To Your Other Self - Volume 2

Starring (voice): Haruka Kudō, Kazuya Nakai and Fujiko Takimoto
Manga Entertainment
RRP: £19.99
Certificate: PG
Available 23 April 2007

A dimensional war is being lost. The dimension of La'cryma is fighting to save the earth but is loosing to the Shangri-la dimension. Their last hope lies fifteen years in their own past with Haruka and the recovery of the Dragon Torque...

Volume Two of Noein: To Your Other Self continues this rather superior slice of anime. I warn you now that if the show interests you for god's sake do not start with this disc, buy Volume One first. This is a show which gives up its secrets slowly, start here and you will be completely lost. Noein is the name of the main character, whose desire to change the past by merging dimensions drives most of the narrative.

Having confused the audience with the first episodes, by throwing the viewer straight into the story without an explanation, the following four shows allow some pause to flesh out the characters and solidify the plot.

Episode six, Dimension of Tears, and Haruka has been taken fifteen years into the future to the dimension of La'cryma, which exists in a possible future, a bleak dystopian land which is at war with Shangri la. We quickly discover that La'cryma is actually underground, hiding from the monster infested surface, which, of course, means that the first thing that Haruka does, when she can, is head for the outside for a Charlton Heston Planet of the Apes moment.

Important Person, episode seven, and the focus fluctuates back to the present day and the future. Older Haruka explains to younger Haruka what has happened to their world and the importance of the Dragon Torque in the ongoing struggle. Meanwhile, Karrasu refuses to believe that he cannot save Haruka as he had failed to do when in younger times when he was known as Yuu. Isami, Yuu and Ai believe that Haruka has been taken by aliens so chant in an effort to get her back. Yup, like that's gonna work.

Episode eight, Secret, and if you weren't confused by now you should be. Like I said this is a very dense narrative, blink and you will have lost the thread. Haruka is returned to her own time by Karrasu, unfortunately this makes him an enemy of both La'cryma and Shangri La. The show still contains a strange smorgasbord of magnificently intricate CGI sequences and some almost sub Hanna Barbera characterisations - it's an odd mix really.

Episode nine, Crossing Time, and Karrasu finally tells Yuu who he really is, but things don't go as he had hoped. Karrasu's inability to save Hauka time and again has driven him to the edge of insanity and he has nothing but contempt for his younger self.

Extras on disc one consist of an image gallery and the second segment of the On Location with Voice Actor and Director featurette, where they generally troll around the city of Hakodate showing you how they had used real locations in the show. Strangely enough it's a very nice travelogue and it's quite a weird experience to see them cut between the anime sequences and shots of the real place. Ok, so it was outside the remit of the piece, but there were some historical oddities that remained unexplained, like the Old Russian Orthodox Church. Overall it's a playfully informative twenty minutes of your time. Disc two has some, watch once, trailers as an extra.

The only real difference between the discs is the audio options as both contain the same episodes. Disc one comes with English and Japanese stereo of 5.1, leaving the DTS versions to disc two. The problem is that the show is just as good in stereo as neither the 5.1 nor DTS really do much with the soundscape.

I have to admit to still hating the menu system on the Noein discs, although they are pretty, they are also pretty difficult to read. But this is a minor quibble in a show that is turning out to be a real gem.

Charles Packer

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