MPD-Psycho: Volume 2 Review
|As we get into the second volume of Takashi Miike’s television series we find things beginning to take a new turn. Episode three kicks off in what seems like a fairly standard investigation, until we find out that Nishizono is up to his old tricks again. Miike spends a lot of time here in addressing the Japanese educational system and the growth in youth related crimes. The P-Net Project, which involves red bar-coded school children and gene therapy takes up an entire episode, making for an interesting subject when looked upon as being a realistic statement with regards to school life, in this case a school recovering from a post-war American democracy where children are practically brainwashed into becoming obedient automatons, and what better way to use them than when its for your own gain? That’s Nishizono’s way of thinking and as he transfers from student to student things become increasingly complicated as Amamiya’s profiling skills are put to the test in order to track down the right guy.
It’s Miike’s trademark humour which seems to shine brightly throughout as he sets a balance between the genres he’s tackling. While it strays slightly from the manga, which in itself had a fair amount of humour, it has a comical approach here which out does anything seen in volume one. Again it’s the comedy duo of Manabe and Sasayama who are left to carry the torch and lighten proceedings in what are surreally amusing moments involving enthusiastic Barbie doll diorama massacre scenes and the need to highlight every task force murder meeting with a song or stand up routine. It’s all so very bizarre but then it’s all so very Miike.
|However, it isn’t until episode four that everything assaults us and the series is brought around full circle. I mentioned before Miike’s disjointed narrative and here we see it begin to take shape again, just when we thought the series was straying slightly with the previous episode. Keeping the same theme of hostile youths the series this time goes back to the character of Chizuko (Rieko Miura) and sets up a horrifying encounter for Kobayashi. Heralding back to the manga’s first volume, Miike gets back into disturbing territory and gives us one of the toughest episodes to come to grips with, as Kobayashi is faced with an awful dilemma. It is also where characters start becoming a whole lot more confounding with a couple of hints here and there, which should lead on to some major revelations. It becomes difficult now to say any more as the series is spoiler intensive, so I’ll wrap up things for the time being until the final volume.
Case 03: The Life Constructed in Double Spiral
A recent mass suicide at a high school in which forty girls died is being inspected by Amamiya and Sasayama. Amamiya must go undercover and pose as an English teacher in order to find out who was behind the ritual. All clues point to a young gathering of student bar-coders but Shinji Nishizono isn’t too far behind them.
Case 04: The Crushed Ant
Sasayama thinks he may have stumbled across some clues about Amamiya’s past, but that’s soon left behind when a new case emerges. Severed body parts from school girls are found in a nearby field, each one with a number cut into. At the same time two rival gangs are at war while Amamiya and company investigate the strange circumstances of these recent murders. Soon Chizuko is kidnapped by one of the gang’s youthful leader who is suffering from a mental instability.
Film 2000 bring us the second of three volumes, though curiously the cover art for this release is in relation to the first episode of volume one, but hey it shows more detail here than you’ll see in the actual episode and it’s certainly eye catching.
|As far as the transfer goes it’s identical in every way to the previous volume. Once again we’re presented with a non-anamorphic 1.85:1 interlaced transfer. To reiterate, the image exhibits extreme aliasing in addition to heavy cross colourization and composite artefacts. Black levels are adequate at best, with low contrast and the series has an often soft look about it. Edge Enhancement is very high, to a distracting degree but at least it’s still perfectly watchable.
The sound is again Japanese 2.0 despite the box claiming English 5.1. Like before this is a very well rounded track that provides quite a punch considering. For a limited soundstage it does surprisingly well at holding our attention and as events gradually unfold later on and we become witness to some disturbing imagery the score once again gears up to encourage the series to unsettle the viewer. Dialogue remains clear and various sound effects are channelled very well.
The English subtitles are burnt onto the transfer, like it or not but they read well and are nicely timed.
Again all we have is a trailer for “The Maki Collection”. A bit of a shame because the series should have plenty of things worth covering in interviews and so on, but at the end of the day it’s no real surprise to see these bare bone affairs.
MPD-Psycho is now getting into the swing of things. Several revelations make volume two another worthwhile addition to the series, though it isn’t without its strange behaviour. Things still aren’t quite clear at this point and with only one volume to go it’s fingers crossed that Miike can wrap this up tidily. Actually upon reflection tidy doesn’t sound likely, but whatever the case I’m sure it’s going to be another warped effort that I can’t see being disappointing.
9 out of 10
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