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ADV Films presents
Chance Pop Session #2 (2001)

Father: Tell me, Nozomi, which is more important, singing or your health?
Nozomi: Singing.

- Osamu Saka, Maria Yamamato

Review By: Joel Cunningham   
Published: February 11, 2003

Stars: Mayumi Iizuka, Atsuko Inomoto, Maria Yamamoto
Other Stars: Mariko Koda, Kana Ueda, Yu Daiki, Osamu Saka
Director: Susumu Kudou

Manufacturer: MOFC
MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (ages 12+)
Run Time: 01h:40m:00s
Release Date: February 11, 2003
UPC: 702727031526
Genre: anime

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

DVD Review

The second volume of Chance Pop Session continues the story of Nozomi, Akari, and Yuki, three young girls enrolled in a prestigious Japanese music school. At the end of the last disc, they'd finally wound up together in the advanced "S-Class," groomed by the head of the school, Kisaragi, to be the next pop super group.

Volume Two gets off to a melodramatic start as Akari not only discovers, thanks to a conveniently placed piece of jewelry, that Yuki is her sister, but also has to deal with the death of her boyfriend (hit by a car while saving a small child). Subtle is not exactly the name of the game. Every plot twist is telegraphed well in advance—I knew of the familial connection between the girls roughly three episodes ago, and future twists are just as plainly established in this series of four.

Though Chance Pop continues to religiously follow the clichés and formulas of the typical "rising star" story, it remains entertaining. The strength is in the characters and the well-written dialogue and story. And when you care about the characters, there's something comforting about knowing how everything will turn out, and that everything is going to be ok.

Take, for example, the utterly contrived way that Akari's boyfriend exits the series. She is heartbroken, of course, but then realizes that he'd want her to go on, and she emerges from the ordeal even stronger. It sounds like an after school special, but director Susumu Kudou handles the transition with an imaginatively animated fantasy sequence of the two flying over the city at night. Kudou also takes full advantage of the fact that he's making a show about pop stars, and he does a great job weaving songs into the emotional framework of the story.

I do find the heightened drama and artsy pretension a bit much at times, but for the most part, I'm quite happy with this series. It's formulaic, but the formula still works.

Rating for Style: B+
Rating for Substance: B


Image Transfer

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

Image Transfer Review: Chance Pop Session's stylish animation comes across well on DVD. Colors are rich and saturated (though hues tend towards pastels), and blacks are nice and deep. Shadow detail is good—dark scenes look nice and crisp. I noticed no artifacting or cross coloration. Some shots have a grainy look, but it's a result of directorial intent, not a fault in the transfer.

Image Transfer Grade: A-


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Japaneseyes
Dolby Digital

Audio Transfer Review: Audio is offered in either 2.0 Japanese or 5.1 English. Again, both tracks are quite nice, and comparable to the audio presentation on the first disc. I usually prefer subtitles over an English dub, but with Chance Pop, the nice 5.1 remix is worth listening to (and it's a fairly good dub). Both tracks have a strong front soundstage with good directionality and nice, clear dialogue. Surrounds on the 5.1 track offer good atmospheric enhancement, particularly during performances or crowd scenes.

Audio Transfer Grade: A-


Disc Extras

Animated menu with music
Scene Access with 24 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
6 Other Trailer(s) featuring Sakura Wars, Saiyuki, Wild Arms, You're Under Arrest: The Movie, Noir, Excel Saga
2 TV Spots/Teasers
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extra Extras:
  1. Clean Open and Close
  2. Character Sketches
Extras Review: This set of extras is basically identical to the one included on the last disc in the series. Animated galleries of character sketches and production background offer about four minutes worth of preliminary artwork. The clean opening and closing credits are here again, as are a couple more Japanese TV spots.

Trailers this time around include Sakura Wars, Saiyuki, Wild Arms, You're Under Arrest: The Movie, Noir, and Excel Saga

Extras Grade: D+


Final Comments

Chance Pop Sessions is a pleasant series. It's not particularly original, or thought-provoking, or sophisticated, but the strong characters, beautiful animation, and comfortingly predictable storylines will likely win you over. I enjoyed Session 2 as much as I did the first, and I look forward to seeing how everything turns out in the third and final volume.


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