Mania Grade: B
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- Audio Rating: B+
- Video Rating: B
- Packaging Rating: A-
- Menus Rating: A-
- Extras Rating: A
- Age Rating: 15 & Up
- Region: 1 - North America
- Released By: ADV Films
- MSRP: 29.98/39.98
- Running time: 100
- Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
- Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
- Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
- Series: Pretear
Pretear Vol. #1 (also w/box)
By Mike Dungan
February 23, 2005
Release Date: November 25, 2003
Pretear Vol. #1 (also w/box)
What They Say
© ADV Films
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 stepsisters, 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 force of all beings-from the world!
Lead by the brooding Hayate, seven Knights of Leafe search for the only person who can stop this 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!
ADV brings us a magical girl anime from Junichi Sato.
Audio: For my primary viewing session, I listened to this series in English. The 5.1 mix is well used here, giving depth and space to the various characters and background noises. I felt the sound effects were perhaps mixed just a bit to far forward in the opening credits, but it's a very minor things and hardly noticeable to most viewers.
Video: The color palette is very soft. Grey, white, pale purple and soft earth tones dominate. The video transfer looks good with no noticeable blocking or aliasing. Production values are quite good, with lively animation and great character designs.
Packaging: The cover is dominated by white. Himeno is dressed in her PrÍt ear outfit she transforms into when combined with Sasame, and Sasame is behind her in his Leafe Knight garb. There is a semi-opaque frame around them, and flowers that look like they were carved from ice surround the edge of the cover. The back cover has the same motif of ice-silver flowers around a white background. There are three images from the show across the middle, with the text above and below. The volume number only appears on the spine, but the episode titles and number are listed on the back. The insert features the same image as the front cover, with production information on the back.
Menu: The menus load quickly with a bit of animation as flowers and then the menus themselves load up. There are two menu strips, one across the top and one across the bottom, both in blue with a red dot to show which selection is highlighted. Navigation is easy and quick. It's well designed, well in keeping with the look of the show.
Extras: In addition to the usual clean opening and closing, there is a production sketch animation. In usual ADV fashion, it's an actual animation set to music rather than a series of still images. To be perfectly honest, I prefer still images for production sketches, but the animation moves at a reasonable speed, never making you wait too long for the next image. The highlight for English dub fans is the two interviews ADV director and scriptwriter David L. Williams conducts with Luci Christian, the English voice of Himeno, and Illich Guardiola, the English voice of Hayate. After the usual questions, he surprises them with a pop quiz designed to test how well they know their various anime personalities, which is quite entertaining. There's nothing like catching your VAs unawares to spice up your interviews.
Content:(please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Himeno Awayuki is the daughter of a widowed romance novelist who prefers drinking to writing. But now that he's remarried to a fabulously wealthy woman, her life has changed, and not necessarily for the better. Her new step-mother is a somewhat cold and stern woman, though it's obvious she and Himeno's father are genuinely in love. Himeno has two new step-sisters. Mayune is a proud and vain young woman with long, flowing pink hair, and she does not welcome Himeno. She's the comic relief, playing the role of Wile E. Coyote, trying to pull pranks on Himeno which always blow up in her face. Mawata is a couple years younger than Himeno. She's a quiet, withdrawn woman with short blue hair. She rarely speaks, but when she does, she leaves you with the impression that all the shenanigans going on around her are simply too far below her.
When the pranks, cold shoulder and gossiping at school get too much for Himeno, it begins to wear on her usually cheerful demeanor. Her depression is short lived with a group of seven men show up, asking her to help them fight the Princess of Disaster. Hayate is the oldest, and clearly the leader. Though quite handsome, his coldness and obvious dislike of Himeno creates friction not only between them, but within the group as well. The Princess of Disaster has escaped from her imprisonment in Leafania, and she's on Earth, looking to draw all the Leafe, the source of all life, out of everything. The Knights have sworn to protect the Leafe, but to do that, they need the Pretear. The Pretear is the one special girl who can combine with Knights and use their powers to the full.
Of course this means naked transformation scenes, each one different depending on who Himeno combines, or "pretes" with. The look on Himeno's face as she pretes is positively orgasmic, and the shock of having a Knight inside of her, so to speak, makes for some great blushing comedy. Each Knight has a different specialty, and each transformation means a different magical girl outfit, which will make the magical girl fans happy.
ADV doesn't have a large number of shoujo titles in its catalog, and even fewer magical girl titles, so I was quite interested in this title when it first premiered. ADV has done a fine job with it, and the English dub is excellent. Luci Christian is perfectly cast as Himeno, being spunky and cheerful, but with a darker edge to her that shows when Himeno struggles with her new situation, both at home and as the Pretear. Illich Guardiola's Hayate is cold and brooding. He has a smooth delivery that isn't too suave, and there is enough pain to hint there is more going on than he's letting on. Chris Patton plays the calm, friendly and very kind Sasame with a great deal of maturity, something we don't get to hear enough from him. The real highlight of the show is Mandy Clark as Mawata. It is clear she is still mourning the passing of her late father, and she hides her depression with an almost impenetrable wall of icy coldness. Even so, the screen fairly crackles with her barely supressed anger and pain when she's on camera. That depression is the core of this show, as several characters struggle to deal with it in different ways. The fact that much of the plot is fairly predictable doesn't detract too much from how well made the show is. Yes, Hayate and Himeno constantly fight, which is why they're the main romantic couple in the show. Yes, the three Knights who are still just children are going to cause trouble. But coming from Junichi Sato, you know there is more under the surface which will surface soon.
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 5.1 Language,English Subtitles,Voice actor interviews,Production sketches,Clean opening and closing animation
NEC CT-2510A TV, Pioneer 440 codefree DVD player