Rune Soldier Vol. #2: Adventures for Dummies (of 6) (Mania.com)
Review Date: Thursday, June 05, 2003
Release Date: Tuesday, June 03, 2003
What They Say
Two treasure hunters needed a good magician to help them open magic seals on ancient site. But they got Louie. And now they can't seem to shake him. This time, it's a field trip for some junior priestesses. The purpose? To clean out a zombie nest and give the juniors some training. But when the zombies keep coming, it turns into a learning experience for everyone.
Back in town, Melissa's old fiancÚ surprises everyone and demands her hand in marriage. Will Louie defend her honor? What's Merrill saying about a "Darling Jar?" And what surprises will Louie and the girls find in the Palace of Ordeals? Crack open your textbooks and get ready to find out in the next thrilling volume of Rune Soldier!
With the cast and setting established, Rune Soldier continues on its merry way with more fantasy comedy.
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this disc in its original language of Japanese. The stereo mix provided here is a decent one with some minor directionality across the forward soundstage and a touch of depth to the action. Through regular playback, we had no issues with dropouts or distortions.
The materials here for the transfer continue to look very good. While a number of recent fantasy shows have been darker in color and tone, Rune Soldier goes much brighter and vibrant with its colors. There’s some slight edge cross coloration going on in character hair, but is very dependent on the system you watch it on. It was invisible on our Panasonic player via component cables but the TV/DVD combo shows it more clearly. Colors are solid throughout and aliasing was pretty much non-existent.
The clear keepcases and reversible covers continue here. The front cover goes for the detailed and gorgeous character artwork, this one providing a distraught Melissa flanked by two potential suitors/heroes. The coloring and designs are fantastic here. The back cover shows off a bit more artwork and a few shots from the show while surrounding the summary of what to expect with these episodes. The discs features are clearly listed though no mention is given to extras. Episode numbers are listed and the volume numbering is only on the front cover, nothing on the spine for it. The reverse cover is much like the first volume, where one side has the super deformed versions of some characters in the circle while the back cover does a reworking of the other sides back cover. The insert has some more great detailed artwork, this time of Merrill and Ila while it opens to have episode summaries surrounded by character design artwork. Two pieces of a larger puzzle are also included here.
The menus here are very nicely laid out with each screen featuring a different character. The main menu has Melissa with some small bits of the screen doing some in-show styled animated movements while some instrumental music plays. The layout is pretty simple and straightforward but with some very vibrant looking artwork. Access times are nice and fast and with a very minimal transitional animation, load times are swift.
The extras for this volume are pretty much the same as the first one, a clean opening and ending segment.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Rune Soldier continues pretty strongly with this batch of episodes, with everything being fairly self-contained in terms of plot and story, though there’s enough subplot material that keeps it all connected. The bulk of the episodes here do end up focusing on Melissa’s relationship with Louie, so there’s plenty of fun to be had.
In fact, Louie’s reputation takes yet another dive right from the start as he ends up on another adventure with the group, but this time Melissa is taking some acolytes out with them. The three young women can’t imagine why Louie is coming along nor understand why Melissa apparently has no issue. It’s only when they leap to the conclusion that he’s the baggage carrier do they ease up, if only slightly. From there on out, the three girls only refer to him as the baggage carrier, something which really gets to Louie after awhile.
Melissa does eventually find herself needing Louie though. While she continues to pray for guidance in how to deal with Louie and his being her Hero, a more unfortunate man shows up in the form of Conrad, a “beautiful” and handsome knight from Melissa’s home town. The two were set to be married and he’s come to bring that to conclusion and become her hero, returning her to the town and living happily ever after. In a panic, she insists that she’s already found her hero and clutches to a confused Louie.
Conrad, being the classic handsome knight, insists upon settling all of this with a duel in a few days time. Since Louie isn’t exactly the best fighter, we get the amusing training sequence that brings Genie and Merrill into play and some very humorous methods of teaching. Through all of this though, you see Melissa thaw some in regards to Louie, since he hasn’t really said anything about doing this for her.
The results of the fight lead into the next episode, which I think is one of the best episodes of the series so far. With Merrill having acquired her winnings from the gambling on the fight, she now has over 10,000 gold coins. Keeping them in a massive jar in her room, she goes so far as to strip naked and to climb into the jar of coins, giggling with pleasure the whole time. The really greedy/distrusting side of Merrill comes out with her jar and all the coins contained inside it.
This also leads to paranoia and fear as she thinks someone is after her coins. Her journey with the jar, which eventually involves a confused Louie and a hilarious yellow clay golem is priceless, especially in the way the story starts in the middle and then picks up there again, completely throwing the viewer off from the original premise you get. Louie and Merrill end up playing very nicely off of each other and Merrill really gets some good screentime here, competing closely with Melissa for my favorite character of this series.
There’s hardly anything in this show to really dislike. It’s cute, it has some hilarious moments, some steady humor and the occasional solid action sequence. Fantasy comedies can be a lot of fun if done properly and Rune Soldier definitely hits all the right marks. Just about everything with this release is how I like it, so it’s a very pleasant experience when a new volume arrives. Very recommended.
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Clean opening and closing animations,Printed poster puzzle,Temporary tattoos,Printed production sketches insert,Reversible cover
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Panasonic RP-82 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: A
Menus Rating: B+
Extras Rating: B
Age Rating: 15 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: ADV Films
Running time: 100
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Rune Soldier