Mahoromatic: Something More Beautiful Vol. #2: Hectic Holidays (of 3) (Mania.com)
Review Date: Saturday, October 25, 2003
Release Date: Tuesday, October 28, 2003
What They Say
From Christmas to 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!
Adding an extra episode to the release, the show really plugs away at a good chunk of the second season in one volume.
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in its original language of Japanese. While the show has a few dynamic action moments, it actually features quite a number of dynamic dialogue moments where the directionality across the forward soundstage comes across perfectly as there are a number of characters and jokes running at any given time. The pro-logic mix here sounds very good and we noted no dropouts or distortions on either language track.
Much like the first season, this season of Mahoromatic continues to sport a gorgeous anamorphic transfer that has fantastic colors with no noticeable bleeding, cross coloration or aliasing. With five episodes on the disc, the show looks great through and through. The only area where I noticed something wonky was during the New Years episode when there is a pan across the screen of the girls in their kimono’s; Mahoro’s outfit looks very blurry as it pans across her until the camera stops. But just her and nobody else.
The cover art naturally continues with the maid theme, this time adding in one of Suguru’s friends to the mix with most of them smiling. I don’t think we’ll ever see Minawa actually smile. The back cover provides the episode numbers and titles (and the spine contains the volume number, a nice plus) as well as a small summary of what this disc is like. The discs features and extras are nice and clear as well as the usual production information. The insert provides another shot of the front cover without the logo. The insert opens up to a cute manga style image from the Christmas episode with everyone dressed up in different ways. Continuing the tradition of the first season, there’s a reversible cover here as well. The image is more action oriented than past ones with Ryuga being included and a determined looking Mahoro.
The menu layout is an interesting one this time around, using what I believe is the Saint style monitor system as it shows various locations playing in an animated fashion with the selections down the middle. The design is nice, but a lot of the animation looks choppy, giving the menu a sluggish feel even though the actual movement of the cursor is fast and efficient. Submenus load quickly and access times are nice and fast.
In addition to the textless ending, there’s an eight page art gallery that has some nice images from the show and the artwork used for both covers for this volume.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
With the enjoyment in the previous volume of the entire Slash/Ryuga rivalry, I was disappointed that it was all fairly well resolved and that it wasn’t an element that could be really used anymore. So that leaves the rest of this season somewhere else to go, not that you can really tell from this volume.
Well, ok. There’s about 3 minutes spent with the information that the aliens are gathering more of their forces and the evil doctor that created Minawa is looking to capture Mahoro to find out what really makes her tick. But out of the five episodes here, we’re talking no more than three to five minutes worth of time spent on any of those issues.
Once you remove that, you get five standalone episodes that basically play with the lives of Mahoro and Suguru. The show kicks off with the Christmas episode that has Mahoro going all out to do everything she can to make it the best Christmas ever. She looks far too cute in a red maid outfit with a Santa cap though. Minawa tries to get into the spirit as well and comes up with some interesting items to help celebrate. Naturally, all of Suguru’s friends end up over as well and there’s a sizeable party that goes on with it. A lot of time is spent on the Christmas present trade, particularly with Hamji and his barely concealed lust for Minawa.
If there’s anything that’s considered a plotline in the first two episodes it’s that relationship. After they celebrate Christmas together, the show shifts quickly into the ten day even of New Years with the various traditions of shrine, gifts and more. Hamji and Minawa continue to get along better and better and it’s cute watching Hamji get so frustrated while Minawa’s facial expressions never seem to change at all. There’s naturally a number of wacky moments throughout the days where they spend time at places, such as Mahoro and Shikijo facing off at the shrine and vying for Suguru’s attentions, but that’s all pretty standard at this point.
With the holidays still in full swing, there’s also a Valentines Day episode. With the Japanese tradition of just girls giving chocolates on Valentine’s Day and the boys later returning the favor on White Day, the women are all in the best mode of trying to win over Suguru. Mahoro helps Minawa bake something for the one she likes while Mahoro herself works her way towards getting the perfect batch for Suguru. There’s a great moment where Suguru’s three friends all present him with their chocolates at the same time in an effort to try and make him choose. Suguru chooses wisely there!
The laugh out loud episode of this disc though is when Suguru’s grandfather arrives to come see him, as he hasn’t been able to do that much over the years. He’s smitten with Mahoro but tries to have his way in every other regard, from tasting food before it’s finished to getting a good peek at her in the bathtub. The two of them take on a great little adversarial stance throughout the episode while Suguru is helpless but to watch. It becomes pretty evident where Suguru gets a number of his traits but it’s also hilarious when the grandfather realizes his grandson has surpassed him when he discovers that Suguru is a chick magnet.
While this set of episodes is definitely enjoyable, there’s still the lack of any real progress towards an actual plot. Outside of the hinted moments and the morbid “days left” countdown at the end of each episode, you’d never guess that there’s any real storyline other than “fun with friends and maids.” This season is quickly starting to feel like something they didn’t expect to have made and opted to do light character comedy for the bulk of it while searching for a plot. It’s enjoyable, but still fluffy.
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Textless Ending,Art Gallery
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP 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: B+
Menus Rating: B
Extras Rating: B
Age Rating: 16 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: Geneon Entertainment (USA), Inc.
Running time: 125
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2