Reviewby Chris Shepard,
DVD 1 - Visions
Kazuki is plagued by visions of giant robots that no one else can see. But all the years of ridicule are about to pay off. Before he knows what's happening, Kazuki gets ensnared by a pretty face, and then a mad scientist's experiment tosses him into this parallel world! Now the danger is very real and this world is twice as strange as he ever imagined!
What happens when you take Tenchi from Tenchi Muyo (or even better, Makoto from El Hazard) and give him an Evangelion robot? Dual: Parallel Trouble Adventures takes place. At first glance, it appears to be another one of those AIC/Pioneer shows that recycles their existing characters and throws them into new situations.
The cover was designed well, with many bright and attractive colors. Featuring the elusive Mitsuki Sanada and a glimpse of one of mecha in the background, it's very appealing and is sure to draw interest.
The Pioneer menus seem to be improving vastly as time goes on. The images were great as well as the transitions used while making your selections. With good music from the show playing in the background, it's a pleasure to navigate.
Dual Vol. 1 features some really nice extras. There's the creditless opening, character profiles, and probably the coolest of them all, the Line Art/Notes. This contains tons of the original production art and little notes to go along with them, explaining how the character designs changed a little and so on. A very nice touch. Also included are advertisements for other Pioneer DVDs and VHS tapes. On the downside, there are no intros or video clips at all, simply text introductions and a picture of the cover. It would have been nice to actually see these anime series in motion.
Finally, the dub version for Dual works rather well, as with most Pioneer dubs these days. All of the character voices fit and the acting remains above average. While the subtitled version is still preferred, dub fans should have no problems here.
This anime stared with one of the coolest introductions I've seen in a long time. A boy that can see mecha fighting in a parallel world while no one else can. Very interesting indeed, especially for the mecha enthusiast. If Dual lived up to its full potential, it could easily become one of the most well crafted and entertaining shows created in a long time. Unfortunately, beyond this setup, everything has been done before.
As stated above, these are recycled characters. Kazuki acts exactly as Tenchi would if he were sucked into a parallel world and was given a giant robot. While Kazuki has a little bit more personality and isn't completely useless like Tenchi, more originality would have been preferred. It doesn't help that Kazuki looks like Tenchi as well.
Neon Genesis Evangelion is the second series Dual borrows quite a bit from. The giant robots look and move exactly like the Evas from Evangelion, but with a lesser degree of coolness. The mecha aren't quite as detailed and instead of running in battles, the animators decided to be lazy and let the robots hover around instead. If you're looking for the next Evangelion, look elsewhere.
Now, while it's been established that this series is a meld of two other shows, this doesn't necessarily mean that it's bad. A more comic and less depressing version of a post-armageddon story is welcomed. The characters retain personalities and are fun to watch and root for or against. I found myself curious as to what would happen next and how the character relationships were going to develop. If a laid back, comedy approach is your thing, this can be a very good show. I find the story to be interesting so far as well.
Being recently produced, Dual looks great. The images are extremely vivid and have that cel quality other AIC productions do. Quite a visual feast. The mecha battles and action are good as well, but not quite spectacular yet. Being that these are only the first four episodes of a 14 episode series, there is time for improvement. However, Dual does not appear to be a show that's trying to win its fans with the mecha alone.
If you're into the light-hearted approach of and liked other AIC creations such as El Hazard, you're probably going to enjoy this as well. The anime isn't spectacular but it is interesting and above average. If you're into giant robots duking it out, Dual probably won't shine quite as brightly for you. This is for the fans of light hearted adventure who just like to sit back and enjoy themselves without thinking too hard.
Overall (dub) : B-
Overall (sub) : B
Animation : B
Art : B-
Music : B
+ Interesting setup. Good characters.
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