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ADV Films presents
"Everybody seems to be bitten by a love bug."
DVD ReviewThe adventures of young inventor Jean and mysterious acrobat/princess Nadia (together with baby lion King) and little orphan Marie continue, as does the pursuit of nearly everyone for the Blue Water, the jewel Nadia wears as a pendant. This installment features most of its running time on board the Nautilus from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.
Romance is in the air aboard the Nautilus, as Jean tries to impress Nadia with a new invention, Hanson tries to romance first officer Electra with paper roses, and Sanson joins the fan club for ship's nurse, Ikoli. The Nautilus needs materials for repairs, and thus heads for its Antarctic base. But in the way is a giant chambered nautilus that seems to have designs on the Nautilus and its crew for dinner. Meanwhile, one of Jean's inventions explodes, giving the evil Gargoyle an indication of where the ship is and allowing him to lay a deadly trap that sets up a cliffhanger ending.
The storyline doesn't really advance much in these four episodes, but there is some added depth provided to the characters. Nemo generally continues enigmatic as ever, but at his fortress we meet his only friend, the 20,000 year old Irion, who isn't what one anticipates in a best friend. A little of Electra's backstory is filled in, but disappointingly it's pretty much the same as the backstory of everyone else aboard the Nautilus. This leads to a feeling of repetition. Perhaps the greatest beneficiary of this character examination is Jean, whose growing pains of attempting to move from adolescence to adulthood are given full play. Sublimating his sexual frustration and desire to reach manhood in his inventions, he is confused and bitterly disappointed. Advice from Electra doesn't help matters much as Nadia continues to be unpredictable in her reactions and her need to remain a child a little longer (though director Anno increases her sexual presence through ever more suggestive angles to her scanty clothing and going so far as to presenting her full figure in the bath).
There are a few impressively eerie moments, most notably the fish graveyard that surprises the ship as it nears the Antarctic base. The base itself is hardly shown, limited mostly to a moving walkway and an elevator, leading to a bit of frustration at what seems to be a lack of imagination on the part of the creators. Anyone daring to write sequels to Jules Verne ought to have a greater creativity than that demonstrated here.
Rating for Style: B
Rating for Substance: C
Image Transfer Review: The picture is quite fine. The color instability that plagued earlier volumes is not to be seen here, and picture is crisp and clear. There are a number of instances of jagged edges, however, that occasionally prove distracting. As usual, there is dirt visible on the cels themselves.
Image Transfer Grade: A-
Audio Transfer Review: Both the English and Japanese tracks are presented in 2.0. There is occasional quiet surround activity (most notably in the chambered nautilus sequence, as we hear the hull cracking around us), but the program is very center-oriented. The audio is free of hiss and noise, and dialogue is clear throughout. The music has excellent range and there is good bass extension. The audio is quite pleasing indeed.
Audio Transfer Grade: B+
Disc ExtrasAnimated menu with music
Scene Access with 16 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
Extras Grade: D
Final CommentsThe story doesn't move forward very much, but for those wanting character development these episodes will provide some satisfaction.
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