Mania Grade: B-
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- Audio Rating: B+
- Video Rating: A-
- Packaging Rating: C
- Menus Rating: B+
- Extras Rating: N/A
- Age Rating: All
- Region: 2 - Japan
- Released By: Beam Entertainment
- MSRP: •4700
- Running time: 30
- Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
- Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
- Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
- Series: Midnight Panther
Midnight Panther Vol. #1
Midnight Panther Vol. #1
What They SayThe Review!
© Beam Entertainment
This is a title that I've anticipated for years. I'm a big fan of the original manga by Yu Asagiri; I started collecting the books in 1995 while I was living in Japan. The manga's artwork is beautiful; with superb character designs and incredible detail. Since then, Central Park Media has released this manga series domestically; though I haven't yet looked at any of the translated issues so I can't vouch for them personally. I would expect them to be just as good provided they weren't heavily edited or anything.
Midnight Panther is an erotic story concerning three female assassins. Dubbed the Panthers, these girls first seduce their intended targets and then kill them. There's Lou (aged 15); dark skinned with short hair, a somewhat tomboyish girl who normally uses a sword or other blade to dispatch her quarry. Blond and beautiful Kei (aged 16) has the ability to morph into a panther and kills using teeth and claws. Finally, Sonia (aged 18) strangles her victims with her incredibly long, dark hair. The trio doubles as the Pussycats, popular idol singers, while traveling from job to job.
This first volume follows the manga pretty closely, which was neat to see. In addition, the character design is quite good, and while not identical to the design found in the manga, it winds up being very close and is more than acceptable. I really like what they've done with it. The preview for the next episode looks like it will continue on with the manga storyline, though it is only presented as stills. It looks to me like they didn't have enough of the show finished when the DVD was mastered to make much of a teaser.
Video is very good; some minor grain here and there, mostly in the backgrounds, but nothing serious. Colors are solid and vibrant with no chroma noise. The audio is crisp and clear Dolby Digital 2.0, which is the staple for Region 2 DVDs. This is the first Green Bunny DVD I've watched so far, and I'm impressed ? a welcome change after watching some of their VCD's. (Yes technically Kite is a Green Bunny DVD, but it was published by Beam ? this disc is the first I've seen released in house by Green Bunny).
The packaging isn't the best; I just don't care for the jewel box. Yes, it is one of those supposedly extra-durable DVD specific jewel boxes, but it still doesn't replace a keepcase. I think they could've done more with the cover art as well considering all the great art in the show, but it works.
The first DVD contains one 30-minute episode of the DVD series, and covers a portion of the first manga volume as printed in Japan, though I'm not sure which separate CPM issues it would cover. I'd guess the first CPM graphic novel would much, if not all of it though. (Midnight Panther: I'll Love You To Death - A Graphic Novel - Catalog Number: CMX 06062 $15.95 160 Pages, Black and White). I can almost guarantee that they changed the girl's ages for the US releases ? it's standard practice here in the US to call everyone "19" since this is a rather racy series. That isn't a big deal; it just amused me a bit.
The disc menu is very simple; it has nice artwork on the left side and a list of chapter stops on the right. In addition to the chapter stops, it contains a nice character design gallery set to music.
All in all, I'm very happy with this disc. It's not very cerebral, so I marked the rating down somewhat for that. If you enjoy anime with cute girls, or better still have had the chance to read CPM's manga offering, check it out. Personally, I'm wondering if/when CPM is planning on picking this series up!
Japanese Language,Character Designs