Mania Grade: B
Maniac Grade: A+
0 Comments | Add
Rate & Share:
- Audio Rating: B
- Video Rating: A-
- Packaging Rating: B-
- Menus Rating: B
- Extras Rating: B
- Age Rating: 16 & Up
- Region: 1 - North America
- Released By: Media Blasters
- MSRP: 34.95
- Running time: 300
- Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
- Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
- Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
- Series: Loveless
By Jennifer Rocks
October 31, 2007
Release Date: April 24, 2007
What They Say
© Media Blasters
Ritsuka’s innocent childhood days come to a bloody end when he lost the one person who understood him. His brother Seimei was always his guiding star, and without him Ritsuka was lost. The enigmatic Soubi appeared to change all that. Soubi was once partners with Seimei, a sacrifice who gave his energy so Soubi could fight. Mow Soubi has come to Seimei looking for a new partner. Will Ritsuka find happiness chained to Soubi?The Review!
Boys in love (one of them underage!), magic spells, crippled emotions and the slow blossoming of friendships populate this moodily atmospheric show.Audio:
I watched the show in the only audio format available, the Japanese stereo mix. The audio mix is without issue, with crisp and clear dialogue as the primary focus. The music is a strong presence and helps build the melancholy atmosphere. One downside here is that the subtitles are not so faultless, with several misspellings and some awkward translations.Video:
Loveless has a very appealing visual style. The backgrounds have a soft watercolor look that lends to the dream-like atmosphere. Though the colors are often muted, they are very rich and free of bleeding or artifacting. This is a lovely transfer that really shows off the interesting animation.Packaging:
The individual disc packaging will resolve any doubt you may have had as to the intended audience for this show, with a plethora of doodled flowers and swirlies any girl would be proud to have on her school binder. The discs each have nice character artwork on the cover and have a pastel color wash lending to the shoujo feel. The back panel has a good synopsis for the disc contents, a small strip of episode shots, a listing of the included features as well as the technical specs. The discs are very nicely designed and are quite appealing.
Not so attractive is the collector’s box, which is made of an extremely thin and flexible cardboard. The box art features Ritsuka and Soubi chained to one another during a spell battle over a blue and silver checkered background. The checkerboard is carried onto the spine, which simply displays the show’s title, and over onto to back side, which has a few images from the show as well as a brief description of the show. The show description oddly features Soubi’s name spelled correctly twice and incorrectly three times. The bottom of the box clearly lists the technical specifications, although there is another incongruity here – the box lists the show as 13 and older, where each individual disc shows 16 and older. Menu:
The menus continue the pastel colors and doodle theme of the packaging, and each main menu features the character artwork from the disc cover. Music from the show plays throughout the menus, with nearly the entire opening theme playing on the main menu. The navigation is very simple and easy to use.Extras:
Though the extra options are a bit meager, with the textless opening only available on the first disc, and the textless closing on the last disc, the SD theatre makes up for this. The SD theatre shorts are hilarious semi-recaps and nitpicks of the episodes featuring the super deformed heads of Ritsuka and Soubi. The SD theatre bits are irreverently self-mocking and often had me rolling.Content:
(please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Ritsuka is certainly not your average sixth-grader; he is a cat boy and is unusually mature for his years. In this world, all virgins have cat ears and tails. His maturity is the result of the death of his older brother Seimei, which has left him profoundly troubled and deeply untrusting of others. And who can blame him, with an abusive mother at home and no one else to care for or protect him. Ritsuka has transferred to a new school and is surrounded by typical twelve year olds and a teacher who seems as immature as her students. Despite the obvious interest of his new classmates, Ritsuka is completely uninterested in making friends.
Ritsuka’s world changes when Soubi, who no longer sports cat ears, appears waiting for him outside of his new school. Soubi seizes Ritsuka’s full attention when he informs Ritsuka that he was a friend of Seimei’s. Ritsuka immediately wants to spend time with the enigmatic stranger, seeing this as the only way he can reconnect to Seimei. Though it is possible that Ritsuka initially views Soubi as a potential replacement for his older brother, it is quickly made clear that Soubi has a very different idea. In their first meeting Soubi kisses Ritsuka, and initiates their relationship as Sentouki and Sacrifice - a Sentouki is the spell caster of a fighting pair, with the Sacrifice taking all of the damage from the opposing pair.
Soubi tells Ritsuka that he was Seimei’s Sentouki and was instructed by Seimei to be the same for Ritsuka. It is very unusual that Soubi would pair with another Sacrifice, as a shared true name and strong emotional ties bond Sentouki and Sacrifice. Seimei and Soubi shared the name of Beloved, while Ritsuka’s name is Loveless. It is unclear if there is something special about Soubi that allows him to pair with Ritsuka despite their mismatched names or who Ritsuka’s true name partner is.
As things develop, we learn that Soubi is also pretty disturbed; he is a masochist who strongly desires to be mastered. Unfortunately, Ritsuka is not as willing a master to Soubi as Seimei seems to have been. Ritsuka is often frustrated by Soubi’s actions and attitude. Despite Soubi’s assertions that he will never lie to Ritsuka, he often does so to protect Ritsuka’s innocence. Though initially Soubi needs to foster strong feelings in Ritsuka in order to be a successful fighting pair, he does come to love Ritsuka and it’s clear that his feelings are returned. Their relationship is a bit awkward, as Ritsuka is only twelve and still sporting his cat ears to Soubi’s sexually mature twenty some years.
Nevertheless, they team up and engage in the spell battles used by fighting pairs. The true purpose of these battles is never made clear, though they do provide Ritsuka with a means of slowly gathering information regarding Seimei’s death. Ritsuka is led to believe that an organization called Septimal Moon is somehow responsible. Together, Ritsuka and Soubi fight several other fighter pairs to try to gather information. Though Soubi seems to know the secrets behind Seimei’s death, he has been forbidden to reveal anything to Ritsuka, a frustration that Ritsuka comes to manage as he matures.
Though initially the show is focused on discovering the truth behind Seimei’s death, it ultimately focuses on the character relationships. The other fighting pairs, especially both sets of Zeroes, each have very interesting stories dealing with their feelings and places in the world. Their plights help Ritsuka to grow and trust his feelings for and relationship with Soubi. In addition, Ritsuka’s budding friendship with his teacher and two pals from school help him to mature.
The show ends rather abruptly with the main plot left wide open – what is Septimal Moon, did someone really kill Seimei, and why does Seimei still have his ears when Soubi does not? Unfortunately all of these questions are left unanswered here, though luckily there are many volumes of Loveless manga to turn to for answers. Despite the wide-open plot line, the character relationships are all well developed and resolved when the show reaches its conclusion. In Summary:
If you are at all uncomfortable with the idea of a sixth grader and a college student in a relationship, then this show is definitely not for you. If you can put that aside, then Loveless has quite a bit to offer - good character development, a uniquely melancholy mood, and lovely visuals. These pluses are balanced by the lack of plot movement resulting in a multitude of unanswered questions. This is the type of show that if it hooks you, you will love it despite its weaknesses.
Japanese 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,Textless Opening,Textless Closing,SD Theatre
Review Equipment: Samsung HLT6187S 61” DLP HDTV, Sony DVP-NS975V Progressive Scan Up Converting DVD player, Pioneer Elite VSX-81TXV DD/DTS receiver, HDMI cable, JBL Multi-Channel Speaker System with 100-Watt Subwoofer.