Pretear Complete Collection (Thinpak) -

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  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: A
  • Packaging Rating: A-
  • Menus Rating: C+
  • Extras Rating: N/A
  • Age Rating: TV PG
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: ADV Films
  • MSRP: 39.98
  • Running time: 325
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Pretear

Pretear Complete Collection (Thinpak)

By Luis Cruz     March 29, 2006
Release Date: August 09, 2005

Pretear Complete Collection (Thinpak)
© ADV Films

What They Say
When the Princess of Disaster escapes from Leafenia, sixteen-year-old Himeno Awayuki finds herself at the center of a titanic struggle. The Princess wants to destroy the world. The Leafe Knights are sworn to protect it. And Himeno may be the Pretear, the person who can transform into a magical super heroine and defeat the Princess of Disaster. But Himeno may not want the job! Her relationship with her stepmother and stepsisters is a mess. And the handsome knight Hayate is making Himeno nervous! What's a girl to do?

The Review!
Take a pinch of Snow White, add in a dash of Cinderella, and mix it liberally with a magical girl show. The result... a surprisingly enjoyable and slightly dark shojou series called Prétear.

For all three volumes, I listened to the original Japanese language track; it is a solid stereo mix with some decent use of the front soundstage. Dialogue, music, and sound effects were balanced and did not overshadow each other. There were no noticeable drop outs, distortions, or other issues.

Produced in 2001, Prétear is presented in it original 4:3 aspect ratio. This is a gorgeous show to watch, and it did not suffer from any noticeable artifacting, aliasing, or other issues. It is a very colorful series, and the colors produce some strikingly vivid scenes. Combined with some good animation and character designs, this is a delight to watch through all three volumes.

Three thinpak cases are enclosed in a very sturdy box; the box art features a shot of Himeno and Hayate and another shot of Himeno, Sasame, and Hayate. Both shots feature a frame of ice roses around them, and the series title is tastefully placed across the bottom. The cases use the front cover artwork from the first three individual volumes released. Back covers contain all the usual information one would expect. No inserts were provided. Overall, the artwork used is gorgeous and really draws the eye to it.

Simple static menus with a loop of the opening song are used for all three volumes; while not much to look at, they are fast, easy to use, and will get the viewer into the content quickly.


Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Awayuki Himeno is an average high school girl whose life has taken a not so average turn. Years ago, her mother passed away, and her romance novel writing father has recently remarried way above his status. Her new stepmother happens to be the richest person in the city, so rich that she actually owns the city and renamed every building, street, store, and the city itself to bear her new family name of Awayuki.

She has difficulty adjusting to her new life; most of her classmates resent her "marrying" into money and status. Her home life with her two step-sisters is not much better; the older sister Mayune delights in torturing Himeno with pranks while younger sister Mawata remains aloof and taciturn. Despondent, she feels that she has lost her place in the world; however, her place in the world is about to be decided for her.

The Princess of Disaster has escaped her prison in Leafenia and seeks to suck the world dry of its life essence, Leafe. Pledged to stop her are the Leafe Knights, powerful individuals capable of wielding elemental powers. But their powers are incomplete and unable to cope with the Princess without the Prétear. Hayate, the leader of the Knights, is reluctant to look for the Prétear, but fate has Himeno running right smack into Hayate and her destiny.

Himeno is the Prétear, the one person that can "prét" with the Knights imbuing her with the Knight's power and doubling it. So begins Himeno's battles with the demon larvae spreading around the city and with the Princess of Disaster.

The series plays out in three acts; the opening act has Himeno learning what it means to be the Prétear and how to deal with her new powers. Her greatest difficulty is dealing with Hayate, his reluctance to accept her into the group, and his constant belittling of her. We are also introduced to the other Knights like Sasame, the smooth talking Knight who moonlights as a talk show host.

Act two finds Hayate finally accepting Himeno, her dedication, and her willingness to put her life on the line. We also learn the reason why he was reluctant to have anyone as the Prétear. The Princess of Disaster, a girl named Mikage, was once the Prétear and was madly in love with Hayate. Hayate could not return her affection, and the grief twisted her powers and emotions towards evil. Many Knights sacrificed themselves to seal her away in Leafenia.

Himeno struggles with her own doubt about her ability to defend those she loves and avoid the same fate as Mikage. Complicating matters is the fact that she too is attracted to Hayate. Unrequited love becomes a solid theme as Sasame reveals that he was madly in love with Mikage and now decides to stand beside her as a Knight of Darkness.

The final act sees Mikage unleashing Sasame, the Leafe sucking Fenrir Tree, and even Mawata against Himeno and the remaining Knights. It is only through the power of love that the world is saved and that Sasame and Mikage are freed from the bonds of their grief and able to accept salvation. Love is the predominant them driving each character throughout the series, and it is never utilized in a maudlin or trite manner.

While the opening of the series features a lot of monster-of-the-week action, the story built up an intriguing relationship between Himeno and her step-sisters. We learn through Sasame's talk show that Mawata frequently writes in revealing her grief over losing her father. She feels that shutting herself off from the world will prevent her from being hurt further. Despite this attitude, the story carefully has Himeno and her relationship with her father breaking down Mawata's barriers and coming close to becoming friends.

However, the writers neatly twist this subtle relationship into a major plot device; just as Mawata was finally letting her shields down, she is hurt again inadvertently by Himeno and withdraws deeper into her grief. It only takes one final betrayal by Sasame, the one person left she cares for, to push her over the edge and into a tool that the Princess of Disaster can use to create the Fenrir Tree.

Another strong example is Himeno's father; he may be a bit bohemian and enjoy the drink a bit too much. Yet, he can be very insightful and quick to pick up on the emotional troubles Himeno and Mawata are experiencing. The series is also infused with a healthy dose of comedy provided by some of the secondary characters. Various sight gags and pratfalls abound and help lighten up the mood.

Another item making this an enjoyable and attractive series are the darker elements surrounding the Princess of Disaster. Rather than your stereotypical villain, she is simply a woman scorned that simply desires to eliminate the world that has shunned her and made her feel alone and unloved. It was simply despair and hopelessness that pushed her powers towards evil; many of the emotions Mikage felt Himeno is going through and can understand that she too could easily fall into the same fate.

Prétear does so many things right in terms of the characters and story making it difficult to point out any flaws. The story is solid; the characters are well developed; and the series features some lush animation and gorgeous character designs. The only nitpicking I can do is with the length of the series. At thirteen episodes, things do feel a bit rushed at times, but this mainly due to wanting to spend more time with the characters. They are an amusing and well-written lot that you just do not want things to wrap up so soon.

In Summary:
Bearing only a thin resemblance to Snow White or Cinderella, Prétear creates its own delightful fairy tale. An engaging and well developed cast of characters help drive a straightforward but captivating story centered around love and the joy and pain it can bring. I knew little about this series and was quite surprised to find it to be more than a typical magical girl series. Prétear's only drawback is its length; it sucked me into its world so much that thirteen episodes seemed too brief a time to spend in it. If you are looking for a good shojou/magical girl series, this is the series to pick up; very highly recommended.

Japanese 2.0 Language,English 5.1 Language,English Subtitles

Review Equipment
Mitsubishi 27" TV, Panasonic RP-82, Sony STR-DE915 DD receiver, Bose Acoustimass-6 speakers, generic S-Video and optical audio cable


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jnager 3/13/2012 8:16:37 PM

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