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REVIEW: Mardock Scramble: The Third Exhaust Blu-Ray




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One-Eye



Joined: 08 Mar 2011
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 20, 2014 11:37 am Reply with quote
I thought visually the entire series looked pretty darn good and I agree with the review that its one of Sentai's better dubs in recent years. However, I had problems with the way the story was told. I recall my reaction was when I saw it: we are still in the casino? It felt like someone was trying to show off their research into gambling or their love for competitive gambling. For me it wasn't the same as James Bond's Casino Royale that made a poker game exciting and dangerous. The physical and sexual abuse that some of the characters in the series went through felt a bit sensationalized. I'm turned off not so much by what happens to them, but because it felt like a cheap attempt to shock the audience.

I may have to rewatch the entire 3 movies in one go to see if I feel the same way, but so far my immediate gut response was disappointment with how the story was told. Long drawn out scenes and too much shock for shocks sake hampered my ability to get into these movies.


Last edited by One-Eye on Sun Apr 20, 2014 12:42 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Fronzel



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PostPosted: Sun Apr 20, 2014 12:16 pm Reply with quote
In truth Mardock Scramble is a single ~three-hour movie (parts 1 and 2 both end in the middle of a scene, after all), and from the second to the third part, the casino sequence is way, way too long. Almost an hour, I think?

I guess they're doing a metaphor with gambling and life (predominance of chance but you can learn to succeed fairly often, someone is probably trying to cheat you) but I think that well runs dry pretty quick. Plus some of the dialogue here is horrible; "She saw through my shuffle?!" What is this, a card-game show?

The central story of a very damaged person trying to put themselves back together and getting justice from one of the people who hurt them (as opposed to taking revenge, per se) was still quite good, and is a rare one. spoiler[The kind of harsh compassion Rune eventually shows her would-be killer, acknowledging the reason for his wicked personality if not exactly forgiving it, is especially quite interesting.]
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dtm42



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PostPosted: Sun Apr 20, 2014 1:59 pm Reply with quote
I thought the third movie was better than the second (which waffled around), but worse than the first (which made a strong impact and had that great fight scene at the end).

The entire casino sequence (from both the second and third movies) showcased the franchise at its best and worst. Capable of making blackjack interesting and having philosophical and psychological discussions while they were playing, while ultimately wasting much of the anime's limited time on a fetch quest which could have been done in less than ten minutes.
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ajr



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PostPosted: Sun Apr 20, 2014 4:59 pm Reply with quote
Having read the Haikasoru book, I've been waiting to see how the movie would manage to pull off the blackjack scene. I'm a little astonished they apparently actually managed to do it; as you said, it's literally about half of the third book.
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Key
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 20, 2014 7:40 pm Reply with quote
One-Eye wrote:
The physical and sexual abuse that some of the characters in the series went through felt a bit sensationalized. I'm turned off not so much by what happens to them, but because it felt like a cheap attempt to shock the audience.

I don't agree at all on this point. Revealing that spoiler[Shell was sexually abused himself] was, I think, absolutely necessary for the whole story to make sense, as it spoiler[combines with the hole in Shell's memories to establish his motives for what he was doing (including why he was killing women specifically) and why he probably picked Rune in the first place. It also gave Rune an "out" to justify not killing him for being a serial murdering scumbag.] Besides, the scene I spoiler-tagger was just a couple of seconds long, so they hardly gave it enough time to be sensationalized. Also, showing that Rune had been sexually abused makes even more sense with this new context, although I thought it was already justified as a partial explanation behind how she ended up as a teen prostitute. (Sexual abuse at a young age or in teen years is a common trait in the backgrounds of prostitutes and porn stars - at least here in the U.S., anyway.)
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Nom De Plume De Fanboy
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 21, 2014 12:12 am Reply with quote
Just for everybody's information, all the parts of this are streaming over on the Anime Network site. I've held out and dodged spoilers until the 3rd part came out to see if the whole thing finished acceptably, and now I'm going to do a mini-marathon with it.
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Echo_City



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PostPosted: Mon Apr 21, 2014 2:43 am Reply with quote
Quote:
The dub script exactly follows the Japanese script whenever lip-synching isn't required and is never far off otherwise.

I do not seem to have received a copy of the Japanese script with my bluray of this movie. Where did you get yours?
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Touma



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PostPosted: Mon Apr 21, 2014 8:49 am Reply with quote
^
Can't you turn on the full subtitles while watching the dub?
I have encountered a few discs (very few, fortunately) that are made in a way that prevented me from doing that.
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dtm42



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PostPosted: Mon Apr 21, 2014 9:22 am Reply with quote
^
The dub may be close to the subtitles, but who is to say (barring those who are fluent in both Japanese and English) that the subtitles are accurate to the original Japanese script? It appears that this implication on Key's part is what Echo_City is challenging.
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Touma



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PostPosted: Mon Apr 21, 2014 9:37 am Reply with quote
dtm42 wrote:
The dub may be close to the subtitles, but who is to say (barring those who are fluent in both Japanese and English) that the subtitles are accurate to the original Japanese script?

That is a very good point.
I have actually argued that it is not safe to assume that the subtitles are accurate, but I gave up on that argument because I did not think that anybody else agreed with me. I have come to accept the subtitles as being authentic because most people seem to assume that they are.
I should have remembered my own earlier arguments.
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Key
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 21, 2014 10:10 am Reply with quote
People bring up that argument all the time (i.e., about how you can't rely on subtitles to be a perfect representation of the Japanese script). Frankly, I find that to be just nit-picking. No, they may not be an exact, word-for-word representation of the Japanese script, but since the goal of subtitles is to reflect what's being said as accurately as possible, and since they don't have to worry about things like matching up to lip flaps or adjusting for timing, then one can reasonably expect that they are not going to take the liberties with the original script that the dub script often has to (or chooses to).

So yes, I'm going to keep assuming that the subtitles are, essentially, the straight-up translated Japanese script unless I have strong reason to believe otherwise - in which case I will, of course, note that in the review.
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Echo_City



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PostPosted: Mon Apr 21, 2014 12:29 pm Reply with quote
Key wrote:
No, they may not be an exact, word-for-word representation of the Japanese script, but since the goal of subtitles is to reflect what's being said as accurately as possible, and since they don't have to worry about things like matching up to lip flaps or adjusting for timing, then one can reasonably expect that they are not going to take the liberties with the original script that the dub script often has to (or chooses to).

The first is a fairly gross assumption (with an implicit assumption that dubs don't share in that goal) that I would argue isn't true and the second is false. Subtitles do have to be adjusted for timing: Subtitles have to be adjusted to the expected reading speed of the average viewer (Which is slower than his listening speed) and the content (ie:don't block too much of the picture) + confines of the screen.

How I, a more casual anime fan, have heard industry legends speak of subtitles being less accurate than dubs, for the reasons I mentioned (and more), and ANN "anime veterans" have not continues to mystify me.
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Key
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 21, 2014 1:51 pm Reply with quote
Legends aren't necessarily true, either. Show me an interview of a translator, English subtitle writer, and/or English script writer (IOW, a professional directly involved in this specific kind of translation) making such statements, or show me where people fluent in Japanese are saying that this is consistently true (I don't doubt that it could be true in a few isolated cases) and I'll believe your claims about dubs being more accurate translations than subs.
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I AM THE VAST UNIVERSE



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PostPosted: Mon Apr 21, 2014 10:08 pm Reply with quote
The replacements were a bit jarring for me personally but Sentai has replaced actors on the spot countless times in the past so it shouldn't surprise me this late in the game. I found the Mardock Scramble: The Third Exhaust dub to be average it didn't really stand out to me and I can think of at least four to five Sentai dubs from last year that were far more impressive then this latest dub efforting. The dubs of The Garden of the Words and Another come to mind. The series from a visual point has always been nice but its been lacking in the storytelling department since the first film.
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One-Eye



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PostPosted: Mon Jun 30, 2014 2:41 am Reply with quote
Key wrote:
I don't agree at all on this point. Revealing that spoiler[Shell was sexually abused himself] was, I think, absolutely necessary for the whole story to make sense, as it spoiler[combines with the hole in Shell's memories to establish his motives for what he was doing (including why he was killing women specifically) and why he probably picked Rune in the first place. It also gave Rune an "out" to justify not killing him for being a serial murdering scumbag.] Besides, the scene I spoiler-tagger was just a couple of seconds long, so they hardly gave it enough time to be sensationalized. Also, showing that Rune had been sexually abused makes even more sense with this new context, although I thought it was already justified as a partial explanation behind how she ended up as a teen prostitute. (Sexual abuse at a young age or in teen years is a common trait in the backgrounds of prostitutes and porn stars - at least here in the U.S., anyway.)

I happen to be getting ready to ebay my copies of the Mardock Scramble movies and I remembered that I meant to but never got around to answering this. I think you misunderstood what I said Key. First I was referring to the series as a whole. Second there is no problem with having sexually abused characters as part of the story. I don't object to that. It is with the presentation and the brevity of the scenes does not alleviate that. In the first movie we are told that spoiler[Rune Balot was sexually abused and we see her discomfort at trial talking about it. We don't really need a flashback do we? If so then her half naked in her father's presence was enough wasn't it? No it seems that the director thought the audience might not get it, so the father is on top of her. Certainly, that's enough right? No, we have to see the father thrusting away there.] This might all have been brief and done in fragments, but I question why it was necessary to present in this way? In my mind it was done for one or two reasons: Shock value and or titillation. Either one disgusts me. The third movie follows this pattern with spoiler[Shell also being sexually abused but in this case by his mother. We get a very brief shot of his mother with her boobs exposed riding him like a pony]. As in the first movie, I have to ask is this the only way to present sexual abuse? Subtlety and restraint seem to be non-evident with the creators, while shock seems to be their main tool whether its the violence, the human grotesqueries or the abuse. I think because it tries to shock or perhaps be edgy it looses for me some of the horror that the characters went thru. The idea of characters that have suffered tremendous abuse is not the problem its how the story presented it that I feel it fails at, because it needs to bludgeon us with it.
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