Petite Princess Yucie Vol. #2 - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: B-

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: B+
  • 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: 125
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Petite Princess Yucie

Petite Princess Yucie Vol. #2

By Chris Beveridge     March 06, 2005
Release Date: January 18, 2005


Petite Princess Yucie Vol. #2
© ADV Films


What They Say
Things are in full swing at Princess Academy! Yucie and her friends continue to work off jobs, study and meet new people like Arc (who is searching for the Eternal Tiara) and Elmina (Princess of the Heavenly Realm). With a visit to Glenda's home, a scary church, self-reflection and more to contend with, the tension between them continues to grow.

The Review!
Yucie and friends continue to do the various jobs assigned to them but along the way a few more quirks show up in their plans to become the Platinum Princess.

Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this series in its original language of Japanese. The series has a fairly standard stereo mix to it that has some decent moments of directionality across the forward soundstage throughout it but it still doesn't really feel like all that of an immersive mix. It comes across well though and there aren't any problems such as dropouts or distortions during regular playback, but it doesn't have any oomph to set it apart from any other series. We listened briefly to the English mix which is in 5.1 and other than being a bit louder and a bit more defined in vocal location, it sounded roughly the same.

Video:
Originally airing in 2002, the transfer for this series is presented in its original full frame aspect ratio. The materials here look really good but not exactly what you'd normally expect from Gainax these days. It doesn't have quite the same vibrancy as some of their other releases in the past couple of years, but the show is angling for something a bit more fairy-tale oriented and with its fantasy setting, something that doesn't stand out quite as strongly. The transfer in general does look really solid though and free of most problems like cross coloration and aliasing as well as any notable blocking. Sometimes Glenda's legs look like they have some slight cross coloration going on with a bit of green showing, but it's so minimal on our setup that it's really hard to tell.

Packaging:
Using the same artwork as the second Japanese DVD release but with a different softer and less busy background, we get a straightforward shot of both Yucie and Elmina in their regular outfits. Being a simple character shot, they look decent and with a bit of detail but not too much. The simple designs and bright coloring are eye-catching in general but definitely skew to a younger crowd. The back cover keeps things simple as well with a row of shots from the show and some character artwork for Yucie mixed around the summary of the shows premise. The discs features and episode titles are listed as well as the usual production block and the always useful technical grid at the bottom. The reverse cover in this clear keepcase uses the same artwork as the front cover but with a different flowery background and different coloring to go with it. No insert is included in this release.

Menu:
The menu layout for this release goes for the simple approach with just a couple of shots of Yucie here while some static flower petals are scattered around and some moving ones go by below that. Each episode is accessible directly without any direct scene access, which is fine since there are only a few basic chapters anyway. Access times are nice and fast and the menus load with my player's language presets without issue.

Extras:
The only extras on the opening volume, which are probably all we'll see for the series, is a set of production sketches and the clean versions of the opening and ending sequences.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Petite Princess Yucie, based on Gainax's Princessmaker game, managed to prove to be interesting enough in the first volume that even with its repetition clearly laid out in each episode with the idea of the girls doing jobs to polish their hearts. While with most other studios producing something similar there probably wouldn't be as much of a belief that there's something more to come, Gainax does get that benefit of the doubt. Add in that the show has such good animation at times and it's easy to keep checking it out just to see what they're doing next.

Thankfully, with the second set of episodes that brings us up to episode ten, they move away somewhat from the job of the week mentality. We do get one or two more here, but they work differently this time in that it actually moves things forward in an interesting manner. For example, when Yucie is sent off to watch a church overnight while the residing sister is away, she ends up having Glenda show as well as Cocoloo. Glenda ends up leaving on Demon related business but the two girls stay and eventually have to deal with the arrival of a tired young man seeking refuge. There's concern all around until the young man actually wakes up and acts like king of the castle and keeps referring to Yucie as Forehead.

As it turns out, for some unknown reason he's on the run from the castle guards who won't say why they're after him. The actual sister of the church opts to take care of him until he's ready to go, which doesn't take long as he's after the local dragon. Finding that Yucie knows about him, she's dragged deeper into things but there's something about him she can't quite shake. The episode plays out much like a good fantasy episode with dragons, cerebeus and big fight scenes, but for Yucie she finds herself feeling like she did when the prince years ago rescued her in the these same woods. This episode really stands out in terms of how well the show is animated, mostly because it's one of the few with a lot of action to it but it just was visually quite engaging.

One of my favorite episodes of the series so far involved the search for the next Crystal Flower that Yucie and Glenda are set to find now. With the help of Gaga, the two are sent into the Demon World where they have to work together and figure it out with no real help. For Glenda, returning to the Demon World puts her firmly in her element, but not as she'd like. For Yucie, it's seeing all those things you normally fear being brought to reality. Unfortunately for both, the Demon Realm isn’t what it used to be by a long stretch. One of the reasons Glenda wants to take over in this world is that her father is set on a remodeling project of the entire world that'll make it more tourist friendly. So things like the evil looking range of mountains have blue bows and candies across it. The sky has pastel flowers littered through it. It's just far too cute. And even getting to meet the lord of the demon world is amusing since he's thrown his back out while doing all the redecorating.

There's a lot of fun overall with this set of episodes. We learn a bit more about Cocoloo who actually has a surprisingly interesting secret. She gets to shine a bit in an art related episode in the princess academy. The academy itself gets to show off a bit as well when they do a visiting day for parents which is a lot of fun since the girls never know how their parents are going to be when they show up. Yucie has no clue what to expect from her father and he's as mysterious as always. For Glenda, it's even worse since her father is just so out of it lately due to his remodeling plans that they're affecting how he thinks of doing things.

In Summary:
The opening volume to the series set things up to really look like it could be a job of the week show but this set of five episodes really pushes the show in a few different directions and expands the main cast nicely as it fleshes them and their secrets out a bit more. While the main plot of actually becoming the Platinum Princess doesn't really get any advancement, the girls are put through plenty of tests and challenges that don't feel like they're repeating themselves and it continues to be interesting. The animation for the show, which sort of feels like its cheating by keeping the designs so simple, provides some very lush and detailed action scenes throughout though. Yucie's a fun title that I'm not sure where it's going to go but I'm more comfortable going along with it now than I was before.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 5.1 Language,English Subtitles,Clean Opening,Clean Ending,Production Artwork

Review Equipment
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Zenith DVB-318 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player via DVI with upconversion set to 720p, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.

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