Witch Hunter Robin-Volume 4 (2002)

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Released 18-Aug-2004

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Anime Main Menu Audio & Animation
Interviews-Cast-2
Gallery-production art (8)
Gallery-stills (20)
Alternative Version-textless opening (1:33) and closing (1:31)
Reversible Cover
Trailer-Madman Propaganda (6)
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 2002
Running Time 100:30
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (50:15) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Shuko Murase
Studio
Distributor
Sunrise, Inc.
Madman Entertainment
Starring Akeno Watanabe
Kari Wahlgren
Takuma Takewaka
Crispin Freeman
Jun Fukuyama
Johnny Young Bosch
Kaho Kouda
Wendee Lee
Kyoko Hikami
Michelle Ruff
Hiro Yuuki
Dave Wittenberg
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $29.95 Music Taku Iwasaki


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 Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes, next episode cryptic hints

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

Plot Synopsis

    Witch Hunter Robin Volume 4, and things have become rather more complex. If you haven't read them, I recommend you to read my reviews of the first volume, the second volume, and the third volume, if you've missed any of them.

    This volume is no longer concerned with the "witch of the week" episodes. Now things get complicated.

    The episodes on this disc are:

15 Time to say goodbye Robin parts ways with the STN-J under extreme circumstances
16 Heal the pain One month later, and three people don't come into the STN-J office any more...
17 Dilemma Robin doesn't want to be involved in any way with the STN-J, but it isn't always her choice
18 In my pocket Several people are looking for an object: the Fragment of Wisdom / Splinter of Knowledge

    This episode begins soon after the attack on Touko's apartment, the place that Robin was living. Robin is trying to sleep on the couch in the STN-J offices, but she can't help over-hearing the rest of the team (minus Amon) speculating about who fired the anti-witch bullets at Robin. Amon's name comes up, but they look for other possibilities. Interestingly, the Chief is able to help them (which makes a change from his usual carping) — he has contacts among the regular police, and is able to get information for them.

    Amon's behaviour is decidedly suspicious during episode 15, but then, so is the behaviour of his boss, Zaizen (about whom we learn another surprising snippet of information).

    Episode 15 has a different closing from the rest — it is purely instrumental, which seems appropriate.

    I can't really say any more — I wrote more, and then realised that it was a major spoiler. You won't want any spoilers with this series.

    In the last episode, the subtitles refer to "the Splinter of Knowledge", but it gets changed to "the Fragment of Wisdom" in the English dub — I guess that's a better match for the mouth movements.

    My only complaint about this series is the long wait between volumes. After the variety of shocks from these episodes, it's torture to wait so long for the next one.

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's the original aspect ratio, and that's a good thing.

    The image is clear and sharp in every scene that's not representing a photograph or computer display. There is no film grain, and no low-level noise. There's no visible edge enhancement.

    Colour is well-rendered from a carefully-chosen palette of rich and varied colours. There are no colour-related artefacts.

    There are no film artefacts.

    There is some very minor aliasing, limited to panning shots. There is no moir้, and next to no shimmer. There are no MPEG artefacts.

    There are two sets of subtitles on this disc, both English. The first subtitles only songs and signs, while the second is a set of full subtitles. The subtitles are yellow, and are easy to read, and apparently well-timed. I didn't spot anything significant in the way of subtitle errors.

    The credits are shown in Japanese on each episode. The last episode is followed by credits in English.

    The disc is single-sided, dual layered, formatted RSDL. The layer change is placed exactly in the gap between episode 16 and episode 17, at 50:15. It's 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 in Dolby Digital 2.0, 224kbps. I watched every episode in both languages. This series has an excellent dub, and I'd recommend it to anyone but dedicated sub-watchers (or those who understand Japanese).

    The English dialogue is clear and readily understood, even (or especially) the sotto voce lines. The Japanese dialogue sounds equally clear (and equally soft!). There are no blatant mismatches of dialogue and mouth movement. There are fewer opportunities for this, anyway — I don't know another show that has more dialogue spoken without visible lips (characters off-screen, back to us, faces obscured by helmets, and so forth.

    The score is very apt to the action. Taku Iwasaki had done an excellent job.

    These soundtracks are pure stereo, with no surround encoding (intended or accidental). They are full-range, with plenty of bass, but there's nothing for the surrounds or subwoofer to do.

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

Extras

Menu

    The menu is subtly animated with music — this one features Dojima. The menus are quite pretty, and they are easy to use.

Special Interview #2 (5:55)

    This time we hear from Robin's seiyuu, Akeno Watanabe. She points out that she didn't lower her voice for Robin — that's her natural register.

Special Interview #3 (5:27)

    Kaho Kouda provides the voice (in Japanese) for Miho Karasuma. She explains how she sees the development of the relationship between Robin and Miho.

Gallery: Production Art (8 pages)

    This time they have focussed on vehicles, and all the shots are full colour.

Gallery: Stills (20 pages)

    More beautiful full-colour stills from the show, drawn from the episodes on this disc.

Textless Opening (1:33)

    This is interesting to watch, because the opening to this show is intriguing. It made me wonder if the opening will stay the same through this entire series — probably.

Textless Ending (1:31)

    The normal closing, with vocals, rather than the instrumental for episode 15 — I'd have liked the change of having the instrumental.

Trailers

    Six trailers, shown one after another, but each as a different title.

Reversible Slick

    The slick can be slid out of the case and reversed. The cover as shipped shows Robin in her usual dark clothes. The reverse shows Robin in full bicycle courier outfit.

DVD Credits

    A single page listing the Madman people associated with the 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 version of this disc was released in April 2004. Their cover has "Platinum Edition" branded across the top (I'm glad ours doesn't), and it has a title, "Fugitive", but uses the same image of Robin. I have no idea why ours doesn't have the title (none of the R4 discs have, so far). Strangely, their reverse cover is completely different from ours.

    The Region 4 disc is missing:

    The Region 1 disc is missing:

    The R1 transfer is reported as very similar to ours, with the slight aliasing being the only flaw. Their menus sound really fancy, but ours are fine.

    I'm calling this one a draw, and continuing to buy the Region 4 discs for my personal collection.

Summary

    One of the most compelling anime series that's also one of the best-looking, given an excellent presentation on DVD.

    The video quality is excellent.

    The audio quality is excellent for a stereo track.

    The extras include two good interviews.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Tony Rogers (bio-degrading: making a fool of oneself in a bio...)
Saturday, September 04, 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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