Kyo Kara Maoh! Vol. #6 - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: B+

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: A-
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: B-
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Geneon Entertainment (USA), Inc.
  • MSRP: 24.98
  • Running time: 100
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Kyo Kara Maoh!

Kyo Kara Maoh! Vol. #6

By Chris Beveridge     March 03, 2006
Release Date: March 07, 2006


Kyo Kara Maoh! Vol. #6
© Geneon Entertainment (USA), Inc.


What They Say
Yuri, Geezer and Gwendal are faced with difficult decisions, while all under the duress of the looming war and the frightening realities it presents for the fate of the entire real devil's kingdom. Yuri tries to understand the origin of Hube's injury from the past with some help from Geezera. Meanwhile, Gwendal seeks to punish Hube to death, for an unforgivable sin in order to maintain order amongst the devil's tribe. Later, Yuri is pulled back to his former world, only to be brought back again. Upon his return, things are strikingly different. Yuri is urged to return to Earth as Conrad and Gunter warn him of the preparations for a war against the devil's tribe, and inform him that this time, not even the real devil's kingdom is safe.


The Review!
Providing a bridge between storylines, it's time for a lot of background to set up the next major event.

Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this series in its original language of Japanese. The show has a fairly standard TV action mix which provides some decent directionality during action scenes and occasionally with some of the dialogue. There's a fair amount of action so we do get to have both speakers work out nicely and the dialogue has a number of good distinct moments. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout and 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. The transfer for this show is essentially problem free and looks great both at standard display level and upconverted to 1080i. The digital nature of the show comes across really well here with vivid and solid colors that are free of gradient problems, backdrops that are free of blocking and no visible cross coloration. This is simply a very smooth looking piece that's pleasing on the eyes through and through.

Packaging:
Keeping to the same style as before with a good looking green cover, the character artwork focuses on the relationships between Conrart, Julia and Yuri which takes on some interesting new dimensions with this volume. The back cover is done in a similar style but with a different border that holds the basic summary and numerous pieces of artwork and shots from the show. The discs episode numbers and titles are clearly listed next to the discs features and extras while the bottom is filled out with the production credits and the spread out technical information. The insert for the release replicates the front cover artwork with a few less logos while the reverse side lists the episodes and future volume release dates along with a few shots from the show, which means this is a fairly useless insert. With the keepcase being clear, the cover is full color on both sides and the reverse side is just a dark green background with a shield and crest underneath where the disc itself resides.

Menu:
The menu layout for this series is nicely done with a central image that goes towards a fantasy/kingdom theme with the symbols of the demon kingdom set in the center against a purple backdrop while each of the four corners of the symbols lead to different menu selections, all set to a brief bit of instrumental music. It's a nicely designed menu that fits into the theme of the show and provides for quick and easy navigation that's free of transitional animations. The only downside to the menus is that it doesn't play our presets properly since they put the sign/song subtitle track as the first English track instead of the second one.

Extras:
The only included extra is a series of conceptual sketches in a gallery.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Kyo Kara Maoh! takes an interesting turn of events with this volume as the pasts of the Demon Tribe members and its world is explored which results in a lot of new information but some much more obvious links and ties to various characters that ends up really making a lot of things click in ways that it didn't before. The show also manages to hit a point where you start saying that it's about time for Yuri to get home for a bit and they actually follow through with it, providing for some new things to happen.

Everything that happens starts with the return of Hube to the Demon Tribe homeland as he brings so much of the past back to life for them, a past that many try to forget. Hube's been in rough shape and has come back via ship while kept in a tight gurney. It's very easy to tell the tensions are raised with his return as Gwendal is just about ready to kill him and hardly anyone intends to stop him or even to raise a word in protest other than Yuri whose barely able to use his position to keep things stable. Hube's being brought into the castle for healing brings a lot of other tensions to the surface with people who had been alive back then and it becomes all the more apparent that Hube was someone who was deeply involved with a lot of folks.

The initial storyline focusing around his recovery starts to turn more into a history tale as Yuri is finally able to get someone not directly connected to everything to spill about what's going on and it's thankfully the beautiful Giesela who provides the details. She goes on about the past where twenty years prior the Tribe was in trouble due to a sizeable problem with the human population but even then it was cut and dry as many humans had sided with the Tribe. The war actually looked to be pretty devastating along the way but the focus wasn't so much on that but on some of the things that those under the command of Queen Celi had to do. The main focus is drawn upon a curious pseudo-romantic relationship that people wanted to have with the beautiful Lady Julia von Wincott. Conrart has an interest in her but he cannot pursue it since she was promised to another and he wouldn't go against that.

In times of war it's not surprising to see how a relationship like this can cause all sorts of things to happen and through the course of it, Conrart's actions inspire things such as Hube to try and outdo him which leads to a very nasty set of circumstances that forces him to go on that journey that was essentially an exile. Those actions also caused changes to how Conrart viewed life in general and set him on an almost self destructive path if you can call the restrained manner in which he deals with it to be like that. The journey that he takes with a soul in his possession that leads to Earth is fascinating since it brings us back to the beginning of the series and we start to see things from the other side of the tale and what was involved there. These episodes do an immense job of fleshing out the way that so many people are tied to each other here and it really puts a firm reason into why Conrart is the way he is with Yuri beyond him just being the king. But it also puts so many other small things into perspective.

Yuri's time back home on Earth is a welcome change as well since I find his mother to be so absolutely charming in general. His change from being the big guy on the other world back to normal high school student helps to ground him more I think and he's definitely not the type that finds the work and things he has to do below him. Between school and then doing work at a resort during vacation he's able to work closely with his friend Murata which has plenty of comedic elements to work. Of course, it's not something that lasts long but it has a very interesting twist as the water of the world moves him back and forth a bit but to his surprise Murata ends up along with him. The segue into the next storyline is so completely built upon the revelations in this volume about the previous war that to now have all this information and to go to all these new places, it all just flows so beautifully and smoothly.

In Summary:
Kyo Kara Maoh! has certainly had subplots that have felt like filler material but they have in their own way brought pieces of a very large puzzle into the main block where they're now all falling into place very nicely. I'm never quite sure what to expect with this show other than to enjoy the character moments and humor but with this volume it's now making the actual storylines that will be running through the remainder of the season something that's very intriguing and something that means a lot more now that the ties that bind are so plainly clear. Kyo Kara Maoh! has been an enjoyable show and fun to watch but not something that I considered a must see to know what's happening next. Now it's a show that will be at the top of my queue when new volumes come in since I have to know what's going to happen next.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,Art Gallery

Review Equipment
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Zenith DVB-318 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player via DVI, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.

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