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Someday’s Dreamers Complete Series Anime DVD Review

13 min read

Modern magic isn’t always easy… especially if there are so many rules.

What They Say:
When can flunking a spelling test cause major problems? When you’re learning how to use magic, of course! And that’s exactly the situation fifteen-year-old Yume Kikuchi finds herself in when she travels to Tokyo to begin her apprenticeship as a licensed magic user. Unfortunately, Yume’s a country girl in the big city for the first time and there are a lot of new-fangled ideas to get used to – like her new mentor, Oyamada, turning out to be a man instead of the expected woman! Add to that the fact that Yume’s not really very confident about her abilities to achieve her goal of a magic license and she might just jinx herself into failing!

It will take a lot of helping hands from her equally challenged fellow students and even more aid from her teachers if she’s going to succeed, but in the end, the most important lesson she’ll learn may not even be about spellcasting. The process of growing up and discovering what lies inside your own heart is the most wonderful magic of all.

Contains episodes 1-12.

The Review:
Audio:
The audio presentation for this release mirrors the original release in that we get both the Japanese and English language tracks in stereo, though these are encoded at 224kbps. The show is a pretty straightforward dialogue driven piece with some minor bits of “action” as you could call it with the magic, so it’s not a terribly active work. With what it’s doing, the dialogue is well placed when needed and is generally a center channel designed mix, though it’s the music that utilizes the stereo channels overall in giving it it’s life. The characters are all pretty simple and they don’t generally engage in big overactive discussions so the dialogue is generally well placed, easy to hear and understand and problem free when it comes to dropouts or distortions during regular playback.

Video:
Originally airing in 2003, the transfer for this twelve episode TV series is presented in its original full frame aspect ratio. The source materials here are the same as used in the Geneon release so it has the translated opening and closing credits rather than the original Japanese. The series is spread across two discs in a six/six format with most of the extras on the second disc. With the series taking place in the real world of today, the look and feel of it is mixed, some areas with solid vibrancy such as the setting sun while others are drab and ordinary looking. One interesting aspect is that there are a lot of pictures taken of areas that are creatively animated and colored over, mixing in with the character animation and other areas. The show looks great overall, though a few areas look soft but done intentionally.

Packaging:
The packaging for this release is a standard sized keepcase with the two discs inside with a hinge to hold the first one. The front cover goes with the artwork that’s commonly seen with Yume walking in the woods in the water. It’s a very appealing piece because of its illustration origins, the colors and the softness of it all that pushes the natural aspect of it in a very good way. It may not be the most eye-catching piece, but it shows off the mood of the show very well and lets you know what you’re in for. The back cover goes with a bit of a similar look with just a lighter look to it that takes up a good chunk of landscape so that the series concept can be read cleanly. The artwork used for Yume is again an illustration piece and it really does give it a very appealing look, especially since the background carries over well. The show brings a few shots to the cover here and we get a good look at the discs extras. Production information is solid and the techncial grid is clean and accurate. No show related inserts are included nor is there a reversible cover.

Menu:
The menu design for this release works off of the overall stylings of the package as we get the half circle along the right which contains all of the episode numbers and titles while using the dolphin as the cursor which is definitely appropriate and looks cute. Both discs are set up the same while each uses a different illustration shot of Yume along the left that has a good softness to it and is really appealing. While bringing in some of the vocals as well, it sets the mood well and definitely is a good in theme style piece. Submenus load quickly and easily and we had no problems setting up the disc.

Extras:
The extras for this release are pretty good as they port over what we had in the previous Geneon edition with no losses. What we get here is the opening and ending sequences in two flavors; first you get the clean version and then you get the original Japanese text version. The really neat extra included here is the music video for the series which was done by “The Indigo” and runs about four minutes in length, mostly live action material. Also included is a four and a half minute interview with the voice actress for Yume, who talks about how this was her first gig apparently and what she experienced and learned from the other actors she met and worked with. It’s short, but for fans of the Japanese voice actors, they’ll eat this up nicely. The final extra is an intriguing one for people who like me like to see all sorts of places in Japan, and that’s the photo session by Masataka Nakano. We get to see the full color photographs of places that were shown in the series as they really are, and it’s a real treat, especially to see how accurately everything is done.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Sentai Filmworks digs into some of the lost licenses here and there and one I was definitely glad to see get rescued was the Geneon release of Someday’s Dreamers, especially since the second series that came a few years later has recently been licensed as well. The show was one that came at a time when Geneon was hitting some of the slower shows out there, the kind that takes its time to work mood and character with setting to give you something that’s soft yet engaging. Someday’s Dreamers is a show that left a very good impression on me from when I first saw it and it all came rushing back when I did this return viewing in this new edition. With its use of magic in the real world and how it would be regulated, it’s something that definitely looks at how some aspects of it would work. It exists in its own framework and certainly misses a lot of things that would really happen, but it’s just welcome to see even a little bit of a looka t it.

Taking place in the present day, we’re introduced to 17 year old Yume Kikuchi, a young woman who has come from Iwate Prefecture to Tokyo during her summer break so that she can take some certification tests while staying with the instructor at a boarding house. The unusual part is that she’s come to take her Mage certification tests, test that will allow her to fulfill requests to use her Special Powers that can affect a wide variety of things in the world. In this world, Mages are fairly common but they’re licensed and kept under pretty tight control. They’re not allowed to use their powers without official requests, which seem to cause many of them to go into various forms of public service. Yume’s decided to see what she can do with her powers and is taking the time to get things done right.

Her arrival in Tokyo is overwhelming though. Everything is so much more than she expected, and as we see it visually as she’s feeling it, she ends up in a dangerous situation at a crosswalk where she inadvertently uses her powers, causing all the cars in the immediate area to go flying up into the air. She does manage to keep it all under control though and brings them back down. With a bit of help from the young man she met trying to help her; she eventually makes it back onto the right train and to her boarding house.

Yume’s arrival at her temporary residence and home of her instructor doesn’t play out exactly as she expects either. Once inside the building, she’s greeted by a slightly older man whose barely dressed and showing off some rather nice pecs. It’s not long from there that another man arrives without his shirt on at all, having just stepped out from the shower. It’s at this awkward moment, when she’s staring at both their bodies, that she finds out that the second man is actually her instructor, Masami Oyamada. Yume had believed he was a she and that was why Yume was able to stay there for the month for her training.

Add in that Oyamada’s day “night” job is that of an owner of a small but trendy night club bar and it gets even more amusing, though both Oyamada and his employee Kera don’t make much of the club other than trying to keep her out of it for legal reasons. Yume opts to continue with things though since it’s only a month and she has a good room. Oyamada seems to be a nice man overall and she’s sure she can manage everything before having to return home. The series moves into the learning phase nicely, as we go through some of her initial training at the Mage Labor Bureau. It’s here we learn how Mage’s operate in the present day with the needing of approval requests and so forth, due to the fact that so much of a Mages power can affect so many other things that using it improperly can cause catastrophic events. There’s still areas where things are firm though, such as saving of lives, regenerating body parts and the like are still considered open topics of discussion, but many other basics are considered off limits.

With the middle section of the series, there’s almost a sub-arc that plays along after the first two standalone tales end. One tale is one that brings the focus a bit more on Kera, where we get to know some of his background as growing up in an orphanage. The knowledge comes from an incident where three children ended up getting caught in the river and ended up in the hospital in varying states, but one of them was from the same orphanage as Kera. As he’s become quite fond of the kids there and the good things the orphanage has done for him, he becomes very involved in trying to get through to the one child that remains in a coma.

Kera’s desire to not only protect the child but also to be there for him and to help him explore the world at large causes him to go to an extreme where he takes a ring of Oyamada’s, believing that the ring is where the mage power really comes from. His long desire to become a mage himself, but too afraid to be properly tested to see if he has the ability, comes loose in an outpouring with Yume. Kera comes across really well in these episodes and balances out the bit of edge and bravado from past episodes by giving him some real emotion. The scenes with him trying to get through to the child are very well done – but I think there may be more of a connection to it if you’re either generally empathic to such things or you have kids of your own.

Later on, Oyamada brings Angela and Yume with him to their latest official request which has them helping to clean up a local shopping district that had gotten vandalized. The district representative who had sent the request has to be very humble about the whole thing as he had gone outside the rules by letting a mage who had come by do it for free instead of officially sanctioned. As it turns out, the mage who did it is in training much like Yume and Angela but doesn’t like the idea that he has to go through channels as he’d rather be a “mage of the streets”. The flip side is that he’s not all that good of a mage so he tends to cause problems when he uses his powers.

Inoue, as we meet him during a dressing down at the Mage Labor Office, ends up apologizing to both girls as well since they had to clean up after him and eventually comes across them again later during other items that require them to be at the Office. Yume befriends him rather well and you can almost see a twinge of interest in her about him. Inoue is the really nice but shy kid who wants to do the right thing but has a hard time doing it. As he spends more time with the two girls, he gets a bit more confidence about himself and abilities. But what he really ends up doing is something that he doesn’t even realize, and that’s stir some serious emotions inside of Angela that causes her to reveal just how powerful her mage abilities really are.

As the series gets closer to its ending, that’s when it gets to really telling the main story.here as Oyamada and Yume go off to perform a special mage action request. One of the councilors has requested an action be taken place for his mother, but it’s been kept relatively quiet. She lives in the same house she always has along with one of her sons, and has requested that the house be brought back as it was fifty years ago so that she can relive that part of her life once more. Oyamada has Yume perform the action and she does it particularly well. The house reverts back to an almost new form, and everyone wanders around in awe of just how beautiful it was back then. Mitsuko, the elderly woman who requested the action, is enraptured by much of it, fondly remembering much of her earlier life.

When everyone is ready to leave and the action brings the house back to normal, Yume ends up hearing Mitsuko say that she regretted the action. To Yume, this comes across as she did poorly on her work and it begins to wrack her brain. This is compounded again even worse later on when she learns that the house is on fire, supposedly set by someone who lived there, and all the family members are now in the hospital. With Mitsuko in the ICU and Yume believing it’s all her fault, her confidence is shaken pretty hard.

This comes just before the next big event in her life as a mage however, where the final certification exam has come around. The summer spent with Oyamada and his training is close to coming to an end, and he’s indicated to his superiors that Yume has performed admirably and, outside of the incident with the Tokyo Tower, not abused her mage powers once she began her training. The final exam is something that’s not been wrapped in mystery, but left as something of a simple unknown. As it turns out, each exam is completely unique and dependent on the people involved. For Yume’s, she must use her power to heal Oyamada.

This comes as a surprise to both of them. To Yume, she wasn’t aware of any real problem with Oyamada. In fact, going by what others have told her, he’s become even livelier and open about things since Yume came to live with him for her training. For Oyamada, he had told the Master Chief previously that he believed he hadn’t been doing anything wrong since an event in his past and that he’s lived his life properly. The Chief of course sees things differently, and so through these final episodes we start to explore some of the past of Oyamada that has him the way he is now. Naturally, there’s tragedy involved, but it’s explored so well and done with the same style as the rest of this series that it’s quite engaging. Yume’s attempt to heal him with her powers is a great moment and it plays out beautifully.

In Summary:
Someday’s Dreamers is a series that takes a very enjoyable experience and gives it a warm feeling that makes it all the more fun. While Yume is a fairly typical character in that she’s got great power but is timid and uncertain about how to properly use it. A good part of ti also comes from the fact that she knows what she wants to do is right when she gets her mind to it, but she has to struggle with the fact that there are rules and regulations. The series gives us a decent little supporting cast along the way and I really liked Oyamada as her mentor since he brought something different to the table than we usually get in a series like this that would be done with a male lead. Someday’s Dreamers was never going to be a huge hit, but it’s the kind of show that definitely has a whole heck of a lot of appeal and I think that it holds up well all these years later.

Features:
Japanese 2.0 Language, English 2.0 Language, English Subtitles, Clean Opening, Clean Closing, Music Video, Interview, Photo Session, Japanese TV Spots

Content Grade: B+
Audio Grade: B+
Video Grade: B+
Packaging Grade: A-
Menu Grade: B+
Extras Grade: B

Released By: Sentai Filmworks
Release Date: April 17th, 2012
MSRP: $49.98
Running Time: 300 Minutes
Video Encoding: 480i/p MPEG-2
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1

Review Equipment:
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.

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