Figure 17 Vol. #4 - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: A-

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: B
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: B
  • Age Rating: 3 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Media Blasters
  • MSRP: 29.95
  • Running time: 100
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Figure 17

Figure 17 Vol. #4

By Chris Beveridge     April 01, 2004
Release Date: March 30, 2004


Figure 17 Vol. #4
© Media Blasters


What They Say
t has been some time since the last battle and Tsubasa is feeling down. To take her mind off such things, she goes hiking with friends where she reveals a secret she has kept from Hikaru - her feelings for a boy!

Meanwhile, DD and Ordina practice for the next battle and they are developing a new powerful weapon. But will they be prepared for the 7th Magure?

The Review!
Now that the concept of a mother Maguar has come to light, Oldeena and DD work towards dealing with that while the girls continue to live life as young girls should.

Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in its original language of Japanese. The stereo track here is decent, though the bulk of the show is dialogue based which means the center channel is getting most of the workout. Dialogue is crisp and clear throughout and we had no issues with dropouts or distortions.

Video:
Originally airing on SkyPerfecTV back in 2001 and broadcasting just one episode a month, we get a show that?s essentially OVA quality and done in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1. The end result is a great look transfer for the bulk of the print that shines through beautifully. Colors are lush and deep in many scenes, lots of vibrant moments during the action and fully fluid movement. Saturation is just right throughout and there wasn?t any noticeable bleeding. One area that doesn?t look too good however is a number of characters hair, such as the girls where you can see a fair amount of macroblocking.

Packaging:
Using similar greens to the previous volume but mixing in more blues and grays along the bottom, we get the really sweet image of the two girls close together with one holding the other. This kind of imagery is very sweet and makes up for the more surprising near-nudity of the previous volume. The back cover has a few shots from the show itself (using some amusing name variations from what's in the show) and a quick summary of the basic elements. Production information is nicely laid out and we get the usual technical grid. The insert does a color negative style reverse shot of the front cover but with greens and grays while laying the chapter listings on top of that. As usual, the reverse side of the insert has boxart advertisements.

Menu:
Hued in very dark green and gray, the main menu is a nice static image that has the two girls from the front cover with the translated logo along the lower left. Selections ring down along the right and some of the nice instrumental/sort of vocal music plays along. Moving to submenus can be problematic if you?re going through all of them in one sitting, since it uses the same transitional animation for each one. Depending on how fast your player can load and access them, this can be tiresome. Our Panasonic loaded it quickly but the Toshiba took a bit longer which got frustrating as we hit each submenu.

Extras:
There's a couple of good extras here that run about twelve minutes combined. The first is an interview piece with the series director and some of the staff on how they went from the original script to the show and the changes that they had to make. The second is a fun little voice actor piece that shows some of the recordings and talking points with the actors.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
With the way a lot of the third volume went, it started to look like the series was going to be over halfway through, though it did leave some interesting possibilities on how it could continue. Instead, they've pushed forward with the mother Maguar concept and have the lead characters refocusing on their mission.

The shows pace continues to be much the same here as past volumes, so this is indeed a Good Thing. But at the same time, the show continues to really feel like two completely separates series that are running together with only a few minutes of real crossover going on. I fully expect things to get more integrated as it goes on but for now it's playing out much as it has been. For DD and Oldeena, much of their time is spent tracking down the various Maguar that continue to pop up and work on their theory about there being a mother one since none of the ones they've taken down so far have reproductive capabilities. And the new ones that are seeming to pop up with certain similarities to each other are definitely evolving, both in what they're able to do but also in how they're dealing with the tactics that the duo use against them with their weapons. It's fairly typical creature hunting scenario that gives both the hunters and the hunted a chance to show what they're up to across both episodes.

Tsubasa and Hikaru's story continues on its charming way as well. After the recent play and the growing influence of the other students over both girls, we get to see them spending more and more time with them. One of the things that they decide to do is a girls hike out at one of the local mountain areas. Their trip takes a different turn though when Sho is at the station. It turns out he, Kenta and Shinji are all headed for the same area to do some serious fishing so they all go out that way together. This turns into the typical boys vs. girls scenario once there, with the other boys not wanting them around and the girls not really caring, instead going off to hike and play a bit.

But naturally both do come together eventually; partially because it's becoming obvious that Sho has an interest in one of the group. There are some really sweet moments where he's teaching the girls how to fish and the others get involved and it turns into a picturesque kind of sequence. While the kids all have their various differences and you get the unruliness that is known as Kenta to rear its head once in awhile, overall it's an interesting little group that's formed here, something that sinks in when they're all watching Kenta climbing in the tree to get the lure unhooked. But it's also a great moment when you have both Sho and Tsubasa sitting there later on and in the most unassuming way he asks her out on a date, something that she doesn't tell Hikaru at all.

And that date is positively fun to watch, which makes up a good chunk of the second episode. Even thought it sets some bad precedents into motion for the relationship between the two girls, it's great to see Tsubasa continuing to come out of her shell. One of the tricks of this show continues to be the way the girls are placed into different situations, such as alone and out in the woods, and combine it in the same episode with the various Maguar offspring running around in the same woods. You fully expect them to run into it and then deal with either revealing something or just getting right into the fight. This has happened in most of the episodes so far in terms of setting up that scenario but they don't carry it through, something that I'm very surprised and impressed by.

In Summary:
While it's more of the same, the same is some great stuff. If there's anything to really rail against with this release, it's this: That was a damn evil cliffhanger.

Features
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Directors Interview,Voice Actor Interview

Review Equipment
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Panasonic RP-82 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.


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