Real Bout High School-Volume 3: Strange Journeys (2002)
Main Menu Audio & Animation
Featurette-Special End Corner (3)
Interviews-Cast-Ikue Kimura (part 2)
Outtakes-English dub flubs
Gallery-line art sketches
|Year Of Production||2002|
|Running Time||69:52 (Case: 75)|
|RSDL / Flipper||No/No||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||Shinichi Toukairin|
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||Full Frame||
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Japanese Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||None|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.33:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||Yes, next episode teaser after closing credits|
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:
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...
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.
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.
|Surround Channel Use|
This series is consistently getting more extras than most anime. The character on the extras page this time is Kiribayashi.
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.
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.
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:
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.
I rather enjoy seeing the animation looking perfect, with the English dub being flubbed.
24 more sketches of characters and outfits that appear in this volume.
Trailers, exactly the same as on the second disc, all but one of which were on the first disc:
A credits panel showing the DVD authors in the form of a high-score list. Same as both previous discs.
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!).
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.
|DVD||Pioneer DV-S733A, using Component output|
|Display||Sony VPH-G70 CRT Projector, QuadScan Elite scaler (Tripler), ScreenTechnics 110. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Speakers||Front Left, Centre, Right: Krix Euphonix; Rears: Krix KDX-M; Subwoofer: Krix Seismix 5|