Angel Core Vol. #1 - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: B+

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B
  • Video Rating: A-
  • Packaging Rating: A-
  • Menus Rating: B+
  • Extras Rating: B
  • Age Rating: 18 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Adult Source Media
  • MSRP: 24.95
  • Running time: 30
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Angel Core

Angel Core Vol. #1

By Chris Beveridge     January 23, 2006
Release Date: January 16, 2006


Angel Core Vol. #1
© Adult Source Media


What They Say
One war is over, and another war is about to start. A young military officer, Captain Ralph Maskenval, was sent to Nortland to fulfill a mission which was to keep a close watch over the Angels. The Angels were coerced into believing they needed to have sex to nurture the 'Angel Core' inside. Ralph starts to feel awkward about his mission. Then Ralph learns the reason behind the Angels sex craved behaviour. Ralph will have to make a big decision ...

The Review!
War is hell but the United Empire has found a fascinating weapon in the Angel Core.

Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in its original language of Japanese. This is of course the only language available on here as ASM hasn't done any bilingual releases as of this writing (though I hope they would since it would get them into more shops). The Japanese mix here is a straightforward stereo mix with the music and some of the sound effects being the only area where they're noticeably using the stereo channels as the bulk of the dialogue is very much center channel oriented. Dialogue is however clean and clear throughout and we

Video:
Originally released in 2003, the transfer for this show is presented in its original full frame aspect ratio. The materials for this episode are quite good with lots of clean line work that's free of standard problems like aliasing and cross coloration. The show's setting, taking place either in the dark cold outdoors or similar interiors, holds up well here with the dark blues and blacks maintaining a very solid feeling to them with very little in terms of macroblocking. Colors are solid and vibrant elsewhere, such as the pink hued rooms, and overall the transfer just looks sharp.

Packaging:
With almost a nod to what kind of artwork Masamune Shirow is putting out these days, the cover art here uses the original Japanese artwork with a shot of Onoma holding onto a gun while Salsa holds her from behind as both wear the most basic of slips as well as touches of their military uniforms. The background is a great mixture of images of a snow covered forest as well as that of angel wings. It's a haunting image, especially if you look at it while the vocal piece from the show plays along, and it's very appealing with its designs. The back cover uses the character artwork from a variant release in Japan of Salsa in her uniform being blown wide and it has a few shots from the show below it while using the same background as the front cover. The summary is pretty basic and it covers things well enough while the bottom section details things via the technical grid for what's on the release. No insert is included with this release and while the cover is double sided I couldn't detect any real difference between the two.

Menu:
The main menu is nicely laid out with the selections along the right and the shows title along the bottom which gives way to a lot of the menu being open for clips from the show as well as various pieces of character artwork used during its Japanese release that wasn't used for the cover here. It has a good clip of the haunting vocal piece playing alongside it and it's just a very captivating piece when combined with the visuals. Access times are nice and fast and while the language wasn't an issue for the player presets since there's only one, it did accurately pick up the English language subtitles from the list.

Extras:
There's a few extras included on this release and a couple worth checking out. In addition to the usual array of trailers and weblinks, there's a character bio gallery that has brief text on some of the characters plus some sketch work and there's also a full photo gallery which has a mix of sketches and clips from the show; do note that the clips from the show have mosaic's on them but the actual show itself does not. For those who haven't seen mosaiced shows before you can get a good clue as to what they're like from this. Also included is a "bonus footage" section which takes us back to the really cringe inducing sort of animated material we've seen on other ASM releases that look like they were done in MS Paint. This is one we've seen before with the volleyball girl and once again it's still not subtitled. Not that understanding it clearly would help it any.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Back when Adult Source Media started getting into the adult anime side of things, one of the titles that came up as being licensed by them was a show called Angel Core. While they had little on their site about it since it was barely a mention there and on one of their first DVDs, it had that bit of mystery to it. But it also was very intriguing based on comments by those who had seen it during its initial release in Japan and what little was said about the plot seemed like it would be highly appealing. Having now seen the first episode, this is the kind of show that if they actually made several of them and can keep up the quality it would challenge Urotsukidoji as one of my all time favorite shows.

The premise for the series is a good one where we're dealing with an empire at war, a place called the United Empires who have gone to great lengths to win and do all that they need to in order to ensure that. Over the course of the war they developed an surprising weapon, one that doesn't get displayed here yet but is talked about how important it is. Called the Angel Core, it's a power that's born out of women who have the right genetic type considered to be descended by angels in a sense. These women are all kept in secret facilities so that the power inside of them can be nurtured and brought to bear. The way the power is nurtured is through sex and the women find themselves subjected to the chosen men of the military that are sent to the complex. It's not so much the sex though but rather the concept of love that resonates with the Angel Core and a woman who becomes pregnant is able to move on out of the facility to where their power can truly grow.

So it's a big baby making factory in a sense but one that's highly defended by the military since they need what's inside of it to fuel their war. The center of the first episode is around a recent arrival to the facility who was surprised that his transfer there was made in order to have him have sex with girls. He's a studly man who keeps his face hidden under his hat though but as we learn he's unlike most of the other men there who help the girls nurture their Angel Core. He's more caring and gentle and doesn't abuse the girl he's with but rather just tries to get the job done without being bad to her. Visually, the military side of this is one that's very well done with its obvious German overtones in the style of the uniforms, weapons, facility and so forth. As evil and despised as that time in history was, it does make for some fascinating visuals and really has a sense of strength and power to it that few other military uniforms do.

Where the show may make some quiver a bit is mainly with the first girl that we deal with, Salsa, who has something of an affection for the newly arrived captain. In some of the promotional artwork and indeed in her design, she is a very Lolita looking character with a small body. When you first see her walking around in the uniform it's like a doll just got dressed up in it. But as she ends up getting into her daily sex session, it's more apparent that while she may be small she's not truly "Lolita" like in her body because they give her a good set of breasts that really help to push out the images of anything really young. She's definitely small though and it may be a problem for some. She's definitely all woman in how she handles things here though. The rest of the women are all taller and sometimes less busty than Salsa so their scenes are straightforward and fairly enjoyable. A lot of it will depend on how you feel about Salsa since she's such a mix of messages.

If there's any real complaint to the release it's that the English subtitle track really could have used a couple of more proofing sessions for some basic subtitle issues. Things like sight being site, your to you're and the like are peppered about.

In Summary:
Angel Core's the kind of show that if they just bring in a bit more solid plot and characterization you'd have a really fun show. Right now it's got some great visuals, interesting character designs and one very solid premise to work with and it's great to watch but it's not quite there at being something that could really be appealing to a wide range of fans. It's been almost a year since I first learned about this title but now seeing it's been worth the wait. It's got a lot to it that appeals to me and works it well here. Definitely worth checking out.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,French Subtitles,German Subtitles,Character Bios,Photo Gallery

Review Equipment
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Zenith DVB-318 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player via DVI set to 480p, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.

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