What They Say:
It’s a quick time jump to the 26th century where a school trip to a rebuilt 21st century city turns into a wild adventure for teenaged Shinichi. While chasing a talking deer that steals his bag, he runs into a strange girl trying to elude even stranger pursuers, and then things get really wild. It’s a mad dash through a city of the past as two young people discover a chance at a new future.
Four people awake to find themselves in the ultimate prison: an ex-soldier, a beautiful woman, an average Joe and a young computer hacker. Why are they there? What connection links them all? And how can they escape? The answer seems to lie with the fifth prisoner, an old man who knows far more than he is telling… and then there’s the cat. It’s the ultimate locked room mystery and all their lives hinge on solving it.
The bilingual presentation for this release contains a pair of 5.1 language tracks, both of which are encoded at 448kbps. The two episodes are the types that don’t have much in the way of real use of the 5.1 aspect as they’re very forward soundstage style shows with little noticeable sent to the rear channels. The forward soundstage does cover things well though since they are largely dialogue driven pieces with a bit of action here and there, more so for Coicent than Five Numbers. Both shows come across clearly here and without problems but they’re the kind of shows where you listen to them and wonder why it was given a 5.1 mix.
Originally released in 2011, the transfer for these two OVA episodes are presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and enhanced for anamorphic playback. Both episodes run just under an hour combined and are generally pretty good looking. Coicent is the weaker of the two with some low bitrates used at times that leads to a softer and bit noisier piece during some of its busier sequences. Five Numbers holds up better overall with the color style used with the animation but it also has some less than stellar moments. CG anime shows tend to have a different color palette about them in general and the transfers tend to have a harder time with it. There are some good moments to be had here but the transfer overall feels like a middling effort at best.
Similar to other double feature releases, the cover artwork here lets both of them stand out well and gives you an idea of how different each feature is. The left side has a lighter, comedic tone to it with the Coicent artwork that features Shinichi and Toto together with smiles and laughter. The right side has Five Numbers with Noir 17 as the focus with a full length shot of him that conveys a very serious nature to it. The back cover has a similar kind of layout overall where the center has a strip down it for the summary and information about the two shows while either side has shots from each show. The discs extras are clearly listed as well and the production credits. The technical grid along the bottom has all the information related to the shows presentation itself and it’s laid out clearly and accurately. No show related inserts are included nor is there a reversible cover.
The menu design for this release riffs off of the main cover itself as it splits the artwork in two along the upper half that shows it in the same way as the cover, with the left featuring Coicent and the right showing some Five Numbers artwork. There’s a break in the middle with white space for the double feature aspect while also offering up language selection and extras submenus. The logos for the two shows let you start watching them, which may not be apparent at first, but it’s all well laid out and looks good. Submenus load quickly and the discs read our players’ language presets properly.
The extras for this release are pretty good and more than one might expect when you get down to it. For Coicent, we get the clean opening and closing as well as the Japanese trailer for it. With Five Numbers, we get the Japanese trailers but also a pair of interviews. One with the voice of Noir 17 and another with the scriptwriter for the show, Dai Sato. The first runs for just over ten minutes while the second runs for seventeen minutes.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Double features can be the only way some OVAs can be released over here which is a good, but the downside is that you may end up with one or two shows that you don’t care much for. But what they can offer is worth the risk in general because of it’s a one-off OVA, as the two of them are here, the creators tend to take a few more risks with what they’re doing and stretch themselves a bit rather than offering up more of the same. And with an OVA budget, they can also go all out when it comes to the animation and detail since they have to stand out well enough.
Coicent takes us to a time of celebration for a city where it has a near-science fiction feel to it as they celebrate their 1300th anniversary. The show introduces us to Shinichi, a cute young man who gets caught up when a white deer steals his school bag and he ends up leaping across the cityscape with him. While in mid flight, a young woman named Toto falls onto them. She’s has quite a genetic history to her as we saw, but she managed to escape from those that take care of her and wants to see the city as it celebrates. Toto switches clothes easily enough and Shinichi is smitten by her just as easily, which leads to a good time to be had by both as they see the sights and then end up being chased by those that want Toto back.
The show has a good bit of fun as we see Toto getting captured and Shinichi manning up to help her in a big way, all while riding the white deer which adds some significance to it. Taking it as an opportunity to show things to Toto works well and the deer add a fun little element to it. Shinichi is a bit obvious of course, as is necessary in a short piece like this, as his opening scene has him working with charms to try and find his true love. So naturally he thinks that Toto is it. The story itself is pretty basic but it works well when combined with the visuals that do a great job of giving us an interesting looking city that has plenty of character on its own.
Five Numbers, which bears Dai Sato’s name, goes a little more seriously both in terms of story and animation. While Coicent was about celebration and discovery, this one has a darker tone to it from the start in a more traditional science fiction approach. The episode revolves around a group of prisoners that were put into storage in essence and have no awakened after the pandemic that was underway went big. The facility they’re in is largely empty at this point and they’re trapped, leading them to trying to work together to figure it out and escape so they can actually live and not die in this place. Add in a cute kitty and it’s a dark, somber and intriguing piece that leaves you wanting to know more at several instances.
Both episodes show the progress of the CG animation style that’s been worked more in OVA form over the last few years and they’re definitely enjoyable, though there is still work to be done to really make them good. The animation style certainly isn’t what a lot of anime fans are after but it’s something that has grown by leaps and bounds since it really got going in earnest. These two shows utilize it well with two very different types of ideas, though it’s far more suited to the Five Numbers show since it deals with an environment where the movements and designs feel more natural in a way.
As a double feature, the two shows provide an interesting look at the state of CG animation these days and two very different types of stories. Coicent has a cute feeling to it overall and is just simple, clean fun that is pretty surface level when you get down to it. Five Numbers won me over more with its story and visuals and was the one that was worth watching of the two. I’m still not a huge fan of this style of animation but I’ve enjoyed watching its progress over the years, especially when you have a story like Five Numbers where it’s very well suited to it. The shows have a definite different feel about them but they’re neat little stories overall.
Japanese 5.1 Language, English 5.1 Language, English Subtitles, Japanese Trailers, Clean Opening, Clean Closing, Interviews
Content Grade: B
Audio Grade: B+
Video Grade: B
Packaging Grade: B+
Menu Grade: B-
Extras Grade: B
Readers Rating: [ratings]
Released By: Sentai Filmworks
Release Date: November 22nd, 2011
Running Time: 60 Minutes
Video Encoding: 480i/p MPEG-2
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70″ LCoS 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.