Mahoromatic Vol. #3: A Warriors Fate - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: B+

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: A
  • Packaging Rating: A
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: B
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Geneon Entertainment (USA), Inc.
  • MSRP: 29.99
  • Running time: 100
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Mahoromatic

Mahoromatic Vol. #3: A Warriors Fate

By Chris Beveridge     May 20, 2003
Release Date: May 27, 2003


Mahoromatic Vol. #3: A Warriors Fate
© Geneon Entertainment (USA), Inc.


What They Say
year to live. For Mahoro Ando, knowing when she will die has given her an opportunity to live, and despite experiences that were painful or annoying at the time, Mahoro cherishes each and every memory. As Mahoro prepares for a final battle with Ryuga, one of Saint?s top agents, she reflects upon her life and braces for a battle that may greatly accelerate her expiration. In situations as this, a year can literally feel like a lifetime.

The Review!
The final volume of the first season finishes much as a wide variety of Gainax shows do.

Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in its original language of Japanese. While the show has a few dynamic action moments, it actually features quite a number of dynamic dialogue moments where the directionality across the forward soundstage comes across perfectly as there are a number of characters and jokes running at any given time. The stereo mix here sounds very good and we noted no dropouts or distortions on either language track.

Video:
This installment of Mahoromatic continues to sport a gorgeous anamorphic transfer that has fantastic colors with no noticeable bleeding, cross coloration or aliasing. Throughout the four episodes on this disc, I could find no issue that distracted me from its presentation. If this keeps up, this will become one of the easiest sections of the review to write.

Packaging:
The main front cover here is a nice somewhat serious dark cover with Mahoro in her combat oufit set against a fiery background and the images of her main opponents this time around. The back cover provides the episode numbers and titles (and the spine contains the volume number, a nice plus) as well as a small summary of what this disc is like. The discs features and extras are nice and clear as well as the usual production information. The insert has a nice shot of Mahoro and Suguru together dancing in the sunflowers. The insert opens to reveal a nice manga style drawing of all the women in the cast in bathing suits, though it definitely reminds one how young they are. In a more fanservice oriented way, the reverse cover has a very sexy image of Mahoro in parts of her maid outfit laying forward down on a blue pillow and looking back at the viewer. To make sure everyone is happy, you get a great look at her posterior and those with a loose sock fetish will also be pleased. I am so reversing this cover to use this image.

Menu:
The menu layout for the show is done up in an in-show theme with one of the military aspects being used as the central piece. Selections on the main menu are quick and easy to load and there?s only a brief transitional piece to the submenu. Returning from the submenus may be tricky at first, since you?re supposed to click in the direction where the main menu is ? but there?s no real indication to do that. For example, in the extras menu, you click left to return, but there?s no pointer or icon to indicate that. I can imagine that being frustrating on both a standalone deck and a computer player.

Extras:
There?s some good extras included on this volume, the first being an actor commentary. I got really excited at first, thinking a full length episode commentary, but it?s actually a six minute Japanese video segment with the actresses for Suguru and Mahoro talking about the show. Also included is another promotional trailer and a nice looking art gallery. Inside the packaging itself is a half dozen sheets to use with the paper dolls included in previous volumes.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
With the end of the first season of Mahoromatic, the show shifts its focus from the general comedy and humorous action/adventure to something much more serious. Folks that are familiar with most of Gainax?s titles will no doubt be unsurprised by this, but apparently this shift in tone has caught a number of people off guard. Considering the number of past series that have essentially played the same style, I?m surprised that they?re surprised.

With the last four episodes, Mahoro finds herself coming to the conclusion that she?s definitely going to have to face down Ryuga once and for all. Before she does that though, she intends to make sure she has one more really good day with Suguru and asks him out on a date. This of course sets Suguru into mad fits, since he?s never even asked anyone out and yet this is happening to him. After a fun little mental struggle, he naturally agrees and ends up the next day taking off for fun in amusement parks and the like, enjoying a very pleasant date, outside of one particular teacher who continues to manage to show up at the worst of times.

With that out of the way, she leaves him a note telling him of what she?s doing, though she hopes that she?ll make it back before morning to be able to destroy the letter so Suguru will be completely unaware. The show then moves into a completely serious mode and takes Mahoro off into the mountains to an abandoned building that looks much like a school where she and Ryuga face off for the final time.

Their fight essentially covers the final two episodes here, though with varying bits in-between to help it stretch out with feeling overly forced. The action sequences are for the most part very fluid, though there are some amusing moments of fanservice in terms of skin being shown during parts of it. There were a few moments that were definitely reminiscent of past Gainax shows in how the battle played out which was extremely amusing. All told, while there was definitely a fair amount of exposition during the battle sequence, it played out nicely and the season ended on a rather good note.

Mahoro as a series is still fairly quirky for me. The bulk of it was really a character piece between Suguru and Mahoro. The entire bit with the aliens and the fighting served more as a backdrop than anything else. Even with an entire episode on this volume devoted to the origins of Saint and the training/creation of Mahoro and the other combat droids (all amusing large chested except for poor Mahoro), the focus definitely wasn?t on there but on Mahoro. If the science fiction side of the story had been more key to the show, they would have played a lot more of her origin up earlier in the series.

This series has been a lot of fun all told, providing a good story, lots of comical moments and a number of areas that not only went over the top but kept jumping higher. The series production values are solid, between a gorgeous anamorphic print and a vivid color palette, a lot of this leaped off of the screen. For long time Gainax fans, this is a real treat with a number of smart tributes to the past and an interesting direction for them to start moving into. I?m definitely looking forward to the second season.

Features
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Video Interview,Full Color Gallery,Promotional Trailer

Review Equipment
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Panasonic RP-82 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.

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