Mania Grade: A-
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- Audio Rating: B+
- Video Rating: A
- Packaging Rating: A
- Menus Rating: B+
- Extras Rating: C+
- Age Rating: 13 & Up
- Region: 1 - North America
- Released By: Media Blasters
- MSRP: 29.98
- Running time: 100
- Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
- Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
- Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
- Series: Ah! My Goddess
Ah! My Goddess TV Vol. #3
By Chris Beveridge
December 19, 2005
Release Date: January 31, 2006
Ah! My Goddess TV Vol. #3
What They Say
© Media Blasters
Keiichi has enough trouble being close to Belldandy when they're alone, but with her sisters in the picture, he's out of luck. Skuld is Belldandy's bratty younger sister, and keeping Keiichi from monopolizing any goddesses is her number one goal. The Campus Queen hasn't given up on breaking up the two lovebirds either, and she's got an edge with her new friend, Mara. Let's just say that Mara is something of a devil, literally.The Review!
Hitting the halfway mark of the first season, Skuld finally gets her due while some of Belldandy's past surfaces.Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this series in its English language adaptation. The included stereo mix for both it and the Japanese language track came out really well and overall have a good full sound to them. Dialogue is nicely placed across the forward soundstage when appropriate but most of it is fairly much a wide or center channel approach. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout and we had no problems with dropouts or distortions. Music in particular really comes across well here though the stereo channels.Video:
Originally airing in 2005, the transfer for this TV series is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and is enhanced for anamorphic playback. The presentation of the show mirrors the original OVA release in terms of how it wants to be viewed, which means that there are some soft areas to it and the backgrounds are real world in design and feel. There's a lot of very vibrant animation to this which comes in the character animation itself as well as things such as the vehicles and the various magic that's used throughout it. While this isn't theatrical level animation, it is the kind that makes it easy to go and watch the movie and then this without really feeling any different about how it looks. The locations are all over the city, the exteriors attractive – especially the night time ones in the city – and the interiors such as the shrine or the apartment complex are all well done and detailed. Colors are solid throughout this and aliasing is pretty much non-existent as is issues with cross coloration. There's a touch of mosquito noise in a few areas but that's about the extent of the issues. This looks fantastic on our setup.Packaging:
The third installment has a good looking cover with some detailed illustrations of two of the main focus points of this volume though sadly one of them is not Skuld. Instead we get another good looking shot of Belldandy but also Marller in the upper background. The back cover is a very soft white piece where it's split down the middle with the left half providing a collage of pictures from the show while the right side has the summary and basic features and production information. The bottom provides the usual technical information in the very easy to read grid. No insert is included in this release.Menu:
The main menu is a simply but effective piece that mixes different parts of the release together nicely. The left third of the screen has the blue cloudy skies for a background and has all the menu selections listed along there. The right side has the series logo and starts with a fade in of Belldandy and then shifts to other images from the show and brief clips as the music plays along. Access times are nice and fast and the menu is very easy to navigate. The player presets picked up the language easily enough but the sign/song subtitles are listed as the first English track so we didn't get the right track automatically selected.Extras:
The only extra included in this volume is an image gallery.Content:
(please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
With more than the first half of the season now covered with this volume, it's interesting to see how the show has been different from the OVAs now that it has the time to really play out instead of being cramped down. There continue to be some who don't like the slower pace, and of course the many who simply don't care for the franchise in general because of what they believe it purports, but this series continues to be one that I can sit down and watch with my entire family and they all enjoy it. There really aren't that many that I can do that with so this series certainly earns a few extra marks there.
With this volume we get an episode drop by one so it's down to four episodes per volume for the remainder of the season and I think this actually works in its favor since by the end of the fourth episode you feel like you've reached a good spot whereas even as much as I enjoyed the five episode volumes, I was certainly getting a bit sleepy by the fifth episode. The first arc in this volume is a bit of fun as it brings an old "enemy" of Belldandy and Urd's back into play, a devil named Marller who the two of them had previously sealed. Amusing, the seal was inside that of a CD by a group called Demons so she has spent quite a few years stuck hearing nothing but that. Events lead to her being freed though and she's set on settling the score with Belldandy.
Marller's actually got a good reason in addition to what Belldandy did to go after her. As it has been hinted at, it turns out that the contract between Belldandy and Keiichi continues to cause problems and the two of them are causing a wide area of happiness and joy around them which is upsetting the balance. So it's also her duty in general to disrupt things, which she does in amusing ways, such as turning Keiichi into a motorbike. He spends a good part of one episode in this form and is very amusing as he tries to get across his ideas (and fears!). Another episode has his heart being played with as Marller and Sayoko end up teaming up for a bit since they have basically the same goals but with different consequences.
The second set of episodes is one that I've been waiting to arrive for awhile as it brings the issues of the system bugs a bit more to the forefront as they're causing more problems and Skuld finally gets herself down to Earth and her sisters for a bit in order to deal with it. Skuld's arrival brings plenty of the younger sister issues to the show and her distaste for Keiichi is obvious since she believes he's holding her sister hostage basically with the contract. Through Skuld we get to learn a bit more about the System and heaven as well as getting to see how the bugs are messing around with things on Earth. I've always loved the little critters so seeing them get some decent screen time for a few minutes more than made my day. Skuld also brings some fun when she comes across Megumi and the two end up in a robot building and battling challenge. While Skuld does have issues of her own as a character that have some think she's just a Lolita gag, she brings some spunk and more light-hearted comedy to the show that helps balance against Urd.In Summary:
With an amusing dose of Enka to it, this set of episodes is a lot of fun since it brings in two new characters and they help to shape the balance a bit more in how the show is playing out overall. Marller gives us the first real villain that can last more than an episode or two while Skuld rounds out the basic archetypes needed for a show like this by giving us the child-like nature and easy access to all sorts of wacky machines. Even though we do get new characters, the focus does remain strongly on the two leads and how the interact with all of this. The core relationship hasn't changed – as much as both Marller and Skuld may want it to – so plenty of time is given over to them. Having bought the manga for years and loved the OVA series, this series continues to be everything I wanted it to be.
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,Gallery
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Zenith DVB-318 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player via DVI, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.