Mania Grade: A-
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- Audio Rating: B+
- Video Rating: A-
- Packaging Rating: B+
- Menus Rating: B+
- 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 Andrew Tei
January 05, 2004
Release Date: November 25, 2003
Evil plants start appearing in the world heralding the coming of a larger disaster, and it’s up to one girl and a band of some bishies and young boys to save the world.
I took in the original Japanese audio for Prétear which is in stereo. There is very little directionality used, and most sound is center based. The dialogue is clear and distortion free. During the review, I took a quick listen to a bit of the English 5.1 track, and things sounded fine.
Coming out in 2001 in Japan, the video quality for Prétear is nothing less than excellent. It has the look of a digital production, but there isn’t much aliasing or cross coloration. Colors are very bright, and come across beautifully. Blues and other dark colors don’t suffer at all. TV doesn’t get much better than this.
The front cover features Himeno in one of her Prétear outfits with Sasame, one of the seven Knights of Leafe. The cover is very shoujo in nature, with silver flowers on the side and a style that follows the visual patterns of the opening animation; definitely a cover for the girls. The back cover features a short description of the show, 3 images, episode titles, and a description of the features on the DVD. There is an insert inside that replicates the front cover and back cover information.
The main menu starts with a small animation that loads the menu (after the incredibly annoying front loaded commercials for The Anime Network and Newtype USA), but after that, all the menus are static. You can choose to start any episode, scene selection, languages, and extras. Menu transitions were quick, and a language indicator was present.
ADV continues to place a large amount of work on the extras they have for recent shows. There are production sketches and clean versions of the opening and closing. Lastly, there is a big extra for English dub fans. David Williams, the English ADR director conducts interviews with Luci Christian, the voice of Himeno, and Illich Gauriola, the voice of Hayate. The video and sound quality of the interviews needs work, but fans should find it a lot of fun.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
It’s time for another girl who seems out of place to take up the mantle of being a hero, having a group of male warriors help her fight back the evil. Despite its similarties to many other shows, Prétear sets itself up as a show with a lot of character and stands out.
In the lush, beautiful area of Leafe Garden, two men notice a seal has been broken that has held the Princess of Disaster. They are Hayate, the Knight of Wind, and Sasame, the Knight of Sound. The two of them are a part of a group called the Knights of Leafe, that number seven in total. Their job is to protect Leafe, which is the life force of all beings in the world. The Princess of Disaster intends to suck the Leafe out of the world by sending demon larva over the land. This sounds a lot like the first season of Sailor Moon, and since Juunichi Sato, one of the Sailor Moon’s directors, was one of the original authors of Pretear, it’s not surprising.
In Japan, there is a young sixteen-year-old girl named Himeno Awayuki. Her mother passed away when she was very young, and her father, Kaoru, has just recently remarried a wealthy woman named Natsue. Himeno and her father now live on a grand estate, in a town where practically everything is named after the rich family’s name. Himeno now has two stepsisters. There’s Mayune, who’s the evil stepsister that plays pranks on Himeno all the time, which seems to be because of some resentment of her mother remarrying. Mawata is the other sister, but she spends all her time by herself brooding by herself, and listening to a radio program.
The Knights of Leafe know they need to stop the coming disaster, but Hayate is against part of the solution. It involves finding the Prétear, who together with the Knights can stop the demon larvae after they mature. Something might have happened with the last Prétear, so Hayate seems reluctant. The rest of the Knights go looking for her, but of course, it’s Hayate who accidentally runs into Himeno. Himeno doesn’t believe what’s going on, until the first demon larvae shows up.
The power of the Prétear is quite interesting to say the least. It’s called Prét, and it involves Himeno “joining” with one of the Knight during a sensual transformation sequence, which leads to plenty of comedy after Himeno finds out what “joining” is. When Himeno pretes, she can now command the powers that the Knight had. With Hayate, she can control wind, Sasame allows her extraordinary hearing skills, and Goh allows here the power to control fire. Himeno quickly comes around to helping the Knights protect the world.
One thing I found interesting unlike most shoujo shows, Himeno actually takes the time to practice her Prét skills outside of battle. She’s also very protective of the younger Knights, who are pretty much children. Himeno is a very likable character, and not a heroine who grates on your nerves.
Prétear’s four episodes blew by in no time and I found myself watching it again afterwards. This was truly an enjoyable collection of episodes to start a series on. Comedy, fun characters, bishies for the girls, and a bit of action for the guys. Highly Recommended.
Toshiba 3109 player, Toshiba 36” Cinema Series via component, Pioneer VSX-810S receiver via optical, Cerwin Vega front speakers, Pinnacle center and rears