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.
For this viewing, I took in the English dub. Both the English and Japanese tracks are mastered in DTS-HD. The sound for this is gorgeous. With the full HD 5.1 treatment, each of the channels is clear with no grain or dropout. The track makes full use of directionality with the sound effects, though dialogue remains on the center channel. Frankly, these are both titles that would sound fine in 2.0 as they are both generally low-key, but the extra effort is appreciated since the format allows for it.
Really nice visuals with this release too. Both titles offer a completely different style, with Coicent bright and colorful and Five Numbers! dark and moody. And both titles come through looking great. The HD transfer shows no signs of jagged edges, and there are no real technical issues. Five Numbers! has a few instances of soft focusing, but I think that’s an art choice as the rest of the show was very stylized. I would never call either of these the most gorgeously animated titles I have ever seen, but they were still very well done.
Both titles in this set come on the same disc, which comes in a standard BD case. The front cover is divided vertically, with a cover image provided on each side of the divide for each feature. The Coicent “cover” has a picture of Shinichi and Toto with locked arms, and Shinichi looking a bit embarrassed for it. On the Five Numbers! side, Noir-17 is standing in his prison garb looking all dramatic. The back of the case has some screens from each title—Coicent on the left and Five Numbers! on the right—with the series summary down the middle splitting the two. It’s a pretty straight forward case for this release, but it does its purpose.
Also doing its purpose is the menu system. The main menu just has a plain white background with the same two pictures from the front cover on it. The selections are offered below on blue blocks that expand to show sub-options where necessary. There’s nothing fancy about the menu, but it is clean and functional, and that’s all I ask.
There aren’t a ton of extras on this release, and what are there is weighted to Five Numbers! Coicent only offers clean versions of the opening and closing, while there are interviews with the Japanese VA for Noir-17 and Scriptwriter for Five Numbers! Also included are the Japanese trailers for Five Numbers!
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
This set is one in a new recent line by Sentai offering some shorter OVAs together rather than trying to sell them apart. Both Coicent and Five Numbers! come in at a little under thirty minutes apiece, so selling them individually might have been a bit of a tall order. What is interesting is that both titles offer something very different in terms of content, so I feel like they could be good, short introductions into the world of anime to show what it is capable of.
Coicent tells the story of a boy named Shinichi who is on a class fieldtrip in Nara and dreaming of love. In particular, he dreams of getting to meet a particular idol singer whom is going to be appearing in a local parade. But he soon finds himself separated from the rest of his class when he is swept up by a strange white deer that also rescues a young girl (Toto) who is falling from the top of a building. She seems a bit odd, but Shinichi is immediately smitten anyway. And when he discovers she is being chased by a group of people looking to kidnap her, he knows he needs to help.
Five Numbers! features five people (and a cat) who wake up and find themselves imprisoned in a strange place. They know they have been convicted of various crimes and given life sentences, but they know nothing else about their predicament, having been knocked out before being delivered to the prison. Each of them wakes to find their cells unlocked, and the rest of the prison completely deserted. Now they struggle to find out the truth and, more importantly, a way to escape to their freedom.
Both titles in this set are really well done. Being under a half-hour, neither is particularly deep, but as short stories, they have everything that you could want. Coicent offers some puppy love/romance, gorgeous scenery, and a little bit of action, while Five Numbers! gives us some intrigue and a cast of characters who should be working together but are too selfish to think beyond their own skin.
In fact, if there is anything that these two features do well, it is characterization. Both titles have a wonderful array of characters despite having very little time to work. Coicent mostly focuses on Shinichi and Toto—Shinichi is completely believable as the young man who falls in love at first sight but quickly finds himself up to the ears in danger, while Toto is fantastic as the awestruck girl basically experiencing everyday life for the first time.
With Five Numbers!, we have five characters to delve into—an ex-soldier, a mysterious young man, a computer hacker, and vivacious young woman who ran numbers in casinos, and a cantankerous old man who wants nothing to do with the rest of them. Each person is a force of personality on their own, and as the story progresses, you learn they are all connected together in ways unbeknownst to them. Among writers, it is often said that readers have to be able to connect with characters quickly in short stories, as there’s just not enough time for a slow build. I think both of these titles did a terrific job with that.
From a pure enjoyment standpoint, I liked Coicent a bit better than I did Five Numbers! It’s a bit more cheerful and lighthearted, and I think the themes presented in it are a bit more accessible to the average person. But Five Numbers! was a lot more fascinating from a thinking perspective. For starters, it is a very stylish anime. The shading and sketching is often rough, and the movements of the characters are slightly dramatic. It helps to add to the somewhat “off” nature of the storyline.
Five Numbers! also has its own sense of dark humor, as each person would rather work alone and antagonize the rest, even though it is quickly obvious their individual strengths would work well together. It makes their situations all the more ominous, even if they don’t immediately realize it. Add in the mystery surrounding their predicament, and it makes for a nice pathos play.
What this boils down to is that I think this double feature would be a great disc to show to anybody who is interested in getting into anime but doesn’t know where to start. Each title gives the viewer something completely different, and at under an hour for the whole thing, it isn’t a complete time sink. There was just a lot here to enjoy.
The only real flaw I can find with this release is its price. I understand all of the issues with licensing and whatnot that leads to some of the price points anime gets (not to mention the prices they charge in Japan), but I do think it might be a tough sell to charge $40 for two thirty-minute OVAs. They were both great little features, but I think that might be asking a bit much.
The Coicent/Five Numbers! double feature is a great little set. Each title might only be a bit under thirty minutes long, but they both pile a lot of fun in those thirty minutes. They each provide a completely different experience too, so I feel like it might be a good starter set for newer fans. That said, $40 seems like a lot to ask of people for essentially two episodes of anime. But if you don’t mind paying that, or you get it on sale somewhere, then you won’t be disappointed. Recommended.
Japanese DTS-HD MA 5.1 Language, English DTS-HD MA 5.1 Language, English Subtitles, Interviews, Japanese Trailers
Content Grade: B+
Audio Grade: A
Video Grade: A-
Packaging Grade: B
Menu Grade: B
Extras Grade: B+
Readers’ Rating: [rating]
Released By: Sentai Filmworks
Release Date: November 22, 2011
Running Time: 60 Minutes
Video Encoding: 1080p AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen
Magnavox 37MF337B 37” LCD HDTV, Sony PS3 w/HDMI Connection, Durabrand HT3916 5.1 Surround Sound System