Arjuna-Volume 3: Conflicts (2001)

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Released 18-Aug-2003

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Anime Main Menu Audio & Animation
DVD Credits
TV Spots-Appare-Genki Juice advertisement (0:24)
TV Spots-Appare Adventures (2:29)
TV Spots-"East Side" commercial
Trailer-Episode previews
Gallery-Artwork Sketches
Trailer-Madman Propaganda (5)
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 2001
Running Time 84:06 (Case: 75)
RSDL / Flipper No/No 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, every set of credits is different

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 addresses some heavy issues, and uses some loaded language and images in doing so. I am uncomfortable with some of the images and ideas presented, particularly in the second episode on this disc. But I haven't been put off to the point of stopping watching yet. Your mileage may vary. If you haven't read my review of the first volume, or the second volume, you might care to do so before reading this one.

    This volume is really getting manipulative in its attempts to convince us that we should abandon all our high technology and return to the simple life. In the first two volumes they went all out about food, and had a swipe at teaching methods, but the second episode on this disc could be used as "Right to Life" propaganda, although I can see how it fits with their entire back-to-the-simple-life agenda. I am somewhat sympathetic to a lot of their message, but I do feel they have gone too far. I also don't like the preaching at us, such as the off-hand conversation about how simple it would be to stop starvation in the world (simplistic is perhaps a more accurate description).

    The episodes (only three this time) on this disc are:

8 Distant Rain Juna is having trouble communicating with her boyfriend Tokio, and her sister Kaine, and she learns she can astrally project
9 Before Birth Juna spends an entire day with Cindy, and learns a lot about Cindy, about Chris, about her powers, and even about Kaine
10 The Flickering Gene Juna intervenes to get Tokio and his father to understand one another, and how lonely they both have felt

    This disc (like the last one) is marked as being a Special "Director's Cut" Edition. This means that it doesn't follow the normal anime conventions of intro, opening credits, part 1, eye-catcher, part 2, closing credits, next episode preview, and then on to the next episode. What happens is that there are segments added in — on this disc the additions seem to be only between episodes, in place of the next episode previews. The long one is labelled Intermission, coming between episodes 8 and 9, and is a lengthy "lesson" from the old man we met last time. The passage has no animation, but consists of a series of stills (or panning over a still image) mixed with real-life footage, with the old man and Juna talking over them.

    These episodes are sort of a "time-out" from the main story-line (although it is happening in the background, sort of) — this is explained as Juna going through birthing pains as she grows into her role as the new Avatar of Time, the Earth Maiden. We get to see more of Juna, Tokio, and Sayuri (their friend who wants them back together, although she'd happily have a relationship with Tokio). We get to know a little more about Kaine, Juna's elder sister. We learn more about Cindy, and get a better idea of her motives, which are more complex than simply loving Chris. This isn't a marking-time disc; this is exploring more depth.

    The series is quite attractive to watch. The storyline is intriguing. But I'm really uncomfortable about the manifesto they are pushing, and how hard they are pushing it. Honestly, if they get any more forceful I will be unable to continue watching it. I came very close during episode 9 to giving up on it. Still, there's only one more volume — I guess I'll stick it out.

    I'd be really enjoying this series if it weren't such a political statement.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    This DVD transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced. I'm convinced that wide-screen anime is definitely worthwhile.

    These episodes are more conventionally animated than previous ones, but that's not a complaint — they are very well done. The real-life video and other unconventional elements are confined to the closing credits and intermissions. The closing credits for every episode are different on this disc.

    The foreground characters are sharp and clear, well-drawn, but coloured fairly simply; the painted backgrounds are softer, exhibiting more subtle shades of colour. There is no film grain, and no low-level noise.

    Colour is beautifully rendered, and the artists drew on a large palette of colours. There are no colour-related artefacts.

    There are no film artefacts that I could see.

    There is still some mild aliasing, but I didn't find it at all troubling. There's no moiré, and no MPEG artefacts. There is some interleaving, but it is rarely troublesome because of the style of animation in use.

    This disc has a jacket image (shows when you hit Stop on a few players). That's nice. Unfortunately, even though the image looks appropriate to this disc, the lettering says "Volume.02~Journey". That's a distinct "oops"!

    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. Occasionally they seem to run a little behind the English dialogue, but that may be appropriate to the Japanese dialogue. Hard to tell.

    The disc is single-sided, single layer. That means no layer change. The single layer seems plenty for the content.

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!), at the higher bit-rate of 448kbps. I watched all of the episodes in both languages. The soundtracks sound quite similar.

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

    Yoko Kanno provides both the score and the music for the songs. The songs are affecting, even though I don't understand the words. The music is varied, pleasant, and well-suited to what's happening on-screen.

    The soundtracks make extensive use of directional sound, and to very good effect. There is superb placement of voices for on and off-screen speakers, and some clever use of the surrounds. The subwoofer gets plenty to do, supporting the sound without drawing attention to itself.

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 blues this time.

Appare-Genki Juice Advertisement (0:24)

    Here it is again — I think this is something they made up for the show that seems to have taken on an independent existence.

Appare Adventures Part 1 and 2 (2:29)

    Some strange footage featuring the doll that appeared in the Appare-Genki Juice advertisement.

East Side Commercial (0:15)

    I am just not sure what this is doing here.

Episode Previews (0:49)

    Episode previews, supposedly for episodes 9, 10, and 11, but judging by the episode titles, they are actually for 10, 11, and 12. Looks like they made a mistake there. These are probably included here because the versions that appeared on TV have been largely replaced by the extended pieces between the episodes (although the preview for episode 11 does appear at the end of episode 10).

Gallery — Artwork Sketches (15)

    Fifteen pages of sketches of characters and things we see in these episodes. These are of people and objects appearing in the episodes on this disc.

Trailers — Madman Propaganda

    Five 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, although it's extra stuff I'd rather like to have. I'm tempted to suggest that the R1 may have gotten the better deal this time, but it's quite close, really.

Summary

    Not a series for a light-hearted veg-out — this show gets into some heavy preaching about the evils of our modern world.

    The video quality is very good.

    The audio quality is excellent, with superb use of directional sound.

    The extras are not bad, but the isolated score would be nice to have, the dictionary sounds interesting, and the interview with the show's creator would be helpful for understanding what he's up to.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Tony Rogers (bio-degrading: making a fool of oneself in a bio...)
Friday, September 05, 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
Comments (Add)
themes - orangecat (my kingdom for a decent bio)