Le Portraite Petite Cossette - Mania.com

DVD Review

Mania Grade: A-

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  • Audio Rating: A
  • Video Rating: A
  • Packaging Rating: A
  • Menus Rating: A
  • Extras Rating: C
  • Age Rating: 16 and Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Sentai Filmworks
  • MSRP: 19.98
  • Running time: 120
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Petite Cossette

Le Portraite Petite Cossette

Le Portraite Petite Cossette DVD Review

By Chris Beveridge     April 29, 2010
Release Date: April 20, 2010

Le Portraite Petite Cossette
© Sentai Filmworks

A tragic love from the past that seeks closure, Cossette's finally found a man who may die for her.

What They Say
What happens when the face you see in a reflection isn't your own? That's the shock that awaits Eiri Kurahashi when he sees the living image of Cossette d'Auvergne in a glass in his uncle's antique shop. Infatuated, he becomes possessed and mysteriously makes contact with the beautiful young aristocrat, only to learn that she was murdered 250 years earlier. Now, her soul trapped inside the goblet, she can only be set free if someone is willing to pay for the sins of her murderer, the artist Marcelo' who may very well have been reincarnated as Eiri! As shadowy forces surround Eiri, his love for Cossette drives him down a tortuous path of self-destruction, while those who love him in the real world can only watch in horror!

The Review!

Not surprisingly, Sentai’s edition of this release doesn’t go as far as Geneon’s did but it does provide a solid title, one that I wish was on a short list for high definition. This release mirrors the original in having a pair of 5.1 mixes for the English and Japanese side encoded at 448kbps. What we’ve lost is the Japanese DTS 5.1 mix, which was done at a half bitrate on the old release. It’s not a huge loss here as the Dolby Digital 5.1 mixes are really quite good. The rear speakers got a healthy workout with this show, and it's one that deserves to be watched from the sweet spot in the dark because each of the rear speakers features excellent moments that uses music, sound effects and dialogue to great placement. There's a lot of well placed directionality for this show and the overall soundstage is very well done. Dialogue was clean and clear throughout and we had no problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.
Originally released to video in 2004, the transfer for this three part OVA series is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and is enhanced for anamorphic playback. The visuals in this show are such a huge part of things that a good transfer isn't just a basic requirement but a huge requirement. The materials here are simply gorgeous and the amount of detail visible just adds to the atmosphere of the show. There's such a strong sense of style here that it runs the gamut of colors and looks, from the dark interiors to the beautiful outdoors in snow or to cathedral style windows. Each scene simply looks fantastic and the transfer comes across essentially as flawless. 
The cover for this release is one of the most striking ones out there, the kind that I love to see as it has Cossette in her outfit looking off to the side a little. Her expression, the design itself, the costume and the setting all comes together in a way that’s perfectly befitting the series name and it gives you something that catches your eye as it stands out there in the crowd. There’s a certain haunting quality to it. The back cover has another shot of her, this time reaching up as chains hang down, that adds to that quality. The shots from the show below her add in the creepy bloody quality that helps to sell it all the more. With the dark cover and the same framing as the front, it all ties together beautifully. The summary is very easy to read and lays out the show well without giving everything away. The discs features are clearly listed as are the production credits and the full technical grid that has all the info laid out in easy to read form. No show related inserts are included nor is there a reversible cover.
I’ll always lament the loss of a Nightjar menu but this one here is very evocative for the title and works quite well. Cossette’s close-up image here with an almost velvet like background is quite appealing with the shades of green that are mixed into it. It’s the kind of visual that draws you in and almost haunts you while you look at it. Access times are nice and fast and the navigation is quick and easy. Especially nice is the language setup which lists along the bottom what is currently selected so you can see if your changes actually took. The disc read our players' language presets without issue and played appropriately.
Unlike the Geneon release which got all the extras from the “Volume 0” release, all we get here are the clean versions of the opening and closing sequences. We lost the twenty minute behind the scenes piece, the commercials, original trailers and the music video.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Le Petite de Cossette is an interesting three part OVA series that's very complete in and of itself. It’s been nearly five years since I watched this last, and have watched so many other things since then that I remember really enjoying this but none of the details. Looking at just the cover, it gives so little away that there's no way to tell what it's going to be about. While some people only want to get things they already know they love and enjoy, it's this undiscovered gems that come out of left field that remind me just why I enjoy this stuff so much. While I'll be talking about the show, if you have any interest in it at all based just on the imagery, I'd say skip the content review and just go into it blind and do the discovery thing.
For the rest of you, well, read on.
Love stories have all sorts of ways to be told and often they can be covered up and twisted in such interesting ways that you don't even realize it's a love story at first. This tale of love slips into the supernatural and I wouldn't be surprised to see a live action movie made about it. Set in the present day in a rather affluent looking shopping district, we're introduced to a young man named Eiri who has been sort of disconnected from things lately with his friends. His uncle owns a high class antique shop in one of the prime locations of the district but spends his time traveling through Europe and sending back things in massive crates and letting Eiri unpack and manage the store from there. 
Some time earlier, one large crate came in from his uncle that contained a number of interesting items from a particular family that had died out some time ago in France. Inside of the case was a gorgeous selection of Venetian glasses. One of them seemed to draw Eri much more than the others and he's kept it inside his desk close to him so he could pull it out any time and look at it. In the short time that he's had it, he's started to see an image of a beautiful young blonde woman in lavish clothing. He's begun to change his own art style and his sketches have been of her and what he believes to be places she's lived and played in. It's become slowly all consuming and has led to a point where things just aren't right anymore and his friends have noticed.
In particular, his friend Mataki who obviously wants a romantic relationship with him but he's become oblivious to most things now. Another person who has begun to notice things wrong is a local psychic/fortune-teller type who has noticed something evil afoot in the shopping district and follows it as starts to makes Eiri its focus. Mataki tries to enlist the help of her and Eri's friends in getting to the root of things but the apathy of youth is abound and the general belief that Eri's like he is because he's got a girlfriend which can radically change a person. The amusing thing is that Eiri really is seeing another woman as Cossette has become real to him now and has started a sequence of events that will truly change him.
At a time when he's alone in the shop, she comes to him and from the glass, gets him to drink the flowing blood from it. The blood is that of her former love, Marcelo, the man who also killed her in her youth. She reveals that Eiri actually has the reincarnated soul of Marcelo and that the only way to free her from the prison she's been trapped in for the past two hundred and fifty years is for him to take on the pain of his past sins and suffer through them. Her death had been watched over by various items in the room and they've taken on an obsessive life of their own over time while she's been in this state and they must purge themselves through someone who is willing to die for Cossette. Eiri's mind is so irrational now and his love for her so strong that he takes on this massively painful role for her even though it may kill him first.
Over the course of the episodes we see some of these items come into play and the kind of suffering that Eiri must go through. His taking on of the sins of the past tortures his body and transforms it into a monster that he's unable to control. These scenes are so visually spectacular and gripping that you wish there were more of them, even as bloody as they are. Cossette's ability to heal the wounds once the sin is taken in helps mitigate the situation but the pain of it all is quite strong and Eiri suffers for this in a truly tragic way, hauled up on chains, blood pouring forth and more. The story moves forward in dealing with these things and how Cossette's love of the reincarnated Marcelo has to be resolved while at the same time falling for the man who is willing to die for her. It reaches a truly tragic crescendo as the events build up and those that care for Eiri try to understand what he's going through.
Visually, this is a beautiful piece of work. This is one of those shows where you truly appreciate the work of the production designer and art director in creating something so realistic and detailed. An OVA series like this almost has me resenting the trend of shows becoming longer running TV series instead because you forget what we lose instead in terms of overall quality. This is a lush and lavish production. Just the attention to the detail in the tiled – tiled! – street outside of the antique shop is amazing. Combined with the numerous antiques, the lighting style used and the mix of colors, it's all just a top notch production and allows everything else to really come alive. The only area where it occasionally gets weak is in some of the CG integration but that's easily forgiven when it also provides such gorgeous pieces as the Venetian glass at the beginning.
Another area that complements things beautifully is the music. While it's definitely easy to say Yuki Kajiura has a very noticeable style, it's one that tends to work really well for the shows that she's on. With Petite Cossette, the style once again is something we've heard before but it works extremely well with the visuals and the mood. The mix of the straight instrumental pieces and the ones with the choral numbers really accentuates the scenes perfectly and helps elevate the visuals up. Some of her more subtle pieces in this show come across better than in some of her other series as well, though they may not hold up as well on its own away from the show, but within the context of the show they're quite good. The end song, done with the lead voice actress, is also a really beautiful and haunting piece that just captures what it's all about.
In Summary
Petite Cossette is something that's actually become fairly rare in the last decade at least for what gets licensed and stands alone rather than a side story to a larger show. A short three part OVA series that tells a story with lavish animation and is self contained. This show won me over fairly early on with how it looked and the way it was telling its tale. At the end of it, it had won me over completely with its brutal way of showing a tragic love across the centuries and the kind of redemption someone had to go through to free someone. Love stories tend to be clichéd, especially since we typically only see the TV series simple romances these days, but this one reaches for something more and on a lot of levels I think it really succeeds. With it being a one-time pick-up, it's definitely an easy recommendation for those looking for something more mature from their anime.

Japanese 5.1 Language, English 5.1 Language, English Subtitles, Clean Opening, Clean Closing

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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