Mania Grade: B
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- Audio Rating: B+
- Video Rating: B+
- Packaging Rating: B+
- Menus Rating: B
- Extras Rating: B-
- Age Rating: 12 & 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: Petite Princess Yucie
Petite Princess Yucie Vol. #4
By Chris Beveridge
May 24, 2005
Release Date: April 26, 2005
Petite Princess Yucie Vol. #4
What They Say
© ADV Films
Things are looking up for Yucie. Having passed the Judgment of Light she’s done with part-time work! But things don’t seem to get any easier for her… or her friends. Arc, driven by his quest to find his mysterious “Person from the past,” is harboring some new tricks… and our ladies’ stewards have a little spotlight of their own! The journey continues through the Fairy Realm, drops by the Harvest Festival, is disrupted by some very peculiar butterflies, and takes a run though ahhhh. KINDERGARTEN!The Review!
As the cast of Platinum Princess candidates gets more involved in the quests they go on, they visit more places and have more interesting interactions.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 Japanese DVD release but with a different softer and less busy background, this cover gives us a cute shot of Yucie and Cocoloo together with their hands pressed against each other and smiling I would guess, though it could almost be fear depending on how you look at it. 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 same as previous volumes, the extras for this release are 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)
As the series gets closer and closer to its ending, now that we're firmly in the second half of things, I keep waiting for the something to happen that will give the show a bit more oomph and direction than it already has. But then I remember back to how many girls shows actually play out in the US and realize that this one is really on track pretty well and this volume in particular provides some new material that does change things ever so slightly.
The series hasn't completely dropped some of the things it did early on as the opening episode here has Yucie and the other candidates once again doing a job and once again it involves kids, which means its cute and cloying and overall is just designed to tug a few heart strings but also to pusher Yucie more towards being in the right frame of mind for being a princess by dealing with all aspects of the citizenry. It's not bad but it just feels like the show should have moved well enough away from these by now. When it does move away, it does a fairly decent job of it though and once again we get a visit from the mysterious Arc character.
Now, anyone following this Arc character can see the obvious lines being drawn to him being the prince from Yucie's past, well, other than Yucie, so you get to wonder what it is that he's really up to with the getup and being all mysterious. His return is welcome here though it's done in an interesting way since he starts off by going through Elmina for some information in another form and then finds out that the person he's looking for is named Gunbard and turns out to be Yucie's foster father. Since he gets along well enough with her, even with their amusing adversarial nature, it's an opening that allows him easily into the house. It's from here that we learn he's involved in something related to the tiara that the candidates all covet, but Gunbard plays coy and innocent about everything. It's the small moments like this that actually force you to remember the opening of the series when Yucie arrived and Gunbard took her in and you try to put all the pieces together again.
The series also plays up the hunt for the crystal flowers again though that one at least doesn't seem out of place. This one brings them to the Fairy World where Beth is from so we get an introduction to this particular world and all that makes it up. It's a fairly bland world all told, unlike the previous ones we've seen, but it does play up the big King tree that stands over the entire world and gives a little insight into how things are there. A lot of this episode is related entirely to bringing Beth a bit closer into the group since she's the most self-outcast of them all and it does its best to help build those bridges as well as bring in a few pieces, such as her servant, so that they can be used in future episodes, such as the next one where all the servants get involved in a mission that really takes a break from the regular feel of the series.
As much as I've enjoyed the previous volumes, something about this one just clicked better with me and it proved to be a more enjoyable experience. The group dynamic has worked out well with how they all are now, expecting Beth at this point, and their interactions with each other are nicely done. They also play well with a wide supporting cast, such as the various servants they all have to the others like Gunbard, but also in bringing in characters such as the old ancient dragon and Arc himself. It's layered itself nicely from what it started out as and while I wasn't looking, it became something that I found was quite a bit of fun to watch and brings a smile to my face.In Summary:
This volume covers a number of similar areas to previous volumes, such as a crystal flower hunt, a visit to a new world and even some time spent on the job with kids, but it all comes together very well and everything here simply clicks right. The plot itself is slowly progressing and you can see parts of it starting to come together now that we're in the second half and only two more volumes to go before we find out who gets to be the candidate that wins. That in itself will be interesting since they all have very good reasons and you almost want to root for all of them at this point. I wanted to write this series off pretty early based on how it looked and felt but it's really grown on me.
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 5.1 Language,English Subtitles,Clean opening animation,Clean closing animation,Original production sketches
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Zenith DVB-318 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player via DVI, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.