Angel Blade Returns - Mania.com



Anime/Manga

Mania Grade: B

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: A-
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: B
  • Age Rating: 18 and Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Critical Mass Video
  • MSRP: 24.99
  • Running time: 60
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Angel Blade

Angel Blade Returns

Obari at his best

By Chris Beveridge     August 27, 2009
Release Date: July 28, 2009


Angel Blade Returns
© Critical Mass Video

Angel Blade comes back to finish out the original OVA series as more justice must be meted upon she-male evil that is out there.

What They Say
The jiggling juggernaut of justice is back to deal her special brand of bouncing, buxom punishment to the evildoers who have kidnapped her best friend. As the helpless coed writhes in the clutches of her sadistic captors, only one thing is certain: Our topless heroine will need all her cunning and physical prowess to bring her enemies to heel!

The Review!
Audio:
Angel Blade Returns has a pretty standard pair of stereo mixes included with its bilingual presentation that are encoded at 192kbps. The stereo mix for the show is a bit better than your average adult fare as there is much more story and more action involved here than those so the mix exerts itself a bit more and the stereo channels have more flowing through them. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout and we had no problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.

Video:
Originally released to video in 2002, the transfer for the final OVA is presented in its original full frame aspect ratio. Part of the Vanilla Series, the animation here is one that looks like it had its budget tripled over the normal releases and it shows through here in the visual quality. From the backgrounds to the character designs, everything here looks alive and vibrant as well as pretty much problem free. Some of the backgrounds show some very light blocking in a few high motion sequences but otherwise it's a good looking transfer that avoids problems such as cross coloration or the more recent gradient issues that are getting more common. This is an easy show to watch and just enjoy the transfer of.

Packaging:
Sometimes a plain white background will work and I think it works rather nicely with Angel Blade as it lets the focus reside on the character artwork. This version of the show has the lead in her full on skimpy uniform looking quite seductive. The logo along the top is simple but effective and it has a very clean look overall with all the white space. The back cover uses a lot of white as well but it covers it up with more pictures and a very small amount of text. The summary really isn’t one but rather two lines that keeps it all very simple and lets the artwork sell it more than anything else. There are some good looking images here that paint exactly what kind of show it is. The technical grid along the bottom lists everything very cleanly and clearly making it very easy to tell what’s here. No show related inserts are included nor is there a reversible cover.

Menu:
The menu layout is fairly simple in that it uses the Angel Blade Returns logo and a large shot of the moon with some buildings rising against it while putting some music to it and stringing the navigation points along the bottom. It's a decent looking menu when everything is combined but nothing that really stands out much. Access times are nice and fast and submenus load quickly. The disc also correctly read our players language presets and played accordingly.

Extras:
The extras are increased a bit over the first volume as we get a new sketch gallery as well as storyboard sequences for both the episodes in the first volume and the third episode that's on this volume.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Unlike when Anime 18 released it, there isn’t a year wait between volumes which helps immensely in the flow of the show. The first volume had the first two of three episodes in the original OVA run, Angel Blade returns to finish out the storyline. Since there was a delay in the original release, they created a nice new original recap has been created that does the first two episodes in the space of one, in English only of course, and then leads into the final episode so you can remember exactly what was going on. Unless of course you're just here for the sex in which case you can just go right to the new episode.

With just the final episode being the only truly new piece here, it's a rather quick experience if you don't watch the recap with it which is the downside to putting out split releases like this. The episode kicks off where we left off in that it had Seiru captured by those working for Nailkaizer and used as bait to draw out the real Angel Blade since it was once thought she was it. Giving chase to the duo doing all of this, Angel Blade finds that she's not alone out there in the world as Angel Ender is briefly introduced and there's an amusing battle sequence throughout the city at night where people see the women in their truly skimpy outfits. It's comical to watch the battle ensue as the women basically shoot massive power loads of energy from their she-male parts at Angel Blade, often able to strike her down at over two hundred paces. It'd take a super woman to withstand such intensity in the normal method of delivery.

Everything of course revolves around getting back to those under Nailkaizer that are really running the operators and the headmaster finds himself the center of attention in his demonic form after he interrupts a rather pleasant lesbian sequence between Moena and Seiru that firms up their relationship a bit. It turns nasty as the demonic headmaster uses his appendages to eliminate Angel Blade once and for all though and it goes through a series of ups and downs as the struggle to survive is strong. The show has a fair amount of sex to it, much like the first two episodes, but the pacing found here in the third and final OVA is more geared towards pushing towards the plot resolution and getting the last couple of encounters out of the way. The pair chasing Angel Blade at first is fun but it really serves just to get the women into their more tender moments. The final battle is all but a given even in a show like this but it's still enjoyable to watch.

In Summary:
With the release gap shortened, getting into the show was a bit easier but not surprisingly it didn’t change my experience with it since I had seen the show in total already. Since this is all part of one storyline having the smaller gap is a plus now but I’m still glad that they went to the extra effort the first time around to create a good recap episode that helps to minimize the effect. Obari's work here is definitely worth checking out and the ending is a good conclusion to the series. Very few companies put out such glossy story oriented adult shows like this and that's something that Obari should be working more on instead of hitting up the mainstream where he's got to hold back.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language, English 2.0 Language, English Subtitles, Gallery, Storyboards

Review Equipment

Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70" LCoS 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.

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