Mania Grade: C-
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- Audio Rating: B+
- Video Rating: B-
- Packaging Rating: N/A
- Menus Rating: C+
- Extras Rating: B+
- Age Rating: 15 & Up
- Region: 2 - Europe
- Released By: MVM Entertainment
- MSRP: Â£19.99
- Running time: 75
- Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
- Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
- Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
- Series: Ikki-Tosen
Battle Vixens (Ikki Tousen) Vol. #3
By Kim Wolstenholme
September 06, 2006
Release Date: June 19, 2006
What They Say
Concerned for Hakufu's well being, Goei subtly sets into motion her plans to free her daughter. She cheers on Hakufu's opponent Kakouton as well as arranges for a deep mountain trip to visit Chokou, the caretaker of a hot springs training ground. Even Ryomou and Ryofu learn a little more of themselves as this place. Training there is difficult, so what better way to relax afterwards than to visit the local pool...?The Review!
Battle Vixens continues to conform to as many anime clichÃ©s as possible, as we hit the local pool as well as a hot springs resort in this volume.Audio:
For my main viewing session I watched the show with the original Japanese language track, I then decided at a slightly later date to watch the whole thing again but with the English track. Both tracks are perfectly fine and use the left and right speakers for separation occasionally. Dialogue is nice and clear as is incidental music and sound effects. Video:
Overall the video presentation isn't too bad, although there were a couple of problems I noticed. Firstly the 'title' screen, which shows the episode number against a backdrop of flames, suffers from quite a lot of artifacting. In addition I also noticed some cross-colouration in a few scenes that made Hakufu's panties look pink rather than white, and there are some instances of line noise. Other than this everything is fine, the show is very colourful, lots of reds, whites and deep blues and blacks and all come across well (apart from the few instances of cross colouration).
Subtitles are in the usual yellow MVM font and I noticed no spelling or grammar errors.Packaging:
Demo disk only, no packaging supplied.Menu:
Unfortunately, I've really taken a dislike to this menu and for one simple reason. The backdrop to the menu is a series of constantly scrolling thick blue and white horizontal lines. I'm not sure what the menu designers were thinking but they are very distracting and just don't fit in. If it wasn't for this the menu would be perfectly fine, with the menu options being centrally placed with a picture of Hakufu and Ryumou on the left and right respectively. Music from the show plays in the background that is actually quite infectious. All menu transitions are nice and quick with no unnecessary transitional animation. Extras:
The extras kick off with a promotional video which does quite a good concept of introducing the main characters in Battle Vixens and the premise behind the show, this is followed by an art gallery which has 10 screens showing character designs. The last extra on this disk is the usual outtakes by the English dub cast. Trailers on this disk are for Gunslinger Girl and Paranoia Agent.Content:
(please note that content portions of a review will contain spoilers)
Battle Vixens continues to perplex me, and I'm not quite sure why, I was sort of getting into the swing of things at the end of the last volume, but the third disk of the series just didn't do anything for me. Maybe it's because the creators felt the need to shoehorn a couple of clichÃ©d episodes into the series. Not content with panty shots, kungfu action, sexual overtones etc... they decide that they were missing that all important hot springs episode.
The first episode on this disk brings to the close the fighting tournament between the schools in Kanto. For what will be her final battle Hakufu is up against Kokouton (who you might remember from one of the earlier episodes who taught Hakufu the importance of basics). What is strange about this episode is that Hakufu's mother (Goei) has come along to watch the fight and instead of supporting her daughter she is cheering on Kokouton!
During all this we find out a bit more about Totaku " the winner of the last big tournament who is trying to manipulate things behind the scenes. Totaku seems to have a harem of girls who will pretty much do whatever he wants. Until recently Ryofu has been following Totaku without question, but recently she's decided to follow her own instincts. Her first major disobedience came when Totaku captured Saji. Totaku wanted Ryofu to kill Saji, but she decided to let him go and since then her position in Totaku's little army has been under threat.
With the competition over and the various participants licking their wounds, Hakufu's mother decides that this would be a good time to visit a hot springs resort deep in the mountains where fighters apparently go to recuperate after their battles. However, this isn't a simple trip to allow Hakufu to recuperate, Goei has other reasons for wanting to visit this resort, and upon arriving she seeks out Hakufu's old combat teacher to ask his advice about the 'curse' that her daughter carries. Unfortunately Goei does not really receive any reassurance from the old man, who seems convinced that Hakufu will eventually be destroyed by her sacred bead and the spirit inside it.
Hakufu isn't the only fighter to decide to get a bit of R & R at the resort, and during her time there she comes across Ryomou and Ryofu. After their battle in the first volume Hakufu and Ryomou seem to have become friends (after a fashion), and if nothing else they make quite a good fighting team as is demonstrated when they face off against Hakufu's old teacher.
After the hot springs episode, I kind of thought that we had had enough gratuitous shots of Hakufu's breasts, I was, unfortunately, wrong as the next episode takes us to the local pool where Hakufu and Koukin are trying to cool off during a very hot day. Shortly after arriving Hakufu dispatches Koukin to get her some food and Totaku takes advantage of this to approach Hakufu. I'm assuming that Totaku has decided that it's time to find out more about Hakufu directly instead of relying on his minions to report back to him.
This episode ends with the arrival of Ukitsu, who has appeared in a couple of earlier episodes, she has been sent by Hakufu's old combat teacher to 'wake the dragon' that is inside Hakufu. We have already seen what happens to Hakufu when this 'dragon' is woken in a couple of earlier bouts " especially her first fight with Ryomou, but it seems like it's Ukitsu's mission to ensure that this side of Hakufu is brought to the surface permanently.
The episodes on this disk seem to suffer from the same problems as the first disk " in that too much plot is thrown at the viewer. In these 3 episodes alone there are at least 3 major revelations concerning different characters, which seems a bit too much by any stretch of the imagination. Of course Hakufu's fate has been hinted at from the outset, but the other things that happen just feel a bit like overkill. I suppose the things that happen on this volume are meant to make you rethink your impressions of some of the characters, and for some of them it does kind-of work, but it feels a bit late in the day for this level of character development.
We get to see a bit more of Totaku in this volume, he's been present previously but we've never really seen just how he fits into all of this. His involvement is a bit clearer now, and he is probably the nastiest character so far in this series (which is really filled with many unsavoury characters anyway). Totaku really is a nasty piece of work; he requires unquestioning loyalty and has no problems with hurting and subjugating his followers. It's amazing that he has such a female following, but I suppose people would rather be with him than against him.
One of the more surprising things about this disk was Goei's reaction when she's told her daughter might have a reduced life span. You'd think she'd try and stop Ukitsu from finding her daughter and trying to wake the dragon, but instead she seems to just go along with it. I am, however, starting to like Ryomou more and even Ryofu starts to become a slightly more likeable person in these episodes.
However, at the end of the day I can't say that I'm at all concerned about how things might turn out for these characters. It's looking like things might not turn out to well for Hakufu and friends, but I can't say that I'm at all bothered " although I'd quite like to see Totaku get his butt kicked.In summary-
Battle Vixens has never pretended to be subtle, but at this point I feel as if I'm being knocked over the head repeatedly with a blunt instrument, as each episode tries to push the boundaries still further. I might be in the minority here, but there's only so much fan service I can take before I start to get bored with the whole concept. While this disk does give us some background to Hakufu and the curse that she doesn't appear to know anything about, I'm beyond caring whether she manages to escape her supposed future or not. I'm actually pleased that I'm nearly at the end of this series as I think that 12 episodes will just about be the most I can take. If you've enjoyed the previous 2 disks then it's a given that you'll be buying this disk, if not, save your hard earned money for something else.
Japanese Language 2.0,English Language 2.0,English Subtitles,Alternate Dialogue Outtakes,Art Gallery,Promotional Video
Panasonic 42" Plasma, Arcam 88+ Prog Scan DVD Player, Kef Egg 7.1 Speaker system with a Ruark log sub. Denon 3802 amplifier.