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A Summer In Andalusia
Intro:
   Are you ready for a relaxing bike ride? Well tough! Nasu: A Summer in Andalusia (or Nasu: The Summer of Andalusia) is first time director Kitaro Kosaka’s (worked under and learned from Miyazaki Hayao) take on professional cycling. The story is based off of the manga Nasu, written by Iou Kuroda and is just one of the three stories within this series.
   Pepe Benengel, representing Peo Peo Beer and also being a local boy, is racing during the summer in Andalusia (well duh). Pepe used to be active in the army, but now appears to just be a cyclist. On the very same day as the race, his brother Angel is marrying Pepe’s ex-girlfriend Carmen. See, while Pepe was away, Angel swept away Carmen’s heart and it appears as if Pepe still holds a grudge.
   On this humid summer day, one professional cyclist will pedal to the finish line, but will he find victory on the other end? And how will he react when the newlyweds are on the sidelines cheering on with the rest of the family?

Packaging:
   This case is a little bit different than ones that I have reviewed in the past. First off, instead of the traditional black single case, it was actually a clear one. Why you may ask? Read on:

Front: So who are all these people that are on the front? Well, the cyclist in the middle (as well as the side view of the person to the right) of the road is Pepe Benengel. He is the one that the movie focuses on and is Andalusia’s representative. The two to the left of him are newlyweds (and Pepe’s brother and sister-in-law) Angel and Carmen.
   Below the pictures is the title of the movie in Japanese and English as well as some cast information. This DVD is a collector’s edition (you’ll know why when you read the contents section) and the movie is based off of the manga (which was explained above).

Outer Spine: At the very top of the spine is a really shrunken down picture of the front case (even all the text is there, but I doubt you can read the fine print). Below that is the title of the movie again in both languages.

Back: There is so much text on the back and sadly it is all in Japanese. There appears to be a summary and even two separate lists (one I believe is the chapter breaks). The other one has a list going up to #8, but I don’t recall anything on this DVD that involved 8 things.
   Aside from just text, there are a lot of different pictures all over the back. There is a collage of different characters from the movie at the very top of the case, with 3 screenshots below it. Towards the middle are 5 more different screenshots of other characters in the movie. Some of the people are Ernandez (the owner of the bar) to the black cat. Finally, below the lists is a big shot of Pepe (in the lead) and fellow cyclists behind him as they ride past the bar.
   If you look at the very bottom of the case, there are the DVD specs, but some of them are incorrect. Here is the correct vs. incorrect list for the back (a first in my reviews BTW):

Correct = Incorrect
5.1 Dolby/5.1 DTS options = 2.0ch
4:3 full screen = 16:9 Letterbox

   So as you can see, there is no 2.0ch and there is no letterbox format for the film.

Inner case: When you open up the case, there is what can be considered a reversible cover. The “front” of this new cover shows Pepe in the lead of the other cyclists with a silhouette of a bull in the very background. The words “VENGA PEPE” (come Pepe) are written below him and the title of the movie (in Japanese) is at the bottom left corner.
   The “outer spine” just has the title of the movie (in English and Japanese) written on it.
   Finally, the “back” just shows a white silhouette of Pepe on his bike with the words “Verano de Andalucia” (Summer of Andalusia) beneath him. Now you know why the case was clear.

Disc: The label shows a portion of the picture behind the disc. This is of Pepe in the front of the other cyclists. Again the title of the movie (both languages) is written at the bottom of the disc.

   Overall, it was a pleasing case to look at. The pictures were bright in color and the back sure did have a lot of text on it. It’s just a shame I have no idea what any of it means.

Video:
   It is a shame that the film was not presented in 16:9 ratio like the back of the case suggested. Still, the video looked crisp and clear in a 4:3 full screen aspect. The source, from what I could tell, looks to be the quality of the official DVD. The drawing and the colors made me feel like I was a part of the race during the summer in Andalusia.

Audio:
   As stated before, the two options to listen to the audio in are:

1) 5.1 Dolby
2) 5.1 DTS


   Whether it was through the TV or computer’s speaker, the sound came out just fine. I did not hear any odd noises that did not belong and there were no cracks or breaks during the course of the movie.
   They appear to have taken this from the official DVD and let’s give them a big “thank you” to them!

Subtitles:
   If you ignore the names, then the subtitles would be near perfect. However, names are considered an important factor in movies (who would have thought?). Almost every name was spelled incorrectly, but at least some of them sounded like the right name. Don’t follow, don’t worry. Just look at the list below:

Correct = Incorrect
Boron = Boshusic
Castelanco = Kadilla
Ciocci = George
Ernandez = Ailonadis
Gilmore = Jilly Moa
Gz. Garcia = Kasia
Olenno = Olisa
Oriolli = O’Reilly
Peniccio = Billy Side
Pepe Benengel = Pepe Bemengeli
Tour De France = TSU-RU race in France
Zamenhoff = Sammi Colf
Yo Oizumi = You Ooizumi

   In terms of the sentences, the subtitles were in a white font/black border and were grammatically correct. All of the subtitling made sense and used proper punctuation when needed. It was really just the names that were incorrect.
   There was only one part of the movie not subtitled and that was the song playing during the closing credits. And boy was that a catchy song.
   The size of the subtitles was one other drawback. When I made the window full screen on my computer, the subs were A OK. On the TV they were a little on the small side and with the bright colors making up the background, it could be a little troublesome to see them. Then again, I wear glasses because I can’t see far away, so this is just my opinion. But the subtitles were a little small. That’s a fact!

Chapter Breaks:
   I know what you’re thinking: I already said there were 3 chapters, so why mention it again? The reason is because the movie actually had 5 chapters, not just 3. For some reason, the remaining one as well as the very first one [but that break is just 00m00s] just wasn’t good enough to be on the chapter menu. Here are the times during the movie that the final one is located at:

1) Chapter 5 – Ending credits [42m08s]

   On top of these 5, if you hit the “next” button on your remote, you are taken to the first chapter of the interview. And as I said before, there are 2 breaks for this special!

Content:
   Rejoice one and all! There is a special bonus for all those who watch the movie. AND IT IS SUBTITLED! But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. When you first put in the DVD, there is a 0:09s clip of Pepe riding past cyclists one by one (all silhouettes) and the ending song plays in the background before the menus fade in. Get used to this 0:09s clip because every time you choose your preference of subtitles, audio, or return to the main menu, you will have to watch this clip again. Oh, and if you wait 0:20s while on the main menu, the clip will restart and you will have to wait for it to finish before choosing an option.
   As for the main menu, aside from the background music, there is also a clip of the movie playing in a box towards the top right. The options present on this screen are as follows:

1) Play All
2) Chapter
3) Subtitle Selection
- Chinese or English
4) Audio Selection5.1 Dolby or 5.1 DTS

   When you select the chapter menu, you are taken to a screen with 4 chapters to choose from as well as a drawing of Pepe standing with his bike. The 4 chapters are:

1) Chapter 1 – Actually chapter 2 [1m22s]
2) Chapter 2 – Actually chapter 3 [14m25s]
3) Chapter 3 – Actually chapter 4 [30m04s]
4) Special

   I bet that “special” button looks nice to you, huh? Well try clicking on it. Oh, so you found out that nothing happens. I have no idea why, but it looks like this link is a dead one. The other 3 chapters will take you to that specific point in the movie, but the “special” chapter won’t take you to the bonus found on this DVD. So how do you get to it? Just start the movie and use the “skip” button until the special begins (more on this below).
   The other two options (subtitle selection and audio selection) have their available options to choose right on the main menu.
   It is time to end the suspense and explain what this bonus feature is. Well, it is a 22m37s interview (3 interviews and 2 chapter breaks) of the director Kitaro Kosaka and of the three main voice actors: Yo Oizumi (Pepe), Eiko Koiki (Carmen), and Toshio Kakei (Angel).
   The first chapter break [beginning of first interview at 00m00s] includes the two separate interviews of Kitaro Kosaka. One is when he is at his desk and the other is when he is dressed in a tux standing in front of the movie poster. The interviewer asks him questions about his career and his movie and is actually quite interesting. I learned a little more insight of the manga, the movie, and why the director chose this work.
   The second chapter break [begins at 6m17s] starts the beginning of the 3 voice actor’s interview. Also along for the ride is the director once again. We learn some fascinating facts about the actors and for one of them, this is their first time doing a dubbing.
   When you are done with the film, watch the interview! You may even learn something (and that’s never bad)!

Conclusion:
   Even though I felt that the short (45m48s) film was very well down, especially for Kosaka’s debut, the story didn’t feel solid to me. During the interview after the movie, it is explained that A Summer in Andalusia was just one of the three stories comprising the Nasu manga. I felt that this was the third part because I read up on the manga about how Pepe hated his homeland as well as how he was in the military.
   A lot of his past is not really focused on, although it is briefly mentioned throughout the film. Also, the movie leaves an impression that the main character is a hard nose, no humor in his bones type of guy, which may not be the case. Without actually reading (or watching) Pepe’s background, the whole story didn’t feel complete.
   However, I look forward to seeing more from this new director and hopefully another installment of Nasu: A Summer in Andalusia.


Email me at jpolan@drew.edu if you have any problems, concerns, or comments.


Publisher: MAC
Discs: 1
Episodes: 1 movie
Price: $6.00

Reviewer: Polanator
Reviewed On: 01/27/2005

Click on Image for Full Size


The only bad thing about the main menu is that 0:09s intro that you have to keep watching every time you return to the menu.


Don't be fooled by that "special" button. IT DOESN'T WORK! Oh, and chaps 1, 2, and 3, don't correspond to the right chap in the movie. Try it out!


Here...


...goes...


...Pepe Benengel [our main cyclist]!


Oh! Let's not forget about the competition either!


Also taking place today is the wedding of Carmen [left] and Angel [right]. Carmen used to be Pepe's gf and Angel is Pepe's brother. Uh-oh.


Wearing the goofy glasses is the bar owner Ernandez. So who will win the big race? Place your bets now!


The first two interviews focus on this man of the hour, Mr. Kitaro Kosaka. He is a first time director and worked under Miyazaki Hayao.


Third interview! From left to right: Microphone man, Kosaka, Yo Oizumi (Pepe), Eiko Koiki (Carmen), and Toshio Kakei (Angel). Watch this...its FUN!

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