Shamanic Princess (Mania.com)
Review Date: Monday, February 18, 2002
Release Date: Tuesday, February 13, 2001
Shamanic Princess on DVD, at last. I was fortunate enough to get my hands on this disc about two weeks before the release date, which is the main reason I'm writing this review. The other is that I quite liked this show, and I wanted to see the rest of it on DVD. This is also an unbeatable deal, considering that the complete story, all six OAV episodes, are on this disc.
This disc sounded very good. I listened to the Japanese track, and spot-checked the English dub. Both tracks are in Dolby Digital 2.0, and there seemed to be good left/right separation. The audio level seemed to be a bit higher on the english track.
The video of Shamanic Princess is one of it's strong points. Vivid colors, side by side with more subdued pastel tones and very fluid animation round out this masterpiece. The fights are very well animated, and while the rest of the show is a bit more static, the background paintings are gorgeous and do a lot to set the scene. Episodes 5 and 6 seem to benefit from different a ending video.
CPM broke with tradition in terms of packaging. This case isn't transparent. The case they picked to replace it though, is excellent. When the release is pushed down, the disc actually pops out for easy retrieval. It also feels more solid and supple in terms of plastic quality.
The reverse side of the insert still contains the credits and the chapter stop listing, but it's white on back as opposed to black on white, and looks much better that way, in my opinion. Ideally, CPM would include this information on a color insert that would be in the case, along with the DVD. Funny idea, but I think it would be possible, considering only about half the space on the insert is used. :)
The menu is nice and functional. It plays the opening song, and after a while, times out and starts the feature. Selecting a language from the submenu also starts the feature without delay.
While the Japanese trailers for ep5 and 6 are nice, it would have been nice to get a clean OP and ED. The "Info About the artist" bit was far from impressive. There were also DVD-rom features that I did not look at.
This means minor problems, and I do mean minor. :) I noticed hard subs being used at the end of ep4, but nowhere else. I also noticed that while I could skip the ED easily enough, there are only two chapter stops per episode, which means that you can't skip the OP, you have to fast-forward though it. If you skip, you end up at the mid-point in the episode. I also noticed that there was very slight shaking of the subtitles during the OP/ED, and upon closer inspection, I think that the video image is shaking, and the subtitles are not. One last thing, CPM discs still do not follow procedure and respect the language choice set by the player. I also noticed this in Photon. I think that CPM really needs to get with the program on this one.
Shamanic Princess is a great show. Fantastic visuals, enthralling story that just draws you in while you're wondering what the hell is really going on. It's quite the mindtwist.
Another little note; and this might be a slight spoiler, so consider yourself warned. If you see the show ending after episode 4, don't panic. Episodes 5 and 6 are a pre-quel or recap and explanation of how this all came to be, because it starts rather abruptly at episode 1.
Great disc overall, strongly recommended.
Toshiba 32CZ51 32" TV, Pioneer DV-414, using ColorStream component for video.
Mania Grade: A
Audio Rating: B+
Video Rating: A
Packaging Rating: B+
Menus Rating: N/A
Extras Rating: C+
Age Rating: 13 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: Central Park Media
Running time: 180
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Shamanic Princess