Mania Grade: B
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- Audio Rating: B+
- Video Rating: A-
- Packaging Rating: B+
- Menus Rating: B+
- Extras Rating: A-
- Age Rating: 13 & Up
- Region: 2 - Europe
- Released By: ADV Films UK
- MSRP: £19.99 (x4)
- Running time: 325
- Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
- Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
- Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
- Series: Pretear
Pretear Complete Series #1-4
By Paul Jacques
October 15, 2004
Release Date: September 20, 2004
Pretear Complete Series #1-4
What They Say
© ADV Films UK
Sixteen-year-old Himeno Awayuki wants a normal, happy life. But when her nutty father Kaoru marries the wealthy executive Natsue, Himeno finds herself living on an estate the size of a small country and saddled with two step sisters, Mayune and Mawata, who won't give her the time of day! Little does Himeno know her life will go from bad to worse when the Princess of Disaster escapes from the realm of Leafeania. The dark princess is seeding the land with demon larva and intends to suck all the Leafe – the life source – from the world.
Lead by brooding Hayate, seven Knights of Leafe search for the only person who can stop the catastrophe: the Pretear, a special girl who, when merged with a Knight, transforms into an all-powerful defender of life. And the Pretear just happens to be Himeno! But is she up to the challenge?The Review!
I've opted to review the entire series in one sitting. Although this means I will not go into much episode detail, it does afford me the privilege of appreciating the series as a whole, and with an uninterrupted perspective.Audio:
We listened in English 5.1, which was strong, clear and without distortion. Although it has to be said that about from a solid bass there wasn't much direction sound, it all very much came from the front, with not even much use of left and right sound movement. The Japanese 2.0 is just as pleasant to listen to, so you pays-your-money and takes-your-choice, but my money is on the Japanese track, as Fenrir sounds much sexier ^_^
Opening theme is called "White Destiny" and is pretty catchy from the get-go. The closing theme is called "Lucky Star" and is a very pleasant ditty.Video:
This is a very modern Anime, and as is expected the colours are vibrant and the picture sharp. There is no flaw in the mastering, and the only improvement could be through the addition of wide screen aspect, but suffice as to say this TV aspect picture is excellent.Packaging:
The packaging is well done. We have some original artwork on the cover of each volume. The same artwork is used on the single sheet insert. On the back we have three stills from the volume and the usual plot information. The disc itself is printed blue, and adorned with snow flakes.Menu:
Nice simple menu with a sharp floral background motif. Options are Scene selection, languages, Extras at the top. And episode listings at the bottom. All hotspots worked quickly and no dead ends were encountered.Extras:
We get clean opening and closing (Vols 1-4); Productions sketches (Vols 1-4); Japanese TV spots in volume three; Japanese CD and DVD spots in volume 4.
As ever it's the Cast interviews you should move along to. I think ADV have gone the extra yard by doing so many cast interview, and I think they deserve credit for the effort. We get to hear a talk with Luci Christian, Illick Guardiola, Greg Ayres, Spike Spencer, the ubiquitous Chris Patton, Victor Carsrud, Paul Sidello, the forever chipper Monica Rial, the omnipresent Hilary Hag, Sasha Paysinger, Lauren Goodnight, Kaytha Coker, Shelley Calene-Black, Mandy Clark, Jason Douglas, Uncle Tom Cobbly ‘n' all (OK, I made that last one up). The interviews are interesting, although they do not necessarily focus much on the making of Pretear. Still, you do get a better idea of what makes a VA tick from these short tête-à-têtes. The sound production for the interviews leave a lot to be desired, but I'm not going to hold this against them.Content:
(please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
As part of this review I have enlisted the help of an expert in this sub genre, my daughter (Isabella).
This is a 4x volume (13 episode series) which basically centres on the three groups of people; Leafe Knights Hayate, Sasame, Kei, Mannen, Go, Hajime, Shin; Plucky young Himeno, her father and their new and extended family (plus maid) her father has just married into; Fenrir the baddy.
The story starts with the Knights of Leafe getting together only to find that Fenrir (aka the Princess of Disaster) has broken from her prison, and is now hell bent on destroying the Earth. Thus it is decided that R heroes will go to Earth to stop Fenrir, and perhaps find a new Leafe leader, called a Pretear, to help them. They need a Pretear as this person can greatly increase their super powers when combined in battle. Unfortunately the last Pretear quit the job due to personal differences, and this has left them somewhat weak in the face of the current opposition.
Well, I don't think I'm going to be giving much away by saying that it turns out that Himeno is the Pretear the Knights are seeking. As for the rest of the story, it's a basic plotline of finding Pretear, training Pretear, fighting Fenrir and her demon larva monsters. Some sub-plots involve Himeno trying to integrate with her new family, especially with step-sister Mawata. The love-hate relationship between Himeno and Hayate. Plus the love triangle between Hayate, Previous Pretear and Sasame. Other than that, the basic premise of each episode is a fight the monster of the week outing. Unusually, a major plot point (and clue) is revealed early in volume 2, which concerns the previous Pretear and the current situation. Anyway, keep and eye open for the flashback wedding scene.
The start of the series is quite good, it sags somewhat in the middle as we hit the repetitive plot streak, closing with a double ending about love and redemption. There are some laughs to be had along the way e.g. the ongoing Himeno- Hayate gag and Himeno's step-sister (Mayune) attempts to embarrass her at breakfast.
My main gripe with this series is the superfluous use of mild swearing, which stands out quite sharply against the background of the otherwise clean fight scenes and congenial script conversations. It has to said that ADV have missed a trick here: If they had gone for a whole series PG (or less) BBFC rating, then I think they could have sold pallets of this series to young girls. As a father I winced every time a cuss was issued.
The other grumble I have is that this series is a little too light for my tastes. It lacks solid battle scenes, instead preferring to serve up fight scenes where the characters just fall to ground, thus there is no real sense of peril.
On the plus side the main characters have some decent motivational reasons for acting as they do. With Fenrir gripe being very understandable. Personally I was routing for the Princess of Disaster all the way.
My daughter really enjoyed the series, and given a choice between this and Angelic Layer, she would choose Pretear to watch first, but I suspect the dresses that Himeno transformed into had a lot to do with this ;-)In summary-
Take out the what little swearing they put in and you have a really nice series suitable for all. Leave it in and it feels a bit wrong. As it is it just seems a little between and betwixt in it's target audience.
English 5.1 Language ,Japanese 2.0 Language ,English Subtitles ,,Voice actor interviews,Production sketches ,Clean opening and closing animation
JVC 28" Pure Flat Wide Screen TV, Pioneer 454 Progressive Scan code free DVD player, Logitech Z-680 THX DD/DTS receiver & Speakers. Secondary equipment, 21" Sony Trinitron monitor, ATI 9700pro & PowerDVD v4, Creative Audigy 2 & headphones.