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ADV Films presents
Sakura Diaries: Chapter 2 (2000)

"I should have been studying!"
- Touma (Mitsuaki Shinden)

Review By: Joel Cunningham   
Published: February 08, 2002

Stars: Mitsuaki Shinden, Kyoko Nagaue
Other Stars: Rumi Kasahara, Mako Kondo
Director: U-Jin

Manufacturer: AIX Media Group
MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (17+ for nudity, sexual situations, a scene of attempted rape)
Run Time: 01h:05m:50s
Release Date: July 25, 2000
UPC: 702727003226
Genre: anime

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
B D-A-B- D+

DVD Review

In my review of Sakura Diaries: Chapter 1, I commented that the series was sort of blah. It didn't really elicit any reaction from me—the dramatic elements (the love triangle between Tonma, Meiko, and Urara) fell flat, and the comedy (too much fan service... do I really need another crotch shot?) was pretty tired. I must congratulate the writers, however. With this second volume, they've finally gotten me to respond emotionally to the show. Except that emotion would be hatred, which probably wasn't what they were going for.

I'm willing to admit that my problems with the series may be simply personal, but let's look at the facts anyway. This disc continues the story established in the first. Tonma is still trying to get into college, and still pining for Meiko. He's lied to her, and she believes he's been accepted at her school. In actuality, though, he is attending cram school. A fellow classmate, Mashu, meets Meiko, and to Tonma's dismay, she responds to his advances. All the while, Tonma knows that Urara is in love with him. As with the first disc, this is all pretty standard stuff: a tired love triangle, highlighted by lots of gratuitous sexual innuendo, cleavage, and the like. Nothing to get too steamed about.

But, in the second episode, Tonma decides he needs to "prepare" himself for Meiko sexually. He manipulates his cousin into playing a game of strip paper, rock, scissors (?), and once she's in her underwear, he proceeds to try to rape her. The presentation of this extremely jarring plot twist is upsetting, to say the least. Tonma, after committing the act, makes comments like, "Oh, it was the beer." Later, he's barely chided for his actions—Urara forgives him almost instantly, as if everything was a big misunderstanding. The entire plot point is glossed over. Even Urara's friends instantly forgive Tonma when Urara tells them how nice he was as a teenager. I'm sorry, I don't care how friendly someone was at the age of 14, if they try to rape a defenseless relative, they're not a "really nice guy."

The treatment of this aspect of the story has, frankly, soured me on the series (and I wasn't too keen on it to begin with). Perhaps the salacious material has its appeal for some, but attempted rape can hardly be classified "fan service." The episodes here may not be any better or worse in form than on the last disc, but in terms of content, they rot. Let's hope that soon, my disc will too.

Rating for Style: B
Rating for Substance: D-


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: Image quality is easily on par with the first volume. A clean print, and rich saturated colors do little to detract from the presentation. Once again, I did notice some slight pixelization, but nothing major.

Image Transfer Grade: A-


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0English, Japaneseyes

Audio Transfer Review: So it goes as well with the audio, with the mix comparing favorably with that on the first disc. There still isn't much in the way of a dynamic front soundstage. Dialogue is well presented, but the music (used sparingly) does little to expand the mix. Not bad, considering there isn't much need for a dynamic track.

Audio Transfer Grade: B-


Disc Extras

Static menu with music
Scene Access with 12 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
12 Other Trailer(s) featuring Dirty Pair Flash, Tekken, Burn Up W, Queen Emeraldas, Sonic the Hedgehog, Sakura Wars, Martian Sucessor Nadesico, Ninja Resurrection, Slayers, Neon Genesis Evangelion, Bubblegum Crisis, Legend of Crystania
Packaging: Amaray
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: Once again, the only extras are trailers for other ADV releases (actually, this is the exact same trailer gallery as the first disc). Included are: Dirty Pair Flash, Tekken, Burn Up W, Queen Emeraldas, Sonic the Hedgehog, Sakura Wars, Martian Sucessor Nadesico, Ninja Resurrection, Slayers, Neon Genesis Evangelion, Bubblegum Crisis, and Legend of Crystania. Well, at least it makes the review easy to write. I love cut and paste, it saves me from trying to spell "Nadesico" correctly every time.

Extras Grade: D+


Final Comments

I'm sure this series has its fans. Great. They can buy this DVD. I prefer my cartoons without a despicable, rapist of a protagonist, thanks. ADV has done a good job with the disc, though.


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