Mania Grade: B+
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- Audio Rating: B+
- Video Rating: A-
- Packaging Rating: A
- Menus Rating: C
- Extras Rating: N/A
- Age Rating: 13 & Up
- Region: All Region DVD
- Released By: Media Blasters
- MSRP: 29.99
- Running time: 100
- Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
- Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
- Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
- Series: Magic Knight Rayearth
Magic Knights Rayearth TV Vol. 2
By Chris Beveridge
May 30, 2000
Release Date: May 30, 2000
Magic Knights Rayearth TV Vol. 2
What They Say
© Media Blasters
Sunrise (Levels 5-8)
Hikaru, Umi and Fuu continue their journey in Cephiro. Guided by the ever-fluffy Mokona, the girls fight their way through the land. As they fight, they realize that sometimes they get help from unexpected places. And they find the price they must pay to continue on their quest is larger then they ever expected.The Review!
Another volume in the first season of Magic Knights Rayearth, and even as hectic as the first four episodes were, these four things bring things more into motion than before.
The Japanese and English language tracks sound good. We didn't notice any distortion at our normal listening level. Dialogue was clear and understandable. The front soundstage is used a touch more this time around than the first disc, but overall it's not much more than you'd expect from a 90's TV series.
The video on the other hand was much better this time around, especially for the first three episodes. The clarity and the vibrancy of the colors, notably the characters hair color, was much more pronounced this time with only a minimal amount of bleeding. The fourth episode, which is in general darker overall, didn't exhibit the same level of vibrancy that the earlier ones did, which makes me think that it's less of an authoring problem with the first disc but more in that the source materials are this way. After all, TV series aren't known for their animation consistency. This disc overall exhibited less pixellation though it still had the occasional bit of jitter here and there.
The packaging for this one is my favorite of the first batch of discs in that it has my favorite character highlighted on it, Fuu! The front cover has some excellent artwork and the same design as the first one, continuing the solid feel of the set. These designs are much improved over their VHS counterparts by a huge leap. The back cover gives some good information on the show and the folks behind it as well. The disc itself is silk-screened with the cover artwork and with all their releases to date, there is no insert provided.
The unfortunate side to a box set release can be in that if there's something wrong with one disc, odds are it's going to be the same for all of them. The menus are identical to the first volume, and that means that they're moving extremely slow. Other than this, we had no issues with the menus and everything accessed fairly quickly once selected.
We found these four episodes to be much more engaging than the initial four, more than likely due to the fact that they weren't as rushed to get so many things introduced, like characters, setting and plot. The good stuff, you know?
The girls make their way through more battles on their journey to claim the Escudo ore needed to make their weapons that will allow them to save Cephiro. The actual encounter where they gain the ore was interesting, since it went and explored each of the characters personality a bit, though in a bit of an obvious way. But it needs to be remembered that these characters are only in the eighth grade and the show is aimed at young girls, so sometimes they end up with something less than subtle.
These episodes also bring to the front of the storyline another of Zagato's pawns in the form of young Ascot, the beast summoner. The character is fairly interesting for the little we know of him, but I just think his mode of transportation is very slick. We see more of his beast friends as he sets them to destroy the Magic Knights, with some pretty devastating results. Frankly, I was surprised at what happened to one of the secondary characters this early on in the series. But as with all fantasy series, things may not be as they seem.
These episodes did a really good job of advancing the plot and fleshing out the main characters and the world that they've been transported to. The animation varies somewhat from episode to episode (and sometimes from sequence to sequence) but there was a definite surge in quality in these episodes and it shows on the disc.
The extras were pretty decent. The art gallery was really nice in that it had some great shots of both cel animation pieces and regular artwork. The voice actress interview again suffers from sounding very muddy and distorted that I gave up listening to it. The bloopers and outtakes were quite good though. These are the kinds of things that need to be included on almost every DVD that comes out. While we all take things a little too seriously at times, these are great mood lighteners and help remind people that there is an actual person doing work there and that they're not infallible.
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Art Gallery,Umi Voice Actress Interview,Outtakes
Toshiba CF36H50 36" TV, Pioneer 414 codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster S-Video cable and Sony speakers.