Galaxy Angel Rune Vol. #2 - Mania.com



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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B
  • Video Rating: A
  • Packaging Rating: A
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: B+
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Bandai Visual USA, Inc.
  • MSRP: 49.98
  • Running time: 96
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Galaxy Angel Rune

Galaxy Angel Rune Vol. #2

By Chris Beveridge     August 10, 2007
Release Date: August 28, 2007


Galaxy Angel Rune Vol. #2
© Bandai Visual USA, Inc.


What They Say
Episode 2: It's time for the winter sale and Apricot and the Rune Angel Troupe members stars training aiming for a drawing card. Meanwhile, a space robber band was plotting a crime using the sale as camouflage!

The Review!
The Rune Angel Troupe marches on with four episodes on this volume that do what just about every Galaxy Angel show does – try to have fun.

Audio:
Similar to the majority of the company's release slate to date, this series is presented in a Japanese 2.0 mix and that's it. Done at 192 kbps, it's a good sounding mix but one that doesn't have a lot to really stretch with as it's generally a dialogue piece. The music and sound effects that come into it are designed for a full effect and not much in terms of directionality. Though the mix isn't impressive it does suit the material well. We didn't have any problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.

Video:
Originally airing in 2006, the transfer for this TV series is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and is enhanced for anamorphic playback. Just as bright and colorful as the previous incarnations of the franchise, this one just shines across the screen. Colors are very vibrant and maintain a solid feel both in foreground and background animation. With the first volume having just one episode but some lengthy extras, I was curious to see how they'd handle a four episode disc. To my surprise, they actually increased the bitrate on average and the show is essentially in the nine's for the bulk of it. The end result is a very clean and essentially problem free release. On all three displays we have it looked great but it held up the best in terms of overall quality on the 70" set. The show features plenty of stills but also a lot of fast action moments which look very good here.

Packaging:
Using the same artwork as the Japanese release but with a translated logo, the first installment is a very busy and active piece that resemble the show quite well. Anise has the center stage here as the others are mixed in behind her as well as nonsensical text and lots of bright colors. Done up in a pink keepcase, it stands out pretty well and certainly draws the eye. The back cover is a bit more mellow but that isn't saying much. With a white background, there are a number of shots from the show spread around along with little symbols and shapes. The summary covers some of the basics and the usual elements such as the staff and cast listings fill out the rest. The discs features are clearly laid out and a plug for this being a reversible cover. The bottom portion of the cover has a good technical grid strip along with the numerous logos required. The reverse side has artwork by Kanan is quite good and would work just as well as the other front cover. The first volume had just a single insert sheet but this one provides another great little booklet with it that just feels different in terms of paper quality to US booklets. The booklet, done in pink ink for the volume, has various character breakdowns and information on them, a look at various aspects of these episodes and a few four panel comics along with some character bios. It's not a terribly rich booklet but it conveys the feel of the show rather well.

Menu:
The menu design for this release is a noticeable improvement over the first round of releases from Bandai Visual USA as it feels more like a traditional piece. Using a group shot of the characters to one side and the navigation strip on the other, everything is available from the top level including language options. Bright and colorful, the only thing that the menu lacks is a bit of background music to get things in the mood a bit more. Navigation is quick and easy with how it's all laid out. Do note that the default for subtitles is dialogue only and that you'll want to select the one with signs as well for the various background elements that show up.

Extras:
The big extras showed up on the first volume but there are still some good ones to be found here. The closing sequences for all four episodes are provided in a clean format here so you can check out the differences between all of them. The other for this release is a pair of curious pieces that run about three minutes each. They're live action shorts where one of the voice actresses basically recites a very short story about something, such as the end of a relationship, set to some simple instrumental music. They're called "Sentiment" pieces and are unusual and rather simplistic but fascinating nonetheless as something different from the norm..

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The Galaxy Angel II series, known as Rune, moves forward with four episodes on this volume in comparison to the single episode on the first volume. The big difference beyond that is that they want to charge $50 for it, which is simply highway robbery no matter which way you look at it. Regardless of how great the quality is, and it is great, it's simply not something that fits within the market today no matter how niche your product is.

When we checked out the first volume of Rune, it had been some time since we had seen the original Galaxy Angel series and its cast. Between the first volume of Rune and the second, that show started to surface again and it was interesting to get back into that groove and then come into Rune again. As I mentioned in the review for that series, the cast of Galaxy Angel is something that fans are very comfortable and familiar with so there's bound to be some resentment that there isn't more coming out and that they went with making Rune instead. The main problem that I have with Rune is that I can see the obvious (and intended) differences and similarities in the characters and that proves to be more distracting than anything else. When you see a character as a Mint clone with a tweaked personality, then you don't see what the character is supposed to be. For people that never saw the original Galaxy Angel, that's certainly a good thing.

Galaxy Angel Rune doesn't offer too much in the way of surprises with these four episodes but the franchise in general hasn't had any surprises in quite some time. The four stories on this volume are amusing enough at times but the cast hasn't been together long enough to really gel together and play off of each other. Part of this comes from the way it all started as they didn't have a new member coming in to really shake things up. Instead they're fairly established and have interpersonal issues that go back a little bit for some of them. The one relationship that is really explored a bit comes between Lily and Anise as they're continually going at each other in some fashion.

One of their fights, which isn't any different than other fights, ends up with them duking it out a bit before splitting off entirely. The show fast forwards ten years and the pair are getting together for drinks in order to repair their relationship. This provides them a chance to have flashbacks to when Anise arrived at the Troupe and basically tried to install herself as the boss, only to run up against Lily. This tempestuous relationship is still going on even after a ten year break and they come up with some amusing stories about what they've done in the interim. There are plenty of reminders about this taking place in the future, mostly because the characters simply don't look any different really, and it doesn't really change anything but it gives them a chance to do an origin story in a slightly different way.

Anise gets a bit of further exploration, if you can call it that, when we see her in her younger years when those she was with had acquired the mythical Legendary Hot Pot. This is apparently her overriding reason for existence as that meal was destroyed by the giant afro'd protector of the Legendary Hot Pot and she's been trying to recreate that experience ever since. What better way to do that than to utilize the resources of the Galaxy Angel organization across the known planetary systems. The story is amusing enough in places but it's all over the map and the afro character just gives me bad vibes to other afro wearing characters that bother me a lot.

What was probably the best part of this volume revolves around the Cookie episode as a young princess has come ostensibly to sign a treaty. In reality, she's in search of the best cookie in the galaxy to have as her first experience. This takes them all over the place and the young princess gets wrapped up not only in Apricot's silliness but also Nano-Nano's as the two of them seemingly hit it off for some weird reason. With this being a Broccoli show, there are obviously references to other shows but they actually bring in Dejiko, albeit under a different name, as a surprise character. It's rather well done for the short time that it's there but it comes out of left field and just fits into the overall wackiness that the show tries to exude.

In Summary:
Galaxy Angel Rune plays out better overall with four episodes here than it did with the single episode first volume. It doesn't play out well with the wallet though as it's simply outrageous to even try this. I cannot imagine it doing well at all either with the hardcore crowd that likes this series or with the casual audience. It's more than likely just damaging Bandai Visual's reputation and causing more people to write off the company. This is unfortunate because the actual product is top notch across the board. When it comes to their releases, the one thing I'm not concerned about is the quality of it as each release has basically knocked it out of the park. Rune is no different in that regard and will please those that buy it. For everyone else, it's going to be rallying point for what the company is doing wrong.

Features
Japanese Language,English Subtitles,Angel Rune Sentiment short movies featuring Yuuna Inamura (Apricot) and Satomi Hanamura (Anise)
,Textless endings (Ep. 2 - 5)

Review Equipment
Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70" LCoS 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.

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