Adventures of Mini Goddess Vol. #2 (of 4) (Mania.com)

By:Chris Beveridge
Review Date: Thursday, April 04, 2002
Release Date: Tuesday, April 09, 2002



What They Say
Whenever Keichi leaves the house, Belldandy, Urd and Skuld shrink themselves to play with the other residents of the area - including their clueless rat sidekick, Gan. Whether it’s a quest to start a rock band or adventures in baby-sitting, the goddess adventures are dangerously funny!

The Review!
The infectious nature of the mini goddesses continues here with Gan-Chan continuing to be a foil for Urd and her plans. Suffice to say, if you liked what you got on the first volume, there’s more of it here.

Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this disc in its original language of Japanese. The show is your basic stereo mix using just the forward soundstage for everything. The dialogue is pretty clean and clear and there's little in the way of real directionality to it. Sound effects fill up the entire stage and the music sounds nice and warm.

Video:
Much like the first volume, the transfer here is pretty solid for this show. Colors look nice and properly saturated, cross coloration is extremely minimal and shimmering in general is very low. Backgrounds in particular look good throughout the episodes and avoid any really noticeable macroblocking or other problems. The character designs continue to be nicely detailed and all of it shows up clearly here as intended.

Packaging:
The cute packaging strikes again with all the goddesses on the cover and Gan-chan dead center with Skuld using a crayon to place tic tac toe on his body. Skuld looks particularly cute in her coverall jeans and Belldandy in her beret outfit. The back cover features a few animation shots and a summary of what the show is about as well as a little feature on Belldandy. The episode numbers and titles are listed for all twelve episodes that appear on this disc as well. The insert provides another shot of the cover as well as opening up to reveal a nice miniposter of sorts of Belldandy looking all cute.

Menus:
The menu system for this release really qualifies as basic, with no animation or music playing even in the main menu, which is a rarity for a Pioneer title, especially one where there's so many possibilities with it. The design is simplistic enough with a nice image of the goddesses and the selections in the center. Moving between menus is nice and fast and access times are pretty good.

Extras:
The extras are a bit minimal here, but I don't think this is a series that was laden with material outside of what was in the show. There's a two page section that gives some character notes on Gan-Chan and there's also eight images of Gan-Chan in the art gallery.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Much like the first volume, we get twelve standalone stories here that features usually Gan-Chan and Urd getting involved in some weird and wacky trouble where Skuld sometimes gets involved or Belldandy comes in to save the day. After Gan-chan gets banged up somehow at least. This formula is what drives the show, so expecting any changes is just foolish, though we do get two two-parters here that play out nicely.

Naturally, some of these episodes play out better than others. In general, I find myself not all that interested in the episodes where Gan-chan is courting Kaoru, the pink female rat of his dreams with the appetite of all rat appetites. I didn’t mind however the opening episode that has Urd babysitting three of Gan-chan’s younger cousins, particularly the one who likes to play dice and got along the best with Urd for it. The fun of seeing Urd play the role of a babysitter is strong here and there were elements I could see that I do with my own child at times.

The episodes that worked best in this collection are the double episode ones. The first one, SOS in the Big Snowfield, which is where Skuld fixes the broken air conditioner far too well and changes the room into a huge snow drift. So with Urd and Gan-chan, the trio head off in their winter gear to scale the “mountains” to get to the air conditioner to fix it. There were a lot of great little moments in it from the bridge walk to the use of push-pins as stakes to climb in the snow. The other two parter that works is the Let’s Form a Band wherein Skuld and Urd actually agree on starting a band. The formation of a band is always a fun thing, and watching these strong personalities figure out whose doing what is perfect. Gan-chan tries out furiously for the drummer but doesn’t quite have the dexterous ability for it and they eventually have Belldandy try out, who not only wins over as the singer but wants to name the band after her and pretty much be in charge of it. Classic stuff.

These episodes go by extremely fast, especially if you skip the openings and endings (a feature I wish Pioneer had included, to just play the content). It’s not something we normally do, but with twelve episodes that have the ending song coming so fast, you just have to do it. We laughed probably just about as much as we did with the first volume and are looking forward to seeing the next batch of episodes. Good simple clean fun stuff.

Features
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Character Notes,Gan-Chan Gallery,Non-Credit Ending

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: B+
Packaging Rating: B+
Menus Rating: B-
Extras Rating: B-
Age Rating: 13 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: Geneon Entertainment (USA), Inc.
MSRP: 29.99
Running time: 100
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Adventures of the Mini Goddess