Galaxy Angel Rune Vol. #4 (of 4) (Mania.com)
Review Date: Tuesday, November 06, 2007
Release Date: Tuesday, November 13, 2007
What They Say
They may solve the problem, but they're always overdone and sketchy. In the end the damage is doubled... Because of all the blunders by the Rune Angel Troupe, the worried top brass decides to reeducate them and sends a man named Sakae to be their instructor. Apparently he's a legendary figure, feared as the strongest life form in the entire universe.
If anyone in Angel Troupe exceeds Sakae in any aspect of the training, the curriculum will end. For the first time in a very long time, all the members of Angel Troupe get really serious and excited. But Sakae's overwhelming power doesn't come close to what they had in mind. What are they going to do?!
Contains episodes 10-13:
Attack! Combat Professional-Rune
Solved! A Detective's Case File-Rune
Boiling! Hot Spring Commercial-Rune
Now Appearing! Evil-Rune Angel Troupe?!
Nothing is more satisfying than a mountain of Suzuki corpses.
Similar to the majority of the company's release slate to date, this series is presented in a Japanese 2.0 mix and that's it. Done at 192 kbps, it's a good sounding mix but one that doesn't have a lot to really stretch with as it's generally a dialogue piece. The music and sound effects that come into it are designed for a full effect and not much in terms of directionality. Though the mix isn't impressive it does suit the material well. We didn't have any problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.
Originally airing in 2006, the transfer for this TV series is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and is enhanced for anamorphic playback. Just as bright and colorful as the previous incarnations of the franchise, this one just shines across the screen. Colors are very vibrant and maintain a solid feel both in foreground and background animation. Similar to the second volume, the bitrate on average is essentially in the nine's for the bulk of it. The end result is a very clean and essentially problem free release. On all three displays we have it looked great but it held up the best in terms of overall quality on the 70" set. The show features plenty of stills but also a lot of fast action moments which look very good here.
Using the same artwork as the Japanese release but with a translated logo, this installment is a very busy and active piece that resembles the show quite well. Milfeulle and Apricot are the ones paired for this release while more versions of the cast are in the background along with some nonsensical text and lots of bright colors. Done up in a purple keepcase, it stands out pretty well and certainly draws the eye. The back cover is a bit mellower but that isn't saying much. With a white background, there are a number of shots from the show spread around along with little symbols and shapes. The summary covers some of the basics and the usual elements such as the staff and cast listings fill out the rest. The discs features are clearly laid out and a plug for this being a reversible cover. The bottom portion of the cover has a good technical grid strip along with the numerous logos required. The reverse side has artwork by Kanan which is quite good looking and would work just as well as the other front cover. The first volume had just a single insert sheet but this one provides another great little booklet with it that just feels different in terms of paper quality to US booklets. The booklet, done in purple ink for the volume, has various character breakdowns and information on them, a look at various aspects of these episodes and a few four panel comics along with some character bios. It's not a terribly rich booklet but it conveys the feel of the show rather well.
The menu design for this release is a noticeable improvement over the first round of releases from Bandai Visual USA as it feels more like a traditional piece. Using a group shot of the characters to one side and the navigation strip on the other, everything is available from the top level including language options. Bright and colorful, the only thing that the menu lacks is a bit of background music to get things in the mood a bit more. Navigation is quick and easy with how it's all laid out. Do note that the default for subtitles is dialogue only and that you'll want to select the one with signs as well for the various background elements that show up.
The big extras showed up on the first volume but there are still some good ones to be found here. The closing sequences for all four episodes are provided in a clean format here so you can check out the differences between all of them. The other for this release is another of the curious pieces that run about three minutes. It's a live action shorts where one of the voice actresses basically recites a very short story about something, such as the end of a relationship, set to some simple instrumental music. They're called "Sentiment" pieces and are unusual and rather simplistic but fascinating nonetheless as something different from the norm. Also included in this one is a really fun "Angel Troupe Recital-rune" piece which is about fifteen minutes long and features the voice actresses performing their songs on stage.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
When all is said and done about Galaxy Angel Rune, I found the series to be rather fun as it progressed. The show has plenty of things going against it before it even started, both in terms of content and pricing. The pricing issue is certainly one that merits ridicule because these are plainly overpriced regardless of how good the quality of the presentation is. And it is very, very good. On the content side of it however, after taking in all thirteen episodes I find myself in the position of wanting to see more if they make it. I'm not actively campaigning for more, but I wouldn't rail against more being made.
Befitting a series in the Galaxy angel franchise, there isn't anything here that really stands out in terms of overall story or closure as it comes to a close. We're treated to four more stories of weird insanity and colorful characters that act impulsively. If there is anything different this time around, it's the last episode itself as it brings Milfeulle together wit Apricot for some time off. The pair are certainly cute together as both are somewhat pleasantly oblivious and terribly lucky. The luck really comes in for Apricot because the rest of the troupe has ended up being mind-altered by a giant space peach. All the girls are now acting, well, not evil but just sort of bad. They're doing things like ringing someone's doorbell and running away lots of times. Or crossing the road against the light. But even as mild as this kind of evil is, Apricot can't let it stand and teams up with Milfeulle to save them. It's amusing to see how silly they all are when they're trying to be bad and how scared everyone around them gets.
Most of this volume is pretty amusing, something that's become more regular the more you get to know the characters and their quirks. The volume opens with a really good episode that revolves around the Rune troupe being sent for re-training after they use a weapon that's so powerful it sucks in a lot of planets for destruction. Since they can't just let them go on like this, their hope is that retraining will either stick or they'll give up partway through it. The instructor that puts them through the training, training that they don't want to be involved in of course, is an inhuman man named Sakae who is the ultimate soldier. He's a bit dense in the head but it works to his advantage as he's practically unstoppable. That's the ultimate challenge for these girls for different reasons and they go at him in a lot of very silly and stupid ways.
The weakest episode on this volume is one that has some of the best laughs for me as it revolves around a murder mystery. After watching so many shows that either use the standard clichés or mock them, seeing another episode that utilizes it doesn't exactly thrill me. This one has some good laughs however as it focuses a bit less on the murder investigation itself but rather the events of the murder. The girls are brought in to investigate the murder of a Suzuki that Natsume employs. As the investigation goes on, more and more Suzuki's are murdered and we even get to the point where in Natsume's palace there is nothing but a mountain of corpses laying there. The Suzuki's are weird creatures to be sure but they provide for some great laughs throughout these episodes but even more so here. Seeing piles of them and their awful expressions just puts me in stitches.
Galaxy Angel Rune has a lot working against it and those things are pretty much going to kill its chances overall in this market. In terms of content, it's certainly justifiable for fans of the original Galaxy Angel girls since the animation of Rune means that the other one has been pushed to the side. Where this show really suffered is in that it played to the full episode format rather than doing two shorter stories in a single episodes. The weight of doing a comedy in this form can be tougher and Galaxy Angel Rune had some weak episodes and dull moments in each episode because of it. Yet as the show progressed and the characters became more familiar, I looked forward more and more to seeing it. The presentation part of the series is just stellar as the show is so active and vibrant, particularly in the opening, that what Bandai Visual USA has put to disc here is just outstanding. The show hasn't made me an instant fan but I enjoyed what I saw over time and would definitely like to see more of this crew in addition to the original crew.
Japanese 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,"Angel Rune Sentiment" featuring Erina Nakayama (Lily), Concert Clips, Textless Endings
Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70" LCoS 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.
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: Bandai Visual USA, Inc.
Running time: 100
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Galaxy Angel Rune