Scrapped Princess Vol. #6 (also w/Limited Edition Figures) (of 6) (Mania.com)
Review Date: Wednesday, January 25, 2006
Release Date: Tuesday, January 24, 2006
What They Say
Pacifia's birthday is only hours away! Will the destruction of the world unfold from this event? The final battle will ensue as her siblings, Shannon and Raguel, prepare themselves for the final battle. The fate of Pacifica, and indeed the entire world, is revealed in the shocking finale!
Drawing to a close, Pacifica finds herself at long last in the position of truly breaking the world.
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in its original language of Japanese. While a lot of the show is fairly quiet and dialogue driven as it keeps to the small cast as they travel and interact with locals, there are some really good action sequences that utilize the forward soundstage well and move across it. The opening volume has some fun scenes, such as when Leo first arrives and rolls across the screen or during the glass valley fight where the crinkling sounds come from all over. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout and we had no problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.
Originally airing in 2003, the transfer for this series is presented in its original full frame aspect ratio. The materials here for the most part are pretty good but the series does suffer in a few areas, some quite noticeable. One of the most blatant areas and one that made me leery of the release in general was the opening shot when the Japanese logo comes up with all of the dot crawl all around it. There actually seems to be a method to this madness however. It looks to be hitting the same set of episodes as the Japanese release that was on separate discs. So it looks to be much more master related than actual authoring issues. The shows colors in general look really good with the backgrounds and they mostly maintain a solid feel though there are some occasions where the gradient becomes more pronounced than it should.
The series uses the same artwork as the Japanese release but with a slightly different border surrounding it. One of the better pieces for the series, which really isn't saying much, the final cover has a shot of Pacifica and someone new that shows up in the last episodes as they talk alongside the river. I think this is the closest that we really get to see any fanservice from Pacifica. The logo is kept relatively the same kind of style by translated for the main part while the subtitle is left in Japanese and the only other addition to the front is the basic logos and volume numbering. The back cover has a fairly standard fantasy style layout with scrolls and line work with a very descriptive summary of the premise. A few shots from the series are attached to the episode listings and the discs features are pretty clear and easy to find. Though not a full technical grid, something resembling the start of one is there along the bottom. No insert was included with this release.
The menu layout for the series is similar to the front cover a bit in that it has an elaborate frame around it while a bit of animation plays through the main window with clips of the scenery fading in and out. It initially starts with a shot of the carriage with the trio riding in the front but that clipped animation shifts down to the lower right and was probably a poor choice for inclusion since it features a fair bit of cross coloration and aliasing in it, which is not the kind of image you want to produce on the first actual bit of the show you see. The layout of the selections is pretty standard with instant episode access and navigation is easy. The disc makes out good in another area by properly reading our players' language presets and playing accordingly.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Scrapped Princess comes to its conclusion with this volume and while it has a significant amount of quiet time to it, the series hits all the right marks to bring the mixture of fantasy and science fiction to the kind of closure it needs. While there aren't a lot of elements from past episodes that resurface here to provide surprises, what is quite obvious is the impression Pacifica has made on people who are now drawn to her genetically and by their own choice.
Much of what made up the previous episode is carried over here as the fight over the capital is played out with much destruction on the ground. While Pacifica is stuck in the castle and the generals all dicker until they receive the orders to execute her, Shannon along with Senes and her companions fight a pitched battle against the Peacemakers over the city. This plays out in a beautiful way visually while it creates horrors on the ground as the damage grows, but it keeps to the saying that to any society, something so far advanced in science will look like magic. The mixture of the fantasy elements, such as how Zefiris and Shannon have the dragon look when combined, as well as the very science fiction oriented Peacemakers, the show manages to not only walk the line of the two genres but to hold them together better than a lot of others have done in the past.
There is a good deal of movement on the ground as various allegiances start to become more apparent and the characters have to make some hard choices about who they want to support and what they believe. The slow but interesting arc of Chris for example comes about in a good way here as he finally decides that he's got more than enough information about what's going on and he has a belief about what needs to be done that he finally takes action. I would have written the character off easily from his early appearances but they've nurtured him well along the way. There's also some very interesting movement among the lesser characters in control of the country as they try to find ways to appease the Peacemakers. The drawing in of the prince in a more capable manner brings the show to an interesting point as it progresses, giving him a chance to be a bit more than the simpleton he's come across as so far.
There's a good deal of down time on this volume that is actually rather welcome. Instead of a continually pitched battle between each side and lots of daring escapades in order to save the world, when both sides retreat to regroup and figure out what to do next, it settles into a routine where everyone has to figure out exactly how things should be done. While there is some fascinating albeit brief material on the Peacemakers side, the bulk of it is focused on the return of Pacifica to her friends and family as well as those who are now working to support her. It's very laid back and there are some minor revelations along the way as people get caught up on what's really going on. This isn't anywhere near as annoying as the subplot of Pacifica's amnesia which I thought threw a wrench into the overall progress of the show. Having everyone get back together helps to reaffirm the ties and emotions they all share which is critical as the final couple of episodes brings everything to a strong conclusion.
Looking at the series overall, it's definitely one that has a good deal of replay value if you want to spend the time looking for all the hints and nods along the way at the larger picture or to revisit the growth of the various characters whose allegiances have shifted during it. As a fantasy show it had some ideas that were interesting and would have been fascinating to follow up on its own just due to the religious material that it was promoting but as we learned more of what it really was and what was going on, as well as all the revelations about what humanity has gone through in this volume, Scrapped Princess managed to handle the shift into a science fiction show very well. It didn't eject all of the fantasy material but kept it close and explained some of it away by science but it kept most of the characters firmly rooted in the reality that they exist in. They were able to bring a bit more fun into it by the introduction of Senes and all the technology she was able to revive and that helped to solidify the bonds instead of actually stretching them further apart.
Scrapped Princess is a title that came onto the market with a lot of positive fan buzz which was aided by the demands of many to include the figures, which Bandai did. Barring some very minor overall video issues that were relegated to some of the opening sequences, the show has been an evolving treat that took a bit of time to really hook the viewer fully but definitely tantalized from the start. It's a series where it takes a lot of time to reveal itself so those without patience would easily give up on it. The show has a lot going for it but I think that so much time and energy was given over to dealing with the figures and probably dealing with the packaging involved in it that getting the word out about the show fell to the wayside. Scrapped Princess is a title that definitely deserves more recognition and talk about the show itself as it's a solid and engaging journey done in some of the best traditions of classic science fiction/fantasy writing. This is a series worth not passing up.
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Zenith DVB-318 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player via DVI, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.
Mania Grade: A
Audio Rating: B+
Video Rating: B
Packaging Rating: B-
Menus Rating: B-
Extras Rating: N/A
Age Rating: 13 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: Bandai Entertainment
Running time: 100
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Scrapped Princess