Orphen Vol. #2 - Mania.com

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Mania Grade: B+

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  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: A-
  • Menus Rating: B+
  • Extras Rating: B
  • Age Rating: 12 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: ADV Films
  • MSRP: 29.99
  • Running time: 75
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Orphen

Orphen Vol. #2

By Chris Beveridge     October 08, 2003
Release Date: September 11, 2001

Orphen Vol. #2
© ADV Films

What They Say
The "Heiress With Attitude" is getting tired of traveling with sorcerer-turned-dragon hunters Orphen and Majic. So when Cleao hears about the legend of a monster near the mysterious resort at Mount Kahlna, it?s no surprise when she goes to check it out. But neither Cleao nor her friends are quite prepared for the truth behind the legend!
Later, the group meets Fiena, a gentle girl with the magical power to heal animals-a trait that comes in handy when the forest is populated with shotgun-happy hunters. Yet the hunters aren?t the only dangers in this forest. For watching their every move are several pairs of glowing, yellow, angry eyes!

The Review!
Mmm, more Orphen goodness. The style of the show and its design continues to improve here with another three episodes, two of which are an interesting arc that brings more light to the way of the world, and in how Sorcerers are really regarded.

For our primary review session, we listened to this disc in its original language of Japanese. Much like the previous volume, this late 90's TV series has a decent amount of directionality across the front soundstage, used mostly during some of the magical attacks, but also in making some of the deeper sounds wider. The music from the opening really sounds great, to a point where I admit to jacking up the volume and just getting really into it. We didn't notice any dropouts or other distortions throughout the check, and a check of the English track didn't reveal any authoring related issues.

Things look a fair bit improved here over the previous volume, with the grain being a bit less noticeable and the general look of it being a bit more solid and well defined. Rainbows appear to be non-existent, and line noise is very minimal, with only a few panning sequences really making it noticeable. The show still has for the most part a very earth tone feel to it, giving it very few sequences that really shine or show off. Those that do, such as a few of the magics used and some of the action sequences, really shine well.

Much like the first disc, the dark and forbidding look of the second volumes cover works well here. The closeup of Orphen's face, obscured both by the sword and the logo, leaving only one eye really visible, gives him the dark look that the character tries to give off. The inclusion of the lighter elements, such as Cleao and Majic, in the upper background helps accentuate the main image nicely. The back cover has a nice summary of the show, with a few tiny pictures and te usual array of technical information. The only downside, much like the first volume, is the lack of numbering of the volume or the episodes. Both the insert and the silkscreened DVD contain variant of the front cover.

The menu system is set up much like the first volume with a small portion of animation playing as the menu builds and then the menu is free to manipulate. It's not a terribly long load, but once that's done the access times between the menus is pretty solid. The menus are laid out nicely with episodes selectable from the main menu and everything else easy to get to. The design style is very much in the style of the show itself with the runes as the cursor and overall it looks quite good.

The main new extra here is the inclusion of another video gallery that runs just under two minutes, providing more conceptual artwork for the series. ADV also included both the textless opening and ending, which is a trend that I really like them doing.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
For a lot of this disc, it's basically two shows. Probably just as bad as Generator Gawl was. We watched it in Japanese first, enjoyed the show, and then I listened to the English track with the Japanese subtitles while writing up the review. So many scenes changed for no obvious reason. There's one where Orphen touches some blood, and says in Japanese: It's blood. The English? It's a gunshot. Why? Why make such a change?

Changes like that drastically effect how the shows perceived. Add in all the little bits of slang and such, and you get such a different feel than what was intended. And this isn't a slight against dubs, even though we tend to not review them. It's just that such drastic changes bring a concern, as noted on other sites.

We really do enjoy the original version though. The episodes here were a bit of a surprise, with the first episode feeling fairly fillerish, with Cleao realizing that the adventurous journey she's on now isn't all that glamorous as she thought it would be, based on books she'd likely read over the years. She had hoped for the fancy inns, the exciting life on the road, but wasn't really prepared for the unexciting life of... walking. She does want to travel the untraveled road though, such as the mountain that's nearby, while Orphen would rather take the longer lower road and simply arrive at his destination.

Suffice to say that Cleao calls in a favor on Majic and they head off to face the legendary monsters there and try to get the Golden Blessing that's related to a castle hidden within the mountains. There's a fairly nice bit of interaction between Majic and Cleao during this, but at times I can't help but to think both are lacking some basic intelligence in how they deal with the situations they find themselves in.

The next two episodes comprise a small arc that deals with a forbidden forest, where a village whose lineage traces back to the Dragon Tribe resides, with those who hold their grudge/duty to help eliminate the Sorcerers from the world. Majic finds himself captured by the villagers, and ends up becoming involved with the priestess of the village, Fienna. She takes a liking to him, even knowing he's a sorcerer, as he's the kind and gentle type. Everyone else simply wants to execute him, but she's got some pull.

Orphen and Cleao find themselves under attack as well, but Orphen's no slouch this time around and handles the situation fairly well. But once realizing that Majic's in the hands of the villagers, and their hatred of Sorcerers and strangers in general, he starts taking this more seriously. And when the Deep Dragon's become involved, bringing their massive powers and dark agendas into play, Orphen finds himself succumbing to something he never thought he would.

Cleao has the least role to play during this arc, which is good as she need a breather, but she does provide some of the more humorous moments towards the end. The interaction between Fienna and Majic works really well, and the two of them have one really romantic scene together that's just great to see. The story works well, and does a nice job of bringing some more light on the way the world Orphen inhabits works.

If there's anything wrong with this disc, it's the three episode count. After three of these episodes, I'm not done, and I want more. The show is fairly addictive, and its style continues to draw me in. I'm really enjoying this show, and can't wait to see more of it. Very recommended.

Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Textless Opening,Textless Ending,Production Sketches

Review Equipment
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Skyworth 1050P Progressive Scan codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.


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