Mania Grade: C
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- Audio Rating: B
- Video Rating: B+
- Packaging Rating: B
- Menus Rating: B
- Extras Rating: A-
- Age Rating: 13 and Up
- Region: 1 - North America
- Released By: Sentai Filmworks
- MSRP: 39.98
- Running time: 325
- Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
- Disc Resolution: 480i/p
- Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
- Series: Neo Angelique Abyss
Neo Angelique Abyss Season 2 Collection
Neo Angelique Abyss Season 2 Collection DVD Review
By Chris Beveridge
March 17, 2010
Release Date: March 30, 2010
Neo Angelique Abyss Season 2 Collection
© Sentai Filmworks
With everything in ruins, Angelique has to really decide how far she'll go when she learns the true history of past Queen's Eggs.
What They Say
In a land with no sun, the light of the soul must show the way. Six months have passed since the shocking climactic events of season one. As the monstrous Thanatos run rampant, and the world of Arcadia is enveloped in a shroud of smoke and darkness. The mysterious disappearance of the Orb Hunters has lead many to believe that their former protectors are responsible for the disaster. But the truth is even more shocking, for Angelique has actually been unconscious the entire time. Now, waking for the first time, she realizes that she must embrace her destiny, but to do so will mean placing her trust in those who could destroy her! The ancient prophecy must be fulfilled or Arcadia will perish in the complete collection of Neo Angelique Abyss ~ Second Age!
Unsurprisingly, Neo Angelique Abyss is a monolingual release with just the original Japanese stereo track, encoded at 224kbps, included. The show is fairly standard fare where it’s a decent stereo mix with some occasional moments of distinct placement of dialogue and sometimes a little bit of depth going on in an action sequence, but by and large most episodes are dialogue pieces. There’s a good number of characters in the show and the performances come across well throughout with directionality when required but otherwise is a solid forward soundstage piece. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout and the music moments in the opening and closing sequences are problem free.
Originally airing throughout 2008, the transfer for this TV series is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and is enhanced for anamorphic playback. The two disc set has its thirteen episodes split across in the six/seven format which continues to feel odd in general. The third disc is included that's all about the extras, though there are extras on the other volumes as well. The series is one with bright solid colors for both the character animation and the backgrounds so it has a very vibrant look to it that stands out well. The transfer in general handles it well, though there are some scenes where the noise is more noticeable than others, and it keeps to an average bitrate around six with spikes where appropriate. There’s no cross coloration to be found but a few scenes showcase some jaggies during panning sequences, but it’s brief and likely more in the animation itself than in the transfer.
Similar to the first season, this one is a bit dark around the edges and with some of the character pieces but it has a good deal of vibrancy as well with them. The use of four of the secondary characters to be ringed around Angelique is nicely done but there's something that doesn't exactly tie things together well here. It's not a bad looking cover but it's lacking something to tie it together well and the Angelique image in the center is not that. The back cover does its shadowing at the top with the tagline and the summary while the rest of it gets rather light as it showcases a very pretty shot of Mathias and Rene along the left with angelic light flowing down on them towards the bottom. The episode count is clearly listed as is the disc count. Production credits and technical information round out the bottom in a clean and easy to read way as well, an area that Sentai has managed to continue to do to very well. No show related inserts are included nor is there a reversible cover.
The menus use familiar elements from the cover reworked to a larger space, though unlike the first volume I think the artwork looks better on the cover than on the menu. The right side features the artwork pieces while the left has the top level episode access and a special features submenu that loads very quickly. No language submenus are included here as it defaults to the subtitles being on, but you can change them to off on the fly which is good to see still being an option. Everything loads quickly and without problem.
This release gets a good amount of extras overall and even warranted a third disc to contain most of them. In addition to the clean opening material, we get the next round of Neo Angelique Abyss Theater segments that are on the show discs. These extras are just over half a dozen that run a minute or so a piece. They’re all small bodied comedy bits from the show with the characters acting silly, engaging in word puns and so forth. Shows that do these tend to have a very good sense of humor about themselves and helps to “humanize” it a bit more after watching the set.
On the third disc we get the rest of the extras, something that I don't believe was advertised or talk about with the retail solicitations for this title. One of the more interesting extras is the Multiple Love Endings which runs nearly twenty minutes as you get to see the different endings that each character has. It's a nice bit of closure for each of them in different ways but it's all very, very girly in a way. The Omelet Rice Duel is definitely something you only get with anime as the twenty-three minute segment multiple voice actors to do this live segment where they... cook. If you like the actors, they're fun to watch and it has plain silly written all over it. They also do a follow-up to it with a tasting duel that runs about twelve minutes which is cute as they show off the results of their cooking experiences. Another fun little extra that runs about eight minutes and is split into four parts is the Arcadia Carnival special drama segments in which the actors do live performance readings of their characters from scenes within the show itself. I always like watching actors working like this and with this one being done at a mall it's even more amusing. Rounding out the third disc of extras is yet another duel, this time a sweets one where they deal with... pudding. Clocking in at twelve minutes, it's more kitchen time as a couple of the actors get involved. All told, the only extras that really needed to be provided from the third disc are the multiple ending ones but I had fun checking out these other ones as the actors have fun with these kinds of odd situations.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The first season of Neo Angelique Abyss was one that was entirely predictable in how it played out. What made it fun at times was that it was so unabashed in being about a group of pretty boys with one very attractive girl wearing frills that you had to smile during a lot of it. It wasn't high art, it wasn't detailed and the plot was thin at best at times. They'd pull out something convenient to push the story forward even if it didn't entirely make sense. World building was not a primary part of the show. What made it really different was that at the end of the season they ended everything on a relatively down note by destroying the Sunlit Mansion and turn Nyx into the villain.
The Second Age moves us six months forward from that terrible day and the world has changed in a few ways. The return of the Thanatos, which have taken up some residence in the ruins of the Sunlit Mansion, has painted the Orb Hunters as responsible for all that's happened. In addition to their reputations being taken down several notches, the Foundation has fallen even harder as the entire organization is disgraced and the director, Yorgo, is now in prison and will eventually be executed for his crimes involved with the mobile tanks they created that destroyed many villages before being found useless. Add into this that Angelique has gone missing and the Orb Hunters have gone to ground and you have a country that's feeling pretty downcast. The six months of overcast and rainy weather doesn't help either.
It doesn't take long for Bernard, intrepid reporter that he is, to find out that Angelique is alive but has been asleep for the last six months while in the care of the Orb Hunters. Events are well timed as his discovery is when she starts to wake up and learns what's been going on in the world. With the kind of approach she has to life, everyone turns supportive when she says she wants to do all that she can to help fix things. What's dragging her down are the events with Nyx as she saw him clearly when the Sunlit Mansion was burning down. He had meant a lot to her, like all the others, but his changing has had a profound effect on her. She still believes in him though as she has one dream about him before her journey begins again where it seems he may be controlled by Erbos.
Though this season is a bit more focused in a way, it does still go for a few side stories to help flesh out the cast a bit more. One of the side stories works Hyuga to dealing with his past with a friend who died which in turn brings us to a tie in the present with a device that Matias gets. This story helps Hyuga deal with his past in a decent way as it give him some closure and shows an amusing tie that he has to Rayne through it. Another story, one that has less impact overall, involves the travel aspect as the group takes a boat to get closer to their destination. On board, Angelique is a bit taken by the female captain and tries to get her help in learning a bit about using swords so she can feel like she's not always needing protection. It's a nice idea but so poorly executed. First she gets a change of clothes from the captain that are more appropriate but are just frilly in a different way. The other bad point is that she does start using the sword and ends up using it over the remaining episodes with more skill and confidence than she should have.
Unsurprisingly, Neo Angelique Abyss runs through two villainous moments for this particular season after the quest gets going for awhile. There's a sequence where Angelique learns the truth about what it means to be a Queen's Egg and things that have come in the past to other girls aspiring to do so. The first hurdle she must face is with Mathias who has fallen to a minor possession of sorts and is insistent that he won't cede the Holy Capital to Rene even though he's the chosen one by the Silver Tree. When we learn Mathias' history we do understand some of why he's like this, though the possession part certainly has him taking it to another level. It's not a bad villainous turn but it's the kind of turn that's so easily dealt with and ends with everyone feeling so good and happy and in love with each other that it's actually a little stomach churning.
The main villain is a little more problematic though as it's a combination of Nyx and Erbos, with Erbos having taken over Nyx. Nyx doesn't have a lot of back story, which is unfortunate since they now have him being someone a couple of hundred years old, but the connection with him and Angelique in the present has been pretty good since he rescued her at the start of the first season. We do get a better understanding of what the Erbos is, why it exists and the overall danger it presents with the way the Queen's Eggs have gone and how much of a threat that Angelique is. That it all really comes to a head in the last episode is no surprise, nor that they play it it up in a fairly grand and epic flowing way, but I was miffed that part of the episode before was all about the group of Orb Hunters spending time having... meals.
The secondary cast for the show at times makes out better than the leads. Rayne gets little attention here overall and J.D. is in much the same boat though he has a different angle to play. Jet takes up a good bit of time as he's coming to grips with the emotions that he's slowly gaining after meeting Angelique. Jet's growing humanity plays out in several episodes and is one of the main arcs of the series and he's one of the few that I think actually makes out the best at the end of the series. The other that I liked that was underplayed was that of Bernard who realizes a connection he has with Angelique that could have added more depth to things but felt more tacked on overall. Bernard and Roche have been the odd characters out with their professions and roles in the series but I liked that they tried to bring Bernard back for something more important here, first as trying to find Angelique and then with his past being revealed.
One thing about this set, at least in the initial pressing as I hope it will be fixed should they replicate this again, is that there's a serious subtitle issue on the second disc. The first problem is a scene where the group is having the meal mentioned in the previous paragraph and Angelique clearly states her intentions. Sadly, it's not subtitled nor are some of the replies and moments just before it. Even worse is later on the subtitles veer off heavily with text that's gibberish that goes off the screen to the right and wraps around. I can understand some words being wrong here and there when you look at subtitle scripts over and over and you can miss things. How something like this gets past quality control is really mindboggling.
I am so very plainly not the target audience for this show. I've fallen into that area before and have been able to enjoy shows, but similar to others of this nature there's just something about them that doesn't click well for me. While the character animation may not blend well with the backgrounds, Neo Angelique Abyss is a very good looking show with its designs and it's one that I can see easily appealing to fans of pretty men of different stripes. The story structure is predictable and there is never any real threat here. The side stories sometimes play out better but sometimes they're far weaker, such as Cedna the ship captain. There are things to like about this show, but it's one with a very definite audience that can easily look past gaping plot holes just to enjoy watching the beautiful men protect the innocent girl who can save the world.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English Subtitles, Clean Opening Animation, Clean Closing Animation, Neo Angelique Abyss Theater, Neo Angelique's Multiple Love Endings, Neo Angelique Omelet Rice Duel Part 1, Arcadia Carnival Special Drama Part 1, Return to the Neo Angelique Omelet Rice, Duel Part 1, Neo Angelique Sweets Duel ~ Pudding a la ModeReview Equipment
Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70" LCoS 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.