Kannazuki No Miko Vol. #2 - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: B+

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: A-
  • Packaging Rating: A
  • Menus Rating: B+
  • Extras Rating: B-
  • Age Rating: 16 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Geneon Entertainment (USA), Inc.
  • MSRP: 29.98
  • Running time: 100
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Kannazuki No Miko

Kannazuki No Miko Vol. #2

By Chris Beveridge     July 02, 2006
Release Date: July 04, 2006


Kannazuki No Miko Vol. #2
© Geneon Entertainment (USA), Inc.


What They Say
The Advent of the Priestess of the Godless Month!

Confronted with his real brother, Souma fights for Himeko, the one he loves. However, if Souma is destined to be the one for Himeko, where does that leave Chikane? Her feelings are so deep and powerful that no one in the world could possibly match the intensity of her love. Chikane is determined to make sure that everyone understands this, including the Orochi, Souma, and most of all, Himeko herself.

The Review!
Conflicted in how to proceed, both Souma and Chikane deal with how well they can protect Himeko and how far to go while outside influences exploit this weakness.

Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in its original language of Japanese. The series features a solid stereo mix that has a fair amount of directionality across its forward soundstage with lots of dialogue and action effects being moved across it. The majority of the show is very much focused around dialogue but when the action scenes kick in with the giant robots moving around and their respective weapons, the mix is nicely dynamic and works well. In listening to both language tracks, we had no problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.

Video:
Originally airing in 2004, the transfer for this series is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and is enhanced for anamorphic playback. Animated by TNK, the materials for this show are for the most part simply gorgeous. The show has a very rich and deep palette of colors used in it and some of the most fluid animation in a TV series that I've seen in a bit. The show has for the most part a real world set of colors used for it and they have a slight hazy and dreamlike quality to some of the backgrounds but the character animation and color design is striking and bold. There is some minor cross coloration here and there throughout the episodes on the disc such as around the edges of Himiko's hair or one or two other areas but it is extremely minimal. Where the problem in the transfer lies is in the ending sequence. It's a split scene where one side presumably had the Japanese credits scrolling over the black area and animation on the right. That black area is the problem as it's nothing but macroblocking as the black area isn't solid at all.

Packaging:
Using the original Japanese artwork with a very nicely adapted English logo that retains much of the style and design, this volume goes for letting a couple of the girls from the other side take the center stage as they're in their regular clothes while their robots are behind them. Their designs are nicely done and fairly well detailed and it's good to see outfits that aren't like every other standard outfit that most girls wear in series like this. The back cover goes with a simple look as it gives a good bit of space over to the eerie image of the shrine on the moon with a brief summary of the premise. There's a strip of shots from the show which are very small but show off the designs nicely followed by the discs features and production information. The keepcase is clear which allows for a gorgeous full color illustration on the reverse side of the cover that has Himeko and Chikane outside close together as the cherry blossoms fall. The insert uses the artwork from the one of the Japanese covers and opens to a two panel piece that I'll presume is from the reverse side of that Japanese cover and the back has some small character artwork and a listing of release dates for the next and final volume.

Menu:
The menu layout isn't quite as shiny as the first volume but as it progresses it's pretty good as it takes the character and mecha designs from the front cover and brings in varied backgrounds to change behind it. It's a straightforward menu design with the navigation strip down the center under the logo but the combination of the backgrounds and the great character artwork with the added flare effects works nicely. The only downside is that the music is over so quickly from the build-up that its 30 second cutout doesn't work well; this is one that needed to last longer or the length of the song itself. Access times are very fast though and navigation is quick and easy with a standard layout. The disc also correctly read our players' language presets and played accordingly.

Extras:
The extras for this series are minimal with a clean version of the ending sequence here but also one of the original promotional videos put out early on to sell the show and highlight the staff behind it. This one is nicely done with a slow visual build-up but a great flow of music that gets you into it before you realize it.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Kannazuki no Miko's one of those series where you can watch it and fully understand that it's something very much like many series you've seen before, especially during the early episodes that set everything up. There's still plenty of time even in a short run series like this to provide twists and surprises that will set it apart. But even with its very familiar feel, the show has just got some very beautiful hooks in its design and execution that helps it rise above other shows.

And, of course, it has plenty of heavy overtones of love between two women. Not sex, though desire and lust figure into it from one side, but it generally has a much stronger emotional appeal between the two rather than the physical. That alone helps it become something more than the standard where it's a young man in love with a woman that he has to protect but also gives him the strength he needs. And it's interesting that the show provides that as well as Souma fits the role and he and Himeko play out this pretty well. But the fact that there's something akin to competition because of Chikane and her strong feelings, it gives it a far different feel.

The middle arc of the series shifts from the heavier episodes that kicked things off with the confusing action sequences and the introduction of characters and premises to something that's much more focused on just a few of the characters. That's not to say there isn't any action though because there's a good mix of the "Neck's" that come down to play against Souma. Souma's time is spent dealing with the issue of one of the Neck's being his long lost brother Tsubasa and all the pain that seeing him brings back. It brings an interesting aspect to the character in how they dealt with a problem in their childhood unlike many other characters who would typically just run away instead of taking action. The discovery of this by others close to him starts to change their view of him though and that helps smooth some of the feelings between them a bit.

There's also a couple of fights that have things going up a notch when Souma and Himeko are out on the closest thing to a date that the two can have so far and it brings in a trio of the Neck's and their mecha but it also has Himeko right on hand for Souma which means it's a very engaging fight. This also comes as Souma has been working through the problems in his mind about his commitment to defending Himeko and what it all entails for his life. The best part of this entire sequence though is that it has an attack going against Chikane as well by Miyako. With Chikane already so conflicted about her desires for Himeko as well as seeing the way Souma is just flailing about in a way with his own, it leaves her wide open for an attack. Miyako's able to get inside of Chikane's mind and through a great visual sequence that has mirrors surrounding Chikane exposing different visions of Himeko, it's a great push on her that starts wearing her down as Miyako wants her to admit everything she feels.

The series has a really good sense of emotional angst to it and it's played out well as the two people who want to protect Himeko the most have to deal with it and the way she seemingly has interest in both people. The love triangle of sorts is very well done here and unlike a lot of shows where you really don't want one of them to win out, each of them have things that make them good for Himeko. If only it was more socially acceptable to just go together as a trio; it'd make a lot of anime less conflict filled but would provide for some more engaging stories to be sure.

In Summary:
Kannazuki no Miko's managed to bring some real depth and interest to the characters in this set of episodes and avoided making it too forced through conflict via giant mecha only. The characters only get more interesting as this goes along and the kinds of issues they have to deal with while taking on the role of protectors for Himeko. The storyline is growing well as it progresses here and by the last couple of episodes there's a real darkness to it with some solid but somewhat expected twists. This series really feels like the height of a guilty pleasure since so much of it does seem familiar, but it's just done in such a great way and executed so well that it's the best kind of way to do something as familiar as this.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,Textless Ending,Promotional Video

Review Equipment
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Samsung BD-P1000 Blu-ray player via DVI set to 1080i, 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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