Kannazuki No Miko Vol. #3 (also w/special edition) - Mania.com

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  • 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: 29.98/39.98
  • 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. #3 (also w/special edition)

By Chris Beveridge     July 31, 2006
Release Date: August 01, 2006

Kannazuki No Miko Vol. #3 (also w/special edition)
© Geneon Entertainment (USA), Inc.

What They Say
The Advent of the Priestess of the Godless Month! Chikane has made it her mission to take over the Orochi, filling in the void left by Souma who has chosen to stay by Himeko's side. Now the fate of the world lies in the hands of these two priestesses as their love is twisted in this nightmare. Will they save or end the world as we know it?

The Review!
Keeping things short and sweet, the series comes to a strong and emotional ending but not before plenty of angst and action is sorted through.

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.

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.

Using the original Japanese artwork with a very nicely adapted English logo that retains much of the style and design, the final cover places the two leads in opposite directions while their machines are behind them but it's the character art that really shines here. The emotional nature of Himeko's face while Chikane in a sleek black dress looks the other way is just perfect here. 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 laying in bed together with their clothes falling away from them, a visual that while very attractive almost makes you feel wrong for looking at it. 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. I have to hand it to Geneon for going "as far" as they did with the artwork here; it's not often you get a reverse cover or a pencil board with some actual nipples showing.

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.

The only extra included in the end here is the clean version of the second ending sequence.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
With the third volume bringing out the final four episodes, concluding with episode twelve, Kannazuki no Miko is something of a series that really managed to use its short form well. It avoided a lot of filler, didn't lag or drag during the story it wanted to tell and didn't divert from it much if at all. Instead it focused entirely on the story at hand, complete with a resolution, and worked towards that. Twenty years ago this would have been a six part OVA series that might have felt a bit more rushed but maybe a touch more epic, but here in its TV form it's able to expand on some of the key areas and manage it so that it doesn't feel as rushed.

The end result is very good.

The second volume really worked the show through some interesting changes and the biggest part of it was that it shifted Chikane over to the Orochi and left Himeko in a state of denial about the loss of her special friend. The truth about what Chikane has done has really unsettled her and it's left her unable to do the work she needs to do as the single priestess left in bringing down the power of the god they need to fight the Orochi. The end of the world is almost at hand with barely a day left before the last sun will set on everything and Himeko is unable to manage it at all. Even worse, when she tries to take some time away from everything by going back to the school, she's either tormented by other students who adore the now missing Chikane or she sees images of Chikane in every place she's at.

As Himeko goes through all of this, Chikane is in her best stoic form as she resides with the other Necks of the Orochi in that other-dimensional place. Though she's joined on their side, the remaining members that are there aren't all that pleased about it and actually take up against her in order to secure their own position for the end times. Chikane's able to truly unleash her power during all of this and it brings about a really interesting new giant robot for her to use. Her ascension in the ranks of the Orochi isn't a surprise but it is amusing that it comes as she takes down all the other members. You almost expect that she's joined them in order to destroy them from the inside, but even after she's managed all of the other Neck's, she's intent on killing Himeko and bringing about the end times.

The best material on this volume comes from the confrontation between the two women. Their reunion is a curious piece at first since you go in believing one thing is possible about Chikane's motivations, but she then continues on in her current form with one of the best challenge sequences ever. The setup for their confrontation, the revelations about the true motivations and the lengths they go to in order to secure what they believe is victory is just spectacularly done here. Part of it is definitely attributable to the relationship that's brought into this; if it had been a standard male/female arrangement, I'm sure it would still be pretty engaging and emotional. But with it being between two women who don't hold back their feelings when it's time to play that card. Though the show takes a strange pause in the midst of the action to allow for this period to pass, it is one of the real highlights of the show. Something about it just strikes strongly with me as the two bare themselves to each other emotionally.

Much of what happens in this volume is fairly straightforward and admittedly predictable but I've had that feeling since the first episode of the series. There isn't a huge amount of originality and part of its appeal and gimmick is the strong overtones of the woman to woman relationship. That said, there is a really great execution of the material here that helps to elevate it up. The character designs are highly appealing, the costume design is one of the best partially due to the beautifully rich colors that shine through here and the overall mechanical designs have a mixture of the new and old between them that flows well.

In Summary:
Each volume always felt like it was something that was rising above its own material just because of how it was being executed. As much as I enjoyed each volume, I knew that it wasn't something stellar but it was extremely enjoyable. And that's sometimes even more difficult to do than something completely original. This final volume brings the series to a fantastic conclusion that is very strong and really focuses on the very core characters themselves. With the short format for the series, they avoid a lot of fluff and filler and keep the focus on the relationship itself with just the right amount of flashback and revelations to keep it exciting and intriguing. I didn't know anything about this show going into it but it exceeded all my expectations and has been a real highlight in the last few months.

Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,Textless Ending,Special Edition: 32 page full color book

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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