Witch Hunter Robin-Volume 5 (2002)

If you create a user account, you can add your own review of this DVD

Released 21-Oct-2004

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by
BUY IT

Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Anime Main Menu Audio & Animation
Interviews-Cast-2 (6:01 and 5:49)
Gallery-production art (18)
Gallery-stills (20)
Alternative Version-textless opening (1:33) and closing (1:31)
Reversible Cover
Trailer-Madman Propaganda (5)
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 2002
Running Time 99:03
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (48:44) 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, hints at next episode

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

Plot Synopsis

    Witch Hunter Robin is a six volume series, and this is Volume 5; through the use of arcane mathematical processes I can tell you that this is the second-last volume. Prior to reading this one, you may care to read my reviews of the first volume, the second volume, and the third volume, and the fourth volume.

    The episodes on this disc are:

19 Missing Robin meets a mother and father whose daughter has gone missing, and learns about Seeds
20 All I really oughta know Robin knows and fears the latest hunter sent from Solomon HQ to the STN-J
21 No way out A new hunter, a complex trap, and a revelation about Nagira and Amon
22 Family Portrait Zaizen breaks from Solomon HQ. An old woman's house contains a old photo that looks like Robin

    The first episode starts with Nagira calling in a couple who are supposed to be experts, but they disclaim any knowledge of the Arcanum of the Craft. It appears that the woman wanted to see Robin — she is looking for a substitute for her missing daughter. They are Seeds — people who show no sign of Witch talent, but who may have children with it. Robin feels a connection to them, partly because she doesn't know her own parents.

    For some time we've been wondering what has happened to Amon — we find out something, but not a lot. The same applies to Zaizen — the quondam administrator of the STN-J, who now seems to be working exclusively at The Factory.

    This is one series where I cannot write much: there are plenty of potential spoilers. I'll happily tell you that the butler didn't do it, but only because there isn't a butler (oh, no! I gave away the absence of a butler!).

    This review is late: the last volume has been released, so I can't complain about the wait for it... Still, it does clarify one thing that confused me. The cover art for this volume is beautiful, like all the covers for this series, but its images don't come from any of these episodes. In fact, they come from the first episode on the final volume. So don't look at the cover!

    If you've enjoyed the series so far, this volume will be very enjoyable. Strongly recommended.

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. No surprise: this entire series has been presented in the correct aspect ratio.

    The image is clear and sharp in every scene (except for flashbacks and computer displays where there is deliberate artefacting). There is no film grain, and no low-level noise. There's no visible edge enhancement.

    Colour is used very carefully in this show: there are few bright colours (this is, after all, a somewhat sombre show), but there are plenty of deep rich colours. They are well-rendered. There are no colour-related artefacts.

    There are no film artefacts. It is possible that this was a digital transfer directly from computer to NTSC, then from NTSC to PAL.

    There is some mild aliasing, made a bit worse by interleaving, limited to moving shots. There is no moiré, and virtually 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. They 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 layer, formatted RSDL. The layer change is placed exactly in the gap between the second and third episodes, at 48:44. It's essentially invisible, lying in the black between episodes.

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.

    The English dialogue is clear and readily understood when the speaker is talking quietly (there is plenty of quiet speech). The Japanese dialogue sounds equally clear. There are no blatant mismatches of dialogue and mouth movement (not that you can see them a lot of the time).

    The English dub is excellent, with well-cast voices in all parts — I'm particularly impressed with Kari Wahlgren's Robin. I'm not so impressed with Crispin Freeman's performance as Amon, but that's because I expect him to do superbly, and he does — call it "meeting high expectations".

    The Japanese dub sounds good, too, so if you understand Japanese, you'll be catered for. If you don't understand Japanese, I would recommend listening to the English dub.

    Taku Iwasaki has provided us with a varied, complex, intriguing score that intensifies the experience — turn the sound off and watch the subs if you don't believe me! This score even knows when to fall silent.

    These soundtracks are pure stereo, with no surround encoding. They are full-range, with plenty of bass, but there's nothing for the surrounds or subwoofer to do. If you do enable surround decoding, you'll notice some sound in the surrounds, but it's insignificant.

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

Extras

Menu

    The menu is subtly animated with music — Miho Karasuma is on this one. The menus are easy to use.

Special Interview #4 (6:01)

    Now we hear from Jun Fukuyama, seiyuu for Haruto Sakaki.

Special Interview #5 (5:49)

    I was especially interested in hearing from Yuriko Dojima's seiyuu: Kyoko Hikami. She explains that Dojima's accent is part Kansai, due to her upbringing. That doesn't come across in the English dub, understandably, but I can't pick it when I'm listening to the Japanese, either.

Gallery: Production Art (18 pages)

    These are black and white images.

Gallery: Stills (20 pages)

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

Textless Opening (1:33)

    The same as on every disc, but it's a beautiful sequence nonetheless.

Textless Ending (1:31)

    The same as on every disc. It's a good song, but not as intriguing as the opening.

Trailers

    Five 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 (SPOILER ALERT: highlight with mouse to read) Maria and Juliano. The reverse shows Nagira.

DVD Credits

    A single page listing the Madman people associated with 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 version of this disc was released in June 2004. Their cover has "Platinum Edition" branded across the top (I'm glad ours doesn't), and it has a title, "Determination", but uses the same (somewhat inappropriate) image. 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 — it sounds like they get the one we had on Volume 4.

    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. The galleries we get are quite pretty.

    I'd guess that you can happily buy either version. I'm still buying the Region 4 discs for my personal collection.

Summary

    One of the best dramatic anime series I've seen, given an excellent presentation on DVD.

    The video quality is excellent.

    The audio quality is very good 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...)
Tuesday, December 14, 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

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add) NONE