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Penguindrum: 2 Blu-ray Review

penguindrum-2-blu-ray-coverU.S. Release

  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080i/60 (29.970Hz)
  • Audio Codec: Japanese & English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 (48kHz/24-bit)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Subtitles Color: Yellow/White
  • Region: A (Region-Locked)
  • Rating: TV-14 (D)
  • Discs: 2 (2 x Blu-ray)
  • Digital Copies: N/A
  • Run Time: 300 Mins.
  • Studio: Sentai Filmworks
  • Blu-ray Release Date: December 31, 2012
  • List Price: $69.98

Overall
[Rating:3.5/5]
The Series
[Rating:5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:3.5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:2/5]

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(All TheaterByte screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG at 100% quality setting and are meant as a general representation of the content. They do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)

The Series

[Rating:5/5]

 Penguindrum-2-輪るピングドラム-BD_01

I previously reviewed Sentai’s first collection of Penguindrum three months ago. I found it to be a refreshing anime series; surreal, visually stunning, and wholly unexpected, it is a sci-fi/fantasy that melds several genres. It’s drama, it’s romance, it’s comedy, mystery, even psychological thriller. The crux of the story, however, was the three Takakura siblings, sister Himari, and brothers Shoma, and Kanba. The youngest of the three, the fatally ill Himari had suddenly died on an outing to the aquarium, but was revived by a strange spirit residing in a penguin-shaped hat who then demanded that Shoma and Kanba go on a search to find the elusive “Penguindrum” in order to save Himari’s life.

This second collection of episodes delves even deeper into the mystery and philosophical questions on life, death, fate, and family. With Himari’s life still hanging in the balance, Kanba’s love for her proves to be quite deep, and he takes a dark turn, while Shoma bears a heavy burden as well, feeling wholly responsible for the tragedy that their parents perpetrated and the death of Ringo’s older sister. For those who watched the first collection, this second half answers many questions, and it may not go in the direction you might have thought, but it is, in my opinion, a fantastic resolution.

Video Quality

[Rating:3.5/5]

Penguindrum-2-輪るピングドラム-BD_02

Just as with the first collection, this set from Sentai comes with a 1080i/60 AVC/MPEG-4 encodement. It looks reasonably good, but somehow not as good as the first collection did to my eyes, which is odd, since one would think they would be the same. I definitely see more banding, posterization, aliasing, and motion artifacts during side-to-side pans here. There is also some combing evident at times.

Audio Quality

[Rating:4/5]

Penguindrum-2-輪るピングドラム-BD_03

Japanese and English soundtracks in DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 (48kHz/24-bit) are supplied. While it would be nice to hear a series like this with a full-on 5.1 production, the stereo mix does quite nicely, and at the very least the English subtitles for this Sentai release don’t seem to be plagued with the grammatical errors that seem to creep in to their releases so often. Dialogue is clean and dynamics as well as low frequencies seem effective for a 2-channel mix.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:2/5]

Penguindrum-2-輪るピングドラム-BD_04

Only clean opening and closing animations, Japanese commercials and promos, plus additional Sentai Filmworks trailers and the usual English disc credits are included.

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:3.5/5]

Penguindrum-2-輪るピングドラム-BD_05

This is one train you won’t want to get off of, because once you start watching Penguindrum, you will become a complete addict. A groundbreaking, thought provoking series in all regards, the second collection brings the story that started in the first part to unexpected, often heartbreaking places. Highly recommended.

Additional Screen Captures

[amazon-product]B00AO05ACY[/amazon-product]

Purchase Penguindrum: 2 on Blu-ray at CD Universe

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

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Penguindrum-2-輪るピングドラム-BD_23

[amazon-product]B00AO05ACY[/amazon-product]

Purchase Penguindrum: 2 on Blu-ray at CD Universe

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:3.5/5]
The Series
[Rating:5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:3.5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:2/5]

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4 COMMENTS

  1. Any further specific thoughts on the dub? I was spot-checking the disc for a little over an hour earlier, and aside from some of the comedy falling a bit flat in episode 16, the acting has seemed pretty comepetent. That said, I’m very unsure if the voice actor for Tabuki in volume 2 is the same as the one for Tabuki in volume 1. The performances seem rather different, anyway…. think you could tell?

    Oh, and also, I see no screen shots from my end, and there’s a “Page not found” error when I click on them.

    • I’d have to pull out the previous disc to tell you if the voice actor was the same or not, but the quickest way to check, obviously, is to read the end credits and compare the two. I can’t tell from memory from simply listening to collection 2.

      On the issue with the screen captures, we were having some issues with the cdn service for a couple of weeks. We had to turn it off, and now it is turned back on. It could simply be a case of it just having not proliferated completely yet since being reimplemented only 24 hours ago (could take up to 72-hours). Could you tell me what URL you are seeing when you hover over a thumbnail?

      Thanks!

      • Well, the problem with the English cast list that Sentai provides is that the only actors’ names with parts specifically assigned to them are still the main four characters: Blake Shepard/Shoma, Ilich Guardiola/Kanba, Monica Rial/Himari, and Emily Neves/Ringo. It was the same issue with volume 1. One either has to go website/resume hunting or twitter hunting or just by voice recognition to identify the other parts… and I’ve seen no solid speculation on who plays Tabuki. The only difference is in who’s been added & subtracted: the credits no longer lists Michael Keeney, Mike Yaeger, Cynthia Martinez, Joy Saxton, Beth Lazarou, and Daniel Pawlowski; they now list Hilary Haag, Luci Christian, Scott Gensch, and Stacy Dodson. I was just wondering if you might’ve had a better ear for recognition. (Hearing the voice again, though, it might be the same actor overall… it is just noticeably quite difference performance wise.)

        And here’s an example image URL I receive:
        http://cdn.blu-raydefinition.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/Penguindrum-2-輪るピングドラム-BD_22.jpg

        • Hmm, I see what you’re getting at. I can’t really help you out with that as far as who plays that role any better than comparing the two voices.

          As for the the images, there really shouldn’t be an “http://” in front of the URL, but I can’t tell you why you are seeing that. When I click the link you give me, I get the same error message, but clicking through directly on the images as posted, there is no error. Like I said, there could still be an issue with the cdn having not fully propagated to some servers, or it could be something on your end. Perhaps your ISP or browser cache. I recommend simply removing the “http://” from the URL and trying the links. Although, for whatever reason, the link I am seeing from you and the link in the images posted are identical, yet one is resulting in an error and one isn’t. I’ll have to investigate.

          -Brandon

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