Heat Guy J-Volume 1: Super Android (2002)

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Released 5-Dec-2003

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Anime Main Menu Audio & Animation
Trailer-Last Exile, Initial D, Argentosoma, WX III
DVD Credits
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2002
Running Time 97:19 (Case: 100)
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (50:25) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Kazuki Akane
Studio
Distributor

Madman Entertainment
Starring Takayuki Sugo
Bob Pappenbrook
Masaya Matsukaze
Steve Cannon
Saeko Chiba
Kay Jensen
Daisuke Sakaguchi
Johnny Yong Bosch
Keiji Fujiwara
Sparky Thornton
Sanae Kabayashi
Wendee Lee
Ai Shimizu
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $29.95 Music Try Force


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Japanese Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/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, next episode preview

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

Plot Synopsis

    In the future city of Judoh, androids are banned, although the reasons are not made clear (yet). There is one exception, an android called J. J works for a special unit of Safety Management. This special unit has only three members. Kyoko is in charge, and she manages the paperwork. Daisuke and J are the field team. The three of them have responsibility for anticipating and possibly avoiding future crimes (an interesting and difficult task).

    The episodes on this disc are:

1 City Guy Don Leonelli's funeral is livened up; three illegal immigrants cause trouble
2 Blaze War The Leonellis are in conflict with the Weis — it's a full-blown gang war
3 Rumour Bomb A bomber seems to be striking at random
4 Beast Chaos A werewolf on the loose? With a sword? And looking for J?

    Each episode has two titles. The one listed on the left is shown in parentheses just above the kanji, suggesting that it is a translation of it. The second one is shown below the kanji, and may be part of the original title.

    J is interesting. He seems to quote pieces of bushido wisdom frequently, most often to Daisuke. Most of the time he looks like a large and not too attractive guy in a trench coat and hat. He's very much like a Terminator, only faster, more powerful, and a bit more discriminating. After, or during, combat he has to let off steam to cool down — that's the origin of his nickname in the underworld: Heat Guy.

    Daisuke is drawn bishounen ("pretty" — at first sight I thought he was female). I wasn't surprised to learn that the character designer for this show, Yuki Nobuteru, also worked on Escaflowne. Daisuke isn't the only pretty boy on this show. The son of the old Don of the Leonellis, Clair Leonelli, is even prettier — very much bishounen. Daisuke always seems to wear a white jacket, trousers, and shoes, which is a bit surprising, given the amount of physical combat he gets involved in. He has a large motorcycle with very long front forks and rather impressive performance.

    Kyoko's main role, so far, apart from bugging Daisuke for activity reports, seems to involve issuing him with a pistol and ammunition. He doesn't get a lot of ammunition, because the special unit has a very small budget: typically he gets three regular bullets and one "red-tab" bullet. I guess that makes a change from seeing our heroes firing off hundreds of rounds at a time.

    There are a number of regular characters, including the wise old Shogun from whom Daisuke gets information; the little girl Monica the street photographer; Assistant Inspector Ken Edmundo, who is somewhat antagonistic towards Daisuke; Chief Aurora (same last name as Daisuke — we don't yet know if he is a relation); and Clair Leonelli, the mafioso, who seems to be a major league psycho.

    This future world is rather different from our own. Part of this difference is emphasised in the second episode, where it is made clear that petroleum is no longer used (indeed, it is forbidden) — we don't yet know what powers Daisuke's motorcycle.

    One of the strangest features of this future is that another country (Magnagalia) makes a habit of modifying the DNA of serious criminals (those who have been sentenced to 100 years of prison, or more) so that they look like animals (we've seen wolves, so far). Unfortunately, some criminals also get DNA enhancement to make them stronger and faster.

    This series gets off to a decent start, and I'm looking forward to the next disc to see if it is going somewhere.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    This DVD transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1. It is 16x9 enhanced. That is the original aspect ratio. I like widescreen anime, and this one does a good job of making use of the extra space.

    This show uses a combination of animation techniques. Some elements are CG (Daisuke's motorcycle seems to be), some are traditional cel animation (although possibly drawn on computer). The result is quite attractive.

    The image is sharp and clear most of the time, with traces of softness in a few scenes, possibly simulating dust or steam in the air. There's no film grain, and no low-level noise, except for some simulated noise during the credits.

    Colour is vivid and well-rendered from a wide palette. Backgrounds are nicely detailed, while characters are distinctive — there's little risk of confusing one character with another. There are no colour-related artefacts.

    There are no film artefacts.

    The black lines around the characters are a little thinner than usual, which helps minimise aliasing. There is some aliasing, but it is far from troubling. There is no moiré and no MPEG artefacts.

    There are the usual two subtitle tracks for Madman anime discs. The first subtitles only signs. 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.

    Despite the packaging, which claims that the disc is single layered, it is actually single-sided and dual-layered, not formatted RSDL. The layer change takes place at 50:25, in a black frame immediately after the opening credits for episode 3, and is essentially invisible.

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. Both soundtracks are Dolby Digital 2.0, not surround encoded, at 224kbps. I listened to both soundtracks in full. Apart from the voice acting, the two soundtracks sound the same. The voice acting sounds similar — Clair Leonelli sounds crazy on both.

    The English dialogue is easily understood, and is well-matched to the animated mouth movements. The Japanese dialogue sounds clear enough, and seems to match up to the mouth movements.

    The score is difficult to describe. Some of it is rock, some of it is something else; J's theme instrument seems to be bagpipes (odd, yet apt, choice) — I think they are Irish bagpipes, though, rather than Scottish. The opening theme, Face, is written and performed by Try Force, who are also responsible for the score. It is a strange, but compelling theme.

    The straight stereo signal offers a good stereo spread, but nothing for the surrounds, even if ProLogic is enabled manually. There is no signal for the subwoofer. I hope your fronts are full-range, because this soundtrack will test them.

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

Extras

    Now this is a disappointment: we get next to nothing in the way of extras.

Menu

    The menu is animated with sound — there's a neat opening transition.

Madman Propaganda

    Trailers for four other Madman offerings, which can be selected individually:

DVD Credits

    A credits panel showing the DVD team at Madman responsible for this disc.

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-2003. It was released in two forms: a single disc, and a limited edition, which puts the single disc into a slip case that would hold the first three discs of the show, plus a disc of extras. The extras disc is impressive, and looks well worth having. However, the single disc version is the match for the one we have here. Neither the R1 nor the R4 single disc includes any extras related to the show, which is a shame.

    The Region 1 appears to have a transfer at least as good as the Region 4. Sounds like you can buy either without worry.

Summary

    The introductory volume of a new anime series that looks good so far, presented well on DVD.

    The video quality is very good.

    The audio quality is very good.

    There are no extras relating to the show.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Tony Rogers (bio-degrading: making a fool of oneself in a bio...)
Thursday, January 22, 2004
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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Comments (Add)
Case with extra disc is available here also - REPLY POSTED