Adventures of Mini Goddess Vol. #4 (of 4) (Mania.com)
Review Date: Thursday, August 08, 2002
Release Date: Tuesday, August 13, 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 life trapped in a jar of miso paste or the revolt of Urd’s clones, the goddess adventures are dangerously funny!
Based on the characters from Ah! My Goddess the Movie and the Oh! My Goddess Manga!
Contains 12 great episodes!
The final twelve episodes of the Mini Goddesses plays out pretty much like the past thirty-six episodes, with lots of self-contained humor and a number of amusing parodies.
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.
The source materials for this transfer continue to look pretty good. Colors look nice and properly saturated, cross coloration is extremely minimal with only some mid range shots of the mini goddesses causing problems 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. The original openings and endings are used here as well, with a translated version of the end credits playing after the final episode.
The cover this time around is an amusing one with everyone getting ready for a vacation of sorts, especially with Urd in a cute outfit complete with a cooler. The back cover provides a couple of small animation shots and a brief summary of the show. There’s a listing of all twelve episodes and their episode numbers as well as the discs features and production information. A small blurb tells more about Skuld since the subtitle to this disc is the Skuld Files. The insert provides another shot of the front cover while it folds out to provide some SD sized Skuld artwork. The back of the insert provides the episode listings again.
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.
The extras section gets a small bump up with this release. We get the inclusion of a couple of small pages on Skuld and an image gallery containing thirteen pieces of artwork on her in various forms. The new extra here is a textless version of the new ending used on this disc.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
With these last episodes, we get a number of rather good episodes as well as a number of mediocre episodes. So it’s essentially like the past discs, with some hits and some misses.
The hits definitely worked though. One of the early amusing episodes deals with Gan-Chan running for president of his fellow rats, going against a rather nasty looking opponent. The girls all try to help him out, but the nasty rat has the help of the evil Marla, and conspires to give Gan-chan a bad image, showing him leaving places with Belldandy. The whole political aspect of the episode had me laughing, and the way it played out was perfect.
Also very amusing is when the entire group plays the boardgame of Life but use themselves as the pieces. It naturally takes on some magical aspects, such as when Gan-chan ends up landing on married with kids, Marla appears as his wife and four stone statues drop down into their hands as their children. Marla even gets so confused that she gets into it. Urd battles sea monsters and Skuld ends up becoming a corporate tycoon. It plays out well, especially if you have fond memories of the game.
A weak episode with some good moments involved the trains. While the episode in general was weak, with the characters becoming trains and going around the house to an upper level where they could get some eel-flavored snacks (ew ew ew), the bits that played out like Galaxy Express 999 were perfect. I never imagined Belldandy dressed up as Maetel, complete with hat. And Gan-chan makes a perfect Tochiro. These little homages made the episode stand out more than it should.
The scriptless episode worked good too, where everyone believes they have the day off but the cameras are still rolling, so Belldandy provides them with a script for a science fiction romance adventure she’s written. The final episode also plays out good, with everyone wondering how to end things on something new. And the entire multiple dream sequence of Gan-chan’s horrors had me in stitches each time they played it.
This series didn’t seem to really get the push Pioneer gives to most titles, but it’s almost understandable since it’s a real fan kind of show, not something that’s going to get huge mainstream appeal. I do think that these shorts would go exceptionally well though mixed into Adult Swim on Cartoon Network as small bumpers between shows, providing some light and fluffy comedy and exposing people to the characters. But, that’s probably why I’m not in programming. I’m glad Pioneer released this show. I’ve definitely enjoyed watching these episodes.
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Skuld Gallery,Skuld Character Notes,Textless Ending #2
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.
Running time: 100
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Adventures of the Mini Goddess