Vampire Princess Miyu TV Vol. #3 (Mania.com)
Review Date: Monday, February 02, 2004
Release Date: Wednesday, January 23, 2002
Ok, before I start I should let you know that Kyuuketsuki Miyu is my favorite anime/manga series, period. There's a lot to like about it. It has endlessly deep characters, wonderful atmosphere, and some great Twilight Zone-ish twisted morals. Now, taking the greatness of this show in mind, here is my review of the third disk of the TV series.
At first glance the cover is very appealing. The picture of Miyu holding Chisato close is nice and dark, and I've always been a fan of Tokyopop's Miyu logo. In hindsight, the cover picture doesn't quite fit given that the content of this volume is less soft and emotional than the one before it (of course this is just nitpicking). The back is nice with good fonts and the pictures and descriptions are appropriate for each episode.
They kept the elegant menus from the second volume and I'm pleased to say they haven't lost their charm. The extras on the disk itself are nothing spectacular. I think unless it's a box set, American anime companies just don't care about them anymore. However, Tokyopop has again included the magnificent paper insert about the designs of the shinma-of-the-week. I can see how this would only work with Miyu, for most other mahou shoujo series' monsters just don't have much thought put into them. Just by itself, this little bit of cheap folded paper made my grade for the extras an A+.
The video quality itself is good with the exception of some new effects. During the OP or Next Episode Previews, TP added glittery gel effects and also a shot of gushing water (?). These are SEVERELY annoying and do not fit the mood of the series at all. It comes off looking like the tech guys at Tokyopop just wanted to see what they could do with these "fancy" computer effects.
The audio quality is the same it has been throughout TP's release, a little too silent but otherwise fine. For the review I listened to Japanese w/English subtitles, but I did sample the dub and am happy to say it is lousy with no energy put into any of the roles.
Now let's talk about the meat of the disk, the content. This disk again contains four episodes, and I'm sorry to say that collectively it's the least enjoyable one so far. Two of the episodes have a more modern feel that doesn't quite work with the elegant, older feel of the series. The first episode, ingeniously titled "Red Shoes," starts simple enough with Chisato announcing there is an audition she wants to go to being held by a hugely famous musician, Takashi Kashiwabara, to find the next big J-Pop star. Chisato's classmate, Miho (stereotypical silent girl with low self-esteem), tags along for moral support. Not surprisingly, Takashi sees Miho and automatically chooses her and takes her under his wing. He gives her some "magical" red shoes for confidence and with his support; Miho starts to be able to sing very well. I'll let you guess the rest of the episode. Overall, the feel and storyline is borderline Miyu, with very little surprises in store. The second episode, "Your House," fares better but in a different way. It concerns a woman whose neighbors inexplicably killed themselves. She then takes in their cat and slowly but surely becomes insanely protective of it, treating it like a child and ignoring her husband. This episode keeps with twisted morals and has a decidedly Miyu conclusion, but it also doesn't have quite the cryptic, Eastern vibe this show has been so good at. The third episode is probably the best of the disk, but it unfortunately has to take the cast out of their usual settings and into a rural town to keep the mood. I won't tell you the plot, but it concerns a boy who keeps promises (good morals are usually rewarded in this show, remember that) and lots and lots of snakes. After this wonderful episode, we are now treated, almost consequently, to the worst episode of the disk and one of the worst of the series. It's lackluster tale is about a mafia hit man who was shot dead during an attempted kill. He then prompty wakes up in a mysterious doctor's "hospital." The doctor announces she h
Overall, I liked this disk (didn't expect that did ya?). Miyu as a whole is incomparable, and this is just a dip. And I mostly contribute that to very little appearances by Miyu's monster gang (Larva, Shiine, and most importantly Reiha). But then again, a dip in Miyu is better than high points of some other animes. This disk also boasts some of the best shinma designs yet, with the best being either the old hag snake woman or the mocking angel of death. It's rather sad most of the designs weren't used to their full potential though. And for the last time, TP: LOSE THOSE GLITTER AND WATER EFFECTS!
Panasonic DVD CV-50 DVD player, RCA 21-inch television set
Mania Grade: B+
Audio Rating: B
Video Rating: B-
Packaging Rating: A
Menus Rating: A
Extras Rating: A+
Age Rating: 13 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: TOKYOPOP
Running time: 100
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Non-Anamorphic Widescreen
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Vampire Princess Miyu