Steel Angel Kurumi Vol. #4 (Mania.com)
Review Date: Wednesday, October 15, 2003
Release Date: Tuesday, October 08, 2002
This is it, the conclusion to the first season of Steel Angel Kurumi. Nakahito has been taken by the Academy, and it?s up to the Steel Angels to rescue him. The final mysteries are revealed as we rush towards the end.
The audio mix is the same from the previous volumes. It is a very simple stereo mix with no real directionality used. I listened to Japanese soundtrack for review purposes and did some spot checks of the English track while I was writing the review. Dialogue is clear.
The video is still good, though the line shimmering remains. This part just seems to be a cut and paste from previous volumes since the video stays pretty consistent throughout the series. No compress artifacts, and bright colors are vibrant. The dark colors, used near the end of the series.
Since you?re reading this review, you?ve probably seen the cover on the top of the page, so I won?t dance too much around it. The cover features Kurumi with dark hair and dark wings, and works appropriately with the subtitle for this volume, Fallen Angel. It?s basically the exact same pose as the first cover. The spine features Nakahito on the spine, and since this volume uses a dark color scheme, it unfortunately doesn?t match up. The back cover shows the extra, especially focusing on the interview extra since it features Claudia Black of Farscape. The actresses are plugged (even for a show that ADV doesn?t have out yet, Chance POP Sessions) and it includes one liners from various publications on Kurumi.
This time, I was getting a fast response from the menus, so that was better than volumes 2 and 3. The three angels are featured in the various menus, and Nakahito even gets some menu time. Episode access is simple from the main menu. Kurumi is featured on the main menu.
I?m not sure if I was spoiled by the earlier volumes, but I swear there are fewer extras here. They still pack a punch though. We get the second part of the Conversation with Angels segment that was included on the first volume. Claudia Black seems to be the focus of the piece which makes it have a sort of a marketing feel to it. And DO NOT watch this until after you?ve finished the entire series. A complete character bio, including a relationship chart between all the characters is another great extra. A travelogue presents the various locations the group visited during their journey to Izumo. Production Sketches, Translator Notes, Extended Episode Previews, and the Nakahito Fortune Teller round out the extras.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
As the final story arc commences, the story takes a very serious path towards our climax. Be warned, there?s not much I can say here without giving away a few spoilers.
The Academy now has Nakahito, and they are trying to bend him to their will to deactivate Kurumi. They fear that Kurumi, due to her Angel Heart Mark II being partially demon in nature, that she will become possessed by the demons and attack mankind. Mikhail, is unfortunately, not successful in switching Nakahito over to the Academy?s cause, and steals a kiss from him to activate HER, yes, not his, Angel Heart Mark II.
Our Steel Angels and Dr Amagi land on the Academy?s flying fortress, but are immediately separated. Dr. Amagi is led to Dr. Ayakanoji, who has been unconscious since being captured. Saki and Karinka are left to wander the halls in search of anyone. Kurumi is imprisoned, and desperately wants to reunite with Nakahito.
Kurumi eventually breaks out of her prison and goes on a rampage through the fortress with the demon power within her giving her the strength to easily defeat the Academy?s other Angels. She is beset by Mikhail, and they begin a mighty struggle. Mikhail seems to easily have the upper hand against Kurumi, and eventually blasts her out of the fortress. As the two angels with Mark II?s fight though, the demon inside Kurumi takes full control with devastating results. Her compassion has completely receded within.
Karinka and Saki rescue Nakahito, and they can only witness the struggle between Kurumi and Mikhail as they are all clearly overmatched. After Kurumi falls to the demons, everyone else has to unite to destroy her. Nakahito doesn?t want to see Kurumi destroyed, especially since he has finally come to terms with how he feels about her, and goes off to rescue her.
And this is where my problem with the series happens. I knew the series was going to end in a certain way, which was obvious. My problem is how they went about doing it, and I felt that the writers were just rushed in the end. The drama dies as Nakahito rescues Kurumi with a simple phrase. I guess I was just looking for a bit more exposition from him, showing how he had grown as a person and come to this moment. Also, the sacrifices that other characters make in the series seem like a waste of time.
All in all, Steel Angel Kurumi is a very enjoy able series. I really enjoyed the middle part of the series more than the beginning and the end. It?s not just another robot maid show either, which is how I dismissed it after seeing the first episode fansubbed. The animation is excellent, the character designs are great, and the opening and ending songs are enjoyable. In fact, I never once skipped playing them. It?s a great series overall, despite a few small problems.
Toshiba 3109 player, Toshiba 36? Cinema Series via component, Pioneer VSX-810S receiver, Cerwin Vega front speakers, Pinnacle center and rears
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: ADV Films
Running time: 90
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Steel Angel Kurumi