DNAngel Vol. #7 (of 7) (Mania.com)

By:Christopher Homer
Review Date: Friday, April 25, 2008
Release Date: Monday, August 21, 2006

What They Say
What they say: Daisuke has been separated from Dark and trapped in a timeless world! Krad and Satoshi fight amongst themselves as Satoshi's father moves forward with his plan to destroy Dark and bring Krad permanently into this world under his personal control. Krad and Dark are on a collision course with destiny as they approach their climactic confrontation with each other and with the Black Wings. Will they survive? Or will they both be destroyed?

The Review!
In three episodes, everything is wrapped up in one neat little package as unanswered questions are answered and truths revealed.

Due to the commentary track on this volume, for this review I listened to the volume in English. There were no noticeable distortions in quality of sound when switching from English to Japanese, with the 5.1 track being noticeably quite clear on my speakers. Everything is clear on the stereo side in Japanese as well and came through cleanly with no problems upon viewing.

Again, the video quality is near perfect - the affect of 3D/CG is spot on perfect and the transition works perfectly. There were no cuts and with the wide screen it gives you a true movie experience. There were so many scenes that showed the brilliant transition specifically in the last episode whether it's the animation of the Black Wings or just the final sunset being watched by Satoshi and Daisuke. The colours look really good here and no glitches found, making the show seem completely serene and just stunning to look at. No problems whatsoever.

For the final volume, the packaging has a head shot of Daisuke in almost complete red winking on a grey background of scenes from the volume as per standard in the D N Angel packaging. The shot is a very nice picture of Daisuke but like previously the lack of colour on the background and not to mention the overuse of red on Daisuke seems to null the effect a bit. On the inside, there is a nice shot of Riku sitting down in her school uniform, again on the same background, whilst both the inside and back are the same with a few colour screenshots of the volume with summarise of the volume and extras on it. The mirroring is a bit disappointing considering the amount that could have been done considering it was the last volume and the dull colours for the background seem to cheapen the effect of the bright smiling faces of Daisuke and Riku, though the actual shots of them are quite nice.

The menu is presented neatly with the opening theme True Light in the background as black feathers surround Dark as he's shown on the front of the disc. The menu itself is quite simple for scene selection, languages and special features. Selecting languages or extras presents you with a beautiful piano or acoustic version of True Light, which is almost a shame that the loop has to cut it and repeat it - the extras also has the same pictures that they use in the packaging of Daisuke on the main menu and Riku on the extras menu, again a bit disappointing because of the scenes that occurred during the volume other shots could have easily been used. The disc had no problems switching languages or on the last episode, to switch to the audio commentary as well.

D N Angel finishes off the last volume with another strong set of extras. Along with the clean opening and ending animation, we get another English commentary, this time with the voice actors of Satoshi (Greg Ayres) and Krad (Illich Guardiola). With Greg admitting in the commentary that he's a genuine fan of the show, it's a nice mixture of talking about the show, their characters and humorous banter. Greg in particular seems to be having a fun time, joking about all the yaoi innuendo and how that is picked up by fans at conventions (and subsequent lines he's had to say) and there's a lot of comic banter between the two on how they met, and how they see their characters.

Along with the English commentary, we get another D N Angel Talk with Irino and Miyamoto (Japanese seiyuu for Daisuke and the series music composer) - like the previous two they are revolved about questions being asked of them, but this time they do a pick them out of a hat theory and get quite literally, lots of random questions from normal questions like what foods they don't like and what would you do on their last day of their life, to more unusual questions like what would they do if they were born a woman, and what is their favourite kind of toilet...as you can probably tell, it's a mixture of thought processing and a lot of snickering.

We also get another part in the 3D Scene Production as the creators show more scenes created with the 3D imagery, this time focusing on scenes such as the Wedge Of Time and the shattering of the crystal scene, Mio's return and the fantastic Black Wings segment of the 3D Skeleton emerging.

Lastly, we get Shunichi Miyamoto performing the song Caged Bird (insert song to Episode 22) live in a DN Angel Unplugged - like all the songs in D N Angel, it's a beautiful melodic piano piece which is a joy to listen to. The extras in the entire series of D N Angel have been an excellent mixture to cater for all fans for English, Japanese and actually looking behind the scenes in the creation of the animation and the music. Excellent stuff.

With Daisuke leaving himself behind during the Ice and Snow arc and Satoshi losing control, everything comes to a head in the final 3 episodes of D N Angel.

Krad emerges from Satoshi, which leads to a return to their aerial battles as Risa and Riku get caught in the crossfire. Krad is very sadistic during these scenes and has no qualms in trying to hurt them if they get in his way - Satoshi however isn't completely gone as he tries to regain control of his self as Dark saves the girls. Satoshi reveals his intentions to Dark in saving Daisuke and he reveals his powers as a Hikari - to imitate any painting he sees once - in this case Daisuke's painting. With a little creativity, Satoshi creates another portal for Daisuke to escape his world, however Freedert appears to be dying and Daisuke's care for others even if they aren't human shows even when Dark gets to rescue him. It leads to some emotional reunions and goodbyes between Freedert, the 2nd Hand Of Time, and the true form of the Wedge Of Time, along with Daisuke and Riku. The arc ends with some fantastic animation and music with a visage of all the main and minor characters watching the snow fall down which was a very tender moment - but the final shot of Satoshi's father breaks the spell as we head into the final 2 episodes - the final showdown as it were.

With everything that has happened, Daisuke seems a bit down despite Xmas is coming - a welcome return for Towa means a lot of teasing but also the fact that something seems to be affecting her comes back into the plot, and a lot of strange things are happening around town, such as the phone lines and TV connections down or being weird. Satoshi finally realises what his father has planned and the past of the Hikari/Niwa rivalry is explained as Kosuke tells Daisuke about Satoshi's true name and the Black Wings - the two halves of Dark and Krad as a living artwork. With Krad now in complete control of Satoshi, he sets to reunite with Dark once and for all. Interestingly, Daiki (Daisuke's grandfather) gets a bit of development as he's one of two people who recognise the threat of the Black Wings in the city and gets the police department to evacuate the city along with the commissioner - and a very good reminder of who Daiki was in the past - as the tide dries up and Towa/With are completely affected by the power of the wings, Daisuke leaves home as Daiki/Emiko set up a ceremony to seal them - and with Daisuke in a Dark like outfit he runs to the source of the problem...as he passes Riku evacuating...

...Riku senses Daisuke and rushes off to meet him, fearing they may not see each other for a while. After enjoying the view once more and a cute moment with Daisuke inviting Riku to spend Xmas with him, reality hits and Riku falls off a cliff - Daisuke saves her and at the same time reveals his own powers and the fact that he is Dark to Riku. Riku is understandably wary of this but Dark's response of 'He is him...and I am I...' fits the series well as both are branched out as individuals more than them just sharing the same body. Considering the comedy and how much they were different and how they crossed swords at the beginning of the series shows how well they care about each other now. Not to mention also Risa finding them and how much her character has developed as Dark says she has become a real lady. Risa was a character that was very childish and bratty to start with, but she has truly grown up as a character that has been one of the strongest points of D N Angel in how the characters have developed.

The finale is very dramatic, coupled with come great animation - we get the battle externally between Krad and Dark, and internally with Satoshi and Daisuke. The return of Mio finally wraps up the one loose end from the last volume I complained about and one of the most romantic finishes I've seen in anime (though as Greg Ayres points out, it will probably disappoint a lot of yaoi fans) left a really good feeling in me. There have been some weaknesses in this volume, namely that Satoshi's father as a villain wasn't really explained until the last episode and it seemed to have been tacked on as well as the revelation of the link of Krad and Dark was again near the end, but the character development and an actual strong romantic aspect with an actual conclusion (and a very good one) made this final volume a joy to watch.

D N Angel has had its ups and downs, but mostly ups thankfully. Elements of comedy, romance, action and mystery have all intermixed and came together in a thrilling finale. The battle between Krad and Dark, Satoshi finally getting his wishes he wants, the growing up of Risa, and the romance between Daisuke and Riku come to a true finale that ends in a happy ending which doesn't feel tacked on or clichéd. Coupled with some wonderful composition and animation, even the little niggles about the final plot didn't dampen the sheer enjoyment I got from watching this. Will be on the marathon list sometime in the year - very recommended.

Japanese 2.0 Language,English 5.1 Language,English Subtitles,Clean Opening Animation,Clean Closing Animation,Staff Commentary featuring Greg Ayres (English VA for Satoshi) and Illich Guardiola (English VA for Krad),DN Angel Talk 5 featuring Miyu Irino (Japanese Seiyuu of Daisuke) and Shunichi Miyamoto (Songwriter of True Light: D N Angel opening),3D Scene Production Part 3,DN Angel Unplugged: Live Performance of Caged Bird

Review Equipment
Toshiba 37C3030 - 37" Widescreen HD Ready LCD TV - Tangent Ht-50 Home Theatre System Multi-Regional DVD Players/Speakers - Tangent Subwoofer 50-150 Hz, Impedenced 8 OHM.

Mania Grade: B+
Audio Rating: B+
Video Rating: A
Packaging Rating: C+
Menus Rating: B-
Extras Rating: A-
Age Rating: 12 & Up
Region: 2 - Europe
Released By: ADV Films UK
MSRP: £19.99
Running time: 75
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: DNAngel