Midnight Panther - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: B+

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: A
  • Video Rating: A
  • Packaging Rating: A
  • Menus Rating: A-
  • Extras Rating: N/A
  • Age Rating: 18 & Up
  • Region: All Region DVD
  • Released By: Anime 18
  • MSRP: 29.99
  • Running time: 60
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Midnight Panther

Midnight Panther

By Chris Beveridge     September 29, 2003
Release Date: November 16, 1999


Midnight Panther
© Anime 18


What They Say
They'll Love You to Death
The traveling musical group The Pussycats is the hottest thing around. Lou, Kei and Sonya are three sexy singers with a legion of screaming fans in every town. But these pussycats have claws.

Singers by day, assassins by night. Unbeknownst to their fans, The Pussycats are also female assassins who will kill anyone if the price is right. Sonya is a haunting seductress who kills in the heat of passion. Kei transforms into a panther who devours her prey. Possessing supernatural strength and savage fighting skills, Lou is a match for any foe.

They never miss their target, and their next target is a despotic king who rules by fear and crushes dissension with an iron fist. But for one of the Panthers, it's not just another job... it's personal.

The Review!
They'll love you to death. What a tagline. I can't promise the same, but there's some good and some bad with this release.

The audio is the same as the region 2 release, a standard 2.0 stereo mix on both languages. Dialogue was clear and undistorted, pretty much making things focus on the center channel with some left/right motions every now and again.

The video is very well done on this release. With the animation is very crisp and with a wide variety of vibrant colors throughout, well represented. This is really quite a gorgeous release. There were a few instances of the normal moire effects scattered here and there, but I noted no artifacting and no pixellation. As opposed to some other recent releases, this show came out in 1998 and the animation just seems like it was made for DVD. The opening animation sequence, which is generally paid more attention since it's used for each episode, simply looks amazing. And yes, I was also grinning at the cuties on the screen.

The packaging continues the recent trend of clear keepcases and notes on the inside, including the chapter stops. The front cover has some nice artwork (which is better in my opinion than the region 2 release for volume 1) and that back cover contains all kinds of information. I know it's a necessity, but I just love the "Absolutely not for Children" sticker. Especially since the anime DVD section typically seems right next to the family fare in the Suncoast DVD racks.

The menu is similar to how Darkside Blues was done with parts of the show playing in the background. The main menu (which flows smoothly) had cute panther paw and claw marks over the selection you're able to choose, which I liked. It's the little bits of detail like this that show some attention is being paid to the authoring and the release as opposed to a slap it on the disc method. I checked just about all of the options and they seem to play and do what they're supposed to do.

The only bad technical issue with this disc is, ta da, the subtitles. First off, I'm now wondering if Pioneer and CPM are trading tricks as the subtitles are just like the new Pioneer releases. This isn't a bad thing, the subtitles look good, they're not transparent, and they're there. The problem is that after the first half of the first episode, they begin to drift. The appear a split second too late at some points, but not at others. At the beginning of the second episode, it seemed to be fine again and everything was timed right. Then it started drifting again after about 10 minutes or so.

Honestly, not to single this disc out, but I think that subtitling will be the main issue with anime DVD's for a long time to come. But this issue is nowhere near as bad as the second Macross Plus disc and only detracts somewhat from the viewing.

After all, why read the subtitles when you can watch the cute anime chicks fooling around on screen.

Er, sorry. Anyway, Midnight Panther is a fun release. It's an anime 18 title, which means it ain't for you kids. It's not a bad title, it's pretty much a middle of the road hentai title that follows three assassins who kill by night (yet seem to do a large portion of killing during the day) and sing one song in their traveling idol band. The time period is real fuzzy, which just adds to the hip style the show is trying to give off.

One of the things that definitely moves this above most poor to mediocre hentai titles is that it's got a story through the two episodes. While the characters don't have a ton of depth, Lou, the focus of these two episodes, does get enough coverage. At least compared to a lot of other titles.

The animation is top notch with gorgeous character designs with large assets and very cute anime eyes. If you're a mild hentai fan, this is an easy purchase as it's not tentacle style and really not violent in those scenes for the most part. It's not Overfiend twisted and sick. It's just a lot of fun. Recommended.

Updated 12/5/1999: While I had been very excited to watch and review this disc, I had overlooked one important part of this disc: The DVD-ROM content. So I'm correcting that here and now.

Using their WebConnex system, CPM has some great features added to this disc that I had completely missed the first time through. The main screen contains the Japanese logo for the show with the CPM style logo in the upper corner. The first selection is the gallery. Inside the gallery you get 28 great quality pictures from the show that can be enlarged by clicking on them. In addition to those, you get 18 pieces of lineart from it as well.

The second selection is the script. In that it contains the entire script for both episodes, for those who like to peruse it for bits and pieces of how a show is structured or for writing your own scripts.

The third selection contains storyboards. Broken into two specific sequences, each sequence contains 8 viewable pages. Each one shows the storyboard itself and then two pieces of the animation that were derived from it. Very spiffy.

The final section contains some manga information that Midnight Panthers is based from. The main page for it contains 10 covers from the U.S. manga, and each of those has one page of interior artwork from it so you can check out how good that is. The bottom of the main page contains 4 covers to the Japanese manga releases.

After viewing all the pieces included in the DVD-ROM side, I'm definitely paying more attention to them on CPM releases in the future. Hopefully they'll be able to add more multimedia content in the future such as a screen saver or possibly some background pictures for my PC. Hats off guys!

Features
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,The Pussycats,Promotional Trailers,Comics

Review Equipment
Toshiba CF36H50 36" TV, Pioneer 414 codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE915 DD receiver, Monster S-Video cable and Sony speakers.

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