Risky Safety Vol. #2 (of 3) (Mania.com)

By:Chris Beveridge
Review Date: Wednesday, October 22, 2003
Release Date: Tuesday, October 14, 2003



What They Say
The tale of Risky and Safety, an apprentice death spirit and an angel in training forced to share a single body, proceeds from the distant age of legend to the farthest reaches of outer space! Volume 2 deepens and strengthens the relationships between Moe, Risky and Safety, introduces new character Koiuji, the divine caretaker of the local Love Shrine, and reveals the secret reason for Risky and Safety's unusual entanglement.

The Review!
After a fun and strange first volume, Risky and Safety are back and Risky continues to do what she does best, much to Safety’s chagrin.

Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in its original language of Japanese, primarily because we’re such big Maaya Sakamoto fans. The show has a rather good stereo mix that’s very heavy on the bass in a number of musical moments that helps add a real sense of depth to the track. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout. We listened to chunks of the English track and had no issues with that either.

Video:
Originally airing in late 1999 as part of the Anime Complex II series of short shows, Risky Safety was part of a number of series that really rode the digital animation wave at the right time. The transfer here manages to showcase this series well with its very smooth camera panning, great colors that deal with scenes that shift from sharp to soft and all without any cross coloration. The most that I could come up with for issues with the transfer is that during some of the very closely drawn lines, such as Moe’s eyebrows, occasionally there’s some slight aliasing. This will be dependent on your setup though and how well calibrated everything is. It was quite noticeable on our “out of the box” 20” set but it was practically negligible on the HDTV.

Packaging:
Using a clear keepcase, the style is almost the same as the first volume in layout. The primary side of it, done sideways, features laying down in a circle of branches and such. The original logo is along the top corner and it shows both the volume number and a listing of all eight episodes titles. The back cover, also sideways, features a larger print version of the episode titles, several nice shots from the show itself and a good introduction summary. The discs features and production credits are all nicely placed and easily located. The reverse side cover provides a great image of riding on top of some hamsters and holding a piece of cheese. The reverse back is identical to the original one. The included insert is top notch, featuring a smattering of artwork and animation shots throughout while providing some really good translation notes. The fourth page of the booklet provides the production credit list as well as bilingual actor credits.

Menu:
The menu layout here is nicely designed. The central image is a nice looking of Risky and Safety together with their respective equipment in the circle branch from the cover. Some music from the show plays, but it only loops once and then stops, leaving you with silence you may not expect. Access times to each of the menus is nice and fast and they all load quickly and are free of transitional animations that can bog down some releases.

Extras:
There’s another good selection of extras here with something for almost everyone. The dub outtakes run just under three minutes and provide a couple of amusing moments as actors flub lines while the translation notes provide copious information about various elements from the show; there’s some carryover from the previous volume with the basics such as honorifics and the like, then there’s multiple pages going over the episodes on this disc and some of the bits about them. There’s a 10 page fan art gallery showcasing submissions sent in by fans of the series as well as the standard 16 page image gallery of shots from the show itself. To round things out, the ending sequence is provided in a clean textless form.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
After getting a kick out of the first volume of this series, we were really happy to see that for the most part it really continues on in much the same way here but with a fair bit of new revelations along the way. Depending on whether you can believe either of these two characters when they start telling stories.

This volume picks up where things left off with Risky and Safety’s first real apprentice mission with the young girl who has some problems with her father and his love and attention given over to the mechanical dolls that he’s created. All told, I was quite glad to see this only covered two more episodes as I hadn’t found the story all that interesting nor the time taken away from Moe and her life worth it either. There are some amusing moments as both Risky and Safety end up in some comical situations that will make you laugh, but I was the most pleased when I knew this segment was over.

Once past that, we’re back to the present and watching as Risky continues to make a mess of things and Safety tries to fix it. One of the best features of Risky is that she always speaks her mind, regardless of the consequences. Sometimes you just need someone like that to say what needs to be said. She ends up spouting the truth during a lunch Moe has with her friends outside of the school with Kotone and Suzuko. While everyone is getting along fine and having a good lunch, Risky starts telling Suzuko how Kotone really doesn’t like her; in fact, Kotone absolutely hates Suzuko for a variety of reasons. This sets things up for fireworks but Suzuko is the type who doesn’t mind if someone doesn’t like her, even if she likes that person. The relationship of girls this age is amusing and Risky brings it all to the surface.

Moe and Yuya get some time to themselves for a bit on this disc as well, notably during the time spent at the shrine together. There are some other elements that come into play during the episode, but their time is mostly “real world” time with little noticeable involvement of the little ones. Risky does get some time in here though as well as Safety in trying to deal with Moe’s relationship, but it’s done so that it doesn’t actually impact their date, which is a nice plus.

The best set of episodes here are the last ones though, which starts off by having Moe make a Momotaro costume for Yuya. While she’s going over it, Risky goes off on how poor the book is and how lacking in facts it is. Moe tries to argue it back but even Safety agrees that it’s highly flawed. So begins their version of the tale, which is indeed far different. Instead of a single peach coming down the river and the lone Momotaro being born from it, seemingly dozens of peaches arrive and the woman who finds them now has a virtual army of Momotaro’s. These guys are all definitely do-gooders so it’s little surprise when later after growing up some that they encounter the “ogres” as lead by Risky.

The battle between the two sides range far and wide and provide many an in-joke; I was especially glad to see a Lum ogre included among Risky’s ranks. The battle between the two sides expands from its simple land battles between the growing armies to massive space battles between the sides, battles which lead to the destruction of fleets but also caused the merging together of Risky and Safety’s bodies. Nothing like borrowing a little bad science fiction from the Trek universe… Regardless, though it’s just as whacked as anything else Risky has told, the epic nature of the story is hilarious as well as Risky’s interpretation of it. She even enhances her bosom greatly in retelling the tale.

There’s a lot of amusing material throughout the episodes. Even though I was getting tired of the Risky/Safety origin story at the start, the disc really picks up once again when it hits the current time and brings Moe back into the picture. The pacing has evened out nicely as well with the short episode run times and the CG effects are much less pronounced. This continues to be a fun show that balances out the physical comedy with the snarky material nicely.

Features
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Translation Notes,Fan Art Gallery,Image Gallery,Clean Closing

Review Equipment
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: A
Menus Rating: B+
Extras Rating: A-
Age Rating: 13 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: AN Entertainment
MSRP: 29.98
Running time: 80
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Risky Safety