Kono Minikuku mo Utsukushii Sekai Vol. #1 - Mania.com

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  • Audio Rating: A-
  • Video Rating: A
  • Packaging Rating: A
  • Menus Rating: B+
  • Extras Rating: C+
  • Age Rating: All
  • Region: 2 - Japan
  • Released By: Geneon Entertainment, Japan
  • MSRP: �5000
  • Running time: 48
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: This Ugly Yet Beautiful World

Kono Minikuku mo Utsukushii Sekai Vol. #1

    February 07, 2005
Release Date: June 04, 2004

Kono Minikuku mo Utsukushii Sekai Vol. #1
© Geneon Entertainment, Japan

What They Say
Normal high-school student Takeru Takemoto encounters a bright light during his part-time motorcycle delivery job. He stops and looks around, and sees a beautiful girl named Hikari emerging from a shining cocoon in the woods. Takeru falls for her instantly, but a monster suddenly appears and attacks her.

Takeru's pleasant days pass by with the mysterious Hikari, Akari, his classmates, and cousin Mari.

These days are normal days, but to Hikari they are all wonderful.

The Review!
We viewed this with the only audio track, a Japanese 2.0 track with PCM encoding, which sounded very nice. Unlike Dolby Digital tracks, PCM tracks aren't compressed and can offer a better auditory experience. Dialogue is crisp is easily audible, and there's a lot of nice directionality in the mix and good low-end.

Being from 2004, the show makes use of digital animation and the results on DVD are very nice. There's an anamorphic widescreen transfer to go along with a high video bitrate made possible by having only two episodes on the disc. Colors are lush and vibrant, and the visual presentation is very sharp.

The DVD cover features a nice shot of Takeru and Hikari, the two main characters. The same picture is used on the DVD booklet and on the picture-labeled disc. The back cover is laid out cleanly, with short summaries for both episodes, four screenshots, and a staff and cast listing. First edition extras include a memory album book, two clear photo cards, and a box to hold all six volumes of the series illustrated by character designer Kazuhiro Takamura.

The only menu available is straightforward and well-designed, with animated episode clips and moving sparkles over the image used on the cover as the background. You can access all the chapters as well as the extras from the main menu while the music from the pre-opening sequence plays in the background.

The on-disc extras are somewhat lacking and consist of textless opening and closing sequences as well as a few trailers for Geneon series currently being released on DVD.

Content: (may contain spoilers)
One of Gainax's 20th Anniversary projects in 2004, Kono Minikuku mo Utsukushii Sekai reunited the creative team and most of the vocal cast from Mahoromatic. The animation teams at Gainax and Shaft also returned to produce the animation, and adding to the high production values were very good opening and ending songs, sung by Yoko Takahashi (Evangelion OP) and Yoko Ishida (Ai Yori Aoshi OP) respectively.

The show starts off interestingly enough with a narration about extinction on Earth and how few species end up surviving over the ages. After the opening sequence, we're introduced to Takeru Takemoto, the main character. He has somewhat of a passive attitude and is a bit withdrawn despite having a good number of friends around him. We're also introduced to his male friend Ryou along his female friends, Amika and Sakurako. While the gang is horsing around at the pool, Takeru sees a shooting star in the sky...

We move on to the home front, where Takeru lives with his aunt and uncle while working at their motorcycle courier service. Also at the house is his cousin Mari, who Takeru walks in on while she's putting on her bra. After the incident blows over, Takeru discusses his ideal girl while Ryou draws a sketch that resembles the girl from the opening.

Takeru is then sent out on a delivery while Ryou hitches a ride home. The two of them then see the shooting star from earlier, which then drops out of the sky and follows alongside their bike before exploding in a bright flash and splitting into two trails of light. The two see a tree glowing in the forest and head over to check it out. There's a glowing cocoon in the tree with a naked girl named Hikari inside, and she promptly falls into Takeru's arms. Their meeting is cut short when an enormous monster appears out of nowhere and starts trying to attack her. They manage to chase it away, and Takeru promises to protect Hikari.

Faster than you can say "predictable," the monster comes back and resumes its attack. Hikari is taken away, but somehow Takeru transforms into a superstrong creature and gives the monster a good beating. As he starts to lose control and is about to kill it, Takeru realizes what he's doing and changes back to his normal self. As the monster slinks away, we see Hikari with red eyes and a deeper voice telling the monster it will die. After Takeru and Ryou find a back-to-normal Hikari, the only thing left of the monster is bits and pieces to go with the blood splattered all over the waterfront.

Takeru brings Hikari home, and everyone gathers around to hear the story of how she got there. Hikari recalls wandering among the stars and not realizing she had a body, then wows everyone by knowing all of their names without having met them. The girls then decide to make a new outfit for Hikari to wear (catch Mahoro's outfit flashing by in the scene) and then start measuring Hikari's chest (while she's nude of course). After finishing the outfit, Hikari answers the door and meets the new boarder, Jennifer Portman, who is intrigued by Hikari being from space and suggests they take a shower together. More fanservice ensues!

Hikari gets upset while talking with Jennifer and takes off to parts unknown. The ever-observant Jennifer meets Mari and notices her attraction towards Takeru and jealousy towards Hikari. Mari admits she has feelings for Takeru but is hung up by their familial relationship. We're then treated to a flashback of Takeru's mother leaving him when he was a small child, and then back to the present where he's frustrated that Hikari went away too. He runs to the road where he saw the light before, and finds Hikari there. The two embrace and he promises to be there for her. Takeru's uncle and aunt decide to let Hikari stay in their house, and the introductory arc is completed.

The show's off to an interesting beginning, and the high production values can't be denied. There's action, fanservice, and interesting characters thrown out there, but if you're expecting another Mahoromatic, you'll probably be disappointed. With only 10 episodes to go, it'll be interesting to see how the ambitious start plays out.

Japanese 2.0 Language,Clean opening and closing animation,Geneon trailers

Review Equipment
Sony KLV-23M1 23" LCD HDTV, Toshiba SD-4900 progressive region-free player via Acoustic Research component cables, Sony STR-DE897/S receiver, Sony SA-VE367T 7.1 channel speaker system.


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