X (1996)

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Released 24-Oct-2001

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Anime Menu Animation & Audio
Biographies-Character
Gallery-Photo
Notes-Director's Interview
Theatrical Trailer
Trailer-Blood: The Last Vampire; Street Fighter Alpha; Perfect Blue
Featurette-Manga Merchandising & Catalogue Info
Web Links
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 1996
Running Time 98:11 (Case: 100)
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Rintaro
Studio
Distributor

Madman Entertainment
Starring Tomokazu Seki
Junko Iwao
Ken Narita
Toru Furusawa
Masako Ikdea
Case Click
RPI $34.95 Music Shimizu Yasuaki


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Japanese Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
Not 16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio Unknown Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    X is a Japanese animated feature based on a Manga series dealing with the supernatural battle between two separate groups over the fate of the Earth.

    When Kamui Shirou returns to Tokyo, he begins a series of events that have the potential to destroy all of mankind. Tokyo, and in turn the Earth, is protected by the seven Dragons of the Heavens who control seven power shields. The arrival of Kamui begins a war between the Dragons of the Heavens and the Dragons of the Earth who intend to destroy the shields protecting Tokyo and wipe out mankind. Kamui must decide which side he will fight for and in turn fulfil his destiny.

    The themes seen in the feature are quite common within Japanese Manga and anime and will contain no real surprises for fans. Despite these shortcomings, this feature is well executed and should appeal to fans of this genre.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The video presented on this disc is definitely not at the same level of quality as we have seen with previous Madman releases and this is quite disappointing.

    The transfer is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and is NOT 16x9 enhanced.

    The transfer is acceptably sharp throughout, but during some scenes does appear a little soft. This loss in sharpness is due to the original animation style and is not a fault of the transfer. Throughout the transfer, black levels are a little bright with blacks always appearing as dark greys. During the darkly animated scenes, shadow detail is acceptable with all the animated detail visible. Some small amounts of low level noise was detected in the transfer. This noise is most obvious during the first third of the transfer with an obvious example being visible at 8:30.

    The colours displayed by the transfer appear to be accurately reproduced. Many scenes are coloured in a single shade such as red or blue and these are well saturated. No colour bleeding or cross colour artefacts were seen.

    A small number of MPEG artefacts can be found on this DVD. Some examples of these may be seen at 6:30, 13:36 and 15:29. These are all very minor and are not distracting to the viewer.

    Numerous instances of aliasing are present. Some examples may be seen at 41:31, 46:06, 46:53, 47:47, 51:49 and 65:27. Due to the frequency and severity of these artefacts, they are rather distracting.

    A small number of minor film artefacts are on offer in this transfer, with examples visible at 15:02, 18:59, 22:36 and 22:47. A small amount of telecine wobble may be seen at 0:20, but this only lasts a few seconds and is not distracting.

    One of the most distracting elements of this transfer is the constant interlacing artefacts. These are quite distracting to the viewer and are clearly visible during any scene with significant action or panning. Some obvious examples of this artefact may be seen at 2:25, 3:21, 5:15, 6:20 and 8:01.

    A single set of white English subtitles are included. As often seen on anime discs, the subtitles are often quite different to the English audio track but do convey roughly the same information.

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

Audio

    Three audio tracks are provided on this disc. The default track is an English Dolby Digital 192 kbps 2.0 track, with an English Dolby Digital 384 kbps 5.1 track and a Japanese Dolby Digital 192 kbps 2.0 track also included. I listened to all tracks in full and found them all to be acceptable. The English tracks contained numerous sections of additional dialogue and a number of descriptive sections introducing the characters at the start of the movie.

    The dialogue was always clear and easy to understand during each of the tracks but I did find the dialogue to be slightly clearer in the English 2.0 track when directly compared to the 5.1 track.

    As with all animation, the expected problems with audio sync were present and accounted for. No audio dropouts were noted.

    The score by Yasuaki Shimizu is quite effective and suits the on-screen action. At one point, the soundtrack reminded me of a similar track found in Blade Runner.

    The surround channels are used extensively by the 5.1 mix for both the score and effects. This does create an effective soundfield but little directionality was heard with the surround channels.

    The subwoofer channel is used throughout and provides support for numerous explosions and other effects.

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

Extras

Menu

    The animated main menu is presented at an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 and is not 16x9 enhanced.

Tarot Cards

    This is a series of biographies for the main characters in the feature. Information is provided for each of the seven Dragons of the Heavens, the seven Dragons of the Earth and the Dreamwatchers. These biographies do not contain any spoilers and may provide a good introduction to the character for viewers unfamiliar with the Manga series.

Director Interview

    This is a twenty three page transcript of an interview between the film's director Rintaro and Takayuki Karahashi of ANIMERICA.

Theatrical Trailer (1:46)

    This trailer is presented with an English Dolby Digital 2.0 track at an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and is not 16x9 enhanced. This trailer is of quite average quality and displays obvious interlacing and compression artefacts.

Photo Gallery

    This is a series of twenty six stills from the movie presented in a window on screen at an aspect ratio of approximately 1.78:1.

Manga Video Previews (4:38)

    This segment contains previews for Blood: The Last Vampire, Street Fighter Alpha and Perfect Blue. Each preview is presented with a Dolby Digital 2.0 sound track. They are presented at various aspect ratios and are separated by chapter points.

Manga Merchandising (4:03)

    This extra is a series of advertisements for VHS tapes, T-shirts and hats from the US distributor Manga Entertainment. It is unclear why this extra is included on an Australian DVD release.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    As both versions of this film appear to feature identical content I would have no preference for either version until I am able to make a direct comparison of video quality. As Manga are responsible for this title in the US, it is quite possible that the same relatively low quality interlaced source was used for that version as well.

Summary

    X is an enjoyable anime that should be enjoyed by all fans of the supernatural genre.

    The video transfer is disappointing and the constant interlacing artefacts are quite distracting to the viewer.

    The collection of audio tracks provided on this disc are adequate but the clarity of the dialogue on the 5.1 track is slightly disappointing.

    The interview with Rintaro provides some interesting information and the character biographies are a good introduction to the characters but the inclusion of the Manga catalogue segment is of no real use.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Anthony Kable (read my bio)
Saturday, October 27, 2001
Review Equipment
DVDToshiba 1200, 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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