Angel Core Vol. #2 - 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. #2

By Chris Beveridge     June 05, 2006
Release Date: May 25, 2006


Angel Core Vol. #2
© Adult Source Media


What They Say
No one can fight destiny, not even the Angels... A few days after the terrorist attack, Salsa was tortured by Baker because they failed in an attempt to flee from the facility. Salsa would try to take the blame herself and cover for Onoma, but she finally broke and they were continually submitted. The power of the Angel blood keeps them alive and wanting more. They still await the extraction of the Angel Core, which could mean their deaths.

The Review!
After a harrowing near-escape, Onoma and Salsa find that their punishment won't be quick and easy.

Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in its original language of Japanese. 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:
The cover for this release captures much of the same sense of style of the first one as it has a partially undressed Onoma with Salsa leaning against her as well as a weapon while the men in dark scary sexy uniforms are behind them looking on. 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 Onoma and Salsa in their uniforms 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 are 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..

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Angel Core's first installment kicked off with a lot of promise between its character designs and the set up of the plot. The characters themselves were fairly weak " no matter how cool it looks to have your lead male never show his eyes, eventually you realize that it restrains the connection you can make to him and his emotions " but they were able to overcome a lot of things because of the good looking production and the set design. The promise of more to come made it worth watching several times and eke out what you could from it.

Unfortunately, the second volume doesn't carry through on the promise or potential and even feels like it falls back in its one saving grace, that of the sex scenes. After the attempted escape in the previous volume with Onoma falling under Salsa's sway and helping her get out, everyone that's been captured and brought back into the barely functioning compound must face their punishment. The repugnant looking base commander is furious over what Ralph has done but he's intent on putting the women through their paces first. This leads to some rather good yet bad torture sequence where Onoma really doesn't make out well but it accounts for half of the sex scenes in this volume. Ralph's own punishment for everything that's going on gets revealed later but only after he comes to find out that it was Salsa and not Onoma that hatched the escape plan.

Most of the volume deals with retribution against those who were trying to escape and those who tried to escape trying to cope with it and finding new allies. There are some small revelations about the angel core material itself but that entire aspect feels like it's been so completely shortchanged by this point that it's little more than a footnote in the series. The series does get a decent enough sense of closure to everything with this volume but it all could have been so much more. The opening sequence which recounts some of the history of the world does a great job of really setting up for something interesting but in the end they just didn't know how to work with it.

If there's anything that really continued to win me over with this volume, it's the great music. Most adult anime tend to use just instrumentals but there are a number with vocals as well in the last couple of years but they're fairly forgettable. Angel Core's vocal material is just fantastic though and is the kind of music that you can stand leaving the menu on it and letting it repeat for hours on end without it becoming boring.

In Summary:
There's a lot to like about Angel Core overall but when looked back as a whole, you can see where they missed out on some real potential and to do something really intriguing and sexy. This episode does a decent job of wrapping up the show for what it's worth but with the two sex scenes here and only one of them having any real heat and strength to it, it becomes more a plot and torture oriented episode. Angel Core certainly has a reputation that's earned based on the first volume but it doesn't carry through on it but at least it wraps things up well enough with the second installment. It's definitely worth checking out but more along the lines of waiting for a good sale to grab it first.

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

Review Equipment
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.

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