Rurouni Kenshin-Volume 2: Battle in the Moonlight (1997)

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Released 10-Apr-2002

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Anime Production Notes-Liner Notes
Biographies-Cast
Gallery
Outtakes-x 7
Trailer-Boogiepop Phantom; Gasaraki; Orphen; Vampire Princess Miyu
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1997
Running Time 97:17 (Case: 100)
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Kazuhiro Furuhashi
Studio
Distributor
SME Visual Works Inc
Madman Entertainment
Starring Mayo Suzukaze
Miki Fujitani
Miina Tominaga
Yuuji Ueda
Case Click
RPI $29.95 Music Noriyuki Asakura


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 Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes, Episode Preview After Credits

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

Plot Synopsis

    Rurouni Kenshin Wandering Samurai: Battle In The Moonlight is the second disc in this popular 95 episode Japanese animated television series, containing episodes 4 to 8.

    Kenshin Himura is a warrior who has vowed never to kill again in an attempt to atone for his bloody past. Over the years, Kenshin was responsible for the deaths of many men and he has become known as Battousai the Manslayer. In an effort to leave his past behind, Kenshin disappears in a defiant act to display his determination never to kill again. He becomes a wanderer and is able to avoid the attention of the authorities, but at the beginning of the series he meets Kaoru an assistant master at a local kendo school. Kaoru and Kenshin quickly find a small number of close friends and the group encounters a range of adversaries as the series continues.

    Many viewers may be familiar with the OVA title Samurai X that has also been released on two discs in this country by Madman. That OVA is set before this series but was actually released after the television series had begun. Samurai X: The Movie has also been released locally and this is chronologically placed after the television series. Viewers do not require previous knowledge of either the OVA or movie, as the series is able to easily stand alone.

    This DVD release contains the following four episodes. I have included a very short description for each episode but as these may contain some very minor spoilers you may wish to skip directly to the Transfer Quality section.

The Reverse-Blade Sword vs. The Zanbatou
    Sanosuke, the fighter for hire, returns to follow through with his challenge of Kenshin and the two prepare to battle. The truth behind Sanosuke's hatred of Imperialists is revealed when we discover that he was once a member of the Sekihoutai.

The Appearance Of Kurogasa
    A serial murderer is killing Imperialist politicians and the local police ask Kenshin for his help in stopping this man. This killer has been on the loose for nearly ten years and he proves to be a formidable opponent for Kenshin.

Deathmatch Under The Moon
    In an effort to enrage Kenshin and return him to the legendary Battousai, Kurogasa takes Kaoru hostage. Kenshin tracks him down and they fight while Kaoru's life is held in the balance. Kenshin must decide if breaking his vow never to kill again is worth the life of a loved one.

A New Battle
    A mysterious woman enters their lives and Kenshin and Sanosuke decide to help her. After rescuing the woman from immediate danger it becomes clear that she is wanted by the formidable Obiwaban Group. During a fight to protect this stranger, Yahiko is injured and it is revealed that this woman may in part be responsible for the death of Sanosuke's friend.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The full frame transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1. The packaging for the disc claims that this is a full frame pan & scan transfer and as these terms are mutually exclusive the labelling is obviously incorrect.

    The transfer is acceptably sharp throughout but some scenes are noticeably softer. This problem may be due to the original source material and due to the style of animation this is never disruptive to the viewer. The series is brightly animated but during the occasional dark scene excellent levels of shadow detail may be seen. No low level noise was detected at any stage during the transfer.

    The extensive colour palette used in this series is accurately reproduced and is able to easily display the intricate shading employed by the animators. During a number of scenes, the colour palette is intentionally inverted to emphasise various characters' emotions.

    Some small Gibbs effect artefacts may be seen during the opening credits for each episode. At no other time during the transfer were any MPEG artefacts detected.

    No instances of aliasing were detected at any time during the transfer.

    A number of small film artefacts may be seen during the transfer. Some examples of these artefacts may be seen at 53:54, 54:10 and 66:53 but all of these artefacts are very minor and are unlikely to be detected by many viewers.

    Throughout the transfer, some minimal edge enhancement may be seen during many scenes. This is initially slightly distracting to the viewer but is able to be ignored as the feature progresses.

    The disc contains a set of yellow English subtitles and these are always clear and easy to read.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    Japanese and English Dolby Digital 224 kbps 2.0 soundtracks are provided on this disc. I listened to both in full and personally preferred the Japanese soundtrack as I found some of the voice acting during the English track to be disappointing.

    The dialogue is always clear and easy to understand during both tracks.

    As this is an animated feature, there are the expected obvious problems with audio sync for each soundtrack. No dropouts were detected at any stage during the transfer.

    The score by Noriyuki Asakura fits the on-screen action well and never draws attention to itself. The opening theme 'Freckles' does not fit the mood of the rest of the series and always seems out of place. Fortunately, the viewer may easily skip this opening theme as it is provided as a single chapter.

    The surround and subwoofer channels are not utilised during this transfer.

    Note: Some people have reported problems regarding the Japanese audio mix on this disc and this is due to parts of the audio being presented out of phase. Obviously this will cause problems if the viewer has manually engaged Pro Logic processing or if their Dolby Digital decoder does not correctly identify the embedded surround flags. Madman is aware of this problem and has stated that they will re-author the disc and will supply replacements for viewers affected by this. If your disc has the problem with the outtakes listed below it is the original version of this disc.

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

Extras

Menu

    The animated menu is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.33:1.

Liner Notes

    This is an interesting 12 page collection of notes providing some background information on the terms used during the series. This extra follows the same format as found on the first disc and includes a completely new set of terms.

Character Profiles

    Single page profiles are provided for the following characters: Kenshin Himura, Kaoru Kamiya, Sanosuke Sagara and Yahiko Myojin, Aoshi Shinomori and Megumi Takani.

Art Gallery

    This is a collection of twenty-three images depicting various characters and artwork from the show.

Outtakes (1:18)

    This is a collection of seven outtakes from the recording of the English dub track. This extra is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 with an English Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack. When playing this extra, the footage will return to the main menu after playing the first outtake. The additional outtakes may be viewed by advancing to the second chapter while playing the first outtake.

Trailer: Boogiepop Phantom (0:34)

    This trailer is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 with a Japanese Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack.

Trailer: Gasaraki (1:31)

    This trailer is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 with an English Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack.

Trailer: Orphen (1:28)

    This trailer is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 with a Japanese Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack.

Trailer: Vampire Princess Miyu (0:30)

    This trailer is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 with an English Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack.

    All of the above trailers are presented as a single chapter in a single video section and may be accessed by selecting the Madman logo on the main menu. This format is slightly annoying to the viewer and I would personally prefer each of the trailers to be presented 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 4 version of this disc misses out on;

    The Region 1 version of this disc misses out on;

    As the Region 1 version of this disc includes a textless opening, my slight preference would be for that version but hopefully Madman will include this extra on future discs in the series.

Summary

    Rurouni Kenshin Wandering Samurai is an excellent series that will be appreciated by all anime fans.

    The video transfer displays very few artefacts and is only marred by the use of edge enhancement throughout.

    The choice of audio mixes should appeal to fans of both dubs and subs but some people may feel a little let down by the voice acting on the English track.

    The continuation of the interesting liner notes will be appreciated by viewers as these provide some interesting background information. Hopefully, the presentation of additional trailers will be improved for future discs in the series.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Anthony Kable (read my bio)
Thursday, May 09, 2002
Review Equipment
DVDToshiba 2109, using S-Video output
DisplaySony KP-E41SN11. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationFront left/right: ME75b; Center: DA50ES; rear left/right: DA50ES; subwoofer: NAD 2600 (Bridged)
SpeakersFront left/right: VAF DC-X; Center: VAF DC-6; rear left/right: VAF DC-7; subwoofer: Custom NHT-1259

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