Saint Tail Vol. #2 (of 6) (Mania.com)

By:Chris Beveridge
Review Date: Tuesday, October 30, 2001
Release Date: Tuesday, October 30, 2001



What They Say
Contains 4 episodes:

Episode 4: I Hate Wedding Veils!
When a young girl is being forced into an arranged marriage, it's up to Meimi to help her out! But will Saint Tail be able to go through with the job knowing the girl's heart is really set on marrying Junior? It's a troubled heart for Saint Tail!

Episode 5: Legend of Happiness?! The Clock Tower Commotion
When a new amusement park opens, a little girl looses her balloons, and worst of all, the doll borrowed from her friend! Lucky for her the doll managed to snag onto the priceless statues in the Clock Tower, but will Saint Tail be able to retrieve the doll with the tight security around the clocks? And will another pair of theives beat her to the punch?

Episode 6: New Student Rina, A Formidable Enemy
The flowers of spring love are blooming - or are they? When an old man is swindled out of his priceless cherry blossoms painting, Meimi is called to his rescue! But watch out Meimi - the cards are stacked against you because Junior has a new alley in the field - Rina!

Episode 7: A First Rendezvous of Tears?!
The Dagger of Anubis is a fake! When Saint Tail puts out a challenge to Junior you can bet he's got a plan and Rina will be there to make sure it goes right this time!

The Review!
While the first volume had some issues, going by what we see here, everything's been addressed and for the better. In fact, this disc looks like the kind of product you expect from a company whose been around the block a few times.

Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this disc in its original language of Japanese. The problems with the karaoke tracks from the first disc have been resolved and we've got some good vocals to go along with the openings and closings, as well as both English and alternating romaji translations for them. Dialogue itself from the show continues to be pretty good if a bit low, and the Japanese side of things seem to lean more towards a mono mix than anything else. The English side sounds a bit fuller for the dialogue, but the effects and music for both sound about the same.

Video:
My main gripe with the first volumes video was the fact that the episodes were spliced together with one opening, then all three episodes, then the closing. This has thankfully been corrected and the show is now as originally presented. The transfer itself continues to look solid and significantly better than the first time around. The show's been bumped up by an episode and also given the dual layer treatment, so there's more bits to throw at the encoding, and it looks like its paid off here with some very film-like looking episodes. There's a bit of softness throughout most of it, much like we noted in the first volume, but this again seems to be more intentional for the style than anything else. Throughout the four episodes, we didn't notice any cross coloration or shimmering during panning sequences.

Packaging:
The cover this time around is a bit brighter than the last, with a splash of colors behind Saint Tail as opposed to the darkened rooftops and nighttime sky of the first volume. The back cover provides a couple of small animation shots and a good listing of the features. A couple of paragraphs are given over to describing what the show is about and since the front cover and the spine don't list the volume numbers, the back cover has the responsibility of listing the episode numbers and their titles as well as a quick episode summary. Technical information is easy to find and things are nicely laid out here. The insert provides another shot of the cover on one side while the reverse talks about the show and its airing on TV as well as the episode summaries for what's on this disc.

Menus:
While the menus on the first disc weren't bad, they were indeed simple, something that some folks mistook as being done for a computer wallpaper at times. Well, wipe that from your memories, because they've gotten someone new to do their menus and me being me, couldn't be more thrilled. The folks from Nightjar are on things here and have made menus that will make Cardcaptor Sakura jealous. The nice bright animation from the show is played against a few moving images and some soft fluffy pink clouds, giving a very lively and attractive main menu. Submenus use similar styles of clouds, though without animation. Language selection is spot on, access time between menus is great and the feel in general works well. Great stuff.

Extras:
There's a few extras included on this disc. The first is about a minute or so of dub outtakes, some of them just too hilarious and "mature" for the characters at hand. There's also a multipage image gallery showing off a lot of artwork.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Things pick up a fair bit better on this disc, though the show continues its episode feel. It's the introduction of a new character in the 3rd episode that brings a new spark of life to this series.

Each episode is again focused around Saint Tail being called upon to steal a particular item that will help someone and in the end is for a good cause. The first episode deals with a classmate whose infatuate with Asuka Jr., but finds herself being in a planned engagement with someone she hasn't met. The fiance has just sent over the wedding veil, which helps cement the bond. With the girls request for the veil to be stolen and returned, the engagement would be off. But Meimi isn't sure if she should do it, since that leaves more competition for her with Asuka Jr.

The third episode thing brings a change to the dynamic of her getting a request, changing to Saint Tail, taunting Asuka Jr. and then making him look silly. This change is in the form of Rina Takamiya. She shows up early on and finds Asuka Jr. playing a video game in the arcade, only to backseat play for him (a truly terribly trait that must be eliminated from our society's gene pool). She eventually takes over the game, but loses at it, only to be surprised when a Saint Tail taunt comes up. Asuka gets the info quickly and rushes off and leaves this odd girl behind.

She races after him (and with her being taller and having longer legs, it's an easy thing to do) and manages to get some information out of him about what's going on. As it's revealed, Rina is actually the Mayor's niece, and she's got herself quite infatuated with Asuka Jr. for some reason. This makes her want to get Saint Tail caught so she can have him focus on her, and this of course makes Meimi quite upset since she still wants Asuka Jr.

Rina's introduction brings quite a bit of fun to the show. Though I keep wanting to call her Haruko since she looks like one of the Sailor Moon girls. The cast needs to grow a bit to help keep things moving, otherwise it'd start getting really repetitive by the next set of episodes. As it is, I'm looking forward to seeing how Rina does in getting to know everyone better and to see what weird thing she's going to do next to try and help catch Saint Tail.

Features
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Dub Outtakes,
Image Gallery


Review Equipment
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Skyworth 1050P Progressive Scan codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.



Mania Grade: B+
Audio Rating: B
Video Rating: A-
Packaging Rating: B+
Menus Rating: A
Extras Rating: B-
Age Rating: 12 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: TOKYOPOP
MSRP: 29.99
Running time: 100
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Saint Tail