Mania Grade: A-
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- Audio Rating: B+
- Video Rating: A
- Packaging Rating: A
- Menus Rating: B+
- Extras Rating: B-
- Age Rating: 13 & Up
- Region: 1 - North America
- Released By: Media Blasters
- MSRP: 29.95
- 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. #6
By Chris Beveridge
June 15, 2006
Release Date: July 11, 2006
Ah! My Goddess TV Vol. #6
What They Say
© Media Blasters
Belldandy and Keiichi are caught up in the battle over the Earth's Fate when The Lord of Terror suddenly takes over Urd! The Lord of Terror summons the Demon gate, and woe to us all if she opens it! The world will be overrun by demons.
The Valkyrie, Lind, is sent from heaven to execute The Lord of Terror by any means necessary and whatever host body it happens to be using. Belldandy in turn is given the holy flute to summon the mighty Midgard Serpent to fight, but The Lord of Terror can jump from one body into another, therefore escaping peril. Will she be able to take up arms against her sister Urd, or Skuld, or even Keiichi?The Review!
With the Lord of Terror about to gain the Ultimate Destruction Program, the challenges that the goddesses and Keiichi face measure high on the danger level.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. 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:
Belldandy gets the cover to herself for the season finale as she is all dolled up in her goddess outfit with feathers and such strung around her. It's similar to past covers in the certain softness to the color scheme for the background but overall it's just another gorgeous piece. This series has had great covers throughout and a wonderful design to them. 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 a set of images in a production gallery and a clean version of the special closing on this volume.Content:
(please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
With this volume the first season draws to a close and it manages to do so in a way that I wish more series would in that there's a really good epilogue to it. With the big storyline running about the Lord of Terror starting in the previous volume, I was afraid that this volume would push all four episodes worth towards it and make the whole thing just too big, but they managed to wrap it up in two episodes and then give us two of the best episodes of the series afterwards.
The Lord of Terror storyline proves to be fun as it progresses since the little bottle of terror is amusing in its own way but it's working hard towards its goals. In order to be able to bring about a realm of demons and lots of fun for it to revel in, it wants to be able to draw forth from that world. When it learns of the Ultimate Destruction Program though, a rather comical segment with Keiichi that is pretty nicely done, it's methods adopt to going down that path pretty quickly. Unlike a lot of villains who would just relentlessly pursue its goal, the Lord of Terror manages to use the goddesses in his plot as they're required to activate the Program, though they know so little about it that it's a surprise them when it starts to happen. This gives them pause to question the actions that they want to take since it could easily forward it.
The two part finale to the Lord of Terror storyline brings in some really nice elements that we've seen in part of in name only since the beginning, such as the Almighty and one of the Combat Division goddesses. Belldandy being able to break her own seal and use her powers to the fullest really shows what she's capable of as well as what she's like when she's as determined as she can be about something. Keiichi brings out something strong within her that makes her act in ways she would otherwise. Combined with the kind of animation the series has pushed since the beginning, this is a really great looking way to draw the main storyline of the series to a close as it just looks fantastic.
The epilogues to the series are priceless however. Each of the episodes is given over to one character to really use. With the results from the Lord of Terror incident, Urd and Skuld as well as Belldandy aren't quite themselves. With Belldandy essentially out of the picture in her chibi size while she recovers, the other two go into changes that give them a chance to act without powers for the most part and be something different. Urd's physical regression to that of a young girl who ends up befriending a young boy who falls for her is very tender and shows the side of Urd we've seen in a few ways but with much more feeling and time to explore it. What was really good though was Skuld's episode as her reaction to events has her aging upwards and becoming an "adult" for awhile. Her physical change really highlights the similarities between her and Belldandy but I think Skuld ends up becoming the more attractive of the two based on designs. While she doesn't retain the same level of kid-nature in her new form, she's got a bit of a naiveté about her that's cute to watch. The entire episode as she runs around with Keiichi is a huge character growth moment for her that I hope isn't lost in the second season since it really changes their relationship.In Summary:
While episodic for the most part, Ah! My Goddess is one of those shows that does its character growth slowly and in pieces as it progresses. The multi-part storyline that closes with this volume is the kind of thing I would have expected to see in another movie but it's very well done here and all manner of things from the series in full are examined and brought into it. While many of the secondary characters essentially get shafted here at the end, the show has always been about the core family that's growing here and their closeness is what's really the biggest thing here. This is a great way to close out the first season and a way that shows so much more about characters that may have become completely one-dimensional otherwise.
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,Production Gallery,Textless Ending
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Toshiba HD-A1 Progressive Scan HD DVD player via HDMI -> DVI with upconversion set to 1080i, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.