I knew nothing at all about the title going into it and found a bit of originality that is not typical for the current anime market (which is largely driven by very young demographics). It's a series about a couple of private agents that are not officially linked to the government but act on its behalf whenever the royal family needs protection (usually protection from scandal more than anything else but in the high stakes world of the protection business. The team is comprised of a slob guy, Rowe Rickenbacker, and a tidy guy, Jack Hofner. Being straight, I identified more with Rowe but that's just me. In any case, the two compliment one another in a number of ways, usually keeping that sort of male bonding kidding going on at all times, especially when things look bad. The country they work in seemed patterned after England but that's a logical leap since we're all familiar with James Bond and the British Secret Service through the movies. Here's a bit on the episodes which I'll follow with a wrap up giving my overall feel for the show's first DVD.
Episode One: Be Traced:
Episode Two: A Taste Of Secret:
Episode Three: A Girl Goes To City:
Episode Four: Sweet Enemies In The Same Desert:
Okay, the basic premise is sound, using a tried and true formula made popular by the Bond films and a host of other series over the last three decades or so. The episodes themselves paid a bit of homage to a number of specific films but in such a way that the ideas were reworked enough to call them original. The characterizations of the leads were solid and even the supporting cast was good. Minor quibbles about mistakes like wheels squealing on a desert (as if there had been pavement underneath) or some of the issues with inappropriate sound effects (admittedly few and far between) aside, a lot of care was used with this one. Further, the music was well done and contributed to the "movie" feel of the episodes, making me think this one was worth a rating of Highly Recommended. I look forward to future volumes.
Picture: The picture was presented in 1.85:1 ratio anamorphic widescreen color and looked very crisp and clear. The colors used seemed a bit subdued but that seemed to be intentional and worked well with the content of the feature. I didn't notice any dropouts, artifacts or other problems with the DVD transfer.
Sound: The audio was presented in 2.0 Dolby Digital stereo with a choice of either the original Japanese or dubbed English. There were also optional English subtitles for those who prefer them to learning Japanese (or, I guess, English). The vocals were clear and distinctive as was the excellent music.
Extras: The only extras were the clean opening and closing and some trailers as well as the paper chapter listing included in the DVD case. I hope more extras are forthcoming in later volumes but I'm told there is a special edition of this volume with a case (I have no idea what is in it or how much more it costs).
Final Thoughts: This is an excellent release by the folks at Geneon. It combined a number of superior facets into a release well worth your time. The music alone was well above average but so to was the writing and anime style here. If you're looking for something a bit more advanced than the latest kiddy fare, try this one out as it won't disappoint.