Chillout Manga is a
great way to describe this DVD. It's engaging enough so you can watch it and
not fall asleep, but not stimulating enough so that you have to think. It's
visually soothing, but doesn't jump out at you. The background of the
animation is very good, but the characters themselves are only basic which
appears to be a deliberate attempt to create an elevator-music-for-the-eyes
style of Manga.
L/R: Licensed by Royalty
is based around two agents Jack Hofner and Rowe Rickenback. Rowe is blond,
dashing and always in a white suit, whereas Jack is dressed down and the more
earthy of the two. The pair are called L/R and they work for an outfit called
Cloud7. Cloud7 in turn takes secret contracts from the "Royal family". Where
exactly LR is set is a mystery, as is the identity of the Royal family, but
from the English accents and the style of buildings and cars and it is
definitely meant to be Europe.
Cloud7 is composed a
central male boss, a secondary female liaison, an eccentric inventor and a
female who is the flirting interest of Jack. This Bondesque crew faces
different situations in each of the four episodes of this disc. L/R are always
the centre of the story with the supporting cast doing not much more than
setting the scene, or attempting to be comic relief.
The four episodes are
called; Be Traced, A Taste of Secret, A Girl goes to City, and Sweet Enemies.
Watching each of these episodes is like watching a mini TV sitcom with a
bizarre little intermission in each episode. Each episode is self contained,
but there are some miniscule references in each preceding episode as to what
Each episode starts off
with the mission preface, the boys then jump to their task looking dapper and
never losing their cool. They are always asked which one is L and which one is
R, the mission is resolved and the audience feels good that all is right in
the world again. There is no gore, bloodshed, and very little martial action
and absolutely nothing but cheer throughout these episodes. Sanitized, but
The soundtrack is really
the worst part of this DVD. A bizarre blend of easy listening country and
bizarre rock is played far too often, and too loud. Its almost seems like the
musical director is trying to evoke an emotion from the scenes, but the poor
choice of music simply detracts from what's happening on the screen.
The plots themselves are
simple with just enough going on to keep you from falling into REM. "Be
Traced" is about the investigative setup for an art professor selling off
museum pieces. "A taste of secret" deals with a double agent and
disinformation for an evil organization dubbed "hornet". "A Girl goes to City"
is about L/R baby sitting a 15 year princess reject on her journey home, and
finally "Sweet Enemies" is about three pairs of agents pitted against each
other to win an exclusive contract with the Royal Family.
All in all not a bad
offering, nothing I would rush out and buy. However if there's not much in the
video store or you want a cartoon to recommend to kids knowing that its safe
then this DVD is for you.
Anamorphic Widescreen. The picture quality was very good,
the animation itself looks a little washed out, but this is a product of
deliberate color and animation style rather than cheapness of budget. So don't
adjust your screens, this is the way it's meant to be.
These episodes are available in Japanese and English Dolby
2.0, with the option of English subtitles. The sounds in this film are clear,
but the music drowns out most of the background effects, but this film isn't
about clarity of sound so it doesn't matter too much anyway.
The English dubbing was good, and some of the accents are
quite amusing. The English subtitles were also good and largely in time with
the mouthing of the characters, but I noticed for the first time how many
English words correspond with the Japanese word "Hai". Have a look for
yourselves, there's a few more than you would think.
Textless opening and closings,
Original Japanese openings and closings
Madman propaganda. -This propaganda is the best part of the
extras containing, previews for the Last Exile, Final Fantasy Unlimited, Heat
guy; project J and AbenoBashi. Apart from this, its a pretty lame set of