This Ugly Yet Beautiful World DVD Collection (Thinpak) (of 1) (Mania.com)

By:Lori Lancaster
Review Date: Thursday, October 25, 2007
Release Date: Tuesday, September 18, 2007



What They Say
There's nothing I can do to make a difference. Wars will be fought. People will die," Takeru said. "I'll never matter." He didn't know how wrong he was.

Takeru has a very special place in this universe, and he doesn't know how special until he meets a beautiful girl who falls from the stars. Hikari seems to have no memory of who she is (or, for that matter, where her clothes are), so Takeru takes her into his care. That's when things get nasty, for Hikari is not like other girls. Her name may mean "light," but she has a dark history - and an even darker future. One that will change Takeru and his friends forever, and show them all just how beautiful yet cruel this universe can be!

The Review!
Finding happiness and joy in the smallest events is part of what makes this series unique. Something beautiful can be spawned from even the ugliest of circumstances.

Audio:
For the purpose of this review, the English dub was used. Spot checks were done on the Japanese audio track as well. Overall both did fantastic. There was a nice balance between sound effects, background music and vocal parts. There were only a couple of occasions where the background effects over powered the sound. The first was on disk 1 on the Japanese track in the middle of the first episode. The sound effects and music overpowered the Japanese dialogue. On episodes 7 and 11, the English dialogue was hard to hear in key parts due to the 'whispering' and sound effects conflicting.

Video:
This is a transfer of a recent anime series. As such, the colors are very vibrant. The transfer seems to be mostly a good one. The only issue that was readily apparent was the noticeable pixilated look during the opening theme song. It is mildly present during some of the episodes, but does not detract from the series. It seems to effect very thin lines mostly. For example, the outer edge of a hand. There is also slight presence at times around the lines of a character's chin.

Packaging:
A nice slim thinpack box composed of a thick material. The main color is a very tranquil blue. The design is very simple. On the front, a bikini clad Hikari looks very happy. Behind her is a very light blue silhouette of the butterfly they use in the eye catches during the series. The back has a picture of Hikari and Akari clad in nothing but strips of sheer white fabric. A nice color insert is in front of this though so that it is not seen from the outside until the package is open. The insert repeats the front image and includes a small introduction to the series.

There were three disks in this set. Each graced with one of the three female leads on the front cover. The back cover of each volume continues the usage of each girl's color theme. In addition, it also lists the episodes on that disk as well as a set of 6 monochromatic images taken from the corresponding set of episodes.

Menu:
The menus for these disks are very bare bones. Access to the episodes is done via the main menu. There is no specific scene access in place.
There is also a language menu.

Extras:
As this is a thinpack re-release, there are no extras. The first disk contains a few trailers to other ADV shows along with the standard advertisements.

Content:
Light and beauty versus darkness and cruelty. The choice between each has always been clear cut. It is hard to imagine that anything beautiful could be borne or survive prolonged darkness and cruelty. This series sets out to challenge that.

Throughout the series the powers others posses are relational to that which they have gone through themselves. They are a reflection of the person's personality. Takeru wanted to have the strength to protect those he loved, partially because he could not stand the thought of being left alone again. As a result he gained strong fighting abilities. Ryou did not like to take a violent approach to things and as such his powers of persuasion increased. The beauty and darkness which was Hikari continuously looked for balance. Constantly events which were dark and cruel are seen to have created beautiful souls. Takeru himself was borne from dark events and had grown throughout the series to only emerge stronger for it.

Not quite a 'slice of life' series, nor is it strictly 'science fiction' as well. Just like the characters themselves, it defies the desire of others to simply adhere a label to it for quick classification. Instead, it invites you to look under the surface and see exactly what is happening not only in the show, but in the hearts and minds of others. Throughout the series, there seemed to be a similar wave to Evangelion in this. This series however is more than just another anime show put out by the same company. Among other things, it's ending lacks the ambiguity that plagued the aforementioned show. The play of light versus darkness takes such an odd twist here that it makes it all the more enjoyable.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles

Review Equipment
106" 16x9 DaLite HC Screen, Panasonic PT-AX100U LCD Projector 720p native, AMD 64 x2 4200, Windows x64, NVidia PureVideo, FFDShow, CoreAVC, AC3Filter and Various Media Players DVD Upconversion handled by NVidia software, Sony STR-DE835 500W Receiver DD/DTS, Klipsch Reference System (RB-61, CS-52 and RS-42) speakers, Sony SA-WMS5 100 Watt powered subwoofer, DVI to HDMI (PC to Projector), Digital Coaxial Cable (PC to Receiver).



Mania Grade: B
Audio Rating: A-
Video Rating: B+
Packaging Rating: A
Menus Rating: B-
Extras Rating: N/A
Age Rating: TV MA
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: ADV Films
MSRP: 59.98
Running time: 300
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: This Ugly Yet Beautiful World