Five years after production on the original Jubei Chan series ended a sequel was made and is finally going to be seeing the light of day here in the States. Sitting in the director's chair again is Akitaro Daichi whose artistic touch helped mold the beginning adventures of young Jiyu Nanohana and the Lovely Eye-patch. Daichi had gone on to direct Now and Then, Here and There as well as Fruit Basket after his work on the original Jubei Chan, but it seems only fitting for him to come back to the series.
If you are familiar with the original you will be delighted to know that this follow up essentially picks up where the thirteenth episode of the last left off. Much of the same art techniques are used and even the zany humor we've come to expect makes its return. Some new characters are introduced and more familiar ones will make their appearances, even in this first volume.
Things had ended nicely for Jiyu and it would have seemed that the troubles of the eyepatch were left behind her, that is at least until a blue eyed blonde comes to town. Freesia has more going on underneath her golden locks than she lets on and adjacent to her arrival is that of a blonde with a blue eye-patch claiming to be the true successor to Yagyu Jubei. It's quite blatant that the two are the same even before you learn more about her character, but our lead characters don't seem to notice.
It's not long until another warrior (Kita Furo) shows up going seeking revenge on behalf of the Siberia Yagyu. All this means that it's time for our hero with bouncy bon bons to find herself unwillingly wearing the eye-patch yet again. If you had watched the first series and are wondering how Jiyu has come to wear the patch, it's slapped onto her by a strange green haired creature that turns out to be the offspring of Koinosuke.
These first four episodes of the new series reprise the roles of the characters well and tell yet another tale that all started three hundred years ago. While this may be the first disc, the ground works for several character relations and sub-plots have been laid and I'm really looking forward to see where this show goes and what direction it takes.
While there are only a few fights in the first four episodes, what we have here are some very intense action scenes filled with emotion. Everything is so fast paced with an emphasis on style that it left me wanting more, but I guess I'll have to wait until the next volume comes out.
I have to admit that while I enjoyed the first Jubei Chan, I was never too big on the whacky humor and visual gags that ran thick through the show. I did however love the characters and overall story that was presented, so I kind of tolerated the madcap attempts at making me laugh. This new series is much of the same, with strange jokes and over emphasized reactions to situations although the jokes are arguably less funny this time around.
Jubei Chan 2: Resurrection is shown with an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and has receives anamorphic widescreen treatment. The transfer is extremely crisp, clean and looks absolutely gorgeous with vibrant colors and fantastic art design popping from the screen.
I particularly enjoyed the artwork in Jubei Chan and the sequel is just as marvelous with some of the finest designs around. My only gripe is that the bits of whacky humor detract from the overall look of the show with crudely drawn characters and repeat animations. Overall though, this is a great looking show and receives a marvelous DVD transfer.
Jubei Chan 2 is presented with English and Japanese 2.0 soundtracks and some optional English subtitles tossed into the mix. Both tracks are equally good and the overall audio quality for this show is very crisp and clear. As is the case with some anime there are voiceovers on both audio tracks that could have been better, but for the most part nothing got on my nerves too much.
While this disc does include a couple of extras none of them are really worth while. What we have here are previews for other Geneon anime, a US trailer for Jubei Chan 2 with alternate trailer endings, ending eye catches and some pictures of the Jubei Chan action figure. Overall there is nothing really that exciting though the extras do provide some mild distraction.
So far I'm enjoying the new adventures of Jubei and the fact that this is an actual sequel with a continuing story that involves the characters from the original is a big bonus. Many times "sequel shows" take a different spin than the original and don't wind up being as good, but that doesn't appear to be the case with Jubei Chan 2.
After five years, seeing Jiyu and company again feels just as good as it did the first time around, though the production qualities are definitely superior this time around. The story has more emphasis on plot and action than humor and the video and audio quality on the DVD are really good. Overall I am looking forward to see where this series goes and these first four episodes lay an interesting path for Yagyu Jubei. Recommended.