Angel's Feather - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: D-

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B
  • Video Rating: B
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: B-
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Media Blasters
  • MSRP: 19.95
  • Running time: 60
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Angel's Feather

Angel's Feather

By Chris Beveridge     October 31, 2007
Release Date: October 30, 2007


Angel's Feather
© Media Blasters


What They Say
Show Hamura transfers to boarding school Yusei Gakuen and meets his little twin brother, Kai Mizou. They were separated when they were children, and Kai lost his memory - to Show! Kai is cautious about Show because he knows what Kai doesn't know. One day, Principal Reiya asks them to look for Nagisa, who is missing. They join some friends and search an abandoned building. Suddenly, monsters show up and attack them! Will they be able to find and save Nagisa?

The Review!
Boys innuendo is the name of the game as a predictable storyline is crammed down into two episodes with no real explanations or any sense of actual pacing.

Audio:
Media Blasters has gone with a Japanese language only presentation here as the included stereo mix is all there is. Encoded at 192 kbps, it's a stereo mix that gets the job done well and has a couple of really good moments here and there were it casts a wide series of sounds. Though it doesn't stand out strongly in terms of forward soundstage directionality, the show conveys what it wants to well enough and is free of problems. This isn't the kind of show that will really surprise or startle but it is solid and doesn't have any dropouts or distortions that we could hear during regular playback.

Video:
Originally released in 2006, the transfer for this two episode OVA series is presented in its original full frame aspect ratio. Angel's Feather feels like a throwback to some of the early digital productions from around 2000 in how it plays with a lot of its scenes, which means it has a very fake and almost plastic like feel to it. The transfer captures this probably too well as it all feels very unreal, which is admittedly a strange thing to say about an animated show. Colors are bright and bold while remaining generally solid and strong. There is some mosquito noise visible in the backgrounds at times and a few areas of very noticeable banding but in general it's a decent look transfer without any serious issues to it.

Packaging:
The cover art is certainly attractive enough, particularly for the intended audience. It puts the lead of Shou in the foreground with strong bright colors as he pulls the sword out from behind him while his school uniform is open lazily, enough to showcase the collar he wears. Behind him is a softer character design, this time for Aoki who also sports an open-chested look but without a shirt. Add in some good framing and some floating white feathers and it speaks to the intended audience quite well. The back cover uses Kai as its main character image while using a good soft background that focuses on the moon. Various shots from the show of characters are lined across the top while the summary and the discs features are in the middle. The bottom portion is standard design for Media Blasters as it features various production credits and a solid technical grid covering what the disc is like.

Menu:
The main menu uses the artwork of Shou from the front cover and the overall wraparound image that is used for both the front and back cover but without the additional character artwork. The menu is tied to some strong pop rock music with vocals which certainly sets the mood well even if it does feel a touch loud. The navigation is straight forward though I am amused that they still include a section for setup since the only option is to turn off the subtitles. Access times are nice and fast and the menus are quick and easy to navigate. Player presets were obviously pointless with this release.

Extras:
A couple of extras are included with this release that are certainly welcome. The opening sequence has a clean version presented and there is also a two minute long promotional video which uses clips from the first episode. The text onscreen unfortunately is not translated which lessens its use overall but it's still interesting to see how the show was put together for promotion.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Directed by Yasuhiro Kuroda, Angel's Feather is a two episode OVA series that quit simply takes every predictable plot point for a show like this and crams it down to two episodes. While it would likely work as a long series, say twelve or thirteen episodes, unless it has a real hook to differentiate it from other series of this nature it would be predictable and obvious pretty much from the start. Crammed down into this format, what Angel's Feather has going for it is the boys love aspect. Or rather, the boys innuendo effect as there really isn't anything here besides some pretty boy shots.

This is one of those series where the summary that's given on the back of the keepcase really does say everything that need be said about it. You can skip the show just by reading it unless you want to see the pretty designs in some form of motion for a bit. It revolves around a new transfer student named Shou who arrives at the all male academy and declares to another young man named Kai that they're really twin brothers that were separated years ago. Kai doesn't believe this for a minute but doubts start to nag him at the back of his mind and he starts to have flashbacks that show what happened all those years ago when they were really separated. Along the way each of them has various encounters with other students, some more girly than others, that eventually leads to an even bigger revelation.

As one would expect from a show like this, it doesn't take long for the real action to start and monsters showing up out of the blue and attacking folks. As it turns out, the story in a book is real and several of the leads here are actually descended from the world that's describe wherein they're members of royalty. The way to tell royal members of this fantasyland is that they have beautiful white wings on their back. This all becomes more apparent when some of the members of the faculty reveal that they used to be a part of the kingdom proper years ago and have been hiding out here since. All of it would make a great reunion story if not for the fact that one of the boys actually has black wings and is ready to do nothing but cause trouble. Or, at least, as much trouble as you can cause within two episodes that really serve as little more than a prologue to the next storyline.

The visual design of the series is decent but it lacks anything really strong to set it apart. It used to be that OVAs would have the higher budget and more detailed look to pull in people but Angel's Feather is fairly basic in its designs and at times looks worse than some TV series out there. The character designs are all average and typical while the animation itself is decent but has a plastic-like feel to it. This is most evident in the far too numerous shower scenes in which it really feels poorly layered. It was far too reminiscent of some of the truly awful early digital hentai releases in which they were so bright that they stood out more than they should have.

In Summary:
Angel's Feather was a show that was truly a chore to get through. The storyline is simple but the way it's approached leaves you completely uninterested and looking to fast forward through it. It's the kind of show where you discover that you can watch it a 1.5x speed and still get the gist of it without any loss. If anything, changing it from 60 minutes to 45 minutes only improves it. The show is one you can easily target to the less aware yaoi/boys-love fans and hook them in with the pretty pictures until they realize that there is nothing of any merit here. Media Blasters hits on these titles once in awhile and considering the diversity of their catalog and the kinds of hidden gems they do find, I'm more than willing to accept a stinker here and there. Angel's Feather most certainly qualifies as one of those titles that I never hope to speak of again.

Features
Japanese Language,English Subtitles,Promotional Video, Textless Opening, Round Table with Staff and Voice Actors

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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