Featurettes: Special End Corner

These cute little pieces continue. They are in subtitled Japanese, and were made to be shown at the end of each episode; I'd like to see them integrated using seamless branching, so one could choose to view the episodes with or without them. There's one for each episode, each presented by the voice actresses we see in the closing credits:

  1. a lesson in drawing from Keiji Goto, drawing Ryoko Sakura is much better at drawing (2:27)
  2. a second drawing lesson, this time drawing Miyuki Sakura's effort is far better agan (2:27)
  3. a short featurette on them recording character image songs (complete with advertising announcing the songs going on sale 17 October 2001) (2:27)

Interview (6:09)

Part 2 of the interview with Ikue Kimura, the Japanese voice of Ryoko. The video is still fairly poor, and the audio is not wonderful, although her voice is clear enough the interviewer's voice is rather muffled.

Outtakes (1:31)

I rather enjoy seeing the animation looking perfect, with the English dub being flubbed.

Gallery Line Art

24 more sketches of characters and outfits that appear in this volume.

Previews

Trailers, exactly the same as on the second disc, all but one of which were on the first disc:

DVD Credits

A credits panel showing the DVD authors in the form of a high-score list. Same as both previous discs.

R4 vs R1

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

The Region 1 disc was released mid-2002.

The Region 1 and Region 4 versions are extremely similar. Even the artwork is very similar, although I slightly prefer the R4 presentation. Even the discs themselves are quite similar with near-identical labels, and near-identical contents. We even get the menus designed by Nightjar, just like the R1.

Although the R4 is PAL (trust me - I've checked!) it has the same running time as the NTSC R1 (indicating a video conversion rather than film transfer).

There's really so little difference between the two that you can be happy with either version, but if you're in Australia I'd strongly recommend getting our version it means you're supporting the locals (the fact that it's a bit cheaper doesn't hurt, either!).

Summary

The third volume of the series, presented well on DVD.

The video quality is good, save for aliasing and interleaving. It's not quite as good as the first two, but they were very good indeed.

The audio quality is excellent.

The extras are plentiful and interesting.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Tony Rogers (bio-degrading: making a fool of oneself in a bio...)
Saturday, April 19, 2003
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-S733A, using Component output
DisplaySony VPH-G70 CRT Projector, QuadScan Elite scaler (Tripler), ScreenTechnics 110. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationDenon AVC-A1SE
SpeakersFront Left, Centre, Right: Krix Euphonix; Rears: Krix KDX-M; Subwoofer: Krix Seismix 5

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