Paranoia Agent-Volume 1: Enter Lil' Slugger
Main Menu Introduction
Main Menu Audio & Animation
Multiple Angles-Episode 1 Storyboard
Trailer-Fullmetal Alchemist, Captain Herlock
Trailer-His And Her Circumstances, Lunar Legend Tsukihime
|Year Of Production||?|
|Running Time||98:05 (Case: 100)|
|RSDL / Flipper||Dual Layered||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||Satoshi Kon|
|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|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.78:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
Paranoia Agent (Mousou Dairinin) is an animated series produced by Japan's Mad House studios. Mad House have created many hallmark pieces of animation, including scenes for Animatrix. I should point out that this is an adult animated series and is certainly not suitable for children. Writer and Director Satoshi Kon is responsible for other animated features such as Perfect Blue and Tokyo Godfathers. This collection contains four episodes, totalling almost 98 minutes.
In Volume One of Paranoia Agent, police are investigating a series of assaults that appear to be connected in some way. The media have labelled the perpetrator Lil' Slugger, thanks to his trademark baseball hat and skates.
Episode One: Enter Lil' Slugger - Tsukiko Sagi is the famous creator of a popular stuffed character and is under considerable pressure from her employer to come up with a new hit. On her way home one evening she is violently assaulted and describes her assailant as an adolescent boy. She is soon approached by a sleazy, indebted journalist who tries to use her story to make some quick cash.
Episode Two: The Golden Shoes - The investigator's focus turns to Yuichi Tara, an A-grade student who bears some resemblance to the wanted attacker. The police attention generates suspicion at his school, and his peers begin a cruel campaign against him.
Episode Three: Double Lips - Yuichi's personal tutor leads a secret double life which is thrown into chaos when she receives a marriage proposal. The investigators are still at a loss as to the attacker's identity.
Episode Four: A Man's Path - An honest policeman is extorted for several million Yen by some dodgy characters in a limousine. The pressure forces him into a life of violent theft and home invasions, until a chance encounter with our elusive assailant changes things.
After each episode is some indecipherable mumbo jumbo purporting to be a prophetic vision, but which is in fact a teaser for the next episode. That pretty much sums up this series for me; there is some outstanding style and atmosphere present but there are way too many tangents and incoherent plot twists to make it really enjoyable. This is worth watching for the great animation, but it would be best appreciated if you leave your brain at the door.
I'm going to close with some prophetic vision for you because it's really golden stuff. "...a convulvus who lives in an ivory tower dreams every night of being a kaleidoscope."
This video transfer appears to be an NTSC conversion. Besides the usual signs of jerky motion and stuttered pans, if you pause between cuts in the animation you can clearly see overlapped frames.
The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, complete with 16x9 enhancement.
The level of sharpness is not especially great, which is not surprising given the source. The animation does have a certain smoothness about it, so there are certainly no jagged edges or aliasing to be concerned about. There was no low level noise evident in the transfer.
Colour rendering is bold and consistent. I didn't notice any bleeding or oversaturation at all.
MPEG compression artefacts are completely absent, as are film artefacts. As a whole, the transfer is very clean.
English subtitles are activated by default to translate any Japanese text that appears in the animation such as signs, computer screens and assorted text. A standard English subtitle stream is also included to be viewed with the original Japanese soundtrack. Both subtitle streams are comprised of a yellow font and are easy to read.
This disc is dual layered, with the transition placed between episodes three and four, at 73:30.
There are two soundtracks accompanying this series on DVD. The default soundtrack is English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s). The original Japanese language is included, also Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s). I listened to the default soundtrack for this review and sampled the original Japanese during many scenes.
The English dialogue is always clear and distinct. In contrast to the Japanese, the English dub uses a lot less vocal effects and in my opinion comes across rather bland in comparison. The lip syncing is quite good and Foley effects appear to be perfectly in sync with the video.
Both soundtracks appear to be mastered at the same level and contain an equal amount of depth and brightness. The Japanese is my preferred of the two, due to its superior voice characterisations and use of vocal effects.
The score by Susumu Hirasawa is lively and dark at times, but suits the sentiment of the animation well.
There is no subwoofer or surround activity present. Pro Logic processing did little to enhance these soundtracks.
|Surround Channel Use|
The creator discusses his inspiration for the story, character development and the future of the series.
This 16x9 enhanced feature plays the storyboards in one angle with English audio. The second angle includes smaller frames of both the storyboards and final product alongside one another.
Included are trailers for Full Metal Alchemist, Captain Herlock, His and Her Circumstances and Tsukihime.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
The Region 2 Japanese releases contain only two episodes per volume, but have Linear PCM audio.
I'm going to give this to the Region 1, simply for the fact that I loathe NTSC -> PAL conversions.
The video transfer is an NTSC conversion.
The audio transfer is good.
The extras include storyboard art and an interview with the director.
|DVD||Denon DVD-3910, using DVI output|
|Display||Sanyo PLV-Z2 WXGA projector, Screen Technics Cinemasnap 96" (16x9). Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 720p.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials.|
|Amplification||Denon AVR-2802 Dolby EX/DTS ES Discrete|
|Speakers||Orpheus Aurora lll Mains (bi-wired), Rears, Centre Rear. Orpheus Centaurus .5 Front Centre. Mirage 10 inch sub.|