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Jinki:Extend – The Complete Series (a J!-ENT Anime DVD Review)

September 18, 2009 by  



“If you enjoy cute girls who can pilot huge mecha robots, ‘Jinki:Extend – The Complete Series’ is definitely for you.  A fun and entertaining series that has its share of dark and dramatic moments and at times, may seem confusing with its past and present timeline.  But overall, an enjoyable mecha anime series!”

 

Image courtesy of © 2004 Shiro Tsunashima/Mag garden.  All Rights Reserved.

DVD TITLE: Jinki:Extend – The Complete Series

DURATION: 13 Episodes (325 Minutes)

DVD INFORMATION: 16:9, English and Japanese languages, English 5.1 Dolby Surround Sound, Japanese Stereo

COMPANY: FUNimation Entertainment

RATED: TV PG

Release Date: September 15, 2009

Based on the manga by Sirou Tunasima

Director: Masahiko Murata

Music by Kenji Kawai

Character Design by Naota Hosoda

Art Director: Naoko Kosakabe

Mechanical Design by Katsuyuki Tamura

Sound Director: Kazuhiro Wakabayashi

Director of Photography: Yasuhisa Kondo

Series Story Editor: Naruhisa Arakawa

Anime Production by FEEL

Featuring the following voice talent:

Fumiko Orikasa/Brittney Karbowski as Aoba Tsuzaki

Takuma Takewa/Jason Douglas as Ryouhei Ogawara

Tomoko Kawakami/Cynthia Martinez as Elnie Tachibana

Yuuna Inamura/Jessica Boone as Akao Hiiragi

Ai Nonaka/Allison Sumrall as Satsuki Kawamoto

Junko Minagawa/Christine Auten as Mel J Vanette

Rokuro Naya/John Swasey as Genta Ogawara

Satsuki Yukino/Monica Rial as Shizuka Tsuzaki

Yoshino Takamori/Shelley Calene-Black as Minami Kosaka

Yukari Tamura/Luci Christian as Rui Kisaka

In Aoba Tsuzaki’s world, everything appears to be normal. This model-building fanatic spends her days alone in her room, happily constructing the plastic robots that dominate her existence. But something sinister stirs beneath the Earth’s surface – and a violent threat to mankind rumbles towards it’s deadly unveiling. In the calm before the storm, a cross-dressing kidnapper brings Aoba face-to-face with a brutal fighting machine, and her dreams of robots give way to horrifying nightmares.

As the world crumbles around her, Aoba is recruited into the clandestine Angel – an elite fighting force which pits giant robots against the ancient Jinki while an unseen evil lurks in the shadows. JINKI:Extend is a world of blinding explosions, intrigue, and battle-hardened beauties hell-bent on revenge. Nothing is as it seems. No one can be trusted. And you fight till your last breath.

Action-packed, dramatic moments but a plot that goes back and forth with present and past that may confuse viewers.  “Jinki:Extend” is an anime series that has fun characters but with only 13 episodes, you feel that certain story elements were rushed.

“Jinki:Extend” is a 13-episode anime series that debuted on TV Asahi back in 2005 and is based on a manga series by Shirou Tsunashima.  The anime series is directed by Masahiko Murata (“Gilgamesh”, “Shikabane Hime” and “MazinKaiser”) and features music composition by well-known anime composer Kenji Kawai (“Dai-Guard”, “Death Note”,  “Maison Ikkoku”, “Patlabor”, “Ranma 1/2”, “Blue Seed”) and character designs by Naoto Hosoda (who worked on series such as “Boogiepop Phantom”, “Gurren Lagann” and “Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade”).

The series is quite interesting as it featured 13-episodes but the 13th episode was never aired, the manga series was never completed due to creative differences between the creator Shiro Tsunashima and Comic Blade’s publisher and the anime series was released in the US through ADV Films but was one of the titles relinquished to FUNimation Entertainment.

Tsuzaki Aoba is a teenage girl who enjoys staying in her room and building plastic robots. Life was going good until her caretaker (her grandmother) passed away and all of a sudden, she is kidnapped by men dressed like women and carted away to some hangar. While escaping, she discovers a giant robot and to escape from her kidnappers, Aoba decides to hide inside the robot.

As much as it is a dream to see a real robot, let alone one that is several stories high, she is more excited to watch two men pilot the robot and go into battle. Enter the world of ANGEL, an elite fighting force which pits its modern Jinki robots versus ancient Jinki. With Aoba’s fascination of robots, her passion for them gets her recruited into the fighting force but she then learns the truth of why she was kidnapped and who is behind ANGEL.

Jinki: Extend is about young women who have uncanny talent and ability to become Jinki pilots but for Aoba, she starts to learn about life through pain.  Meanwhile, we are introduced to another Kinki pilot named Akao and viewers are treated with two storylines that goes back and forth from 1988 (Jinki) in Venezuela and 1991 (Jinki:Extend) in Tokyo, Japan.  Which features two young women who have not met each other but somehow their lives are intertwined for a reason.

Jinki: Extend consists of the following characters:

ANGEL team

  • Aoba Tsuzaki – Aoba is a teenager that loves building model robots but when she discovers a real robot known as the Moribito Type-02 which she learns to pilot.
  • Ryouhei Ogawara – A Jinki pilot who is the son of Genta Ogawara and helps Aoba pilot the Jinki.
  • Akao Hiragi – The original pilot of Moribito Type-02 who has no memory of what has happened in the last three years.   We see flashbacks of how Akao became a pilot and how their enemies have targeted her for a reason.
  • Shizuka Tsuzaki – The leader of Angel and the former leader of Angel. We learn more about this woman in each episode as she plays a major part in the series.
  • Genta Ogawara –  Becomes the leader of Angel after Shizuka and is the father of Ryouhei.  He also piloted the Moribito Type-O.
  • Elnie Tachibana – The genius of the group and granddaughter to a former Jinki scientist for Angel.   Often the mechanic of the Jinki’s.
  • Satsuki Kawamoto – A member of Angel and the younger sister of Jinki technician Hiroshi Kawamoto.  Cares for her brother deeply.
  • Minami Kousaka – Captain of the Heaven’s recovery team and treats Rui Kousaka like a daughter (the two are not related).
  • Rui Kousaka – She would be the early rival of Aoba on who would pilot the Moribito but both become very good friends.  Pilots the Nana Two-Way Custom in the Venezuela arc and the Nana-Two Mild in the Tokyo arc.
  • Mel J. Vanette – A model now a woman who wants revenge against J. Harn of the Hachishoujin.  Becomes a member of Angel.
  • Hiroshi Kawamoto – A technician at Angel.

Kyomu Team

  • Kokushou – A former student of Genta who was once known as Hino Hakuya who piloted the Moribito Type-01.  Was in love with a woman named Akana (who was in a romantic relationship with Genta).  Couldn’t stand the relationship and in a jealous rage, as he tried to kill Genta, he accidentally kills Akana.  Now he is hell bent on the destruction of Angel.  The antagonist of “Jinki:Extend” and is one of the major reasons why Shizuka became what she is.
  • Shiva – The leader of the Hachishoujin and serves Kokushou.
  • Karis Nohman – A sadistic person who is an enhanced human that hates women.  He has his sights in killing Satsuki Kawamoto of Angel.

“Jinki:Extend – The Complete Series” features a total of 13 episodes on two DVD’s.  Here is a spoiler-less summary for each episode:

DISC 1:

  • EPISODE 1-  The Battlefield the Girl Saw – The introduction of the main characters and how Aoba came to learn of the Jinki.
  • EPISODE 2 – After the Tears – Aoba learns about Angel and trains to pilot the Moribito.
  • EPISODE 3 – Quality and Quantity – We learn about Akao Hiragi and when she was introduced to the Angel team.  And how Aoba meets the other members of the Angel team.
  • EPISODE 4 – Face-to-Face – Aoba and Rui train and become rivals on who would pilot the Moribito.
  • EPISODE 5 – Of Enemies and Allies – We learn about the past between Kokushou and Genta and why he became evil.
  • EPISODE 6 – The Pilot in Black – We are introduced to a Jinki pilot named Kouse who is sent by Shizuka to battle Aoba.  But it’s hard to fight when the both Kouse and Aoba become friends.
  • EPISODE 7 – The Ends of Ambition – Karis Nohman targets Satsuki Kawamoto and how Akao decided to use her power to help Angel.

DISC 2:

  • EPISODE 8 – Silvery-winged Visitor – We learn that Shiva and Akana are trying to reach out to Akao for some reason.  Meanwhile, Akao continues to train in the Moribito.
  • EPISODE 9 – Winner of the Game – We are introduced to Mel J. Vanette who is going after J. Harn of the Hachishoujin.
  • EPISODE 10 – Red and Black – Akao is captured by the Kyomu.
  • EPISODE 11 – Family – Aoba Tsuzaki returns back to Angel and both she and Shiva confront each other.
  • EPISODE 12 – Blue and Red – Kyomu’s Shiva along with the brainwashed Akao take on Aoba Tsuzak and Angel in a battle to the death.
  • EPISODE 13 – And Then… – The unaired episode featuring what happens to the main members of Angel and the direction they go with their lives.

VIDEO & AUDIO:

“Jinki:Extend – The Complete Series” is featured in 16:9.  For the most part, the animation for this TV series is pretty good as we see detail and grime on the mecha’s after battle, good painted backgrounds and really cool character designs.

As for the audio, audio is presented in English 5.1 Dolby Surround Sound and Japanese stereo. The English dialogue is featured in 5.1 and is front and center channel driven.  Some sound effects during battle is heard through the surround channels.  Japanese dialogue is only stereo.  I watched the series in both languages and for the most part, both audio is quite solid but more emotional on the Japanese vocals for certain scenes.  But really, both are well done.  For my preference, I chose stereo on all channels on my receiver for a more immersive soundtrack on both audio dubs.

Its important to remind people that this is a television series and not an OAV or movie, so audio is quite satisfactory for a television series but not very immersive.  Also, in terms of animation, the series tends to use a lot of blurring on backgrounds but still uses a good amount of painted backgrounds to show buildings that are destroyed and detail on the mecha.  For the most part, for a television series, animation is good and audio quality is satisfactory but not great.

Subtitles are presented in English.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Jinki: Extend – The Complete Series” comes with the following special features:

  • Clean Opening and Ending theme – Textless theme songs sung by Unicorn Table (OP theme: “Fly Away”) and Angela (ED theme: “Mirai to Yuu na no Kotae”).
  • Trailers – FUNimation Entertainment trailers

“Jinki:Extend” is an interesting series because in the beginning, it had potential to be like a modern “Gunbuster” style of anime series.  But by episode 3, the series starts to go back and forth with the 1988 Venezuela arc and the 1991 Tokyo, Japan arc and it happens so frequently that at first, I was thinking why was the pacing off but then you start to realize that these are two different time periods.

With that being said, the shifting of the two time periods definitely throws off the pacing, especially if you get involved in one storyline over the other.  First you are invested in watching Aoba learning how to pilot the Moribito but then the storyline shifts and focuses on Akao and how she learned to pilot the Moribito and then we get episodes of other characters of Angel and you start to realize that perhaps, 13 episodes may not have been enough for this anime series.

And reading about the manga and anime differences, you realize that perhaps there was too much story involved in the Jinki and Jinki: Extend manga series that only certain things made it in the anime series and thus you feel certain things were rushed, pacing was off and storylines were not as easily smooth as one would like.

But nevertheless, a mecha fan can find enjoyment in “Jinki:Extend” as certain episodes are entertaining and fun.  I can understand why episode 13 was not shown on television.  Where episode 12 concludes a certain part of the series, the storyline continues in the manga.  But episode 13 was more like a finale that wanted to keep people content of knowing where the characters are going and that there is much more potential storyline out there.  But if anything, the series makes me wish that Shiro Tsunashima’s manga series were released in the US because I would love to see how this battle between Angel and the Kyomu really ends.

As for those who own the original “Jinki:Extend” DVD’s and wonder if it’s worth the double dip?  With the single volumes, those volumes had interviews with the Japanese voice talent and also a primer of the characters and Venezuela location notes and more.  So, single volume owners may want to keep it.  But assuming you don’t have the complete series and for those who never saw “Jinki:Extend” and are mecha fans and curious about the series, the fact that this complete series is being offered for a much lower price than it was offered several years ago is great.

Overall, “Jinki:Extend – The Complete Series” is a series that is lighthearted at times, dramatic at times and even dark at times.  But for the most part, it’s enjoyable but also can get a bit confusing with the continuing transitions with Aoba (present) and Akao’s storyline (past).  But if you enjoy cute girls who can pilot huge mecha, this one is for you!

 

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