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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Shuffle, Vol. 4
Shuffle, Vol. 4
FUNimation // Unrated // June 17, 2008
List Price: $29.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by John Sinnott | posted June 12, 2008 | E-mail the Author
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C O N T E N T
V I D E O
A U D I O
E X T R A S
R E P L A Y
A D V I C E
Recommended
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P R I N T
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The Series:

The first story line comes to a close in Shuffle Volume 4, as Rin finds out some new information about Primula and decides what he must do.  The episodes in this volume are a bit more serious in tone than the preceding volumes, and it feels as if the show is maturing in a way.  More time is spent on the back story and the characters are fleshed out a bit more, but the program hasn't lost its sense of fun.

Series Background:

Rin is an orphan who lives with the hottie of his high school class, Kaede, and her father who is always away.  Kaede (who has a fan club consisting of guys who hate Rin) is totally devoted to Rin, getting up early to make him a fancy breakfast every morning, packing his lunch, and generally waiting on him hand an foot.  Rin, though he appreciates it, doesn't seem to care all that much.

Things change one day when two new transfer students join Rin and Kaede's class.  Sai and Nerine seem to be normal high school girls on the outside, but they are rather special.  Sai's father is king of the gods, and Nerine's dad is king of the demons, making both of them princesses.  In addition to that, they've come to Earth to find a mate, and both of them have their eyes on Rin.  Their father's both promise Rin all of the powers of their respective empires if he'll marry their daughter and Rin is barely able to fend off the pair of forceful kings.

When Rin goes home he discovers that Sai and Nerine have both moved in next door, one on either side.  With both girls now wanting to walk him to school every morning, it's enough to drive poor Rin crazy.  Things just get worse however, as he runs into a quiet young girl on the street one day who follows him home.  This girl, Primula, is from the Realm of the Demons and won't leave, so she ends up moving in with Rin and Kaeda.

This volume:

At the end of the previous volume, Primula fell ill with a very high fever and nothing that was done had any effect.  As she got worse and worse, it was decided that her only hope was to go back to the demon realm for treatment.  Something that Rin convinces Primula to do.

As this disc opens, everyone is missing their friend, but things aren't going well for her.  The problem is that she's not a real person; she's an artificial life form created as a joint experiment between gods and demons to house great amounts of magical energy.  The thought was that letting her spend time in the human world would help develop her emotions, which in turn would help her control her great power.  Something went wrong however, and she hasn't been getting better, even with the best demon and god scientists treating her.

Over the course of these four episodes, one person after another discovers Primula's secret and that she's getting worse, not better.  Rin feels guilty that he convinced a member of his 'family' to leave, even though no one else blames him.  Finally he decides that he's going to go to the demon realm and visit his friend, no matter what anyone says.  Kaede, Nerine and Sia go with him, and when they get there they find Primula at a critical stage, one that she, and anyone in her treatment complex, may not survive.

The show takes a more serious tone in this volume, which is a nice change of pace.  Rin is seriously worried about Primula, and the examination of his feelings, while a little sappy at times, makes him seem more mature and also progresses the story.  Of course the message in this show isn't subtle, that's not something that the genre is known for, but if you can look past that it's still a fun program.
 
 

The DVD:


Audio:

The disc offers viewers the choice of the original Japanese audio track or an English dub, both in stereo.  I listened to various episodes with each audio track and they were both solid.  The English voice actors did a good job with only one supporting character having an irritating high-pitched voice.  I tended to prefer the Japanese track, but not by much.  The quality was similar on both tracks, with no common audio problems being evident.  The mix itself was pretty sedate with the voices firmly anchored on the screen for most of the show.  There wasn't much use made of the soundstage, but that's not too surprising given the nature of the show.

Video:

The 1.78:1 anamorphic image looks pretty good, which shouldn't come as a surprise since this series was made in 2005.  The lines are generally tight and the colors are solid.  On the digital side things also look pretty good.  There is a little aliasing here and there, and a tiny bit of posterization, but these are hardly worth mentioning.

Extras:

Not much in the way of extras....only a clean opening and closing.

Final Thoughts:

With the more serious tone of this volume, the series grows a just a little bit.  The program is still fun and there are some laughs, but the main emphasis in on Rin discovering how he feels about the people around him.  Though the programs on this disc get a bit sappy at times, the show is worth checking out.  Recommended.
 

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