|Reviews & Columns
TV on DVD
Reviews by Studio
Collector Series DVDs
Easter Egg Database
DVD Talk Radio
The M.O.D. Squad
DVD Talk Forum
DVD Price Search
Customer Service #'s
Yugo the Negotiator Vol 2
You all know as well as I that the bulk of anime that is released provides a lot of fan service with kinetic action, lots of excitement and bubbly bouncy characters. It's rare that a title comes along that is so completely different from the norm and tries hard to do unique and unpredictable things. Yugo the Negotiator is one of those series that breaks the mold and tells its tale in a different fashion, though this doesn't mean that the show is for everyone.
The pacing is much more deliberate and slower than a lot of anime out on the market right now, and for all intensive purposes it has a very realistic vibe. There are no flying ninjas, robotic space pirates or fuzzy alien critters here; instead things take place in our present time with current technology and a real world feel. This means that unless you keep an open mind or are interested in slower dramas, Yugo has the potential to bore you out of your skull.
With most of the worlds attention focused on the Middle East right now, Yugo the Negotiator – Pakistan comes into the light with an interesting story that could have been ripped from today's headlines. A Japanese national has been kidnapped and negotiations have gone sour, to the point that all military personnel involved and the negotiator have been killed. Things are getting desperate for the man and his family so his daughter tracks down Yugo Beppu, who is renowned as a first class negotiator.
In the first volume of Yugo the Negotiator – Pakistan, Yugo pooled together information and his sources enough to track down where the Japanese national was being held. Unfortunately the guy in charge is borderline insane and extremely strong and our young lead gets himself kidnapped in the process. It was a relatively cliffhanger ending that wraps up here with the last three episodes of the Pakistan arc.
Things pick up right where they left off for Yugo with him and his mute sidekick he found in the last volume in some deep doodoo. Before long Yugo is chained spread eagle to a rock and tortured with intense sunlight and dehydration. After a while Yusuf Ali (the big terrorist on campus) comes down to say hi and hurt our dear negotiator some more. Things pick up from there as Yugo proves himself worthy of handling the negotiations and the first tale comes to a close.
The first volume of the show and the Pakistan arc was extremely slow paced and didn't really go anywhere until the near end of the third episode. While there are three episodes on volume 2's disc as well, these feature much more action and everything that was set up on the first volume comes to a close here. The best way to watch the Pakistan series is in succession of each other without any time in between. Looking at the six episodes so far as just one long one puts it all in perspective and this release wraps it up nicely. I'm looking forward to the Russian Negotiation, but hope that the story develops better on the first disc of that story than it did here.
Yugo the Negotiator – Pakistan Volume 2 is presented with a 1.33:1 full frame aspect ratio. While a lot of the show is clean, there is quite a bit of grain found in the image. There are also some slight compression artifacts that work their way in and are easily noticeable. This series is not only different in terms of story, but also style and you'll see a lot of soft lighting in some parts with great contrast used in others. Everything seems to depend on the location that the show is taking place in, so if it's Tokyo you can expect some crisp images and colors, but if it's Pakistan everything is washed out and brown.
There are two audio tracks on this disc, but both of them feature some questionably different translations for the dialogue. The subtitles are competent enough on the Japanese track and in this volume they read somewhat easier than the first. Watching the same scene with the dubbed track offers mostly the same dialogue, but at times there are noticeable differences. It's not enough to ruin the experience or hurt the story telling, but I've definitely seen better quality work before.
After viewing the show once with English and once with Japanese, it's clear that the dubbing track is pretty obnoxious with some horrible performances. My advice is to view it with the Japanese audio and subtitles, since both feature some nice use of directional sound, but the original language's quality is significantly easier on the ears.
Just like the original volume for Pakistan, the second one includes a pretty good selection of extras that are worth watching. For starts there are the clean opening and closings, plus a music video that uses the opening theme with clips from the show. The series of interviews continue and for the most part it's all new material. Director Seiji Kishi sits down to share his thoughts again and so does Takashi Hagino (Voice actor for Yugo).
There are also interviews with Takehiko Matsumoto (Character Design) and Kashuaru Sato (Series Planning), plus more commentaries on the depiction of the Japanese Pakistan with cultural advisor Nawaz Charania and English director Scott McClennen. All of these interviews provide extended material and more insight into the show and its characters. Aside from the interviews there is also a personnel dossier for many of the characters that appear in this volume. It's mostly just some minor information about the person and a design sketch of them.
I was a little worried about the series after watching the first volume and wasn't completely sure if it was going to live up to the hype that the last episode left. Thankfully it did and the Pakistan arc wraps up rather nicely here and these episodes have a great sense of tension to them. The only problem is that compared to other series with four episodes per disc, Yugo the Negotiator is plagued by the three episode syndrome. It's a short run as far as a whole series is concerned, but if you look at Pakistan as a whole it's not that bad.
The bottom line is that if you like your anime a little slower paced with a realistic setting and tone, then you'll probably like this show. The DVDs have some issues though, mostly thanks to some lower quality audio and video, but there is a decently supply of extra content to try to balance out the package. Recommended