ADV Films // 2004 // 75 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Brett Cullum // November 10th, 2005
There is no god, but God.
Yugo the Negotiator plays out like a heavy dramatic feature film. It looks cinematic, it has a slow pace, and it is intense. This is not your typical "fan service" orgy of robots, peppy school girls, and bright-colored whimsical worlds of fancy. Brown, murky Middle Eastern landscapes, thoughtful passages on the nature of Allah, and brutal scenes of torture and violence punctuate the show, as if somehow CNN had decided to produce an anime out of the Gulf War. I was excited to find Yugo the Negotiator, because it represents a brave project for the genre. If you're looking for something thought-provoking and deep out of a cartoon, you've arrived at the right destination.
In Yugo the Negotiator: Pakistan (Volume Two) we get the conclusion of the story of Yugo trying to rescue a hostage from the feral dacoit leader, Yusuf Ali Mesa. Our protagonist suffers mightily, and before the three episodes end he is proven an extreme hero who will go any length to successfully complete his mission. Meanwhile, the Pakistani Army is arriving to wipe out the dacoits, and the clock is running out for everyone involved.
ADV Films has done amazing work on the series. Supplemental material is at an all-time high for anime, and all of it is appropriately meaty. There are interviews with the original Japanese director and lead voice actor, a commentary by the American producers on the realism of the show, and a montage of intense scenes set to the theme song. Yugo the Negotiator demands such attention to detail, and thankfully ADV is up to the challenge.
The only downside of the release is that the transfer is slightly grainy at points, and noticeable digital artifacts pop up intermittently. The American dub is not quite up to the intensity of the original performances, but the expanded sound field of the English track adds to its dramatic weight. You almost need to watch the show twice to get the full effect of both tracks. Three episodes feels a little stingy these days for a full release, but at least the quality of the shows hold up any grumblings there.
If you're looking for a serious, realistic anime that goes for broke, Yugo the Negotiator is the right title to seek out. It breaks the rules of anime because it deals with a subject ripped straight out of the headlines, and respects the material. You won't find a second of comic relief, or spectacle for its own sake. Yugo the Negotiator: Pakistan (Volume Two) presents the stunning climax to a great dramatic story. ADV Films is to be commended for releasing a show that is this well made and challenging.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: ADV Films
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (Japanese)
Running Time: 75 Minutes
Release Year: 2004
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Pakistan Arc Music Video
* Interviews with Japanese Director and Lead Voice Actor
* Interviews with Japanese Production Staff
* Clean Opening and Closing
* Commentary on the Realism of the Show from ADV Crew
* Character Dossiers
* Anime Network Show Information
* DVD Verdict Review of Volume 1