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ADV Films presents
Chance Pop Session #3 (2001)

"You brought me back to life."
- Kisaragi (Yu Daiki)

Review By: Joel Cunningham   
Published: April 07, 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 (some intense subject matter)
Run Time: 01h:40m:00s
Release Date: April 08, 2003
UPC: 702727031625
Genre: anime


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
B+ BA-A- C-

DVD Review

The third and final volume of Chance Pop Session wraps up the series with few surprises, but considering the show is about as subtle as a Britney Spears music video, that isn't an unexpected development. Plot twists are telegraphed so far in advance that only now, in the final four episodes, are the "twists" made obvious in episode five finally "revealed."

That isn't necessarily a bad thing. I've said all along that Chance Pop's strength isn't in its original plotting, but in the characters and the unique, stylistic flourishes of the animation. This volume is just as heavy-handed as the previous two, but it is also just as entertaining, fulfilling the tenants of a well-worn genre to near perfection.

The end run of episodes takes some of the focus off of performing trio R3, and place it squarely on their teacher, Kisaragi, and her protégée, Reika. From the way the two have been moping around for the entire run of the show, I was expecting some dark things in their past, and while I was certainly not surprised by the way history tied in to current events, I was a bit unsettled by a sudden shift into really dark subject matter. Like, say, a small child abused by her mother and burned with cigarettes. Or, I don't know, a despondent widow making the decision to kill herself and her children rather than go on living without her husband. Chance Pop has always been big on melodramatic revelations that hit like falling anvils, but episodes 10 and 11 are a bit much, even for this show.

Happily, the wrap-up in episodes 12 and 13 is quite a bit more cheerful. The secrets in Nozomi's past are finally spelled out as well (not like they weren't fairly obvious when her mom spotted the telltale green earrings that Akari and Yuki wear, the same that led them to conclude that they were sisters). R3 is nominated for a music industry award (despite the fact that they have but one single, and are never shown practicing or performing anything else), but they are up against Reika. Who will win? Will a family be reunited? Is "duh" too strong a word?

Chance Pop Session is an example of wholly unoriginal genre entertainment done well. Director Susumu Kudou places emphasis squarely on the characters and allows them well-rounded personalities, while giving the animation a dreamlike quality that matches the story's leisurely pace. I'm glad this show is only 13 episodes long; stretch it any further, and the artsy pretensions might start to feel, well, pretentious. As it stands, it's simply a nice way to pass a couple of hours.

Rating for Style: B+
Rating for Substance: B

 

Image Transfer

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


Image Transfer Review: This transfer equals that of the other two discs in the series, and overall, stands as one of the better presentations I've seen of anime on DVD. Colors are a little muted, but they accurately match the intended pastel palette of the show. There are no defects like scratches, cross-coloration, edginess, or grain (except where intentional). Though used infrequently, blacks are nice and solid, and detail is very good. My only complaint is some slight aliasing in a few shots, but even that is a minor problem.

Image Transfer Grade: A-

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Japaneseyes
Dolby Digital
5.1
Englishyes


Audio Transfer Review: Neither do I have many complaints about the audio. Once again, the English dub is remixed into 5.1, while the Japanese track is presented in its original 2.0. Both mixes sound very nice across the front soundstage, with dialogue anchored in the center and music spread nicely into the front mains. The 5.1 makes a big difference for the English track, though, and the additional support from the surrounds really opens up the mix. This is particularly evident in episode 11, which features a scene on the beach, with waves crashing all around.

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, Rune Soldier, You're Under Arrest: The Movie, Noir, The Devil Lady
Packaging: Scanavo
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extra Extras:
  1. Clean Open and Close
  2. Character Sketches
  3. Production Backgrounds
  4. Reika Music Video, Don't Touch My Heart
Extras Review: The back of the box indicates that an interview with the original Japanese voice actress is on the disc, but I can't find it. Otherwise, the extras package is fairly similar to what has been included with the series all along (with a few nice additions).

Once again, the opening and closing sequences are presented free of text, but this time, there is an additional, special end sequence for the final episode of the series. Two more animated still galleries, one for character sketches and another for backgrounds, show off some of the pre-production art. The number of original promos is increased from two to seven, including ads for the DVD and soundtrack releases. Finally, the music video for Reika's pop song Don't Touch My Heart is a nice addition—it looks quite a bit like a real music video.

Trailers this time around include Sakura Wars, Saiyuki, Rune Soldier, You're Under Arrest: The Movie, Noir, and The Devil Lady.

I'm bumping the grade up a bit for the video, but I wish the advertised interviews were actually on the disc.

Extras Grade: C-

 

Final Comments

Chance Pop Session is a really sweet series, and ADV's decision to release it on three DVDs when they could easily have stretched it to four makes a recommendation that much easier. If you're in the mood for a lighthearted dramatic anime with a dash (or more) of melodrama, this is a pretty good bet.

 


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