What They Say:
Misou, a twenty-something salaryman, has finally admitted his true feelings for the demure Nagisa. In fact, they shared a kiss on Christmas Eve. This was despite all the other men competing for Nagisa, and despite all of the girls who are interested in ending up in a compromising position with Misou. After all that, who could possibly mess things up now? Apparently it’s not that hard. When Misou is knocked back to square one, he has to run the gauntlet again to make Nagisa his.
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in its original language of Japanese. The OVAs feature a nice stereo mix that provides a good amount of forward soundstage directionality. Dialogue is nice and clear throughout and we had no issues with dropouts or distortions. We spot checked the English track and found no issues there either.
Originally airing in 1998, the transfer for this TV series is presented in its original full frame aspect ratio. Using the previous designs and look of the OVA series, which wasn’t exactly a budget buster, the same style is applied here, resulting in a decent if fairly bland transfer. Colors are nice and solid, cross coloration is pretty much non-existent and there’s little in the way of macroblocking during the night time blue sky scenes. The animation style is fairly close to real-world style, so the colors are fairly muted for the most part, but there are some good sequences that show off some nice brightly colored pieces. There’s maybe a bit more grain throughout the program here as opposed to the OVA run, but the two are pretty close in how they look.
The front cover does a nice job of summing up things with the two attractive female leads in the foreground and sharply in focus while you have the male lead Misuo in the background, fuzzy, running towards them. The back cover provides some more color shots of the cast members as well as a brief paragraph describing the plot. The discs features and basic production information is clearly listed. Amazingly, Media Blasters drops the ball yet again with runtimes. On the OVA release, it was listed at 60 minutes when there was really 90. With this TV release, it’s listed at 90 when there’s really 120 minutes. The insert uses the soft background coloring from the back cover with a listing of the chapters and a shot of Misuo while the other side is just adverts.
The main menu is a pretty simple static piece with a nice shot of Nagisa artwork set alongside the menu selections. With no music playing along and nothing on the disc beyond the trailers, the menu navigation is brisk and nicely laid out and without any load or access issues.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Having enjoyed the OVA series more than I expected, I was pretty much looking forward to the TV series to see if they’d take things farther or build upon what came before. Unfortunately, it’s really just more of the same – sometimes exactly the same – but with more filler added to it.
For all intents and purposes, the storyline is relatively the same with only a few changes. The actual first meeting of the two isn’t shown here, giving more of a feel that the OVAs covered that and they move on with that as a given. They even use some footage from the OVA when they show Misuo coming across the fortuneteller.
The story in Dreams really revolves around two central characters. You have young salaryman Misuo, a man who takes his job seriously and doesn’t jeopardize it. During a walk home, he stops at a fortuneteller to find out if he’ll ever have a girlfriend, only to have the old woman tell him that he’ll never know such a thing. Misuo’s life only becomes more draining after that, though he continues to work each day. His depression only gets worse as he becomes more and more resigned to his fate.
Counter to that, we’re introduced to an attractive young woman named Nagisa who is a teacher in a kindergarten school that Misuo continually stops at. Misuo just knows that she’s the woman of his dreams and is only focused on her, usually to the point of causing problems for everyone around him. We get the silly misunderstandings that come into play, such as a coworker of Misuo’s who starts to find something appealing about him that ends up causing a scene that throws Nagisa off after she’s ready to realize her feelings. I have no issue with the majority of it being predictable at all, because it’s so nicely done. A nice decent romance without the real bad stuff. Nice characters you know belong with each other and you simply want to see that happen.
The main differences between the OVA and here is that the silly little businessman from the OVAs is thankfully absent here and not causing any trouble in the relationship. This is balanced by the raising of Miho’s attraction to Misuo at work, to the point where her actions continually mess up things for Nagisa and Misuo. Her role is greatly expanded to flesh out the missing male antagonist and it works well. The downside is that you end up rooting for Miho more than Nagisa since Nagisa keeps being such an uninteresting person as well as being the type who never really wants to listen to what someone else has to say.
Some of the charm from the OVA series is really lacking here, which may be partially attributed to watching the entire two hour run at once instead of space out over 15 weeks or so. This is a simple tale that’s predictable throughout it though, and those who enjoyed the OVA series may find something interesting in this slightly different take that rewrites parts of that series while co-opting other parts.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English 2.0 Language, English Subtitles
Content Grade: B-
Audio Grade: B
Video Grade: C+
Packaging Grade: C+
Menu Grade: B
Extras Grade: N/A
Released By: Media Blasters
Release Date: June 24th, 2003
Running Time: 120 Minutes
Video Encoding: 480i/p MPEG-2
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
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.