Anime DVD Review: Jinki:Extend Complete Collection

Jinki: Extend Complete Collection is a three-disc set that includes all 13 episodes of the anime series. The first disc contains five episodes and bonus features, while the other two discs include four episodes and bonus features.

Jinki:Extend Complete Collection
English Publisher: Section 23
Format: DVD
Release Date: January 1, 2008

Jinki: Extend is based off of two manga: Jinki and Jinki: Extend.  The anime begins by focusing on Aoba, a girl who lives in Japan with her grandmother; Aoba is also an avid plastic modeler. She is “kidnapped” by a young man named Ryouhei Ogawara, and she is taken to Venezuela by Ryouhei and his father, Genta.

Aoba discovers that her mother had her kidnapped and brought to Venezuela because Aoba apparently has cognate abilities that would allow her to pilot a kind of mecha called Jinki. Her mother did this under the pretense that Aoba’s abilities would benefit Angel, an organization that is fighting the ancient Jinki that have been popping up in Venezuela; however, it turns out that she intends to turn Aoba into a killing machine that would follow her in destroying the world. However, due to events that take place early on in the series, Aoba doesn’t become the killing machine her mother wanted her to be.

While she’s in Venezuela, Aoba meets Rui, a “cool” girl who challenges Aoba in order to become the main pilot of the Moribito, the Jinki that Aoba pilots.

Unexpectedly, there are jumps back in forth in time that really aren’t explained at first, which made some of these episodes rather difficult to watch. It didn’t help that some of the characters who we meet first in the series also show up in the randomly inserted time skips. Eventually, the story completely shifts from what we saw at first to focusing on the time skip, which we learn takes place three years after what we first saw in the series. We also learn that the material in the time skip takes place in Japan instead of in Venezuela.

In the time skip, a new character named Akao Hiiragi is introduced. She is an amnesiac who cannot remember anything from before three years ago, which would be about the time of the events that took place in Venezuela. She ends up becoming a pilot for the Moribito Type-02 Jinki, and the events in this time skip primarily focus on her.

Jinki: Extend was an interesting series right at first, but after the timeline started skipping around, I became really confused about what was going on rather quickly. Unfortunately, my confusion lasted for the majority for the series; I didn’t truly understand how everything came together until the last couple of episodes of the main series. Having this confusion during most of the episodes really hampered my enjoyment of the series overall.

Another thing I picked up on early on was that there were ways that it felt like Jinki:Extend was trying too hard to become another Neon Genesis Evangelion. A teenager is forced to pilot a mecha for a parent’s own motivations, and the parent has been out of the teen’s life. The only real difference is that the genders were flipped. It should also be noted that calling the organization “Angel” seems to be trying to add a religious element to the series; at one point, there’s even scripture that’s quoted. However, since this anime is based on a manga, this is probably more due to the original manga source material than to the anime itself.

After watching the series, I was left with the impression that the director and the writer seemed to come at this from a perspective that the audience watching the anime would already be familiar with the manga. That’s the only reason I can come up with as to why hardly anything was explained and why it was decided to jump around in time instead of telling it as a linear story. It’s sad when you only understand some of what you saw in the series after reading through some of the content that was included in the bonus features.

The original television anime had 12 episodes, and a 13th episode was released when Jinki:Extend came out on home video. After watching episode 13, I felt that for the most part, it was a waste. Aoba’s part of the story was the only part that was really important or necessary; everything else essentially felt like filler. While a couple of the characters had potential plot points brought forth, nothing ever came of them in the episode. Honestly, I think the series had a stronger ending with episode 12.

When it comes to the DVD set itself, each disc includes previews for properties that ADV was promoting at the time this set was released, as well as the DVD credits.

The first disc includes an interview with the Japanese voice actors for Aoba and Ryouhei, as well as with the sound director. This particular interview was decent for what it was, and it was also rather telling when the interview subjects even bring up the fact that the story can be hard to follow and then ask for viewers to keep watching.

The first on air opening and the on air closing are included. There’s also a clean opening animation, which is a textless version of the opening that’s used on this DVD release. The clean closing animation includes two closings: the on air closing and the textless version of the closing that is used on this set. Unfortunately, the first clean closing is an exact duplicate of the on air closing.

The first disc also includes “Venezuela Location Notes” and a glossary of terms, which are both text features that explain some aspects of the series.

The second disc includes an interview with the Japanese voice actors for Rui and Minami, as well as with the sound director. My main issue with this particular interview is that it was decided to consistently have music in the background, and that the background music was too high in the mix. It made it hard to hear what was being said at times. Thank goodness there were subtitles!

Disc two also includes a second on air opening. The clean opening animation is the same as what appeared on the first disc, and the cleaning closing animation was just the textless version of the closing animation that’s used on the DVD.

“Japan 1988-1991 Location Notes” and “Glossary of Terms” are text features that explain some of the elements of the series. There’s also a “Moribito-2 Model Test,” which appears to be what was done to test the model of the Moribitio-2 Jinki before they began animating it.

The third disc includes “Jinki:Extend: Special Night,” which was a 48 minute promotional live event that took place before the launch of the series on Japanese television. It’s hosted by the voice actors for Akao and Ryouhei. During the special, they answer questions, and there are performances by Unicorn Table and Angela for the themes that they contributed to the series.

“Messages from the Seiyuu” is a text feature, and it includes comments from eight members of the cast. “Japan 1991 Location Notes,” “Episode 13 Location Notes,” and the glossary of terms are also text features that explain some things from the series.

The clean opening animation and clean closing animation are the same as what appeared on the second disc. There’s also a character art gallery that’s a four minute slideshow of model sheets.

After watching this set, I can say that I’m not going to be in a rush to watch Jinki:Extend anytime soon. Thank goodness we were able to get it for $5 through the Right Stuf Holiday Sale!

I personally would have a hard time recommending this anime to anyone, even to fans of mecha anime. It’s ultimately a confusing and frustrating series to watch, with no real payoff at the end.

I wrote this review after watching a copy of the Jinki: Extend Complete Collection that my husband purchased for me as a gift.

Additional post about Jinki:Extend:

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