Mahoromatic ~Something More Beautiful~ Vol. #2 (of 3) (Mania.com)

By:Bryan Morton
Review Date: Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Release Date: Monday, July 12, 2010

Mahoromatic sticks to what it's good at & serves up a volume full of ecchi comedy, and in the process pushes Saint / Management / Vesper issues into the background for a while. If only it could stay this was forever...

What They Say
From New Years and on to Valentine's Day, Mahoro's presence makes each passing holiday more memorable and entertaining than the last! Yet a local Hiryu event may be the most surprising holiday yet with it's odd custom of ferocious combat! Look out- these "simple" townsfolk are more skilled than they appear!

Episodes Comprise
6 - How Happy It Is
7 - Don't Ever Come Back Again!
8 - Grandfather & Grandson
9 - Sweeter than Love, But a Bit Bitter
10 - Things I Like

The Review!
Audio:
Audio is provided in English and Japanese, with both tracks being 2.0 stereo efforts. The show is quite creative with its use of audio, particularly during more frenetic scenes where the soundstage is used to good effect to separate out what's happening on the screen. The occasional battle scenes get equally good treatment. DIalog comes across clearly, and there are not obvious problems.

Video:
Video is presented in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen, and looks pretty damn good. The transfer is sharp & clear, with colours bright and vivid and no visible defects. Definitely one of the better-looking shows that I've seen lately.

Packaging:
No packaging was provided with our review copy.

Menu:
We get a static screen, with Mahoro, Sakura and Minawa, set against a cheek background with the show's opening theme for accompaniment. Options are provided for Play All, Setup and Episodes for scene selection. There are no transitions, so it's all quick and easy to use.

Extras:
Once more, there's nothing to see here.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review will contain spoilers)
Hectic Holidays is the title of this volume, and it's a good description of what you get - of the 5 episodes here, three are focussed on holidays or festivals of one sort or another, which between them lead to plenty of opportunities for the gang to get together & have fun, and for Mahoro to compete with Shikijo-sensei. If the UK release hadn't fiddled with the episode count a little, the Christmas episode would have been here too, as it was for the US release, but given that we only have to spring for three volumes instead of four I'll let that slide. :)

Story-wise, I have to say that for most of the volume "what story??" would be an apt description - although that's not a criticism. For New Year / Valentine's day, you have the gang getting together & doing what any anime characters do over those holidays - gift exchanges, shrine visits & chocolate deliveries respectively, all wrapped up in fanservice. These episodes really aren't going to blow you away with their plot revelations or originality, but that's not the point - if you've grown to like the characters after 15 or so episodes of their antics, what goes on here will be enjoyable simply because of who you're seeing on screen. Personally, I could do with a little less of Shikijo, but every series has to have its terminally-annoying character, and if that's her role then so be it.

The main plot kicks back in again with the visit of Suguru's grandfather, and that comes from his role in Vesper - if there's anyone who could be said to truly know what's going on with Vesper, Saint and Management, he's your man, and there are one or two short scenes between him and Mahoro where you realise that he's almost come to say goodbye. But they're just brief moments wrapped in more of the comedy that typifies this volume - you see them, think about them briefly, then get back to being distracted by Shikijo's mammaries or Sakura's pantsu. Shallow? Hell, yeah.

In summary:
This is more what Mahoromatic should be. I've never been much of a fan of the darker Saint / Vesper side of the story (we'll get quite enough of that on the next volume, thank you...), but the lighter side of the show has always been well worth watching. There are a few short scenes here that link into the main story, such as Minawa's continuing dreams about 369, but thankfully it's not the main emphasis. Another recommended release.

Features
Japanese Language 2.0, English Language 2.0, English subtitles.

Review Equipment
Toshiba 37X3030DB 37" widescreen HDTV; Sony PS3 Blu-ray player (via HDMI, upscaled to 1080p); Acoustic Solutions DS-222 5.1 speaker system.



Mania Grade: B+
Audio Rating: B+
Video Rating: A
Packaging Rating: N/A
Menus Rating: B+
Extras Rating: N/A
Age Rating: 13 and Up
Region: 2 - Europe/Japan
Released By: MVM Entertainment
MSRP: £15.99
Running time: 125
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Disc Resolution: 480i/p
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Mahoromatic