Kono Minikuku mo Utsukushii Sekai Vol. #2 (of 6) (Mania.com)
Review Date: Friday, June 03, 2005
Release Date: Friday, July 09, 2004
What They Say
Normal high-school student Takeru Takemoto encounters a bright light during his part-time motorcycle delivery job. He stops and looks around, and sees a beautiful girl named Hikari emerging from a shining cocoon in the woods. Takeru falls for her instantly, but a monster suddenly appears and attacks her.
Takeru's pleasant days pass by with the mysterious Hikari, Akari, his classmates, and cousin Mari.
These days are normal days, but to Hikari they are all wonderful.
This volume was viewed with the only audio track, a linear PCM Japanese 2.0 track, which sounded very nice. Unlike Dolby Digital tracks, PCM tracks aren't compressed and can offer a better auditory experience. The mix is well done, with good directionality, subtle background sounds, and clear dialogue.
Being from 2004, the show makes use of digital animation and the results on DVD are very nice. There's an anamorphic widescreen transfer to go along with a high video bitrate made possible by having only two episodes on the disc. Colors are lush and vibrant, and the visual presentation is very sharp.
The front cover features a cute shot of Ryou and Akari that is also used on the booklet and picture-labeled disc. The back has screenshots and episode summaries along with a staff and cast listing. The first edition bonuses were two semi-transparent illustration cards and a proof of purchase to collect and send in for a special omake DVD.
The only menu available is straightforward and well-designed, with animated episode clips and moving sparkles over the image used on the cover as the background. You can access all the chapters as well as the extras from the main menu while music from the pre-opening sequence plays in the background.
The on-disc extras are somewhat lacking and consist of a TV commercial for the show as well as a few trailers for other Geneon series released on DVD.
Content: (may contain spoilers)
The first disc threw a lot of things out there, with a girl coming down from space, a monster attack, and introduction of the large cast. Things slow down a bit on this second volume, as we meet another character and spend time exploring her story while stepping away from the main couple of Takeru and Hikari for a bit.
At school, the students are talking about various things like food and clothes going missing around town. Takeru's friend Ryou showed his empathic nature in the first two episodes, and is drawn back to the same forest in which the two found Hikari in the first episode. There he finds a girl named Akari, whose floating blob-like friend Kuon has been the one stealing things for her. Ryou continues visiting Akari in the forest, and the two develop a quiet relationship where they just enjoy being with each other. Akari really seems in touch with nature and life, and Ryou remembers seeing her in the light that Hikari came down from.
Akari wants to stay in the forest, but ends up leaving when Kuon gets in trouble. She also wants to get out for new experiences, and Ryou takes it upon himself to look after her. They end up going back to Ryou's small house, where he lives alone with his little sister Kimi. She cares a lot about her brother but acts a little standoffish, calling him a 'baka aniki' with regularity. As she and Akari snuggle up in bed, Kimi says that her parents died a while back and that it's been just her and Ryou making the most of things. Akari innocently says that even though it's the two of them, they're still a family and that families are really nice to have. The two seem to understand each other, which makes Kimi kicking Akari out the next day a bit of a surprise.
It turns out that Kimi and Ryou can't provide for another person due to limited funds, so Akari ends up at Takeru's place, though there seems to be a bit of jealousy on Kimi's part that Akari might take her brother away. There's some attempted comedy relief in parts by Shinichi and Daijirou, but it largely falls flat. Hikari and Akari meet for the first time, and don't seem to know each other, despite similar experiences of traveling through space in a stream of light. As everyone sits puzzled, Jennifer in all of her voluptuous glory comes into the room and postulates that the two could have been one entity originally. Hikari and Akari take this to mean they're kind of like sisters, and are very happy as a result. Amika and Sakurako decide it's time to get Akari outfitted as well, which means more naked measurements!
As Ryou and Kimi leave the girls to their task, Akari bursts out of the room and doesn't want Ryou to leave her. Kimi accepts Akari into their family after a little bit of hestitation, and Ryou now has a live-in female companion just like Takeru.
With only 12 episodes in the show's run and a mere eight left after this viewing, one has to wonder where things are going since it still feels like an introductory arc. Though there are hints at a bigger and darker storyline, not much of it has been revealed. At times it seems like they tried to clone Mahoromatic but left out the entertaining bits. Despite that, it's still enjoyable, if at times boring, but the slower pace lets you get to know everyone a little better and I'm looking forward to seeing where we end up with these characters. As an aside, I'm absolutely in love with the ending song, a definite highlight regardless of the episode that preceded it.
Japanese 2.0 Language,TV commercial,Geneon previews
Sony KLV-23M1 23" LCD HDTV, Toshiba SD-4900 progressive region-free player via Acoustic Research component cables, Sony STR-DE897/S receiver, Sony SA-VE367T 7.1 channel speaker system.
Mania Grade: B-
Audio Rating: A
Video Rating: A
Packaging Rating: A-
Menus Rating: B+
Extras Rating: C+
Age Rating: All
Region: 2 - Japan
Released By: Geneon Entertainment, Japan
Running time: 48
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: This Ugly Yet Beautiful World