Arjuna-Volume 2: Journey (2001)

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Released 2-Jul-2003

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Anime Menu Animation & Audio
DVD Credits
Featurette-Appare-Genki Juice advertisement
TV Spots-0:34
Trailer-episode previews (1:06)
Gallery-artwork sketches
Trailer-Madman Propaganda
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 2001
Running Time 115:17
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (57:43) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Shoji Kawamori
Studio
Distributor

Madman Entertainment
Starring Mami Higashiyama
Maggie Blue O'Hara
Tomokazu Seki
Andrew Francis
Aya Hisakawa
Tabitha St Germain
Yuji Ueda
Brad Swaile
Mayumi Shintani
Brittney Irvin
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $29.95 Music Yoko Kanno


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Japanese Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.78:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures Yes
Subtitles English Titling
English
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes, special edition inserts between episodes

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

Plot Synopsis

One hot summer day, I died...
and then I saw the future of this planet
as it faced its death.

Arjuna, or Earth Maiden Arjuna (the title that appears at the start of each episode), is a bit heavy-handed at making its points, but I'm still finding it interesting to watch. If you haven't read my review of the first volume, you might care to do so before reading this one.

This show is quite earnest in its attempts to drive home the devastation that mankind is wreaking upon the Earth. It is not exactly propaganda for Greenpeace or Friends of the Earth, but it's not far off that. There are a number of ideas mixed up in here, but macrobiotics, holistic organic farming, environmentalism, and the evils of free trade (in the way it favours large agricultural corporations who disregard the environment) all appear fairly heavily. The ideas are a little less sugar-coated here than on the first disc. If you don't want to be lectured, maybe this show isn't for you. This show is also rather disparaging about McDonalds (OK, they've called it "Merikan Burger", but have a look at the burger she opens and tell me you don't recognise it!). It has a bash at supermarket vegetables, too. One of the things it mentions is the wisdom of not tilling the soil before planting, which is interesting, given that there was a news piece a few days ago about a conference of soil scientists discussing the damage to soil structures in Australia attributable to the same the scientists sounded more concerned about the heavy machinery "crushing" the soil, though.

I'd recommend this disc for folks at Nimbin, if they have DVD players...

The episodes on this disc are:

4 Transmigration Juna and Tokio learn a lot about holistic organic farming from an old man who has "dropped out"
5 The Small Voices Tokio falls gravely ill after eating at Merikan Burger Arjuna learns how to deal with internal Raaja
6 The First One Juna learns about the evils of rote learning, of not thinking for oneself, from a once-dedicated teacher
7 The Invisible Words Chris is dying, and Cindy fetches Juna to try to help him Arjuna undergoes a major paradigm shift

This disc seems to contain an enhanced version of some of the episodes, with extra pieces stuck in between episodes. The extra pieces are introduced with an intertitle, bearing a word like Intermission, or Epilogue. The extra pieces are not animated normally, but are speeches over still photos, or sketches. These extra pieces aren't too long (maybe 5 minutes a piece), and aren't too offensive, even though they do tend to hammer on the moral of the episode we just watched. At times I wondered if I was actually watching an educational short, rather than an anime show.

The series is nicely drawn, with lovely detailed backgrounds it's a pleasure to look at. The music is pleasant. And the story is interesting. I would probably enjoy it more if they gave us credit for understanding a more subtle level of moralising the idea that they have to hammer and hammer to drive their points home is irritating.

If you get the impression that I'm in two minds about this series, then you're right.

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 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced. I really like the look of widescreen anime.

The show uses a variety of animation types. There are photos and live video in the credits and sometimes even the eye-catchers, and the occasional shot during the show looks rotoscoped, or possibly taken from live video and manipulated.

The foreground characters are sharp and clear; the painted backgrounds are softer. There is no film grain, and no low-level noise.

Colour is nicely rendered, and the artists drew on a large palette of colours there are many subtle shades used here. There are no colour-related artefacts.

There are no film artefacts that I could see.

There is some mild aliasing, but I didn't find it at all troubling. There's no moire, and no MPEG artefacts.

We're provided with two sets of English subtitles, one just covering signs, the other giving full dialogue (plus signs). I watched the full dialogue subtitles with both the Japanese and English sound. They are quite legible (even with a strange coloured edge most of the time), and seem well-timed and accurate. Occasionally they seem to run a little behind the English dialogue, but that may be appropriate to the Japanese dialogue.

The disc is single-sided and dual layered, apparently not formatted RSDL. The layer change is at 57:43, between episodes 5 and 6. It's essentially invisible, unless your player is particularly slow at switching layers and seeking.

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, as usual. Both are Dolby Digital 5.1 (not usual!), and both offer some subtle surround work. I watched all of the episodes in both languages. The soundtracks sound very similar.

The English dialogue seems fine, and matches the animated mouth movements well. The Japanese dialogue sounds clear enough.

Yoko Kanno provides both the score and the music for the songs. The music is interesting, and blends well with the action.

The surrounds produce some interesting directional sound you'll be glad you have a 5.1 system. The subwoofer gets less to do, but it is nicely integrated with the rest of the sound.

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

Extras

Menu

The menus are animated with music. They are subtly shaded in greens.

Appare-Genki Juice Advertisement (0:30)

This is a rather silly little ad that one of the characters makes fun of during an episode here we get to see the original version. I don't know if this is a real Japanese ad, or something they made up for this show.

TV Spots (0:34)

Two TV spots for the show.

Episode Previews (1:06)

Different versions of the episode previews possibly the versions that appeared on TV, which have been largely replaced here by the extended pieces between the episodes.

Gallery Artwork Sketches (15)

Fifteen pages of sketches of characters and things we see in these episodes..

Trailers Madman Propaganda

Six trailers that can be selected individually:

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 version of this disc was released late last year.

The Region 4 disc is missing:

The Region 1 disc is missing:

There's quite a bit of difference between the two, but it is mostly extra stuff, not vital, but possibly quite interesting reportedly the Arjuna Dictionary provides details on some of the ideas thrown out by the show. Given that both discs contain the episodes, and the quality of the transfer is reportedly quite similar, there's little to choose between them.

Summary

Not a series for a light-hearted veg-out this show deals with some serious worries about our world today.

The video quality is very good.

The audio quality is very good.

The extras are reasonable, but the isolated score would be nice to have, and the dictionary sounds interesting.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Tony Rogers (bio-degrading: making a fool of oneself in a bio...)
Friday, July 18, 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

Other Reviews NONE
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