Mania Grade: B+
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- 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: 100
- Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
- Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
- Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
- Series: Petite Princess Yucie
Petite Princess Yucie Vol. #5
By Chris Beveridge
June 03, 2005
Release Date: June 07, 2005
What They Say
Yucie and our Princesses are getting down to business! There’s only one crystal flower to go and the Platinum Princess Concert awaits. Yucie herself takes another step closer to unraveling the mystery of Arc and the prince. But not all is intrigue as our ladies must still work as maids for one mean old man.
This time around, we follow Yucie, Glenda, Cocoloo, Elmina, and Beth all the way to the Spirit world and back as the quest to become the Platinum Princess and the mystery of the Eternal Tiara draws closer and clearer.The Review!
As the storyline gets closer to the end, more of the back story is revealed and the rivals go through their toughest trials yet – each other.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 goes simple with a picture of Yucie in her regular clothes holding the small dragon that looks ever so cute. The artwork here really does reinforce the Forehead nickname for her though. 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 is done in the same style as the front cover but breaking from tradition of the last four volumes it has different artwork, this time of Yucie, Beth and Glenda together. 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 both ending sequences.Content:
(please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The penultimate volume of the series brings four more episodes that play up some of the standards of the series and carry's on with its themes about friendship and doing the right thing but it also works in some great material about the overall mythology of the show and provides answers that have been long sought. There is some good payoff in this volume as well as just a lot of fun as this cast of characters really comes together nicely.
The theme of friendship and understanding what others is going through is covered across a couple of episodes. The most by the numbers episode, though still quite enjoyable, is the opening one where the girls find themselves working as maids for an estate landlord with something of a dark reputation to him. He'd lost his daughter ten years prior when she ran away and it's left him with a short temper ever since that he takes on out others, and with four young women there to remind him of his own daughter and with their penchant for speaking their minds, they pretty regularly set him off. The show moves into familiar territory that any half hour series of a similar nature would take.
This is also something that plays out in a by the numbers fashion in another episode where the group is going through their next curriculum and have to give a singing performance to a large audience. Naturally, with such distinctive personalities, there's much… discourse… about how best to go about it. The actual singing is so off-key and out of synch that things escalate badly between Glenda and Elmina that the group actually has the realization that they really are rivals and it breaks them apart, even decimating poor Yucie. All of this is watched by Beth who sees it as backing up her feelings about friendship and how it can't really happen. She's confused by Cocoloo though who simply waits patiently for everything to work out.
The best material comes from an unlikely source though. The Queen has decided to throw a ball in honor of her sons return to the castle and it's a big dress-up and schmoozing opportunity for all of the girls. They all want a shot at him though they do admit that Yucie has something of an edge in this regard. Yucie lucks out in finding Prince Arrow sneaking out of the castle though as he has something he needs to do and through her clumsiness, she ends up being asked along on the journey, especially since it requires actually going to her house to confront Gunbard again.
Though Gunbard continues to deny everything, we actually get to travel down memory lane to twenty years prior and the events that led up to what we saw in the opening of the series when he found Yucie after a long hard and bloody battle. The back history provides us an interesting look at the kingdom and how it worked back then as well as a much younger Queen when she was but a princess herself and what kind of choices she had to go through. Seeing the more fantasy oriented piece is fun, and the way Gunbard's relationship with the princess is portrayed is standard fairy tale material but the execution and animation is just so clean and simple yet effective here that it brings a smile to my face as I watched it unfold. You could see it a mile away but it doesn't diminish it in the slightest.In Summary:
Petite Princess Yucie continues to be such a surprisingly enjoyable series that once I got past that opening volume and some of the repetitious nature that's required of it, especially considering its video game origins, it really hooked me well and is enjoyable in both language tracks. This volume brings us very close to the end of the show and it doesn't even feel like we should be here yet. It fleshes out the relationships even more, tackles a new world for the girls to go through and reveals much of the past that we need to know to carry through to the end. I'm on the edge of my seat wanting to see how it all plays out in the end and cannot wait.
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 5.1 Language,English Subtitles,Clean open and ending animation,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.