Mythical Detective Loki Ragnarok Vol. #2 - Mania.com



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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: A
  • Packaging Rating: B
  • Menus Rating: B+
  • Extras Rating: B
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: ADV Films
  • MSRP: 29.98
  • Running time: 100
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Mythical Detective Loki Ragnarok

Mythical Detective Loki Ragnarok Vol. #2

By Brett Barkley     February 13, 2006
Release Date: December 20, 2005


Mythical Detective Loki Ragnarok Vol. #2
© ADV Films


What They Say
Poor Loki. Feeling the full breadth of Odin’s cold shoulder, he remains exiled on Earth in a child’s body. As his sworn enemy Heimdall continues to play puppetmaster, recruiting new gods in his plot to destroy him, Loki and his companions Yamino and Mayura resume their detective work in earnest. This means taking on a whole new slew of thieves, thugs, and the occasional theatrical mastermind, all in the name of passing the time! But when a mysterious orphan named Reiya Oshima enters the Enjaku Detective Agency seeking help, what begins as just another investigation may lead to much more… like the arrival of a lost love from Loki’s past, who may point the way back into Odin’s favor. But will Loki get to her before Heimdall turns her against him?


The Review!
A new Norse god joins the cast in this volume, and we learn just a little more about another.

Audio:

Mythical Detective Loki Ragnarok is presented in Dolby 5.1 in English and Dolby 2.0 in Japanese with English subtitles. I greatly enjoyed the English track and felt the actors really did a great job in bringing personality to their respective characters. Considering the large amount of dialogue in this series, this was actually a necessity. That the audio was reproduced well only served to do the actors justice. Understandably, the same can be said for the actors on the Japanese Dolby 2.0 track, though it comes across much flatter in comparison. On an issue of personal preference, I actually prefer Ms. Fuchizaki’s rendition of Loki on the Japanese track, though again you just don’t get the same impact with the 2.0 audio. As always, there are trade-offs between the two audio options, but this feels like a solid release all the way around.



Video:

Having an original Japanese air date of 2003, Mythical Detective Loki Ragnarok clearly shows in its production values and relative freshness. Video is crisp and clear with colors represented very nicely. This series appears to really rely on moody and striking color schemes, which are all done to great effect throughout the episodes on this disk. Some of the scenes with the possessed doll from the first episode, or even the opening itself are perfect examples of just how nicely this series’ colors are represented throughout. I found overall quality of the presentation to be very strong, finding no instances of cross coloration or pixilation. This is a great looking piece of work.

Packaging:

Volume two comes in a clear keepcase and features a colorful image of Mayura (though I’m not sure about the wings) amidst a nicely designed cover. When juxtaposed with the dark grays and blacks of the cover background, the brighter, livelier colors of used for Mayura really make the figure pop. The cover also features some intricate designs that give it a very unique look unlike any other anime cover I’m immediately familiar with. The back cover continues the black and dark gray background pattern, featuring an easy-to-read volume summary and features included on the disk, as well as several images from the episodes, which also read nicely against this dark background. The spine clearly displays the title (though not the logo) and has a very classy feel. While there is no insert included with this volume, the clear keepcase does feature a vibrantly-colored reversible cover of Mayura in a bathing suit.


Menu:

The disk menu is nicely designed and very easy to use. Featuring some of the Victorian-inspired border design work from the rear cover of the disk itself, the primary background image is a moody animated clip of Loki (in the child form from the series) walking slowly across a floor covered in lit candles, while ghostly images of feathers float over the entire menu and a very appropriately moody music clip plays throughout. Incredibly dark and haunting, I was very impressed with the graphic design of this menu.

In terms of navigation, the menu is also successful. A breeze to use and easy to instantly understand, all navigation is featured against a gold band along the lower edge of the screen. The Mythical Detective seal is featured boldly in the lowermost left of the screen, and the episodes are listed in order one through four, with Preview Volume 2, Extras and Language options in the rightmost corner. By pressing the down key on the remote, the viewer can quickly move through the listing of disk options.


Extras:

The second volume of Mythical Detective Loki Ragnarok features a preview of volume 3, Clean Opening Animation, Clean Closing Animation, a humorous warning (which I can only guess is intended to prevent seizures) that aired on Japanese television, Interview with Seiyuu (Part 1 of a session with Japanese voice actors Yuriko Fuchizaki, who plays Loki, and Takehito Koyasu, the voice of Frey), a Character Art Gallery, and ADV Preview and DVD Credits. I actually really liked the Clean Opening Animation, simply because the mood and design of the opening is just that good. The Character Art Gallery is pretty nice, offering animation still of a number of the characters from the first volume. I was slightly disappointed there weren’t more and would have really appreciated more in the way of concept sketches and unfinished pieces, just to get a better idea of the behind-the-scenes artistic energy brought to the series. The video interview with Mr. Koyasu and Ms. Fuchizaki was again fun, but this time around felt a little less value-added than in the previous volume.


Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)

Mythical Detective Loki Ragnarok began its life as a serialized manga published in Shonen Gangan under the name, Mythical Detective Loki. The title was lengthened to the final Mythical Detective Loki Ragnarok after the property was relocated to Comic Blade magazine. The television series based on the original manga ran for 26 episodes in 2003.

Very loosely based on Norse mythology (in which Loki finds himself exiled to Midgard—our human realm, or Japan in this case—in the body of a child, and a number of other famous Norse characters are recreated here as well, as teenagers), this series is a sort of fusion between those mythological characters and the boy detective genre. The plot follows Loki, who has established the Enjaku Detective agency, which appears to handle more occult-oriented cases. Loki has been judged by Odin and exiled to this realm and placed in the somewhat limiting form of a child. He is accompanied by his faithful servant Yamino (who has a penchant for sending away for mail-order junk and seems genuinely surprised when it breaks) and Mayura Daidoji, an energetic, if somewhat clumsy high school girl who manages to force her way in to Loki’s life. Additional characters from Norse mythology are introduced play a vital role in the plot. The additional characters introduced to this point are Thor, Hemidall, Frey and Freya. Each of these Norse transplants also has special abilities, though theirs do not seem as limited by their youthful exteriors as Loki.

As with the pervious volume, the episodes featured here are primarily aimed at the introduction of Norse mythological characters in to the storyline (with the exception of episode eight). The first three episodes deal primarily with the introduction of Frey and his sister Freya, while building on Heimdall’s plot kill Loki. Episode eight, while not actually introducing any new characters, gives some great insight in to the relationship of Loki and Yamino. To this point, there has been very little in the way of explanation for why Loki has been exiled by Odin and why too Odin has sent other gods to kill him. However, the pacing of the story is such that the viewer does not really miss these answers, as a great deal of the fun is found in seeing the new characters and personalities introduced to the plot.

The first episode in this volume, episode five, introduces two new characters to the series, Inspector Niyama, who is utilized throughout this volume and looks to be a reoccurring character, and Frey, who rides a mechanical flying pig called, Gullinbursti. Seemingly, Odin has also sent Frey to Earth to aid Heimdall in his efforts to kill Loki. Frey’s first priority, however, is to find his missing sister Freya. Known as the “Mystery Thief Frey”, he sets out to attract Loki’s attention by stealing a number of different, typically very valuable, items. As the Mystery Thief, he gives the police forewarning of just what he plans to steal, and always manages to outsmart them. Initially, Loki refuses to get caught up in Frey’s plan, and Mayura sets out to catch the Mystery Thief on her own. However, when the Mystery Thief announces he will next steal the Brising necklace, Loki becomes involved. After Frey manages to successfully steal the Brising necklace, his botched escape results in Heimdall’s possession of it.

I enjoyed this episode and liked Frey’s character. Much like Thor/Narugami, Frey is a somewhat humorous character who overdresses and is prone to equally overly-elaborate plans and schemes. While he does not appear interested in bringing harm to Loki outright, his true role in the story is not yet clear.

The second episode, episode six, introduces a young girl named Reiya Oshima. It seems after her family’s home burned, and she as the only familial survivor, along with her butler have taken up residence in a hotel. However, Reiya is now plagued by horrible nightmares and dark phantoms Mayura immediately believes to be poltergeist. She has enlisted Loki’s aid in helping her come to terms with all that is haunting her. But all is not as it seems with Reiya, as Loki recognizes her as the Norse goddess Freya. Her memories, it seems, have been completely erased. And the hotel in which she is staying also holds a dark secret. Immediately after crossing the boundaries of the premises, Loki is trapped by an unknown spell. Unable to leave, he decides to push forward to solve the strange case of Reiya/Freya. As the story progresses, Loki discovers the phantoms haunting Reiya/Freya are indeed very real, and that the hotel is a magical manifestation produced by Heimdall, through the power of the Brising necklace, in his efforts to destroy Loki.

Episode seven begins with Heimdall, having now captured the comatose Reiya Oshima, intent on reviving Freya who is trapped within, and bending her to his will as an instrument of Loki’s destruction. Following the clues left by Heimdall, Loki, Narugami and Yamino set off to find Heimdall’s location and attempt to rescue Reiya. To this end, Narugami’s experience as a delivery boy for any of this numerous part-time jobs comes in quite useful, as he is quickly able to find Heimdall in the city’s aquarium. Once there, the group discovers Freya has been revived and must, in turn, do battle with Heimdall, while Loki tries to help Freya flee. However, Loki has fallen in to Heimdall’s carefully laid trap, as Freya, now filled with evil, is also intent on killing Loki. As Frey arrives on the scene, having finally deduced Heimdall’s location, in search of his sister, he inadvertently triggers a series of events that lead to the Freya aspect again retreating in to the body of young Reiya Oshima. Again without any recollection of who she truly is, Reiay/Freya returns to her life, no longer tormented by Heimdall’s machinations.

Episode eight, the final on this disk, shifts from Heimdall’s plot to use the now nullified Brising necklace to kill Loki and returns to focus on the series’ primary three characters. Having literally stumbled into the perpetrators of a hold-up in which a large sum of money was stolen, and accurately deducing who the men are, Loki is subsequently captured by the two criminals. Believing his abduction to be the perfect opportunity to test the detective skills of both Mayura and Yamino, he sends them a series of clues as to his whereabouts. As his time begins to run out, and his captors attempt using poisonous snakes as a means of killing him, the two deputy detectives continue following his trail. I was particularly fond of this episode, as it focused on the more comical misadventures of Mayura and Yamino, while also offering some fairly big revelations as to the relationship between Yamino and Loki.

All in all, I enjoyed these episodes, as much of the humor and characterization from the previous volume was retained here. I also enjoyed the exploration of the large plotline as to why Loki is here, and more specifically the teasers on why Odin, if he is indeed responsible, is sending the other gods to kill him. On the other hand, however, I felt so much time was dedicated to the Heimdall’s plans in the first three episodes that the conclusion was ultimately unsatisfactory (though I imagine there will be further resolution in future story arcs). Additionally, while I like the potential Frey’s character represents in the fairly large role he played throughout the first three episodes, I don’t feel he’s truly distinguished from the other less threatening/humorous characters already established. My hope is he’ll find more of a niche as the series progresses.

In Summary:

At times, this disk felt a little bogged down by the plotline dominating the first three episodes, namely Heimdall’s great plan to kill Loki using Freya through the influence of the Brising necklace. While I found this to be an interesting story, it ultimately amounted to nothing (though Freya will likely return to the series some time in the future), which seems like a waste of three episodes. The introduction of yet another goofy Norse god detracted a bit from the great line of humor found in the Thor/Narugami character, as Frey almost seemed like just another clueless character in a series of primarily clueless characters. While the fumbling character type works quite well in Mayura, Yamino and Naragumi, I’m not certain another such character is necessary. However, on a very positive note, the clever humor and character development established in the first volume can also be found here. This is one of the aspects I find myself most fascinated with. From Mayura’s earnest willingness to believe in the supernatural and her seemingly uncanny ability to miss nearly every manifestation of it, to Yamino’s penchant for anything mail-order serves as a truly charming way in which this series establishes and explores character in a humorous fashion.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 5.1 Language,English Subtitles,Character art gallery,Second part of a Loki “Actors Talk” featuring Yuriko Fuchizaki (original Japanese voice actress for Loki) and Takehito Koyasu (voice actor for Frey),Original Japanese TV Warning,
Clean opening animation,Clean closing animation

Review Equipment
34” Sony FD Trinitron Wega HDTV KD-34XBR910 and Sony Dav-FR9 progressive scan Home Theatre System with 114 watts per channel to each speaker and 115 watts to each of the subwoofer's two woofers.

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