Mania Grade: A-
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- Audio Rating: A
- Video Rating: A+
- Packaging Rating: B+
- Menus Rating: A
- Extras Rating: B+
- Age Rating: 13 & Up
- Region: 1 - North America
- Released By: Geneon Entertainment (USA), Inc.
- MSRP: 29.98
- Running time: 115
- Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
- Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
- Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
- Series: Ah! My Goddess
Ah! My Goddess The Movie - DTS Edition
By Chris Beveridge
November 09, 2005
Release Date: November 08, 2005
What They Say
Trouble in Paradise! Belldandy's mentor mentor, Celestin, was imprisoned for attempting to overthrow the Goddess system, but now he's back! Using a system virus, Celestin, corrupts the Goddess system and removes all of Belldandy's memories of Keiich! Will Belldandy's love for Keiichi prove to be the key to ruining Celestin's plans, or will it be the final ingredient necessary to destroy our reality?! BONUS: Don't miss the first episode of the Adventures of the Mini-Goddess after the end of the movie!The Review!
With the end of 2005 being a good time to be a fan of this franchise, the movie finds itself getting a bit of an upgrade in its re-release.Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this disc in its original language of Japanese. While the original release had four audio tracks to it, this version drops it down to three as the two stereo mixes disappear and are replaced by one new Japanese DTS track. We listened to the Japanese DTS 5.1 track and it's probably one of the better 5.1 anime soundtracks out there even if it's at a half rate encoding. While it's not quite as full and warm sounding as the full bitrate DTS track on the Japanese release that we've listened to, it's quite immersive with background noise and when the big action sequences come up. There's a lot of show-off sections on this disc with the surround audio that it'll be one I know I'll be using to show off the ability of a 5.1 setup.Video:
Originally released to theaters in 2000, the transfer for this film is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and is enhanced for anamorphic playback. Just as we were wowed with it back during its first release in 2001, the transfer for this show is virtually spotless. The colors are bright and vibrant, they maintain a beautiful solid feel throughout even in the black levels and it avoids any sort of issues with cross coloration or aliasing. This release is yet another showcase of just how great looking theatrical anime can look when done on DVD.Packaging:
While the original release was done with a cardboard slipcover to give it a limited edition flavor and a clear keepcase to provide a mix of artwork, this one is done with a straight white keepcase and no reverse side image. The keepcase is white this time around and the front cover has a new piece of artwork that has a really nice and detailed looking illustration of Belldandy with her angel aspect rising around from behind her as the background is filled with wispy clouds against a deep blue sky. The back cover plays with similar images and has a very brief summary of the premise but a good layout of the discs features and extras along with an illustration of Belldandy and few shots from the show. The bottom portion is filled with the production information and lots of logos as the technical information is mixed into the top area. The insert has a close-up shot of Belldandy's face with a smile for its front piece, and when you open it up, you get a rundown of all the main characters with a nice piece of artwork with a brief paragraph on them. The back side to it lists the 36 chapters that make up this movie.Menu:
The menu layout is identical to the original release with a mix of animation and CG work that uses various themes from the show. The colors and vivid nature of the menus as well as the good selection of music works well. The menus are nice and fast and easy to navigate, selections are quick to access and language selection was spot on. The disc correctly read our players language presets though it did default to the Japanese DD 5.1 track since that was first, but hardly a real issue since it's not often there are multiple Japanese language tracks..Extras:
This is probably the only area where I'll say this release pales next to the Japanese release, and even then you had to buy the Limited Edition set to get the good extras. While that set had a second disc full of extras such as making of and more, Geneon managed to get a couple of minor ones for this release. The inclusion of the TV and theatrical teasers and trailers is a good plus and the art gallery has some nice artwork showing the Japanese posters and releases as well as conceptual artwork. The main reason the grading got a boost here is due to the inclusion of one of the Mini-Goddess episodes.Content:
(please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The movie takes place during the 3rd spring since Belldandy's arrival on Earth and into the life of Keiichi Morisato. Things are definitely much more comfortable around the group now, with life having moved into something of normalcy, though still enough oddness with people like Skuld and Urd around.
The movie kicks off with the unlocking of something on the moons surface by a faerie butterfly looking woman, something that's been wanting to be free for quite some time to bring its plan to completion. This is just the tantalizing taste of things to come though, as after the opening credits we spend time with Keiichi and Belldandy at the Nekomi Institute where the clubs are out in force trying to acquire new members.
A good crowd is watching the Motor Club's presentation done by the shy Hasegawa, as various vehicles are brought about and shown off. The big piece though is the sidecar modification that shows up at the end with Kei and Bell riding it, with her shifting her position on it as it goes around curves and the like. The crowd gets very interested when she stands up and takes off her helmet. That's right guys, hot babe in the motor club. Look at them sign up!
This of course is when Tamiya makes his big speech wearing nothing but a green Speedo outfit. Oh man, hilarious moments to be sure. It definitely helped to thin out the herd of applicants to those who are really serious about the motor club. One of them is a woman, a rather quiet and one who's rather attractive.
The movie starts shifting into its plot fairly quickly after that, with the arrival of Celestin on Earth. Celestin's something of a mentor to Belldandy in her youth, and the two were apparently something of an item. Though when it comes to goddesses, I'm getting the feeling that being an "item" carries some different connotations than it does on Earth. When he arrives walking down a lane where the cherry blossoms fall, Belldandy sees him right off and runs to him. The fear in Morisato's eyes is evident right from the start.
This is also when Urd receives a call from Peorth (yay, finally animated) in heaven. It's quickly surmised that the one who escaped is Celestin, and that he's headed in an Earthly direction. Urd knows that he's going to head right for her sister, so she grabs a broom and is there in no time flat, but not in enough time to stop him from casting an amnesia spell on her.
This spell also cleverly was used to cast a virus into the network that all the goddesses are connected to. Celestin's goal of destroying and replacing the network that causes only suffering in his eyes takes a large step forward with this. Belldandy finds herself not knowing Morisato anymore and treating him as if he's just a regular client. Heaven is closed off while they isolate the virus and the woman who helped Celestin escape is working with him to bring his plans to fruition.
This leads to a series of encounters between all interested parties as Heaven fights off the virus. They can't help Belldandy until that's done, since she's the infected carrier. The frustration caused by this on Skuld and Urd gives them a good amount of fleshing out, something that was fairly weak in the OVA's.
Thankfully though, between the OVA's and the movie, there's precious little that's different. Character designs are slightly updated, such as Keiichi having something of a different haircut, but that's the only real visual change. In terms of how things are told, the main change there is that there's a visual representation of their goddess form when they perform certain acts. The half-wispy form floats from their backs and above them and performs various actions while tied to them. They also have the ability to go off on their own to perform things such as attacks in unison with the physical body.
There was little real mention of this addition to things, but it works nicely within the show. When Belldandy is infected with the virus, we see her spiritual representation covered with black crystals protruding from its body. The way it was used during the action sequences was quite good as well, with it adding a different level to the actions being taken by the people and giving the visuals something new play with, something that's more its own.
The animation in this movie is simply breathtaking in many places. Gorgeous backdrops, such as the locations in Heaven and many around Earth. The Lunar surface in the beginning as well was wonderfully done. The character animation is also exceptionally fluid and in keeping with Fujishima's wonderful designs. Finally having a high quality version of Peorth animated was more than enough to make this movie worthwhile.
The movies pace is quite well done also. There are a lot of lulls throughout it, which is something of a trademark of the AMG universe. The best times are spent with just Bell and Kei talking to each other and getting through their day. We get a fair dose of this, but with the balance of wonderfully choreographed action sequences. The battle between the various parties with Celestin in one of the Earth locations towards the end was just fabulous to watch.
IF there's any real complaint I have about the movie, it's that for a good part of it, it lacks what makes AMG so special; Belldandy and Keiichi. When she loses her memory and goes back to "day 1" mode, we lose a lot of that relationship. We sympathize with both of them of course, but I'd rather see more of them working together as their relationship exists now, not as it doesn't exist. This does continue in the tradition of giving Keiichi more of the brunt of things in trying to keep everyone else going and with soldiering on in the face of having to deal with such overwhelming powers.In Summary:
Geneon's updated release isn't something that people are going to rush out and pick up again. The appeal of the DTS track is very much limited and even more so by going with a half-rate mix. The release itself is well timed though as it comes with the new TV series being released which means a new crop of people who may want to check it out. With it being over four years since the original release it's definitely worth bringing out again and doing a bit more with but I wish they had gone the extra mile with the audio since it is an attraction. For those who haven't picked it up, this is an easy choice and would have been easier if it had been priced down some. It's a solid movie with great visuals and an interesting take on the franchise and definitely worth having if you're a fan of the characters. Very recommended.
Japanese DTS 5.1 Language,Japanese DD 5.1 Language,English DD 5.1 Language,English Subtitles
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Zenith DVB-318 RP-82 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player via DVI with upconversion set to 720p, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.