Risky Safety Vol. #3 (of 3) (Mania.com)
Review Date: Wednesday, October 29, 2003
Release Date: Tuesday, November 04, 2003
What They Say
The apprentice angel Safety relates the story of how she became a friend to a giant monster. The unusual love triangle between Lani the Pomeranian, Safety the apprentice angel and Risky the apprentice death spirit is resolved. And in the climactic four episode story arc, Risky and Safety, the opposing forces of good and evil, must join forces to struggle against the hands of fate that literally come to bear on Moe & Yuya, threatening to split the couple apart forever...
Risky Safety manages to come to a satisfying conclusion after taking a brief time out for some more comical pieces first.
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.
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.
The sideways clear keepcase style continues here with one of the best shots so far for the front cover; Risky laying on the back of a cute kitten while dangling a very tiny fish in front of it. With the soft blue background and the color scheme and layout in general, this is just too adorable yet nicely wicked at the same time. 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 is given over to Safety as she moves through the flowers and interacts with the bees and ladybugs. 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 and song translations. The fourth page of the booklet provides the production credit list as well as bilingual actor credits.
The menu layout here is nicely designed. The central image is a great “team” shot of Risky and Safety together in the garden with all kinds of flowers around them set against a blue backdrop. 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.
To close things out, there’s some good stuff here. The ending sequence is done up in textless form and there’s under a minute of small gaffes and goofs in the dub outtake section. Translations notes provide the same as before plus a few new ones, though considerably less than the previous two volumes. The cover art gallery won me over nicely with great looking pieces and a shot of the four Japanese DVD covers. The really nice extra is the Ending Theme Song done in full and as a retrospective. Running about five minutes in length, you can have English lyrics (done in stylized font), romaji lyrics or Japanese lyrics.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
While the second volume of Risky Safety was decent overall, we had some definite lulls in it, notably with the Fazzy storyline. Things definitely picked up as that disc went along so there were some expectations going into the third and final volume.
While the show does deviate away for a bit from what I think is the real central part and heart of the show, Moe, the time away is pretty amusing and doesn’t drag anywhere near as much as the Fazzy storyline did to me. It’s hard to tell if it’s played for comedy or not at first, as we see Safety and Moe playing chess with each other. On the TV nearby, there’s shots of a reporter exclaiming about a monster that’s really come to the city and is attacking everything. It’s not long before there’s another one as well and people are apparently cheering that one on as a defender. This is all small background, but it provides Safety an opening.
She remembers back to a time when she ended up befriending a monster herself, an initially scary creature named Mamono who actually turns out to be quite small and friendly as well as quite caring. We see as she takes care of him after an incident with a local village and Mamono takes care of her as well by providing some food. The entire incident gets much larger when another monster arrives. In the context of the series as a whole, it makes little sense. As an amusing side story it’s nicely done and gives Safety some time to herself.
Even cuter, it’s followed up by a Lani story. A love arrow has hit Lani, everyone’s favorite dog, and Lani now has the hots for Safety. Safety tries to run away as much as possible while trying to not think of such a fate happening (though she does) and tries to convince Lani to let her remove the arrow so she can return to her proper owner and give her the attention she needs. Risky ends up getting involved and the situation gets out of hand quickly enough, which isn’t surprising since it’s just the length of one episode and it’s not meant to be much. Lani definitely needed an episode of her own though.
The final arc for the series is definitely a good payoff, which I wasn’t too sure was going to be there after the first half of the disc. Things center back on Yuya and Moe’s relationship as the two go out on something of a date together (after an amusing viewing of Moe’s panties.) During all of this, Risky ends up coming across one of the more powerful members of his side who informs her that a Moment of Destiny is upon them.
Risky proves how little she really knows again by being clueless here. As it turns out, every once in a great while the great one above makes a mistake. To the great one, the mistake is barely even noticeable if that. It’s as if someone moved a spot or two of dust to anyone else. But to the people it affects, things change dramatically. Naturally, Yuya, Moe and a few others get caught inside this Moment of Destiny and all of a sudden everything is out of whack.
It’s from here that the various forces work to try and straighten things out and to bring everything back to the way it was. It’s actually really nicely done with the pacing of it, the way the music is woven so strongly into parts of it as well as how Risky and Safety have really changed after all this time together with Moe.
Going into the series I had little expectations, as I still haven’t been completely won over by these short length episode series. Some of shown moments of brilliance but I still wonder how much better a series could be if it was given the full time to run instead of changing the pacing to suit this. Risky Safety is a bit unbalanced in a few areas, notably in steering away from the leads more often than I would like, but when it does get back on track it’s really a heartwarming show that gets you feeling strongly for the characters.
With this also being AN Entertainments first series, I was doubly pleased to see that they not only hit just about every right note in how I like to see shows released but they kept the schedule very closely and had a minimal number of real troubles with it. While Risky Safety is over, I’m looking forward to seeing what other titles they look into, whether they’ll continue to go for the more offbeat types or expand into other areas to round out something of a full catalog. Either way, I’m definitely along for the ride and will hope that they use Risky Safety as the baseline for future releases and build upon it.
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Textless Ending,Dub Outtakes,Translation Notes,Cover Art Gallery,End Song Retrospective
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: B+
Age Rating: 13 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: AN Entertainment
Running time: 80
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Risky Safety